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“Sandals Experience” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island

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Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island
Ranked #1 of 37 Hotels in Nassau
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Sandals Experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 10, 2012

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Sandals from October 30 2012 to November 6 2012, right after hurricane Sandy. This is our 5th vacation together staying at all inclusive restorts, that are 5 star acommadations. Just a little background information for you readers. We are 27 and 26 years old and go on vacation together once a year and always try somewhere different.

When we arrived at the airport everything went smoothly, luggage and customs took no time at all. (The airport was new and only opened about 1 week) There was a small Sandals desk, like we were told there would be. We did not have to go up to it because the rep was waiting right by the doors. He looked up our name on his list and advised us that our car would be there in about 5-10 minutes to pick us up.

We were picked up in about the 10 minutes as he said in a Royles Royce. Our driver was extremely nice, took our bags right away (all of them, he would not let us carry not one!) He made sure to open my door first and then went around to the other side to open my boyfriends door. He was trying to be very "proper" I guess you could say but once we started talking he seemed to relax abit. He was more then happy to give us a little hisorty of the Island as well as answer and questions that we asked. The ride to the resort was only about 15 minutes from the airport.

Once at the resort we were greated right away with warm towels. Our butler was there within 2 minutes of arriving. After having read all the reviews we desised to spend a little more money and book the Royal Village Honeymoon Villa Suite with butler service. Our first butler Shamal told us that our room was not quite ready (I expected this from reading all the reviews, the rooms never seem to be ready when you arrive), no big deal is was right around noon so he took us to the Royal Cafe to have lunch and told us he would be back in a bit to check on us. As we were walking to the Royal Cafe we pointed out where the restaurants where as well as a few other things. The food at the Royal Cafe was okay, burgers, sandwiches, friends, that sort of thing, nothing special. Service was great, and staff were really friendy. After lunch Shamal had not come back so we desided to talk a walk around the resort.

Shamal came and found us around 1:30. He had let us know that he had upgraded us to a Royal Bahimian Oceanview One Bedroom Suite. That room was located in the Windsor Tower one the 6th floor. The room was very large with a bedroom and seperate living/dining area. The balcony was also huge and wraped around the entire room. He explained that our reservation for dinner were made for us and gave us a list of the restaurants with dates and times of reservations. As well as the cell phone to get intouch with the butlers (if you loose or break it apparanetly it is $150 charge to your room so be careful!) Also let us know about the tipping policy. Butlers are suppost to be the only ones to accept a tip, the tips are included for the other staff in the resort. (If you do want to tip someone else they will accept it, so if you feel you would like to go ahead) The only issue with the room was that it was facing out of resort over looking a parking lot and apartments. Due to the huricane there was construction going on the was noicey so you could not keep your balaony open. About an hour later our other 2 butlers came to introduce them selfs, Perez and Latoya. The came up with a shrimp cocktail for us, nice little touch.

Our first night was at Casanova. You do not need reservations, but our butlers had made them for us. If you dont have reservations the wait was about 30 minutes. For some reason too our room number was writen 1363 instead of 1636 so whenever we went for dinner we had to figure out what room number the reservations were under. We both enjoyed the meal and found we had great service. The butlers came to check on us and asked what our plans were for tomorrow, and asked if we wanted a beach chair or chairs by the pool reserved.

Breakfast at spices was average, normal breakfast food nothing special. But the hostess that works there Mon-Fri is soooo nice! Alwasy smiling and so pleasant!

We found our chair by the pool near Spices restaurant. We ended up calling Perez and asked if he could come speak with us about our room. We explained to him about the contruction and noice as well as the view and asked if we could have any other room facing into the resort instead. He let us know he would speak with the manager and get back to us. The next morning he had the same room facing into the resort for us (room 1605). That made a 100% difference!

We also had a credit for the spa for $150 due to the room be booked. We had to ask our butlers about it, Im not sure that if we didnt ask that we would have been told about it. It would have been nice if they had reminded us about it. They did confirm that yes we did have the credit and told us that when we were ready to call them and they would book it for us. We found it easier to just book with the lady in the windor tower loby. If you look at the prices, they are crazy! A massage will run you min $130! I go to spas often in Toronto and its never that much! A facial will cost about $120. For those prices we expected great quality. And I have to say this is the worst massage and facial that I had ever recieved. It ened up costing around $500 minus our credit but then they add 12% tip for the spa staff. They dont even do that in Toronto, I feel you should be able to tip according to the serice and satisfaction that you recieve not being forced to. All in all save your money dont go to the spa, wait till you get home.

Gordons on the Pier was broken due to the hurricane so they relocated it to the Royal Cafe for dinner. If you are not a butler guest dont waist your money on this restaurant, the food was average, not worth it. We originally had reseravtions there twice but cancelled the second one.

The private island was closed the first 3 days we were there. They had to make repairs and clean after the hurincane. That is to be expected, also the peir where the boat would pick you up from was damaged so the boat could not come over. The 4th day the made alternative aragements to get to the island. They had a bus pick you up and drive us over the the main docks on the island and grabbed the boat from there. I thought this was great, they could have just said the island was closed untill our peir at the resort was fixed, but insead they went the extra mile to make it happen. We ended up on the island 2 days and enjoyed both of them. Great way to spend your day relaxing.

Baccarat was one of the better meals as well as the Crystal room. Crystal room did not have our reservation one night and we were told a 45 minute wait but Shamal ended up showing up and within 5 minutes of his arriving we were seated no problem. Also Ashley in the Crystal Room is amazing! Kimonos was more of a show and lower quality food, but it was a fun night anyways. They had moved the restaurant from the island that you go to for dinner to spices. We wanted to eat there one night, for some reason our butlers did not reserve that one for us, when we asked our butlers could not get us it, they were booked solid. I was a little disapointed, I thought that is why you have butler service.

