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“Almost paradise” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Staniel Cay Yacht Club

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Staniel Cay Yacht Club
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Exuma Cays, 00001, Staniel Cay   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Staniel Cay
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Almost paradise”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2014

There was a song some time ago " almost paradise" Staniel cay & Staniel cay yacht club are pretty close to paradise. We traveled there on our boat from Florida and were welcomed with dock help and assistance in getting to our cottage. We were in the coral cottage, there largest, made for a family. It were clean comfortable and modern. And while power went out on the dock regular the rooms did not.
To really enjoy the Bahamas you need a boat or access to one. The area is magnificent.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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223 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (57)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2014

Where to begin?

-The Night Before and Airplane Ride-

We started our adventure by going to Fort Lauderdale the night before and staying at the Merriot right near the executive airport. It was beyond convienient for the 7AM flight the following morning.

Upon walking into Watermaker Air’s lobby and seeing how nice it was, I knew that this was going to be a great experience because they own the yacht club as well. The lobby is decorated with what seems like Restoration Hardware furniture with a “beachy” twist. It was quite nice for an “airport” lobby, and it even smelled quite nice. The staff member there took our bags and weighed them. Thankfully the bags were at 70LBS on the dot (which is the limit for two people). Our pilot took us to the plane promptly at 7AM, and our real journey began!

We stopped at Chubb Cay for customs. Honestly, it was joke. The customs personnel were late getting there, and the airport was quite utilitarian and basic. The pilot took our passports to them, and we didn’t even have to get off the plane.

Nick (the pilot) was very pleasant and calm. He remained professional while having some personality. The ride was very smooth.

Note: There are no bathrooms on the plane, so you will need to go before you get on. :)

-Arrival-

When we arrived at Staniel, the yacht club staff took our bags away, and we were left to explore the island while our room was getting ready. It was 9AM, and they estimated we wouldn’t be able to get into our room until 2PM. Fair enough – check-in wasn’t until 3PM. I have to say my partner and I were very nervous when our baggage was taken; we brought a lot of expensive technology. The OUTSTANDING front desk clerk, Natajia, assured us that our bags would be fine and no one would bother them when they are placed on the front deck of the yacht club. We were hesitant to trust her because of our American culture - in our minds, everyone steals. We came to realize after staying there for six days that stealing is simply not in their culture, and our initial reaction was not warranted at all.

While our room was getting ready, we rented a golf cart for 40 bucks and drove around the island. The island is humble and small, and it is definitely not luxurious; however, there are few beaches on the island that are wonderfully calm and beautiful. I thought that no other beach could beat the ones on Staniel – boy was I wrong! (read on)

-The Room-

We got back to our blue room around 1PM, and it was ready. The room is quaint. It has everything one would need – shower, bathroom, little closet, fridge and AC. There is no TV, so if you need something to fall asleep to, bring a portable DVD player, iPad, or Kindle. Wi-Fi is very spotty and pricey, so it’s best to download movies before getting to the island.

My partner and I have decided that the blue room has the absolute nicest view. There is a tree blocking you from your neighbors on the left, and your neighbors on your right cannot see you on your porch because there cottage is pushed back. We would love to see an outside fan added because of the heat.

The blue cottage is not remodeled like the newer ones, but again, the views are worth it. We also enjoyed taking late afternoon and nighttime swims off our dock (beautiful stars!), and we also enjoyed seeing the workers coming to work by boat in the morning. They parked right at our dock; it was quite humbling to watch.

-Service / Dining-

The service on the island is truly “island time” like other posters have mentioned. I found this, personally, one of the most gratifying experiences about the yacht club. In America, everything is NOW, NOW, NOW. The slow service gave me some time to slow down and appreciate everything around me. All of the staff members are very friendly.

The yacht club is probably my biggest gripe; however, they are remodeling it soon.

Currently, the yacht club has no air conditioning. It could be downright nauseating to eat a four course meal (with soup and wine) in very hot conditions. We found ourselves rushing through dinner to get out of the club because of the July heat. The other four nights we took our dinners to go to eat in our room. I’m truly hoping that they will have AC with new remodel.

Every meal we have had at the yacht club was phenomenal. Food is no issue here. Note Worthy Mentions: the Bahamian bread, cauliflower and broccoli soups, blackened chicken sandwich, conch fritters, and the VERY filling French toast.

-The Adventures-

[Big Major (the swimming pigs)]

It’s about a five minute boat ride over from Staniel. The swimming pigs are cute AND wild animals. They will bite for more food. If you decide to get out of the boat please be conscious that they will hound you for more food and will nip you to get more. We personally stayed in our boat at all times after I got nipped. They will not tip over the boat, but they will put their hooves on the side of the boat.

[Sandy Cay]

This place is located directly across from Big Major. It seems pretty far from the pigs with your eye, but it only takes five minutes. While there, my partner and I basked in the glorious sandbar area for bit. The sandbars were quite marvelous; we loved watching the two bodies of water crash together over the sand bar.

