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Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort
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Reviewed January 27, 2013

We started taking pictures before our jet had even landed. Beautiful! Although the resort was sold out for June, we never saw the crowds that we were used to seeing at the other Sandals resorts. Emerald bay was warm and the colors were amazing. Our first day included a visit from the local Barracuda. It swam next to me and stayed with me as I tried to escape. I must admit that by the time that I got back to shore, I was more than a little shaken up by this encounter. I dashed to the water sports counter to report the dasnger. They laughed and informed me that I had just met "Joey". The bay is his daytime hangout and although he's curious, he hasn't injured anyone. I went back out to see him again. Went on a shark dive about 20 miles away to Long Island. Beautiful Black Tips surrounded us but were friendly also. Resort is very laid back and more for relaxation than action. Golf course incredible. Resort bartenders fast and friendly. One warning though. BUGS! Use the can of bug repellent supplied in your room. All in all, another great Sandals vacation.

Room Tip: Higher up means better view.
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank edog6662
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2013 via mobile

Best part of this trip was escaping the cold winter weather for one short week. Our first few days were beautiful hot and sunny. Unfortunately it was windy and cloudy for a good half of our trip. Still hot enough though to enjoy the pool but not so much the beach. We were disappointed that when the weather wasn't great there was not a lot to do around the resort.
We found that if you're looking for a place to relax and aren't too particular about the timeliness of when your room is cleaned or how quickly you are seated for a meal - you should be able to have a great time! We went with the flow and really have no complaints about the service. All the staff were very friendly.
Caution- Wear bug spray anytime you go out!!! My legs are covered in bites and super itchy! I bought cortisone from the shop and it didn't help too much. I was so desperate I went to see the on site Nurse but unfortunately she could not offer any other suggestions.
Other thing to beware of - the chairs by the pool are claimed very early in the morning. I found this to be ridiculous considering more than half of these claimed spots have noone sitting there for hours at a time. Same deal for the beach when it was nice out.
We went with 4Cs for the Thundeball tour and that was fantastic and well worth it to go with them for half the price Sandals charges.
Food was average. Il Cielo was nice for breakfast and just okay for dinner. We really enjoyed the French restaurant but only ate there once. Bahama bay had a nice breakfast buffet and lunches. a la carte suppers there were not the greatest.
Barefoot, Dinos and The Pub were all good, fairly americanized food.
We had the most basic room and we found that it was perfect for us! The Consierge service was wonderful and answered any questions we had.
We enjoyed our stay but will likely explore some other options in the future. I found out I was pregnant just before leaving so I was quite happy this was a fairly tame resort - my husband still enjoyed a number of cocktails which were never hard to come across!
And the beach and ocean are stunning!!! We were happy we made this choice for our honeymoon!

  • Stayed: January 2013
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1  Thank Canad85
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 28, 2013

We're so thrilled to read that you had an amazing honeymoon with us at Sandals Emerald Bay. We strive to offer memorable experiences for Two People in Love and I'm so glad that the great management and staff were able to make your stay an incredible one.

We look forward to welcoming you back for an experience that exceeds your expectations.