After everything said and done the service was great, All the staff are so happy to help, no one is rude, they are always smiling. Dont waist money on the spa, its not worth it. Butlers were a nice touch, Latoya made us a bubble bath with rose peddles one night. The food was not was I thought it would be, there is so much hype built up around sandles I just did not see it. For the money you spend there are much nicer and less expensive places you can you down south. Look up the Westin Playa Conchal in Costa Rica!

If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank sunshine86861
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Washington, DC
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 9, 2012

We just returned from our trip to Sandals (Oct. 21 - 27) and unfortunately the negatives far outweigh the few positives. This was our first trip to a Sandals as well as our first time at an all-inclusive resort and we got married on-site while we were there. We also had butler service which turned out to be one of the worst experiences on our trip. We did stay during the hurricane so we tried to be as fair as possible about the weather issues which are obviously not the fault of the resort. We are pretty easy-going, laid-back people and this was so bad that our nerves were just shot by the end of everything. I realize that this review is long, but we really wanted to share our experience in detail so people know what they're getting into. If we can save just one couple from wasting as much money and time as we did, it will be worth it.

Arrival/Check-in:
When we got to the Sandals check-in desk at the airport (literally it's just a desk shoved up against a wall) but nobody was there to greet us. We stood with our luggage for about 5 minutes before a woman with a sandals tee shirt asked if we were waiting. She had trouble identifying us on her new guests list because Sandals had swapped our names on the trip manifesto despite being given our CORRECT information multiple times (including birth certificates) to our agent, the on-line check-in, the butler preferences, etc. This name confusion continued multiple times for the rest of the trip. Once in our private car it was a quick trip to the resort although our driver continued to sift thru his papers while driving very fast. It was a little scary at times. He also didn't speak to us unless we directly asked him a question which we found a little odd. Once we arrived at the resort, we were given cool lemon towels and ushered into a small dark office to a couch. There were already two ladies sitting at the desk arguing with the check-in lady about their room. We were not offered any champagne like other reviewers mention. We sat on this couch for another 5 minutes with our cold/damp towels just sitting in our hands while the lady at the desk told us our butler would be there shortly and finally took our credit card.

Room:
Our butler finally arrived and introduced himself and informed us that our room was not ready (at about 1:30pm). That was no problem since we were hungry, so he took us to Spices, gave us the cell phone, and told us he would be back to check on us in a little while. A 'little while' turned into almost two more hours and he never came back. We were clearly done eating, so we decided to give ourselves a tour since we had nothing else to do. We were in our jeans and long-sleeves and really hot, so we found a bar and a seat in some shade and just sat until our butler finally came to get us around 3:30. We were on the 5th floor of the Balmoral tower and had a gorgeous view of the ocean and a very large deck. I think that view was the nicest part of our trip. The room was clean but relatively small (considering what we paid) and while it was very new, it was clearly already having problems. The shower dripped all day, one side of the toilet seat was broken so it slid around when you sat down, and the spool that holds the toilet paper was broken and continually fell off. We also put our wallets and passports in the in-room safe and it wouldn't re-open. At first i thought I had done something wrong with the instructions but we eventually had to call the manager who sent up a repair guy who easily spent 30+ minutes trying to get this thing open. He had to make a few calls and eventually said 'oh yeah, there's definitely something wrong with the way this one is behaving' so it wasn't my fault. He eventually got it open and we refused to use it for the rest of the time there. Obviously these were all manageable problems and if the rest of the stay had gone well, we wouldn't even have noticed these things, but piled on top of everything else, the little things all start to show.

Service: For everyone EXCEPT the butlers and a few other exceptions, we found the staff friendly and accommodating. People are constantly saying hello to you, drinks and meals were served very quickly, the wedding office was efficient and helpful, and ALL of the photography staff was FABULOUS. Our waiter for the candle-light dinner, Chris, was outstanding and actually ran back and forth from the kitchen to our balcony (on the fifth floor) all night since our meal had to be moved inside from the beach due to the high wind.

Resort: The resort in general was very clean and we didn't notice any sort of odd smells that some of the other reviews mention. The pools were clean and there never seemed to be a shortage of towels either. Unfortunately, due to the extreme weather we only got to enjoy one day in the pool and never got to make it out to the island. Although we did notice that only one of the hot tubs was actually 'hot.' One tub had bubbles but no heat, one was warm, but no bubbles, etc., and the pool water was very cold. The beach is also pretty and well-maintained and we watched a man rake up the sea weed the entire day. We also didn't experience any of the bug problems that other people have mentioned, but that was also due to the weather. In general, the resort is well-maintained, but pretty small, although we were given a map, we were still unable to find some of the activity locations.

