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“Best option on GBI but an aging rock star”

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Grand Lucayan, Bahamas
Ranked #4 of 14 Hotels in Freeport
Reviewed September 3, 2012

I (33 years old, male) come to Grand Bahama Island three to four times a year. This review summarizes my 2011/2012 trips to the Radisson Grand Lucayan resort.

Overview: 10 years ago, the Our Lucaya Resort complex was probably a rock star. What is now called the Reef Village opened in 1998 and was a low-rise complex (operated by Sheraton for most of its prime) that catered to families. Next door, in 2000, Breakers Cay opened (the high-rise tower in the pictures; operated by Westin for most of its prime) as did Lighthouse Point (a low-rise development on the opposite side of the facility from Reef Village). All total the complex had 1,300+ rooms, 12 restaurants and bars, and access to a dozen or so more given a prime location across from the Port Lucaya marketplace. This in addition to what are still great pools (the one in front of Breakers Cay has a swim up bar and an infinity edge; there’s another infinity edge in front of Lighthouse Point as well as a lap pool; the one in front of Reef Village has a slide) and a gorgeous beach with water to match. Unfortunately, a lot has changed in 12-14 years – a few major hurricanes, a switch from Starwood to Radisson, and mothballing of all rooms except Breakers Cay has really slowed this place down.

Rooms: While probably indicative of a 4 or 5 star property in 2000, the Breakers Cay rooms haven’t seen significant upgrades since construction. I’d say currently they are equivalent to a 3 star hotel by U.S. standards. The carpet and bedding still look fairly fresh, however the bathrooms are starting to show some wear and tear and the rooms in general lack some of the modern amenities that you would expect in a 4 or 5 star resort such as flat screen televisions. That said, the wired and wireless internet (both free) work fine, the television gets lots of channels (including a litany of U.S. and other international channels), and the in room safe is always appreciated. All rooms have a nice patio with chairs and a table. If you pay for a beach/pool view room, make sure you ask for something high up. I was on the 4th floor on one visit and my water view was mainly the tops of some palm trees.

Food: Options at the hotel can be limited and pricey (think $90-$110, dinner for 2 at China Beach with a couple of drinks). All of the Lighthouse Point and Reef Village restaurants are closed. When I visited in April of ’11, Iries (pizza plus some sandwiches), Churchill's (steakhouse), China Beach (Asian), and the Prop Club (sandwiches/sports bar) were all serving dinner. For most of ’12, Iries (most nights) and China Beach (certain nights – best on the property) have been the only dinner options. When I last visited in August of ‘12, Iries was lunch only, China Beach was open most nights, and they had finally reopened Churchill’s for some nights. Fortunately, there are a lot of additional options across the street at Port Lucaya Marketplace. I frankly love Agave. They describe themselves as a Latin restaurant and I would say in general they merge flavors of the Caribbean with Mexico and other parts of Latin America. They aren’t afraid to use some spices and the dishes I’ve had were excellent (especially like the jerk chicken burrito). For breakfast, I typically cough up the $9.99 for what amounts to a continental breakfast (plus a few hot items such as made-to-order omelets) at Willy Broadleaf's. Considering that includes juice and coffee, I find this to be a decent deal. There’s also a small coffee bar across from the elevator bank in Breakers Cay that serves Starbucks coffee as well as some pastries.

Facilities: The beach and water are the signature features of this hotel if you ask me. The beach is absolutely gorgeous (not to mention powder soft) and the water is spectacular. The waves are usually wonderfully gentle and I’d put the temperature during my most recent visit (August ’12) in the high 80s (thus explaining why hurricanes love this part of the world). The pools look nice from afar but I always find them to dirty when you get up close (floating sunscreen gunk and other debris). There is typically a decent crowd in the main pools (one “serpent” pool and one with an infinity edge & swim up bar) in front of Breakers Cay. The pool with the slide in front of Reef Village has been closed during all of my visits. The pools in front of Lighthouse Point appeared to be open during my most recent visit but I never see anyone in there. Supposedly this area is open for the cruise ship traffic. Other facilities on property worth noting: a casino. I have ventured in 2-3 times. Expect small but fun crowds and low minimums (usually $5, $10 sometimes). The wait staff does a good job keeping the free drinks flowing.