[Thunderball Grotto]

Please do yourself a favor and go at LOW SLACK tide. We went in between high and low tide, and the current was very forceful. If we weren’t great swimmers, we would have been in real trouble.

The grotto is beautiful. There are three openings at the top that shined light into the grotto. We brought crackers to feed the fish, and they literally swam around me as they were feeding. I got to touch a few even! We honestly kept on repeating “Wow!” and “Oh my God!” the whole time inside. Honestly, you need to just experience it; there are no words.

[Wrecked Plan]

The plane is located on the way to Iguanas. We spent about an hour here because it was quite fascinating. There are many fish that call this place home. It’s very shallow here during low tide, so no need to be worried about a current or danger.

[Secret Beach]

My partner and I spent the most time (2 hours every day) at our perfect found beach (see the picture). Honestly, it was the highlight of our trip because there was not one person on the island. We saw maybe two or three passing boaters a day. The sand there was so soft and untouched. We would normally have a few beers and just enjoy the silence.

No, I will not tell you where this beach is lol. It’s part of the fun finding your own slice of paradise. ;-P

[Iguanas]

We only drove right near the island, so I do not have much to say about it. We have seen iguanas before, and we were more hungry the interested so we went back to the yacht club.

-Guided Tour-

We opted to do a tour with Dreeco for a half day (4 hours) for $350 (plus a $50 tip). We’d definitely recommend doing this if you are not comfortable going far on the (sometimes) unreliable skiffs. Dreeco was great, by the way!

[Land and Sea Park]

This place was the best for snorkeling and admiring the reef. Plus, the ride there was gorgeous. There were so many different colors of blue! It’s the furthest away from the yacht club we went. (~30 mins on the faster 100 horse power boat).

[Rachel’s Bubble Bath]

This was my second favorite part of the trip. The beach in front of the “bath” is gorgeous. You walk down an inlet, and it leads to the other side of the island where the Atlantic Ocean is crashing over the rocks into a tide pool. This creates the “Jacuzzi” affect. It’s hard to explain; you’ll need to see it yourself. We could have spent all day there, and I can assure you next time we will.

[Compass Cay]

Here, you find an abundance of nurse sharks. They will not bite, but they will if your hands smell like bate. Be sure to wash your hands after you handle bate before you get into the water. There’s lots of bonefish there to admire too (if you’re into fish). It’s 10 dollars per person. It’s a MUST see.

-After Thought-

This trip was one of the most active “vacations” I’ve been on. I would also say this was the least commercial vacation I have been on as well. This is not the Ritz or Atlantis. The power will go out. You will be hot. You will sweat. You will be tired at the end of the day.

I hope this place always keeps its non-commercial and “local” charm.

We have booked trips already to go back for November 2014 and July 2015.

-TIPS-

1. You may want to learn how to drive a little whaler if you have no boating experiences
.
2. Purchase A LOT of sunscreen prior to leaving your country. It’s expensive on the island, and you will use it daily.

3. Tip your maid for extra love and because it’s the right thing to do. :)

4. You do not need to bring beer on the plane. Beer is cheap here. (4 dollar KALIKS)

5. We brought our own Scuba gear. I suggest it.

6. We also brought a VERY large dry bag. We put all of our day for the boat adventures.

7. You may want to consider bringing a small foldable chair to sit on for when you find that perfect beach.

8. Order EVERYTHING when your waitress comes over to take your order. This includes: entrees, beers, drinks, water, day cooler for the boat, scraps, etc. It will cut down your wait time tremendously.

9. Go down to the cleaning station nightly to see the nurse sharks feast.

10. Do yourself the favor and higher someone on day one to take you to the Land and Sea Park, Rachel’s Bath and Compass Cay. Not only will you get those awesome adventures, but you can also orient yourself and pick his mind.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2014

First off the location is amazing, the water is crystal clear and just breathtaking!

PROS: Great Location
Water is really clear
Can travel to other islands that are untouched
Food is really good but slow. I understand, you are on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean.
Huge, amazing yachts that you get to see when boating around.
Snorkeling is really good (Thunderball Grotto)
Rooms are pretty good (A/C, Housekeeping did a good job, clean)
Guest at the yacht club are really nice (we met a lot of new people)

CONS:
SERVICE!! Very slow and some of the employees are rude and unaccommodating to the most simple requests. I really think that the yacht club needs employees that really understand what service is.
An example of this is we met a friendly couple on the island and wanted a table of 4 for dinner and at first the waitress said no but since our table had originally 4 seats the waitress said yes. What really shocked me was that she made the other couple move all there glasses, napkins, place mats, utensils, etc. to our table. Then the following night we wanted to sit with some people we met but they would not move your table for 2 and they rudely refused.

Litter is really depressing, i cant believe that the locals would litter that much when 100% of the islands income is from tourism. It really makes me angry that the locals are that stupid.