Food:
Unfortunately, this is where Sandals receives a giant FAIL. With the exception of the candle light dinner (which was an extra charge but really quite good) the food is awful! We are not picky people and enjoy all types of food, but this was terrible across the board. None of the food in the buffets is ever really hot and unless you are there at the beginning, it's usually running low or out completely. There are some made-to-order lines, but they are always so slow that you are forced to eat the cold eggs out of the serving dish. And EVERYTHING is covered in pepper. We were one of the first couples on line at Cassanova's antipasta buffet, so we saw all of the serving dishes before they were touched and literally every single option was covered in a thick layer of black pepper. Unfortunately the bad food isn't just at the buffets either. Our first night at Crystal Room, I received a hummus plate that tasted like someone had scooped out a spoon of hummus and left it in the fridge because the top layer had an almost crispy outer layer until you broke thru to the softer stuff inside. It was served with four stale pita wedges, two olives, and a cherry tomato. That was it. Unfortunately, the main course was worse. My husband ordered veal and one of the three cutlets was literally inedible. He couldn't cut thru it with the butter knife, so he finally tore off a corner and literally couldn't chew thru it! I don't know if it was pure fat or just overcooked, but he actually had to spit it out! My entree was a veggie pasta dish that had so much red pepper in it, that it was also inedible. After two bites I was almost sick, and I really like spicy food. It was terrible. And Crystal room is considered one of the nicest restaurants on the resort! I realize that I could have ordered something else, but what you already have is terrible, you just don't want to order more of it. It was more than just 'I don't think this tastes good', you literally couldn't eat it! I had a similar experience at Cassanova's with a bowl of minestrone soup that tasted like liquid black pepper. I took one spoonful and almost gagged. My entree was gnocchi in a tomato sauce that tasted exactly like mushy ravioli out of a can. The cheeseburger at Royal cafe was burned although at least edible and the pizza at the wood fire grill tasted like a frozen stouffer's pizza (I can't understand the hype behind this pizza, it's just not that good). When you dread going to a meal on a vacation, and one of the best things you eat is fried mozzarella sticks, you know it's bad. Gordon's was fair but more for the ambiance than the actual taste of the food. Unfortunately we were unable to try Kimonos or Baccarat as they all closed down due to the weather before we could get there.

Service at the restaurants was odd as well. The food came quickly, but sometimes we got drinks and sometimes we didn't. On our very first lunch, they seated us and never came back for a drink order so I just went up to the bar and got it myself. Because we had butler service we did have reservations everywhere (one of the few things our butlers actually did for us) but when we were waiting to be seated at Crystal room we heard the hostess tell the couple behind us that there was a 45 minute wait. However, when we sat down, I only counted 12 other tables actually seated. There were empty tables everywhere! Again, not an issue for us, but I would have been very unhappy if I was the couple behind us. The same thing happened at Cassanova's the next night. A line at the door, but empty tables all over the place. The royal cafe and the pizza place were also confusing in that there was no front door, so you were really unsure of how it worked. Were they supposed to wait on you? Do you seat yourself? There were no signs, and nobody there to offer any help. I ordered the pizza at the oven and told them where we were sitting but then they started yelling out order numbers and people were getting up to retrieve them. It was very confusing. At the royal cafe, there are about three entrances, so we walked up and looked around and nobody sat us. We walked near an empty table and the waitress told us 'give me a minute to clean that off.' So we stood there and a different waitress walked by and gave us a really nasty 'don't sit there! It's dirty!' Just awkward and sort of rude.

