We spent two weeks (Christmas & New Year's) and have to say this resort has everything we wanted: beautiful room, wonderful beach - the kind that is easy to walk on, sunny hot days, warm nights. The first week was a bit windy which axed most water sports, but was still warm enough to be poolside.
When we booked, we debated spending extra money for an oceanview room and opted against it. We were pleasantly surprised to find upon arrival that we were upgraded to just such a room. For personal reasons, we upgraded exactly one week into our stay to a ground floor oceanfront room. So, I can honestly say when it comes to choosing which room you'd like, it all comes down to what relationship you want to have with the ocean, i.e., how close you want to be to it. The bulk of the rooms all share the same layout and decor. The oceanfront one is a bit bigger - there is room for a loveseat instead of a chair and there is a bit more space between the bed and the wall unit. Beyond that we're back to views and ours was spectacular.
The resort seemed evenly balanced between the twenty somethings with no dependents and the fifty somethings with no dependents. The middle range is off at family resorts. The main pool was a bit noisy. It has a hot tub at each end which are hot, however, there are no jets/bubbles working. The resort was not crowded and we personally saw no reason to blare the music when it was clear most everyone was reading - the younger ones in the sun, the older ones in the shade. There is a smaller pool (the quiet pool) for those who want complete quiet. It has its own bar and hot tub. Well, not really hot, more like a warm pool, nice to just rest your head on a towel, close your eyes and enjoy the buoyancy.
Food was okay. Enough variety for everyone to find something they liked, but nothing outstanding. I did appreciate the volume and variety of fresh fruit. The al la carte restaurants were disappointingly inconsistent but delicious when they got it right. Best place to get eggs in the morning is Bahama Bay. Dino's pizza is top on my list. They'll make any kind of pizza you want. Once they even delivered our pizza pool side with our pizzas balanced on their heads. My husband was talking to a vegan guest and she was pleased to report that every chef came out to discuss how to best meet her dietary requirements.
And that's a great segue to mention how genuinely the staff want to make your vacation your best vacation. A big, big thanks to Sonya, Dwayne, David, Marsha - who recognized us from 2 years previous when we were at Beaches, Carnetta, LaTroy, Satar, Greg & Logesh (our wonderful butlers), Van, the others I know I've missed, and last, but not least, Roberto, who makes the best Bahama Mamas in the world!
Not the best place for divers. You book at the water sports kiosk at the beach. You can keep your gear at the Marina, which is a short drive away; they also take care of your gear: clean it, put it away and have it ready and on the boat for your next dive. There is a wreck/swim with the sharks ($100) that my husband enjoyed.
If you're looking to explore Exuma, the most economical way is to rent a car through Sandals. Fees start around $75+ depending on what vehicle you want for 24 hours vs. $100 return cab ride to George Town. Truthfully, there is not a lot to do offsite. George Town has a few restaurants but we drove all the way down to Williams Town in search of Santanna's Grill. It's roadside so slow down and keeps eyes to the left. Excellent lobster at a fantastic price.
Another night we ventured out (by taxi) with a couple we met to check out Big Ds. We had heard only great things about this place too. Unfortunately, there was nothing good about it that night. After waiting over 1.5hr for our food, what arrived looked and tasted like garbage. Our server (Mrs Big D) shrugged and presented us our bill. We all agreed, had we been home, we wouldn't have paid. We did there but were gobsmacked that a) Big D didn't come out to apologize and b) that they took our money + gratuities imbedded. Everyone back at Sandals were shocked at the treatment we received.
Lastly, there are some no-see-ums that pack a wallop of a bite. Spray your feet and ankles well with bug repellent at night.
This beautiful resort, the 3hr flight (for us GTA folk), the 10 minute ride from the airport, offers a bigger bang for our buck. And I'd have surely been sad to depart if we hadn't already pre-booked for next year.
Is this place for you?
If the room you stay in is an important component to your vacation,
If you like a great bed to sleep in and fresh-daily crisp bedding,
if you like fluffy large cotton towels to dry off with,
if you find beach towel cards tedious,
if you want to feel truly welcome,
then you may well find this resort your next destination.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •NEW!! Jogging Trail on property - 2.6 miles long •Greg Norman designed 7,001 yard golf course with 6 signature oceanside holes•Three fresh water pools including the Caribbean’s largest zero entry pool with a central fire pit•24 hour room service to all rooms and suites•Seven exciting dining options to choose from•Red Lane Spa with sixteen extensive treatment rooms•Personalized off resort excursions arranged by our Island Routes Tour specialists•Sits on 1 mile of the Exuma’s best powdery white sand beaches•6 Har-Tru tennis courts including a sunken stadium court•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 Emerald Bay “Caribbean’s Leading Luxury All-Inclusive”•Awarded #9 spot in the 2012 Readers' Choice Awards "Top 12 Resorts in The Atlantic" ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sandals Emerald Bay Hotel Great Exuma
- Four Seasons Great Exuma
- Great Exuma Four Seasons
- Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis And Spa Resort Great Exuma, Bahamas