Service: Housekeeping in the rooms always seem pretty good to me. They are quick to replenish the toiletries and the linens always seem very clean. Wake up calls are made by an actual human and they are typically on time (within 3-4 minutes usually). Valet service is always quick and reliable. The front desk unfortunately leaves a little to be desired. First, check-in takes way too long (why do I always have to fill out my contact information, surely this is part of my reservation?). Second, during my September 2011 visit, I had a very bad experience due to a power outage on certain floors of Breakers Cay. After patiently waiting 2+ hours after being told it would be fixed in “seconds,” I went to inquire about status and the front desk personnel were generally indifferent and basically told me that they had no idea which rooms did and did not have power and would not (nor were they interested) re-accommodate me to a different room in the event power was not restored to my room.

Safety: The property on occasion can feel creepy and deserted. The reality is that significant portions (i.e. 835 of 1371 rooms) of this resort are not being utilized and thus there are a lot substantially vacant areas. The security and access restrictions have been improved greatly over the last year but I’m not sure I’d want my wife out exploring on her own after dark. As evidenced by the various closures, they are honestly struggling to attract visitors to Grand Bahama and this resort. I’ve never had any safety incidents while visiting the resort however I have traveled enough to have some sense for good and bad areas and sometimes this place feels a little bit more like the latter. I’m sure if they had more people this would be a non-issue.

Annoyances: Between taxes and fees, add $50 to whatever nightly room rate you negotiate. Additionally, at bars and restaurants, gratuities of 15% are automatically included at every check. This does not promote good service. Getting a drink at Hammerhead’s (pool bar) is beyond frustrating, not to mention expensive (i.e. $4.50 for can of beer plus tax and gratuity; well over $5 all in). I don’t think I have ever managed to purchase a drink at Hammerhead’s in less than 15-20 minutes. The required room charges (no cash or credit) for all resort bars and restaurants is inefficient as currently designed (i.e. they bring you a check, you print your name and room number, then they have to go back and check against the system).

Overall: For travels on Grand Bahama, I think this hotel is the best option on the island and I will continue to return. The rooms are nice enough and as a resort (albeit one a little down on its luck), it has plenty of charms that you won’t find at a Hampton Inn in Moline, IL. On the other hand, I’m not sure I’d want to make this place a hub of a romantic honeymoon or a guys/girls weekend. It’s never been the life of the party during any of my visits and as noted above, it could use some capital maintenance in certain areas (i.e. rotting wood near roof on Lanai Suites). However, I certainly can’t blame the current owners given that it’s hard to attract the volume of tourists need to support this place without better air service to/from Grand Bahama from the U.S.

Room Tip: Ask for an ocean view on a high floor (i.e. 6 through 10). The lower floors have views that are obs...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled on business
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10  Thank edleo13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand L, Manager at Grand Lucayan, Bahamas, responded to this reviewResponded September 12, 2012

Good day edleo13,
Thank you for taking the time to post about your recent trip to Grand Lucayan Resort. We take all feedback serious. We were delighted to have you stay with us. We apologize for the bumps you have encountered during your visit, and still enjoyed your stay. Thank you for taking the time to rate us on TripAdvisor. Come back and visit us soon.

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Reviewed September 2, 2012

What a great idea! We bought day passes for $10 per person. We got access to private beach 3 pools chairs and umbrellas. Grounds and bathrooms so clean!! Everything was beautiful and relaxed. You must bring towels because the hotels have been disappearing, also for drinks and food all service is credit card not cash. Very friendly service, beautiful swim up bar. Defenitely recommend. Great for families. We had a great time! When back on ship other cruisers were complaining they had a rotten time at the public beaches, they wished they came with us.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank familytraveler310
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand L, Manager at Grand Lucayan, Bahamas, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2012

Hello familytraveler310,

Thanks for taking the time to rate us on TripAdvisor. We love to hear from our Day Cruisers. So glad you enjoyed your afternoon at the Grand Lucayan. It's a wonderful deal and we are so glad you knew about it. Come back and see us again. Except next time, you must spend a night and take in the magnificent beach-side view from one of the balcony rooms.