Butlers:
Here's where we get to the really bad part. From the beginning, the butler service was touted as something really special, they were there to take care of all of your needs, and "expect to be wowed!" And we were wowed with just how awful these people were. We had three butlers which I will not name. One was terrible, one was fair but only because he was better than the awful one, and the third one we only met twice. TWICE- in a 6 day period. I don't think he should even qualify as our butler since he basically didn't exist, but he did manage to mess up the one thing we asked him to do. So right from the start they are very cheerful, 'anything you want, anything you need, just ask us, we're here to do everything for you, etc.' Except they don't actually offer anything. They don't make suggestions so you're like 'well, I just got here, so how am I supposed to even know what my options are?' For example we didn't think to ask for a tour of the place because we didn't realize that was something they did, but later we saw other butlers walking around with clearly new guests pointing things out and giving a tour. On our second day, Butler 2 asked us at dinner if we had received a tour and we said no, and he said 'oh that's definitely something I'll do for you tomorrow' but never actually did. All talk and no action. We did request on the very first day to get signed up for a snorkel trip since that was the one thing my husband really wanted to do. Butler 1 said 'oh absolutely, of course.' We never heard him mention it again and there were easily two+ days that we could have gone out before the storm hit. I don't think the butlers communicate between shifts, so something you tell one isn't transferred to the second so nobody ends up helping you out. We knew they weren't communicating because when we met Butler 2, instead of mentioning how he heard from Butler 1 that my husband wanted to do snorkeling, he suggested my husband go by himself into town to shop for me (which sounds incredibly dangerous and doesn't interest him in the least, considering my husband despises shopping in the first place). The butlers are also supposed to reserve chairs at the beach or pool for you. We asked to reserve a spot at the Balmoral pool the following morning. We went out around 9 and we couldn't find our spot anywhere! It turned out not to be an issue because there were open chairs, but this one simple request that seemed to be a huge part of their job was completely ignored. When we inquired about it later Butler 1 vaguely said 'oh yeah...we'll definitely take care of that tomorrow.' When we realized a storm was brewing we realized we had no umbrella. When we mentioned this to the butler he said 'oh there's one in the closet.' Well, there wasn't, and when we called again he told us the same thing as if we were lying or just stupid. A third request for an umbrella was finally met, and they brought us one. One umbrella for two people. When the butler dropped off the umbrella, he (and another butler who wasn't one of ours) insisted on barging into our room and tried making small talk with us to say good morning, when clearly the issues of high winds and an impending hurricane on the day of our wedding made the mood quite dour, but the butlers didn't take the hint and just stood there trying to talk to us, which was incredibly uncomfortable. Butler 2 walked us to dinner the first night, which was nice since there was a line, and we didn't want to cut anyone, but we already had reservations, etc. Unfortunately that was the only night they ever brought us anywhere. In fact, we weren't even sure where we were supposed to go for dinner on the pier so asked someone along the way. On night 2, we had 6:30 reservations at Cassanovas. The butler did not offer to walk us, so we went on our own and a giant crowd was waiting outside the restaurant when we walked up. Clearly they had no reservations and we were in front of this waiting crowd because they happened to get up and start forming a line as we walked by them. Awkward. The people behind us were making comments about us cutting in line. Were we supposed to wait in line behind all of these people and miss our reservation? If the butler had walked us, it wouldn't have been an issue and wouldn't have looked like we were cutting in line. I had a hair appointment at the spa which is at the very front of the resort and a massage at the spa right under the balmoral tower. Again, I had to figure this out on my own by calling around and asking people as the butlers were nowhere to be seen and certainly didn't offer to escort us anywhere. On the the day of my wedding, I had to walk back from the far spa with the hurricane wind blowing my new wedding hair and this would have been the perfect opportunity for the butler to come by and 'wow' me by carrying my umbrella or my multiple boxes of makeup/hair supplies, etc. Once the hurricane actually hit full force, all three butlers disappeared. In the 48 hours that we were in the bad part of the storm, we only heard from one butler ONCE. They did not call to alert us about the closing, storm updates, possible flight cancellation assistance, if we were alive, NOTHING. They literally disappeared until about 9:30pm on our last night there and I really think it was just their last ditch effort to secure their additional tip. We received turn-down service on the first night with some chocolate-covered strawberries, and then nothing for the next 6 nights. Two days before the wedding, I asked if they would take my wedding dress and husband's outfit to be pressed, which took the butlers an entire day to pick up (butler 3 finally picked up 1 day before the wedding, which ws literally the only time I met the man in all 6 days) and about 24 hours later (on the day of our wedding) I got a call from housekeeping saying that they had my dress and husband's outfit but had no idea what they were supposed to do with it. So I asked her to just press them and she said fine, they would be ready at 1 pm (the day of the wedding! Which was at 4pm). The dress did not arrive until 3pm, leaving us only an hour to get dressed for the wedding!! I almost didn't have a dress for my wedding (not to mention my husband's pressed shirt had an ink stain on the collar that wasn't there before we gave it to the butlers for pressing). Then on checkout I see a bill for $53 dollars for the pressing! When I asked about the charge since apparently one free pressing was included in our stay, the front desk told me that it didn't apply since it was a wedding dress (why we were charged for pressing my husband's outfit is beyond me). It also took Butler 2 18 hours to get us a bottle of champagne, water, and some orange juice. When I called to ask him for it he told me that stocking the minibar was 'someone else's job' but he would see what he could do (which was nothing). They were awful. And if we had only paid $2k for a lower-level room, none of these things would have been a problem. But we paid over $6k for these worthless men who made our entire trip uncomfortable and stressful!

Resort's reponse to the hurricane:
While Sandals cannot control the weather, they CAN control how they respond to it. We all had at least a day or two to prepare and its not like hurricanes are a brand new phenomenon in the Bahamas, so we were shocked with how poorly everything was handled. They did post updates on the storm and closures at various places throughout the resort and had daily briefings which were very helpful. However, they closed all of the restaurants except for the buffet (and the pub), which is fine, but they still insisted on seating people. At a buffet! Instead of just letting people take seats and walking around with trays of water or letting people go get drinks from somewhere else, they insisted on 'seating' you and they took forever! There was literally a coiled line in the front vestibule of cold and wet people that had to wait sometimes 20+ minutes to get a table for a buffet. Perhaps they were trying to keep some semblance of order, which I understand, but looking around while we were finally seated, there were empty tables everywhere! Completely unacceptable. They also hadn't prepared for the rush because most of the food trays were empty and never filled back up. Again, I understand that you are probably short-staffed, but if you are going to close everything down then at least make enough food to feed everyone! Then on the last, and worst, day of the storm, we went to the buffet around 3:30 after just finishing up with the photographer, walked into Spices and the waiters refused to look at us. They literally walked past us and turned their heads away. I finally walked up to a woman and asked if we could sit down and she told us they weren't serving anymore. There was an entire buffet of food behind her! And we would have understood if she had said they weren't serving but we could take care of ourselves, or at least let us get a plate of food to go, but they just said no. We couldn't eat anything. She said the pub was open, so we ran thru the resort in the rain and wind (and on the wet, slick as ice stone walkways outside) and sat at a table in the pub. Again, nobody would even look at us. After about 10 minutes of sitting a waiter delivered a full table of food to four people sitting to our right and I was finally able to get his attention and ask him for a menu. He came back about 5 minutes later and told us that the kitchen was closed. At this point I wanted to cry because we were so cold and wet and just wanted some food. I finally got a sad and dried out biscuit from a tray in the piano lounge on our way back to our room. That was our lunch. For a $6,000 vacation, we shared a cold biscuit and a can of diet coke from our minibar. When I asked the concierge desk about getting an earlier bus out the following morning since the airport would most likely be overrun with cancelled flights they gave me a huge attitude and told me we would have to make arrangements through our butler. At this point, I didn't trust our butler to bring us a bottle of water, let alone arrange our transportation. I finally stopped at the front desk and asked the exact same question to the lady at the front desk and her response was 'sure, just let us know when you want to go.' Then another butler walked by, named Orlando, and said 'we have cars running all morning. I'll get you there if I have to drive you myself.' So perhaps THIS was how the butlers are supposed to be and THIS is the type of service we were supposed to receive all week. We did get out the next morning and our driver was extremely helpful and delightful (we didn't catch his name, but he at least ended our Sandals experience on a positive note). Unfortunately the nice service came at the end of our trip when we were already miserable and frustrated.

