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“I wanted to LOVE this resort!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Old Bahama Bay

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Old Bahama Bay
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   Bayshore Road, West End, Grand Bahama Island   |  
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Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in West End
Lebanon, Tennessee, United States
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“I wanted to LOVE this resort!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

We just returned from 5 nights at Old Bahama Bay. I wanted so badly to fall in love with this tiny piece of paradise but there are just a few things that prevent me from adding that last dot.
First, the pros:
This place is paradise on earth! The view from almost every room is incredible and the beach is so private and picturesque. The rooms are beautiful and the professional photos on this site are very much a representation of what we experienced. (we stayed in 1030 in the Banyan building that is in some of the photos). Having the marina on one side and the beach on the other gives visitors the best of both worlds and there's no doubt this is predominantly a location for people who boat in and not drive. The weekend was busier with more boats and people in general. By Monday, I believe we were almost the only people in the whole place. The beach is like nowhere I've ever been! Sting Ray come up to the beach within feet of where you are standing. there are giant shells everywhere! We even found a huge starfish just at the edge of the water. My kids were completely amazed by all the exploring they got to do. It was a daily adventure to find new sea creatures.
As others have also stated, the staff is phenomenal! We definitely got the feeling that there wasn't anything they wouldn't do to try to accomodate us. The staff in the restaurant were great and extremely friendly. Jareth, who I believe runs several departments within the resort, was great and even offered to go out to buy beach toys for our kids because he didn't have any! The next day, a big basket of beach toys were available. I can't say enough about the friendly Bahamian people and their hospitality. During our visit, we renewed our vows. Everything was arranged by Janet, their event planner, and she was amazing to work with. I never doubted that she would arrange everything for us as expected and she even ordered mini cupcakes as a surprise for our kids. She was a joy and I can't say enough positive things about her.

Unfortunately, there's a "but"...
Anyone looking at this can take this for what it's worth. I'm certainly not the pickiest of people when it comes to vacations and have stayed in my fair share of resorts of varying degrees.
This resort, however, is not for everyone. It is remote...and I mean...really remote! We rented a car which made things better for us. The drive is a slow 45 minutes from Freeport. I disagree with those who complain about how horrible the area outside the resort is. It was humbling. The Bahamians definitely don't have it easy but I didn't ever feel uneasy and have been in much worse neighborhoods in the US. Yes, there is poverty but it's not THAT bad! Initially, this is what I was looking for. I didn't want to stay in a major tourist area and was looking for a more genuine "island" atmosphere. I knew this going in and was ok with it but it quickly became more of an issue when we realized the options for food were so limited. Bonefish Folley is closed so the main restaurant isn't available. I've seen a few reviews referencing "Aqua" and I'm not sure what this is but that restaurant isn't there either. There are a bunch of empty buildings by the reception that I imagine, at one point, were buzzing with activity in the resorts heyday that has come and gone. The only option for food is Teasers or Straw Bar (depending on when you are/were there). There is a very limited menu and it's pricey. There are no options for kids so for people travelling with children, it's a challenge. They shared a $15 cheeseburger one night and a $20 fish sandwich that neither of them liked the second night. Side salads that consist of lettuce, tomato and onion are $10. From then on, we decided to eat in our room.
That leads me to my second challenge -
Although the suites come with a full kitchenette (including a stove, microwave/oven and full fridge freezer), there is nothing to cook with! Our suite had 4 of everything and there were 5 of us (the room sleeps 6-8) so we even had to share forks and spoons when we all ate together. There were no pans, utensils, cleaning cloths, dishwashing soap, etc - nothing! When we requested pans, we were brought a large pan and a skillet and one serving spoon. Bearing in mind that we had followed others advice and stopped at the grocery store in Freeport and purchased $150 of food (there used to be a market about 1/2 way but that is now closed), we were now stuck with no way to prepare any meals.
In the end, we made it work and nobody starved! lol We made a trip back into Freeport on day 3 and adjusted our plan to fit into what we had after a second trip to change our grocery strategy. It would just have been nice to sit in a restaurant and eat a nicer meal during our stay as opposed to the casual patio bar on the beach.
The last thing is the fact that the resort advertises "free beach activities" with Kayaking, Hobie Cats, etc. There are numerous pictures showing kayaks lined up the beach. There are no kayaks, no hobie cats, nothing that I would describe as beach activities. When we asked about the kayaks, we were told there was a storm about a month ago that blew everything away and they were left without any.
As I mentioned earlier, they went out and got beach toys for us (which I think were actually loaned to the resort by Janet the event planner) but the fact that all of these things for adults were missing was a let down. I had been looking forward to kayaking out during our stay. For people not interested in these activities, obviously it's not a big deal but just one of those things that was aggravating on top of the other inconveniences revolving around the food.
I had an expectation for a resort of this caliber and for me, it just slightly missed the mark.
It's really sad, too, because you can see the potential at Old Bahama Bay. My husband and I have since talked about our stay and can't decide if the resort will rebound or if it's in decline. It's obviously been hit hard by the struggling economy in the Bahamas and I hope that the new management finds a way to resurrect it to the resort it very well could be. A touch up here and there (fix the broken tiles in the pool and all the broken loungers around the beach and pool area) with a few repairs and reopen the restaurant and this would definitely be a place I would consider returning to. We did see plenty of workers doing maintenance while we were there so hopefully they are on the right track.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BahamasJen, Public Relations Manager at Old Bahama Bay, responded to this review, October 22, 2012
Thank you for posting your comments about your recent stay. We are delighted to read that overall you enjoyed your stay with our hotel. Thank you so much for your kind words about our rooms and staff. A new management team has just recently taken over resort operations and many of the items you mentioned are on the immediate ‘fix’ list, such as purchasing new beach / water sports equipment. Please trust that our new team is working diligently to bring the resort back to past glories. Your comments are valuable to us so that we can continue to improve our service. We do hope to welcome you back in the near future so you can experience the NEW Old Bahama Bay for yourself.
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293 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (58)
Date | Rating
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English first
Manhattan, New York, United States
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2012