Sincerely,
Cassie C.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2013

We just returned (last night) from our eight day trip to Sandals Emerald Bay to celebrate my father's birthday and retirement. We loved the experience! We stayed in a beach-front walkout villa with butler service, and I have previously stayed in a butler's room at Sandals Ocho Rios (Grand Riviera). Valentino, Vaughn, and Anthony ensured that our stay was over-the-top enjoyable, with attention to detail and special surprises throughout our stay, and Ricky (Wicky) in the photo shop ensured that our vacation was beautifully captured. They were all wonderful!
ARRIVAL: easy/short flight from Fort Lauderdale on a United code share. Exuma IS NOT Jamaica! Customs was super fast and simple, and we were in Margaret's taxi for a short ride to the resort within minutes of landing. The reception was friendly and efficient -- the staff was always smiling and the welcome was warm and inviting.
ROOM: We walked in and, wow, what a view! The water in Exuma was stunning! We unpacked (butler's offered but easier for us to do it) and set out to explore the resort. Our room (9106) was convenient to everything on the property, and the balcony overlooking the beach provided a great spot to enjoy a glass of wine. The room was clean, the bed comfortable, the closet roomy, and the bathroom nice.
FOOD: We ate most breakfasts at the Bahama Bay and the staff is happy to get you a crepe from the cafe if you so desire. The Zumex orange juice machine was awesome, and we got rave reviews about the omelette station from our traveling partners. Plenty of choices (bacon, eggs, waffles, sausage, potatoes, salmon, cheese, "lunch food," etc), and although I don't traditionally eat breakfast, found myself enjoying Bahama Bay daily. Lunch was similar -- Bahama Bay buffett was fast and easy (and good) with a different theme daily. We also ate at Barefoot by the sea for lunch, and the pub as well, and found both to be good. The quantity and quality of food throughout our stay was great (gained five pounds, even though working out and doing water sports daily, so will blame the resort for putting out too many good options!). For dinner, we tried all the restaurants, with Il Cielo being our favorite (lava cake and "banana thing" in the dessert room were awesome!). Both of the reservation-only restaurants were wonderful dining experiences! We also did a private dinner in the tower above the pool-side bar for my father's birthday, and what a treat that was! Although an up-charge, well worth it! The service was top notch, and the setting fantastic. We attended the Friday night Junkanoo parade (and food) which was enjoyable.
ACTIVITIES: We had five good days of weather and enjoyed sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, water trikes multiple times daily. The water sports were closed the last three days due to high winds/surf (although the Hobe cat sailing would have been fantastic in the winds!). There is no water skiing (I thought there was) as there is only one motorized vessel allowed in the bay, and that's the resort's rescue boat. They also do not provide snorkeling gear at the water sports hut as previous guests have been injured over the reefs and coast line. On our next trip, we will take our own mask, fin, snorkel. During our kayak trip, there were two snorkelers on the reef that said they had seen a barracuda and sea turtle, and sailing/kayaking/paddle boarding over the reef was nice. Our only disappointment was the scuba diving. My father wanted to take the resort course, and I am a certified diver. He completed the medical paperwork found online and signed up for the course. When we arrived at the marina, they informed him that he was not eligible for the resort course due to a few medical issues even though the doctor had cleared him on the paperwork. There was another couple that also was not allowed to take the resort course (same deal, doctor-cleared physical but an identified medical issue). The staff stated that if they had been certified divers, the medical waiver would have been sufficient to permit diving, but not for a first-time student. Reasonable as a safety precaution, but knowing this ahead of time would have prevented some disappointment. As a certified diver, I was required to do a quick skills demonstration (don equipment, regulator recovery, mask removal/replace/clear, and manually inflate my BC on the surface). No issues, and the marina pool was heated! I elected not to scuba during the trip, but heard from others that were diving that the water was beautiful, although not a lot of fish/wildlife. We signed up for two snorkeling trips but both were canceled due to winds/surf. We also played two rounds of golf on the resort's course. My father and I have both played golf literally around the world, and that course -- especially the back nine -- is the most scenic we have played. It was in great shape, but it is a true challenge, especially with the wind up a bit. The pace of play was wonderful, the rental clubs were good (Taylor Made throughout with graphite shaft irons, although next time will take our own clubs), and the greens fees were included with the butler rooms. The fitness center on the property is nice, with enough aerobic machines and weights to do maintenance workouts. The weight area is not huge, and there was a couple in there daily doing a P90X type workout which took up most of the free space where you would normally do abdominals or other floor work, and it was also where the benches/dumbbells were located. The fitness room was usually crowded by 8AM or so. Getting there early was key, or wait until later in the day and when the gym was usually empty. A daily highlight was laying by the pool, but that is not without some logistical challenges! I would get out to the pool between 6:30 and 7AM to place towels on chaise lounges and prepare for the day. Tip that worked for us was getting towels at the end of the day for the following morning. The towel bins were usually empty in the morning, and with a large number of people jockeying for real estate, having towels ready to go helped ensure you could get good spots. We did not have any issue once we claimed space. Finally, we did a couple's massage at the Red Lane Spa which was wonderful, relaxing, and worth the cost.
BUTLERS: Said it above, but will say it again -- Valentino, Vaughn, and Anthony were fantastic! The turn downs every night were a special treat (and very creative/fun), and there was nothing that was more than a phone call away. Their service was impeccable -- we could not have asked for more.
ISSUES: I have never written a review of ANYTHING online, but do use sites like Trip Advisor as reseach tools. But our experience was so good that taking a bit of time to give kudos to Sandals and our butlers seemed like the least I could do. Could we find some minor things to whine about? Probably, but I think that would be more a negative reflection on me than anything at Sandals. Our overall experience was an A+ and we look forward to our next opportunity to enjoy living on island time!

Room Tip: Drunken Duck pub activities can be a bit loud, but are usually over by 11PM.
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank LisaCris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2013

Firstly, I must commend Georgette (photographer) and Stephen (butler) for being such wonderful ambassadors for the Sandals. All the staff are polite and friendly but Georgette and Stephan go over and above to make the guest feel important.
The resort is beautiful, clean and well maintained.
The occupancy of the cabanas by the Quiet Pool need further consideration as the butlers will "reserve" a cabana and the regular guests do not have the opportunity to secure one. If the policy is First Come, First Serve, then the policy should be adhered to.
The food is good and varied.
Would we return? Yes.

Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank Brelexda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2013

We recently returned from the wonderful Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma. We were apprehensive prior to the trip as we had read some non popular reviews. I have to say in our opinion they couldn't have been more wrong. The entire staff were very pleasant and friendly, they were there to meet your needs, attentive to your wishes. The accomodations were gorgeous. If you would like to RELAX and REST this is the place to be. It wasn't the party life and all night entertainment so if that is your choice this may not be the facility to visit. Don't get me wrong we like to have a few as well but it was nice to not have the all nighters club. Not everything will be PERFECT at any facility, there will always be something wrong but I guess we are the kinds of people who really don't complain much and just enjoy our time in the beautiful weather. We did go to Stocking Island, what great fun. Even when the red flag was out for the water we went in and swam. No water sports but still had a great time.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Useca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Review Coordinator at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 28, 2013

Thank you for your review of Sandals Emerald Bay. We're so glad to read that you had such a wonderful stay with us. We always want to ensure that our guests have a romantic and relaxing vacation and I'm glad we accomplished that goal during your stay.

We can't wait to welcome you back for another great stay!


Sincerely,
Cassie C.

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