We have now stayed at Sammy T's twice in the last two years. The reason we chose Sammy T's is because we wanted to stay in the North part of Cat Island. Cat Island is a stunning island where life is unchanged from decades ago. It is a simple, beautiful paradise. However it is let down by the quality of its hotels, which are generally (not exclusively) lousy...
Sammy's is located on one of the the best two beaches in the entire island. It is a drop- dead gorgeous beach, with ludicrously turquoise waters in a small perfect bay. The accommodation is simple but adequate in wooden-hut style rooms with aircon, kitchenette, small sitting room. So far so good. Simple island, simple accommodation. No problem.
What is the biggest problem is the management of the place. It is so shockingly bad its hard to describe:
Of the 4 days we were there on this trip our room was cleaned 3 times (one day they didnt bother) and another day they asked us incredulously if we wanted our room actually cleaned.
The food is really not good either.
Everyday we were given a menu but then told that they only had one thing available.
Every day they set soup spoons at the table but never had any soup (not that we cared but why put out the spoons??).
Every breakfast we asked for some fruit but everyday we were told that there was none available on the island (it can happen as it's a simple and remote island but we were able to buy a variety of fruit everyday from various shops). We almost only got just toast (sometimes almost entirely untoasted). One morning at 9.30am we were told that we couldnt have breakfast yet as they still hadn't cleaned up from dinner the night before and we'd have to wait outside...
On the first lunchtime we were offered grouper, which was fine, or deep fried conch served with a very very simple salad and bread. No problem. But for dinner we were told that all they had available was grouper. The next day there was only grouper for dinner too. We had the same meal three times as that was all there apparently was available (which is not true as we asked around other people on the island what other fish was available)....
Then on day three we were offered cracked (fried) conch (no grouper nor anything else.. in fact no other option at all). Then on day 4 we asked Sammy if it was possible to have anything other that fried conch or grouper. He said he would ask around if there was other fish available (he suggested snapper, land crab, tuna). We said great, sounds fabulous and at the very worst we are happy for some jerk chicken. That night we asked him what was for dinner and he beamed "exactly as you requested...jerk chicken", Fine, we thought... its a shame as we are on an island full of fresh fish but he has at least met our worst-case scenario request. The jerk chicken was chicken with a bottled jerk sauce. Rubbish.
Oh, we were also told that we had to eat at 6pm every night (we were the only guests). We suggested that maybe it was a little early but were told no, in winter time dinner is at 6pm. Subsequently we found out that the chef was actually working elsewhere too and started her shift there at 7pm hence the rush to feed us.
And the price of this culinary delight (4 dinners and 1 lunch)? $433. We could have eaten anywhere else in the world for less. Our total bill for 4 nights was $1160 so that works out at $290 per night for room and food. It really should have cost half of that, at best.
Last time I visited we had to wait 45 mins for the bar girl to make three rum and cokes. It was so bad that we had to order our next drinks the moment she served the first ones. This time was a little better but no one even knew how to make a gin and tonic. I'm not expecting 5 star service but this is somewhat incredible.
Also last time we asked Sammy to organise some bone fishing. We went out on the bargirls boyfriend's boat, we were given hand lines and left to get on with it while he chatted to his girlfriend (who gatecrashed our trip). There were no rods, no equipment. It was extremely basic. No problem, except that Sammy charged us $400 for 3 hours on the small skiff with hand lines.... incredible.
It's sad to see what could be a charming, simple place in a stunning location being run so badly, with such a lack of enthusiasm to get anything right. The place needs either new owners and/or new ideas.
I understand that much of our troubles were exacerbated by the fact that Cat Island had been deeply affected by the recession and people were feeling a bit desperate but the answer is not to give up entirely but to try harder. We were the only guests there. It should be easy to please us. We didnt expect much but we certainly didn't expect to get nothing for our money...
If you want to go to a small, untouched, simple and natural Caribbean island with a small charming but incredibly managed hotel then go to Little Cayman and stay at the Southern Cross Club. That gets 5 stars and this gets 2 stars.
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- Also Known As:
- Sammy t`s Beach Hotel Cat Island
- Sammy T's Beach Resort Cat Island, Bahamas