While the rooms are lovely and the marina nice, there is still a lot that needs to be one to raise this to a top notch resort (having a full service restaurant in addition to beach bar and consistency with amenities in the rooms and stronger, more reliable internet service would go a long way). But what makes this resort worth visiting and why I will definitely return is the staff!!! They are among the friendliest, most accommodating and professional people I have met in the hospitality business. From the dock hands to the reception desk, the server at the beach bar and the dishwasher repairman - all kind, thoughtful, polite and thorough. Anything you ask for, if it is within thier power - it is yours. And I must not forget the beauty of the location - gorgeous sunsets... the grounds kept impeccably... a lovely stop for sure!

Room Tip: Ask to be on the beach... the views are breath taking!
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2012

First of all, to be fair, the rooms are pretty and the grounds are nice. However, the location is, unless you arrived via boat, terrible! My family and I arrived for a week long vacation, and on the trip to the hotel we had quite the site to see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE8FAnz1W8o
Now, this isn't some short trip, it's a 45 minute drive from Old Bahama to Freeport, and unfortunely, that's where there is stuff to do and resteraunts to eat at. Normally it wouldn't be a big deal, but when you have a small child with you, driving back and forth through these areas just isn't going to fly.

When we arrived we dropped off our luggage and ran over to Tappers to grab a bite to eat. We didn't check out our room first, which was a mistake. When we got back to our room, we noticed a smell closer to the balcony side of the room: mildew/mold. In fact, we noticed the whole room reeked of it, so we tried calling the office to change rooms: the phone didn't work. So, we went to the bar to try and call; no go there either, they were closed to the day. So, with no way of changing rooms, and with no way of getting to another hotel at the time, but with access to wifi, we booked another hotel, and in the morning checked out and went to the Radisson.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2012

2012.08.14 - We had a group of 8 adults, 4 on a boat and 4 in the rooms and we stayed 4 nights. It was a great time. OBB is clean and has a great look and feel.. ok the bathrooms at the marina are a little rough but I have seen worse. The marina is beautiful, docks are in good repair and the water is deep enough and the access is easy. We have a Sportfisherman. It was an easy ride from West Palm. Customs and the marina office are located together at the fuel dock. The rooms were nice, very nice, with new furnishings and good views with an island feel. The pool was well placed and clean and the Tiki Bar was fun and located on a nice beach facing the calm and absolutely beautiful waters of the Little Bahama Bank... you will love the view here. Overall it was a great place to spend some time with the phone and email off... The fishing was good and the lobster diving was a lot of fun ... and made great dinners every night!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Vero Beach, Florida
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2012