To summarize, this resort did not live up to the hype and we barely saw any of the ‘perks’ we were promised and paid for!! You probably worked hard for your money, and you should go spend it somewhere else.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Bizzleton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, responded to this review, November 19, 2012
Thank you for taking the time to write a review of our property. We are grateful for all feedback, as it allows us the opportunity to identify our strengths and weaknesses. Our response to feedback continues to be in word and deed. As you already know, we are currently working with you to address your concerns and ensure that we take the necessary action to ensure that you are happy and this matter is resolved.

We really appreciate your patience.


Sincerely,
Cassie C.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2012

Arrived 3rd left 8th , Okay they had a staorm a week prior , they seemed to work in slow motion, the private island was a mess & the pool was empty. Just a sign that pool was closed on private island. Oh did I mention it took 1.5 hrs to get to private island that was in eye view of our resort. Their only pier was damaged soo we were forced to get on a list [which noone told us first day , get on list to get on the bus and be shuttled like cattle 15mins of drive time to the badlands of nassau, very scarey to get on a boat to the island [ which only held 40 people at a time. the 2nd day our bus was 1 hr late, soo your standing around waiting half a day to get there. Oh soo your thinking stay at the resort you idiots and swim. HMMMM guess what, they had issues with the pools and refilled them we were told, the pools were freeezing cold. not heated none of them. Sooo there were few thousand guests and noone at sandals can spring for a freaking pool heater. the pools were empty .
Sooo I guess the fact that i called the 800sandals phone number the week before and asked if anything was effected by the storm and they said no nothing, means they knew nothing, or decided to rip me off 4500 for a trip. Oh and their beach is ugly in comparision to jamaica 's sandals by far. soo i never write this reviews but i hope you all think twice before u go to this older older sandals. with no pool heaters

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank aj c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, responded to this review, November 14, 2012
We regret to read that your stay at our resort did not meet your expectations. We've had to make a few adjustments since the hurricane to ensure that we can accommodate all the needs of our guests. We want this process to be as seamless and as hassle-free as possible for our guests. Our clean up since the hurricane on resort has been completed and we expect the repairs to the pier to completed shortly.

Regarding our concerns about the pools on property, we schedule maintenance regularly but all pools are never drained at the same time. Since the weather temperature has gone down a bit we now have heated pools available. Two of our public pools on property, the Villa and the Balmoral pools, are both heated.

Thank you for your valuable feedback. I encourage you to return and allow us to exceed your expectations during a future stay.


Sincerely,
Cassie C.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, Alabama
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Sandals Royal Bahamian from 10/27/12-11/3/12. We stayed in a butler room. If you are reading this review for information abut your upcoming trip, and you are not staying in a butler room, then maybe you should move on to the next review. From what I can tell the differences between a butler room and everything else is night and day. Anyway, we arrrived on Saturday 10/27. We had a short wait at the airport for our car to arrive. Disappointed that the car to pick us up was an Escalade. We had been promised a Mercedes or Rolls. May sound petty, but when we we going to be able to ride in a Rolls? So that was disappointing. About a 15 minute ride to Sandals. Had to take some back roads and side streets to get there because Sandy had washed out the main road. Arrived at the resort and were met by Antonio, the 1st of our 3 butlers. Any disappointment we had with our ride over ended at that monent. From this point on, it was nothing but 1st class service for the rest of the trip, which we admittedly paid for, but 1st class nonetheless. We were given a warm towel and then a tour of the resort. Sandy had done damage to the main pier, which houses Gordon's restaurant and the Sunset Bar, as well as a smaller pier, which was located near our room. Other than that, it didn't look as if too much more damage had been inflicted, other than some superficial damage here and there. Employees were everywhere cleaning up and making sure no one was inconvenienced too much. Our tour ended at the Piano bar where we had a couple of cocktails while waiting for room to be readied. Not too long a wait and soon enough Antonio and the Dillon, the second of our butlers, came to retrieve us and take us to our room. We were in Room 112, which is a Beachfront Walkout room in the Balmoral Tower. Fantastic. Yes, it was similar to a hotel room, only much, much larger. And the patio area was huge, just steps from the beach, and one of the hot tubs. They were actually draining the tub to clean it and re-fill. It took a couple of days to get the water hot again. But once it was ready, it was delightful. The ocean water and pool water were too cold the first part of the week, but the hot tubs were very nice. We met our 3rd, and our favorite butler, Everett the next day. We loved all of our butlers, but Everett was THE MAN. Always there checking on you, with a smile, a drink, a snack, a laugh, whatever we may need. He was so awesome. All of our resrvations were made for us, so we wanted for nothing. We ate at Casanova's, Crystal Room, Kimono's, Gordon's (relocated to the Royal Cafe) and Baccarat. All were good, but Baccarat was our favorite. We actually traded off a 2nd dinner at Gordon's in favor of Baccarat in our room, which Everett took care of in such detail, that it was just as enjoyable as in the restaurant (and we didn't have to dress up). The island was not open until Thursday (11/1), but Dillon made sure we were on the 1st boat over. Had to take a bus to where Sandals store their boats, but it was no big deal. Island was beautiful, and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Lunch at Cafe Goombay was delicious. Every night our buters would ask us what we wanted to do the next day. Sit by the pool? At the Beach? Didn't matter. There was always seats and towels with our names on them waiting exactly where we said we wanted to hangout. AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME. We so hated to leave, but when we did, we were seen off by Antonio and Dillon ... in a Rolls Royce. Dillon knew that we were disappointed in or ride to the resort, and made sure we had the Rolls for the exit. Ricardo our driver was also very nice and very informative on our return trip to the airport. We are already dreaming and planning for our next visit. Maybe during a warmer part of the year. Thanks Sandals. Thanks for everything.

