In my opinion: Overall- we would rate the property 4.5. They did a very nice job all around but have just a few minor things that could be improved. For guests planning to go - things to know:
1. Find the coffee shop. Their lattes rival Starbucks. I highly recommend. Brochure says they open at 7 but the girls open up at 630... The pastries are excellent as well.
2. Get the butler service. Darrion, Keisha and Anthony were wonderful. Our stay would not have been the same without them. Keisha even brought popcorn from home for me :)
3. Satar - if we had an issue, he went over and above to fix it.
4. Leslie and Navada (Entertainment Staff) - Very nice. Had a lot of fun being in the couple's game show with them as hosts. We had a chance to chat with Leslie at the airport as we were leaving. He was headed home for a couple of days to celebrate his birthday. Very nice guy.
5. If you like French, make reservations as soon as you arrive at the property. It was hardest restaurant to get into. Food was fabulous.
6. The Italian restaurant was pretty easy to get into. FIND THE DESSERT ROOM.. ;)... Food was fabulous (Breakfast too).
7. The Buffet had really good food everyday - breakfast or lunch.
8. Dino's pizza....not great pizza but worked in a pinch.
9. Cabanna by the pool...Prepare to set an alarm for 6am each morning. Take a book or some flip flops and claim a cabanna. Go back to bed. Towels come out at 630am. IF YOU DO NOT get out there by 6am...getting a cabanna at the main pool will be virtually impossible - so head to the quiet pool. **even at 6am, you might not get a cabanna. Usually at 6am, the only cabanna we could get was # 12.. but it is in an ok spot.
10. Barefoot by the Sea... probably the biggest disappointment as far as food goes. We were not impressed by service either.
11. Drunken Duck pub - bar food but very good - and always hot.
12. Do you want to snorkel, dive, etc - with the Sandals property? If so - as SOON as you arrive, go straight to the WaterSports desk at the beach and signup. For the snorkel trip, they take you by bus at 1:40 each day - but only 18 lucky people get to go. This is one of the disappointments on the property. We learned this late. We were only able to sign up for the last couple of days of our trip because the other days were full. The days we did sign up for were cancelled due to weather.
13. Paid Excursions - we did the Ocean Safari. The boat ride was fun but the water was really too choppy to be out on. The resort had canceled their snorkel trip for that day if that tells you how bad the weather was that day. The crew of the boat we went on were nice but they had no business letting us get in the water to snorkel. The current was way too strong and they did not require anyone to don a life jacket. I snorkel and dive often -and trust me, we had no business being in the water that day. Very dangerous.
14. Kitty cats on the property - :) they were born there and Sandals got them neutered, etc. They are very friendly and we very much enjoyed these home away from home pets. The stripped one that has the tip of his ear missing really loves the chicken cubes from the buffet and milk... just saying :). I nicknamed him Chester and he met me each morning for breakfast. It made the experience more fun for me as I was really missing my pets back home.
15. Georgette - pictures.. she did a fantastic job. We were very happy with the photo session
16. Spa - probably some of the best massages of our life :)...I dont remember names but the girls that took care of us were great.
17. Drawback - the changeover time between breakfast to lunch to dinner at the restaurants. We were not always quite sure where to go if we wanted something to nibble on.
18. Drawback - mixed drinks - the bars opened later than I would have expected - or you could only get a certain cocktail such as bloodmary/mimosa in the morning. We thought this was odd since you had liquor available 24/7 in the room. Anyway...
19. Glass on the floor in the bar area at the Italian restaurant - we noticed when we arrived for breakfast. It appeared that someone had dropped a glass..probably the evening before. There were shards of glass on the floor and a lot of barefeet cross that area. We told 3 people over the course of a half hour (breakfast) before someone finally cleaned it up. The third person we told immediately fixed. Thank goodness no one stepped on the pieces before they were cleaned up.
20. Golf - we were not impressed with the golf experience- and in fact, were disappointed. We called Sandals before we went on the trip - as Sandy had just hit the island. We were assured the entire course was open for golf but when we arrived, it was not. When we arrived, only the back 9 were open as a result of Sandy. They did open the full course on Monday but it was still pretty soggy. We understand the need to close the course due to conditions. We were disappointed because we called ahead and were assured it was open. Had they told us the true conditions, we would have left the clubs at home. The mosquitos will eat you alive on the front 9...
21. Mosquitos.. Mosquitos.. Mosquitos.. Holy cow. They are vicious. The resort provides a Deet based spray in the rooms - and encourages use - but I am alergic. Thank goodness I brought my own. We were not expecting the bugs to be as bad as they were/are though. If you are going to this resort in the next couple of weeks, take some bug spray with you - especially if you are allergic too or do not want to use a Deet based produce.
22. Airport (not Sandals - but just the Great Exuma Airport (and specifically United)....I did not like the staff at the airport. The United girl that checked us in was not useful or friendly - but I will take the up with United. We are lucky that our luggage made it home based on how she tagged it..In fact, one bag almost did not make it as the tag she used fell off at FLL... Also - United MIGHT LEAVE you stranded in Great Exuma - and there aren't many options if they do. The girl informed us that the flight was full/overbooked. In the event that the plane was overweight, it was possible we would be pulled off the flight and booked for the NEXT DAY even though we both have status. She said that did not matter. While no one was pulled from the plane, if you are flying United (Silver airlines) just be aware.... We left on Saturday. I was told that Sundays are even worse...
Overall - we had fun :)
- 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