My husband and I chose Ocean Club for a long weekend retreat to get a chance to relax in between work projects. It just so happened we booked the trip the weekend after Sandy hit the US East Coast, and being from NYC, we escaped the aftermath by going to the Bahamas. Our first impression was lovely. The resort was beautiful, the people friendly. One thing we were unaware of was that this is part of Atlantis, a resort we wanted to steer clear of. It wasn't clear on their website and maybe we should have done more homework, but it is located on an island that has a Disney/Vegas vibe. No local restaurants selling fresh fish or booths with local crafts. It is ALL resort souvenirs and chain restaurant food.
As I mentioned, we went the week after Sandy had hit the Bahamas and days after it had hit NYC. Our flight in was less than half full and we were told by staff that many people had canceled their reservations. Even with half of the hotel empty, we were not upgraded to a better room. This struck me as a little strange since most hotels upgrade their guests if rooms are available.
Now a few things about the VALUE. This place is just about 20% too expensive, to where it doesn't even make any sense. We travel all the time to luxury hotels in the Caribbean, and while we expect high prices for food and drink, we've never paid these kind of prices. $16 USD for a pina colada in a small plastic cup or $17 for corn soup, plus a 15% service charge that is automatically tacked on. Every lunch was over $100 for the both of us and dinner was near $400. We are not cheap people, it is more about how offensive these prices are. If the drinks were $14 instead of $16 and the soup $12 instead of $17, it would just seem a lot more reasonable. Also, we were not sure if this service charge was going to the waiter or not, since at the spa 9% of the service charge did not go to the masseuse. So we would tip to about 25%, making our two drink orders at the pool come in around $40.
Now about the spa. The spa is beautiful. They have private villas with massage tables, a nice garden area outside and a jacuzzi which can be rented out for a fee. We decided to go with the "Love" package, which was a couples massage plus an hour in the garden with tea and fruit for $370. This seemed perfectly reasonable, since a 50 minute Sweedish massage was $140pp and the outdoor space was $50pp/ hr. We were really looking forward to this, but when we went to check in they charged us for TWO Love packages ($740!) plus 20% service charge. We told them we were not willing to pay that and opted out of the package. Instead, we bought al a carte and paid for a couples massage plus an hour in the garden which came to $380. So, I guess this tea and fruit is almost $400?! We thought this pricing was outrageous. Also, the jacuzzi in the villa we had the massage in was not working. The masseuse assigned to my husband was walking away from the table every five minutes trying to fix it and eventually called maintenance. He estimated that out of the 50 minute massage, she was only working on him for about 35 minutes. They still never fixed the jacuzzi and we had to be moved to another villa after our massage. In that villa the jacuzzi worked fine, but the sink in the bathroom was broken. I would expect that any spa charging their customers such ridiculous prices would at least have functioning amenities.
The staff were hit or miss. Some were extremely friendly, helpful and warm, while others were not. The front desk attendees were a bit rude when we went to ask them for a map of the island. They said we had already been given one upon check in, but we had forgot it in the room and didn't think it was such a big deal to request another one. They not only said that we already had one without making eye contact, but when my husband pressed and asked for a second one the lady made a huge sigh, got up abruptly from her desk and started loudly going through stacks of paper. I told her never mind and led my husband away because honestly, her behavior really intimidated me. Also, I guess you are suppose to tip every time someone does something for you. This I also found uncommon among luxury resorts. Usually, if you are paying $1K+ to stay at a resort, it is assumed someone will give you a towel at the pool or find you a chair on the beach. Not so here. If you do not tip every time, they stop being friendly and act like everything they do for you is a huge inconvenience to them.
The good things do deserved to be mentioned, however they are too few and far between to ever convince us to return to this resort. The soaps in the rooms are wonderful, all Molton Brown. The rooms are clean and spacious. The grounds are beautifully kept and the pool is amazing. The extra perk of complimentary champaign and strawberries every evening was very nice. The shuttle service between restaurants at different hotels was excellent. The food, while too pricey, was very good. The bar at the main reception house was delightful...great bartenders, excellent snacks, great atmosphere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Under the deep blue of an endless Bahamian sky, wrapped in the turquoise waters of an exuberant sea, One&Only Ocean Club nestles peacefully along a shore of delicate white sand beach...a treasured sanctuary of privileged perfection. With newly, enlarged Hartford Wing rooms and the addition of a new shoreline infinity pool and Ocean Grill, the resort has taken its legendary sophistication and contemporary elegance to an unsurpassed level in the Caribbean. The resort was once the private estate of A&P heir Huntington Hartford II. Today, this alluring beachfront hideaway reflects the glamorous ambiance and posh exclusivity of a grand estate, welcoming generations of the world's travelling elite. Expansive manicured lawns and towering coconut palms provide an enchanting backdrop to the pristine beaches of Paradise Island. Here, service is elevated to a fine art form by a gracious staff. Warm and inviting accommodation plus 3 and 4-bedroom residential-style villas are ideal for couples and families alike. The dining options at One&Only Ocean Club are renowned and unforgettable featuring the imaginative cuisine of chef Jean-George Vongerichten. One&Only Ocean Club is a playground for world-class golf, tennis, spa, and off property water-sports. The spectacular blue waters of the Caribbean are the elixir of Bahamian life! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- One & Only Ocean Club Hotel Paradise Island
- One And Only Ocean Club
- One Only Ocean Hotel
- Ocean Club Bahamas
- One Only Ocean Resort
- One Only Bahamas
- One & Only Ocean Club Bahamas/Paradise Island