Sincerely,

Grand Lucayan Management

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Reviewed August 28, 2012

Pros: If the weather is nice one doesn't spend too much time indoors anyway but even so it is a good ol' place to stay for the prices they charge. If one isn't really too picky it'll do. The rooms are clean and spacious. It is close to the marketplace and other attractions. Close to the airport and the beaches are great. The pool is spacious and usually well kept. They do a lot of activities, even in the off season so there's always something to do. Overall a good place for a family vacation.

Cons: The hotel is definitely showing its age. Some bumps in the road included a fridge that didn't really cool, no hot water the first day we were there, a bath spout that looked rather like it was about to fall off and the "energy conscious system that is supposed to shut off the a/c when the balcony door is opened didn't work once.

A few tips: for food churchill and china beach are great, willy broadleaf not so much, china grill and irene's not so much either. breakfast is limited and rather sad but it does the trick once or twice. keep in mind you can always had to the market for breakfast, it's right across the street. Also keep in mind to use Off, sit indoors or wear long sleeves, mosquitos are abund. 15% gratuity is usually added to the checks and service isn't five star but the quality of service goes well with the overall ambiance of the resort except for 1-2 rather obvious "i'm getting paid no matter so why bother" cases where for example they literally slid over a high chair halfway across the floor for my son without even looking at where it was going.

overall a great place for a family vacation. as long as the weather is nice the imperfections were easy to overlook. wednesdays they have fish fry and a junkanoo show by the prop club. especially nice for little kids and those who have music in their veins but again, one has to be prepared to overlook certain things.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Pishne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand L, Manager at Grand Lucayan, Bahamas, responded to this reviewResponded September 5, 2012

Good day Yonca S,
Thank you for taking the time to post about your recent stay at our resort. We apologize for the minor bumps encountered during your stay, but are pleased that Grand Lucayan is overall a great place for a family vacation. Come back and visit us soon.

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Reviewed August 25, 2012

I stayed at this hotel for 3 days. It was awesome!! Staff was friendly and efficient. I only ate breakfast here and the buffet was terrific! I would recommend and stay at this hotel every time I visit Freeport. Walking distance from the hotel is a shopping/bar/resturant/nightlife area that you will also enjoy. If relaxing or partying is you idea of a vacation, you can enjoy both at this safe, friendly hotel. PS - get the ocean view, it's "to die for"!

Room Tip: My Ocean View was awesome!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Van J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand L, Manager at Grand Lucayan, Bahamas, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2012

Hello Van J,

So glad to hear that you had a great time partying it up at the Grand Lucayan! Thanks for taking the time to rate us on TripAdvisor. And yes yes yes! "The ocean view is to die for!" Come back and see us again soon.

Sincerely,

Grand Lucayan Management

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Reviewed August 25, 2012

The second part of our honeymoon was spent on Grand Bahama Island in Freeport at the Grand Lucayan resort. While it wasn't as easy to get to Freeport as it is to Nassau, it's worth the extra flight!

From the moment we arrived, the staff provided us with excellent service and made us feel very welcome. I travel quite a bit and have been to many warm and sunny destinations. The difference was that the service at the Grand Lucayan was far above what I’ve experienced at most resorts. I was there for 8 nights so there were plenty of opportunities for me to receive poor service. But it did not happen... everything was great. :)

Whether it was simple interactions with housekeeping, entertaining conversations with bartenders, special requests with waitstaff, or questions for resort staff, we were very impressed with the way that each employee communicated with us. There was most certainly a spirit of excellence at the resort and employees were committed to providing outstanding service. In fact, I was so impressed that I wrote an article on great customer service and posted it on our website with over 16,000 viewers.