Boats need to be better taken care of. Really beat up boats but never gave us a problem. (never rinsed off or cleaned)

It really was a fantastic trip but the yacht club really needs better service.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Missouri
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014 via mobile

Just spent four nights in Staniel Cay, and it's one of the most beautiful spots I have ever been to. Stayed in Coco Plum cottage, which is actually two separate buildings, each with its own bed and bathroom. It's very inexpensive considering the remote location. There is a cool outdoor shower as well. It's very clean, nice linens, good AC, and thankfully no phone to TV. Housekeeping did a good job as well. The only place to eat is the restaurant in the yacht club. Considering everything is flown or boated in, it's pretty good, and very moderately priced for the islands. Only caveat is the service is painfully slow. It was 22 minutes before a waitress even said hello to us once. That's slow, even for island time. You get a small 18 foot boat with the cottage, and it gets the job done. It's not luxury, but I would guess their guest don't always know how to use a boat, and anything better would get destroyed. The grotto, swimming pigs, iguanas, are all a short boat drive and can easily all be seen in one day. There are dozens of private beaches and sandbars to explore as well. If mosquitoes like you, wear bug spray. I got over 70 bites, while the rest of my family didn't get any. Also, the power goes off from time to time, but not a big deal. If you are a Four Seasons type of family, this is not the place for you. If you want to be in one of the most beautiful surroundings in the world, and can handle a few hiccups, you will love Staniel Cay. We will most certainly be back.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina, United States
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014 via mobile

I wish I could tell you it was awful and don't waste your time, I would tell you that just to keep the small quaint feel to the place. All I can say is it was everything I've dreamed of. I've been hearing about SCYC since I was a teenager and have been waiting on my chance to get there, I just spent 5 amazingly short days there and as I sit here back home feel a large depression coming over me. I can't wait to book the next trip, hopefully in 12 months if not sooner. The staff, the location, simply everything is wonderful. I will warn you though, if you are looking for a large location with a lot of activity this isn't it, but if you are looking for something small, to do what you want with amazing people this is it. I would move there tomorrow, if I could figure out how to do my job over the internet.

Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

We have just come back from 4 days at Staniel Cay. We stayed in Seagrape whilst our friends stayed in Buttonwood. These are two of the newere chalets overlooking the marina and are almost perfect in every way. Good size room, bathroom and closet, Fridge, air-con and a lovely view over the marina. Restaurant is not so good - service extremely slow even by Bahamian standards and food not so good especially in the evening. But don't focus on that - Staniel Cay is in the middle of the most amazing set of islands and features. We went out on the boat every day to feed the piggies (watch out for their teeth), visited the iguanas, swam with nurse sharks and Compass Point and spent a lazy day on a sandbank. the only other place on earth I have visited that comes close to this is the Maldives. Just awesome!

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014

We stayed in the Yellow Cottage which was an octagonal shaped room with a connecting bathroom. The view out the back sliding door was of the beach and the water. Very relaxing! The cottage was comfortable for our family of four as we had a king bed and a day bed with a trundle underneath. Would've been nice to have a little more room for storage as I could only unpack three of our suitcases. On that note, I totally overpacked. They can do laundry for you for a reasonable fee within 48 hours. Favorite staff were Darcy Mae (housekeeper) and Rhonda (waitress). The color named cottages are perfect for families with kiddos as the pool is just at your front door. It was great fun to take the paddleboards (or a kayak) out and paddle with the nurse sharks and rays. I compliment SCYC on getting in several new kayaks and I do hope they will invest in some new bikes. The current selection is most tired and rusted and the chains do not stay on them. Most frustrating to take a family bike ride around the island when you have to constantly stop to fix chains. If you have children under 7 or 8, you won't find a bike at the YC that will fit your kiddo. Boating was fun and I'll comment more on neighboring island highlights in the SC forum. We had the inclusive package and the meals were so generous especially at breakfast. I might next time NOT get the inclusive and just split meals. Service was overall fine but not at lunch time. It took 30 mins to order food and then another 30 mins to get lunch. Breakfast and dinner always had great service, but lunch was not organized at all!! We did take the boat out daily but honestly we would've been happy renting a golf cart and tooling around to the local beaches a couple of days. THANKS SCYC for a great week! And compliments also to Carl, a great friendly bartender and jack of all trades as he's also the baggage handler and a taxi driver!

Room Tip: Any of the colored named cottages are great for families due to close proximity to pool.
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Staniel Cay Yacht Club

Address: Exuma Cays, 00001, Staniel Cay
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Staniel Cay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Staniel Cay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Soothe your body, mind and soul with small island charm. Let one of our beautifully decorated cottages be your relaxing home while in the Exumas. Your balcony will literally overhang the clearest waters in the world. Secluded beaches. Incredible SCUBA, snorkeling, fishing and kayaking. Delicious cuisine. Inviting pool and sundeck. Friendly island bar. Full-service marina and 3,000’ airstrip. "Watermakers Air" provides convenient flights to Staniel Cay. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Staniel Cay Yacht Club Hotel Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay Yacht Club Bahamas

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