Room Tip: Anything facing the ocean in the Balmoral Tower. Beachfront walkouts still offer a great view, with...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Patrick A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, responded to this review, November 12, 2012
Patrick, thank you so much for your great review of Sandals Royal Bahamian. We're so happy to read that you and your wife had such an amazing anniversary experience with us. Antonio, Dillon and Everett ensured that you had the best vacation ever with no worries, they took excellent care of you. It's so wonderful to read that they were able to uphold to high standard for which Sandals is known.

We can't wait to welcome you back for another memorable and enjoyable experience in the near future.


Sincerely,
Cassie C
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tewksbury, Massachusetts
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2012

We just returned from this hotel/resort. First time at a sandals, and had to share my experience. It was not at all what we expected. Started with checkin. Way too long of a time with just three other couples checking in at same time. Almost an hour of sitting in the lobby, not offered a drink, in fact most if the staff just walked around and only one woman handed the desk. We were walked to our room, told to sit and wait in another lobby until someone came to bring us up. And, it was so disappointing when we finally got there! I had done a fair amont of research on the rooms, and had decided to go with concierge service and a partial ocenview. Well, the view was a dumpster and aprking lot, barely could see ocean at all. We stayed in the older tower, and it was basically a very old, outdated and rundown hotel. Concierge service basically meant they stocked the bar with a bottle of wine if you finish the one they left for you. And, one night i had to call b/c it was not dine that day. The Concierge was not helpful in getting reservations at all. Two of the four restaurants were booked, so we ate at Cassanovas and Crystal Room for dinners. Both were disappointing - steaks were so tough and burnt, chicken was cold, lettuce was brown, salads were saved from the day before, overall just very poor quality. There was no room service, and lunch was very limited. Breakfast was decent at Spicesl. And, agree with other posters who say service was awful - just all around bad. We sat at dinner one night and waited 20 minutes for a waitress to even come to our table. Getting somene's attention for coffee at the breakfast buffet was awful, and one morning a waitress rolled her eyes when I asked for tea! Staff is not friendly - concierge was downright rude and they have no incentive to be helpful or nice. We also experienced the bus to the island thing because of the hurricane damage to the pier, which is acceptable of course,but it was so disorganized that it took an hour of standing waiting for a bus, the bus dropped us off at the horrible dock and another 30 mins waiting for the boat - which had left us there and didn't wait for our van so we were alone with a security guard from the pier. We are not ones to splurge or complain, we just expected a nice, quality experience for what we paid and had waited for a long time to go so I felt very compelled to write as soon as we returned. Thankfully the weather was beautiful, pools and beaches were nice. We met several other couples who all agreed with this assessment and were disappointed in quality. Sandals is a big company and they of course see these negative posts and probably wont change this resort but I would not recommended this expeience to anyone. You could find a better resort for the same money,better service and quality.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kerry s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, responded to this review, November 19, 2012
Thank you for posting about your stay with us. I’m so sorry that your experience with us did not meet your expectations. We are known for providing luxury in a friendly and comfortable environment and unfortunately, during your experience, it seems we did not meet those expectations.

Your opinion is very important to us and we have noted your dissatisfaction with a number of amenities. We have tried to contact you via message to discuss and hopefully resolve this matter. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach you. I encourage you to contact us at 1-888-SANDALS if you have any questions or concerns.


Sincerely,
Cassie C.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 8, 2012