I have flashbacks to what happened to the former Jack Tar Village. It was a beautiful place last year when I was there but it is starting to fall into a state of disrepair during a recent visit. The marina bathroom and showers are becoming "typical" (sub par) public bathrooms. The circuit breaker in the men's room was tripped so there were no lights or ventillation. Someone had forced the door off of the breaker panel because this was obviously a common occurrence. I reset the breaker but it tripped a short time later. No ventillation, no air conditioning, no lights, unclean showers ... not what we experienced during the Ginn Sur Mer era.

I noticed a few raised screws and nail heads on the wood planked docks and some of the dock pedestals (electric) were in various states of disrepair too. When I was there 50 weeks ago, nearly every slip was taken. On this visit less than half were occupied.

The staff is friendly and efficient at the marina office.

My belief is without more maintenance this marina will be on par with Davis Harbour (2008 version) or Rosie's Place. Certainly better than Freeport though!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sarasota, Florida
Top Contributor
114 reviews 114 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2012

Found this property after a very hot afternoon of driving from Port Lucaya to the West End - what an oasis! The tiki bar is wonderful, right on the beach. Had very nice refreshing cocktails and delicious fresh conch salad - the fisherman was harvesting the conch right there on the beach! Can't get much fresher than that. Even though we were not staying there the staff was super friendly and made us feel right at home. The pool was gorgeous and quite refreshing. Would have gone again for the day but it's a bit of a drive from downtown. Absolutely beautiful property and marina.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2012

I decided to write a review not just because I had a terrific time here, but to clarify reviewers that gave this place negative review.

We flew into Freeport and scheduled a pick-up through the hotel's taxi service. It is about 30-40min drive, but our driver gave us a detailed history about the small towns we drove through. Yes, most of those towns (settlements) are proverty strucken, but its the Bamahas. Reason why I mention this because I was blown away by the locals that make the best of it.
Anyway, we arrived at the resort and were greeted by Jackie (resort manager) and her son Nathan, who invited us on his boat. We stayed in the king ocean view room, and I must say, the room was quite spacious for a single king bed. We had a great view of the ocean!
We roamed the compound and didn't find much besides the tiki bar, fitness center, and the marina. It didn't bother my girlfriend and I, our plan was to just drink and relax on the beach for the next 4 daysary and Harold at the tiki bar were very personable and welcoming. In fact, the entire staff was very helpful and helped us with all our needs. I don't think we ever heard the word "no". They were willing to go out of their way to acomadate us. We visited a nearby snorkel area called paradise cove (about 8miles). They picked us up and spent the day at there. I would recommend this place for a good 2 hours of snorkeling. Plenty of fish and corals to see.

Overall, I was very satisfied with my stay. The resort is definitely remote, do it was quite different from my typical city slicker vacation. If you are a boater, the marina is top notch and very clean. The inlet is pretty large to easily navigate.
If you fly in, I would recommend asking the driver to stop by a grocery store to pick up some snacks. OBB is remote and there isn't much around West End as far as stores go.

We met alot of great people including other guests that were friendly and welcoming. We spent most of our time meeting and socializing with everyone. I can't stress how friendly everyone was. I will definitely plan another trip here.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Old Bahama Bay

Address: Bayshore Road, West End, Grand Bahama Island
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > Grand Bahama Island > West End
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in West End
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Old Bahama Bay 4*
Number of rooms: 73
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour is the ultimate getaway for tranquility and relaxation. Combining Bahamian charm and barefoot elegance, the resort features 73 spacious beachfront suites, full-service marina, Stuart Cove Shark Dive Operation, fishing and other excursions. Resort amenities include 2 restaurants and bars, paddleboards, kayaks, snorkel equipment and much more. West End Airport is now open for private planes and charters. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Old Bahama Bay Hotel Grand Bahama Island
Old Bahama Bay Resort

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