I was upgraded to a King Oceanfront Suite halfway thru our stay and it was a very nice upgrade! It more than doubles the size of your room (adding a living room, another flat panel TV, pantry with utensils/plates/cups, microwave, fridge, etc... They also sent a rum cake over and that was a nice surprise.

You may see some older reports of people unhappy with the neighboring properties, but management has closed down the Reef Resort and the one on the other side. Now they just focus on the main property. (which is much more luxurious and up to date)

They have enough restaurants and bars to keep you going and you'll probably ask yourself "why isn't this an all inclusive resort??". However, you can get the rooms for a very reasonable price and so it was not a big deal for us to pay for food/drink as we went. Look for deals on their website and occasionally Groupon has deals for oceanfront rooms + breakfast for like $125/night. The breakfast would otherwise be like $30/day so this is worthwhile. That little perk saved us $240 right there. :)

China Beach is excellent. Churchill's just reopened the first night we were at the resort and we went. The food was great and the service was also good. Things were a little unorganized because it was the first night, but they still took good care of us. You should definitely hit several of the restaurants in the Marketplace across the street. Several of those places are delicious and about half the price of eating at the restaurants on the resort. Casino was also fun and the payouts were good. Each night we somehow managed to win on slots, blackjack, and craps! Usually around $50-$100 so we hope your luck turns out to be the same!

An excellent place to stay. We plan to return with friends! :) Thank you Grand Lucayan!

Room Tip: If you are have an oceanfront room, be sure to get a 5th floor or higher room. We were on the 6th fl...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank TheGameCrafter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand L, Manager at Grand Lucayan, Bahamas, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2012

Hello TheGameCrafter,

Congratulations once again! We are so glad we were able to make your honeymoon a special memory. Thank you for taking the time to rate us on TripAdvisor! We appreciate all the words of praise. Come back and see us again soon. And bring all your friends! ;)

Sincerely,
Grand Lucayan Management

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Reviewed August 24, 2012

We stayed at the hotels for 7 nights. The hotel location is great. The room was clean. However, the hotel is in dire need of refurbishing. For example, the ac was really loud, the CRT Analog TV needs to be tossed out and replaced with a flat, digital tv; the wireless connection was on and off in my room.
As a previous reviewer pointed out, the lifeguard of the Infiniti pools could do a better job by cleaning out the pool around the hammerhead bar.
Would I return for another visit? Probably yes if I chose Freeport, Bahamas!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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Thank nijelose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand L, Manager at Grand Lucayan, Bahamas, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2012

Hi nijelose,

Thanks for taking the time to rate us on TripAdvisor. We appreciate the honest feedback. And we will certainly look into the items you mentioned. We are very pleased that you would consider us again for future stays.

Sincerely,

Grand Lucayan Management

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Reviewed August 24, 2012

We had an amazing time at this resort and island. Beautiful and relaxing resort, great customer service and wonderful location!!! We would most def. return to this amazing place with so much to do. Enough of quite time, night life and sight seeing.

Room Tip: Def have to get ocean view!!
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank allie j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand L, Manager at Grand Lucayan, Bahamas, responded to this reviewResponded September 4, 2012

Hello allie j,

Thank you for spreading the love. We sincerely appreciate your kind words.

Come back and see us soon.

-Grand Lucayan Management

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Additional Information about Grand Lucayan, Bahamas

Address: 1 Sea Horse Lane | Lucaya, Freeport, Grand Bahama Island
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > Grand Bahama Island > Freeport
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Freeport
#3 Top resorts Hotel in Freeport
Price Range: $331 - $569 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Grand Lucayan, Bahamas 4*
Number of rooms: 542
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Grand Lucayan Bahamas is an elegant resort set on 7.5 tropical acres of sandy coastline and spectacular oceanfront. This 542-room hotel delivers the ambiance of the islands with all of the style and amenities you expect in a resort destination. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Lucayan, Bahamas Hotel Freeport
Sheraton Grand Bahama Island Our Lucaya Resort
Radisson Freeport
Lucaya Sheraton
Sheraton Our Lucaya
Sheraton Bahamas
Grand Lucayan, Bahamas Freeport, Grand Bahama Island

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