Okay, let me start by saying this is the first review I have ever written on Tripadvisor. After our experience and having read some negative reviews on here, I feel compelled to share. I have been a member of Tripadvisor for about 5 years. I have used information from reviewers to plan probably 40 trips. We have stayed at many all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico but this was our first trip to a Sandals resort. It was the first of what will be many to come. We celebrated or 20th wedding anniversary here, our stay was October 21-27. We arrived on Sunday at 2:00ish. Check in was fast and efficient. Sandra gave us instructions and was very upbeat and friendly. She warmly welcomed us. Yes there are two separate check in areas, one is for Concierge level rooms and above. At the suggestion of our Travel Agent, we did pay a bit more and book a Concierge level room (and were happy we had when Sandy hit). After filling out some paperwork at check in, my husband went to the desk to give a credit card to keep on file and Sandra told him that we had been upgraded from the Windsor Tower room we paid for to the Balmoral Tower for our anniversary. Our travel agent had emailed ahead that we were celebrating our 20th anniversary. Such a nice surprise! As soon as we got to our room, I called to make dinner reservations. Baccarat, Kimonos and Cafe Gombay were available. Our room level came with a minibar. We are whiskey/bourbon drinkers. That was not one of the selections in our room so my husband called concierge to request Jack Daniels. They said there would be a charge, he said fine. Concierge called back and said they wouldn't have a delivery of JD until the next day and was Jim Beam ok. He said absolutely. A few minutes later it was delivered with a hand written card. It said, "Mr & Mrs ______, So glad you are here. Enjoy! Angela" It, btw, was never charged to our room nor was the second bottle we requested. A good tip...we take insulated mugs with us when we travel to resorts like Sandals. Our drinks stay cold, they don't get sand in them and we don't spend our vacation standing at the bar for drinks all day. They will make your drink as strong or as weak as you wish. I had to have them lighten up on the alcohol. No worries as others have mentioned about weak drinks. Also, they only have two kinds of local beer at the bars so know that ahead of time. After checking in we headed out to explore the resort and when we returned there was a message on our phone of more reservations the concierge had scheduled for us. I called to cancel them as I had already made my own but a very nice touch! FYI, men need long pants, collard shirts and closed toe shoes to dine at the restaurants that require reservations and at Crystal room. You will also need shoes/flip flops and a shirt or bathing suit coverup to eat at or enter the open air lunch area by the pool. You cannot go in barefoot or with just a sarong around the waist. I had to add a shirt and flip flops. These are the rules. Good to be informed ahead. The Bahamas seem to me to be a bit more formal than other places in the Caribbean, which was nice for a change. Baccarat was very nice. Meal and service was similar to Capitol Grill/Ruth's Chris. Beautiful setting. Kimonos was only okay for us. It was the only experience we had where the service was not top notch. Our server was just very...matter of fact. Not the personality we are used to having going to Japanese Steak Houses. And our chef was not very experienced so nerves played a roll. It was still a fun meal and we enjoyed the other guests at our table. Sadly we did not get to have our anniversary meal at Cafe Gombay because of Sandy so I cannot comment. We dined at the Crystal room twice. No reservations needed. Fabulous! We couldn't decide what to order so our server suggested ordering two half plates. We did so and were very pleased! I had Prime-rib and crab legs. They serve crabs legs split in half! Brilliant! Easiest way to eats crab legs ever. We ordered our dessert to go. We had a few meals at the pub. The burger was good. Their wings are a cross between buffalo and barbecue. Different but good. It is a good place to have a snack. We had pizzas for lunch and they were delicious. Don't miss trying them. We went on a tour of the property the morning after we arrived. It was very helpful. Lots of nooks and crannies to be found. On the tour we learned that they have an outdoor craft vendor section near the pub on Mondays and Fridays. There is also a gift shop on the property. We were thankful we got a few treasures at the resort because we were unable to go downtown due to Sandy and the gifts at the airport are ridiculously expensive! $70 for a hoody sweatshirt that isn't even cute. We did buy duty free alcohol at the airport to bring back home. You may buy two bottles per person and one of them must be rum. Ricardo Coconut rum is fabulous! Cheap too, like $15 or so. You may also buy one carton of cigarettes per person, I believe. For the first few days of our trip, there were photographers around the resort all the time catching awesome candid photos and making people smile. Such a nice idea! The photos are available for purchase at the photo center durning your entire stay. "Fire" the photographer gave us many laughs. As Sandy moved in the photographers were repositioned where help was needed, I think. Starting on Tuesday, the management team held a briefing on the status of the storm daily. They also posted maps and printed updates on big display boards all around the resort and sent messages to our room phone with updates and information regarding dining changes, etc. as needed.They kept it positive, informative and the entertainment staff added some much needed laughs for us. Our safety and comfort during the storm was of the utmost importance to them. They stayed until every question was answered. They were visibly present and available our entire stay. It was very comforting and reassuring to see the manager and the staff work so effortlessly together. I saw staff members behind the scenes very discretely preparing for the storm so as not to interrupt our day before Sandy hit. They did not begin to put away sun loungers or board windows or anything else that needed securing until all pool goers had left to shower for dinner. Again out of respect to the guests. It was amazing to see their teams in action once they began to prepare for Sandy. These people are inspiring! I know they worked well into the night with little or no rest. Hurricane Sandy hit the night of our anniversary. While our room was very quiet overall and the bed was really comfortable, the wind was very loud at night. We did not sleep much Wednesday through Friday night because of it. I can only imagine the staff did not sleep much either. They were working with a skeleton crew that was at the resort around the clock. So not only did they get very little sleep, they were not able to be with their families. I would have thought they might be a little grumpy but not one bit! We saw the gentleman that stocked the minibar on a different floor than ours and requested some extra Diet Coke and some club soda. He had it too our room a few minutes later! The outdoor bars and entertainment crews were condensed into indoor areas to keep the guests inside and out of the pounding wind and rain. They had games and cards going non stop. Latheo, (pronounced La Theo not La Tayo, :o)), Joseph and Lampheir became our friends and entertainers as we sat out the storm around the piano bar. You could see in their eyes how tired they were but the smile never left their faces or their eyes for that matter. Genuinely warm hearted kind people that just want to please the guests. I witnessed some very rude attitudes toward a couple of staffers and they never acted disrespectful back. That is not easy to do. Meals were condensed to Spices and a buffet in the Windsor tower. They also made a ton of box meals for guests to take to their rooms if they wished. The bars closed at 3:00 wednesday afternoon in an effort to keep guests safe during the storm. FYI, because we had a minibar in our room, this did not affect us. The morning after Sandy hit we walked the grounds taking pics of the destruction. Every clean up crew we encountered stopped, smiled and greeted us. I heard "no problem" and "it's my pleasure" during our stay more times than I can count. On Friday morning at breakfast Akita was our server at Spices. She greeted us with a slightly weary, bright smile and asked how we were and if we were enjoying our stay. I told her good and absolutely. I asked her if her family was safe. She said yes and thanked me for asking. After having worked non stop for days and nights I said to her, "you must be exhausted." Her smile brightened and she said, " I'm here to serve you Madam" Blew me away! This is the quality of staff and management this resort has. Even though we had not great to really bad weather the entire duration of our stay, even though we were only able to enjoy one day on the island and had very little sunshine all week and our big 20th anniversary celebration week was not what we hoped, this is one of our top 2 resorts ever. Hands down. The food, the beauty of the resort and the staff made this week the best it could have possibly been for us! I hope to have a do over minus Sandy and soon come back. :o)

To those that were there the same week we were and only found things to complain about, take a lesson from the Bahamian people; find the silver lining and put a smile on your face.

Room Tip: We had room 208 in the Balmoral tower. it was almost at the end of the building closest to the ocean...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank fijidreamn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2012

Most of the things you have read out here are true but I am guessing it completely depends on your room and the time you go. We went from Nov 1 - 5th and I called 4 times before leaving to make sure things were okay with the hurricane. Everytime I was given the same answer "there is no structural damage." I would then say, are we going to have the same experience?, is the island still open, will everything still be offered as guaranteed when we purchased? The answer was always yes. Lies, lies lies.

Check in- commute from airport was pretty quick. Once we arrived at check in, some people were taken to a VIP area and the rest of us sat and waited. We waited 30 minutes to get to our room and we arrived after 5 so you would think the rooms should be ready. the woman that led us to our room didn't know the answer to anything I asked her. A simple, "yeah I think so."

Room- we stayed in the royal villages and we were in the last building- called Hibiscus. Our room was spacious with a separate sitting room, and it was in a neat setting with a deck and near our own pool, but the condition of it was gross. It overwhelmingly smelled of mold, the window in the bathroom that was to let the steam out (no fan) was broken so you couldn't open it up ever to air it out. And there were ants- oh so many ants. I left a sprite out for a couple of hours and it was filled with ants when we got back. So if you ever plan to take your dessert home or get the continential breakfast, eat fast and get it out of your room.

Food- I agree with most of the reviews- Bacarrat and Crystal Room are by far the best but really hard to get into. Had we been able to eat at those all 4 nights, it would have made the overall food experience much better. We had great meals at both for our dinners but everywhere else was not that good. We saw many people get up and leave the table after only taking a bite of their sandwiches. Thank god for the pizza stand as we got one every afternoon.
Also, Gordon's on the Pier was destroyed so they kept on clsoing different restaurants to accomodate for the elite butler guests. They also weren't open for dinner on the island so that came into play also. one night we couldn't get in anywhere to eat because the italian restaurant was closed, and Gordon's and Cafe Goombay were relocated. It was like, we are paying this much and we can't eat anywhere?

People- the people were all really nice for the most part, but they really don't care much about if you really are happy or not. I called to tell them about our room and the ice cold hottub and they said they would get back to us- which I never heard back. No one ever knew what was going on or where we could go get something or do anything. Couldn't management give them a briefing before their shifts started with an update on the status of the resort since everything was different? Our room was also next to the employee entrance and quarters and you could smell something coming from that area which would contribute to their whole "laid back" demeanor if you know what I mean.

Island-
The island was up and running but you had to take a bus down to a very sketchy area to board the boat. It was about a 30 minute ride and boat ride only 10 minutes. The island is very small but since only a few busses a day were going out there it could not get crowded. There is really nothing Sandals could have done about this and were doing their best to get it up and running considering the damage. The island is neat and it makes you feel like you are on a special vacation.

We did take a cab to the Atlantis and I would probably stay there instead if I ever go back. You don't end up eating or drinking what they charge and the room was just so old and gross. We met many people and the one's that stayed in the new tower said they were nice rooms and new but more like a hotel versus a resort. Our room was definitely laid out cool in a building that only housed 5 rooms, but just can't believe they could charge that much for such a gross room. I did see one couple go in and check out one of the rooms in our building and turn around and walk out.

We are Minnesota Nice so we don't complain about much and don't want to argue with people but overall I can't believe they could lie about the state of the rooms and the resort. What's odd is that they had people working on things all over the place-painting buildings, replacing railings and retiling the pool bar, but they never spent any time fixing the rooms or food. I suppose everyone sees the outside but only YOU get to see your smelly ant filled pit so they focus their attention on the other things. I had never looked more forward to a trip in my entire life and had never paid so much for one and can't believe how disappointed I am at the overall experience. We did meet nice couples from all over the world and it was beautiful there but I really feel like we were given a bait and switch.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MNnicegal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island

Property: Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island
Address: West Bay Street, Cable Beach, Nassau 13005, New Providence Island
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > New Providence Island > Nassau
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Nassau
#1 Luxury Hotel in Nassau
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Nassau
#1 Spa Hotel in Nassau
#2 Family Hotel in Nassau
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island 5*
Number of rooms: 404
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
•New, extra comfortable, ultra luxurious Day Beds added poolside on Sandals Cay •Sandals Cay now has Zen Spa and Fire Pits.-----•Butler Service, 24-Hour Room Service, and Rolls Royce or Mercedes Transfers for select suite categories. •Over 10,000 sq. ft. of the Island’s most impressive Freshwater Pools•Sandals Cay – Nassau’s only resort with Private Offshore Island & Restaurant.•Ten Dining Options featuring an array of cuisine from French to Bahamian. •Minutes away from excellent duty free shopping in Downtown Nassau on Bay Street and world class gambling on Paradise Island.•Weekly Late night decadent Chocolate Buffet offering specialty coffee •Voted Sandals Resorts “World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row. •Voted Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand” 18 years in a row. •Voted Sandals Royal Bahamian “Bahamas’ Leading Spa Resort”. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island Hotel Nassau
Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort And Offshore Island
Sandals Bahamas
Sandals Royal Bahamian Cable Beach
Sandals Bahamian
Sandal Resort Bahamas
Sandal Royal Bahamian
Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island Bahamas/Nassau

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