We were looking for an upscale location to "check-out" for a week and celebrate our 23rd anniversary. We found just what we needed at SEB. We booked the Emerald Bay Honeymoon Penthouse Beachfront Villa and were assigned the next to the last villa away from pool area (near tennis courts). We are mid-forties and very active and found the location ideal - short walks to the pools and restaurants were no problem and the quiet/privacy at this end was very nice. The grounds and pools were spectacular. Constantly being maintained and cleaned. Our room was larger than expected and comparable to other 4 star hotels we've stayed in. Bed was comfortable and there were a selection of pillows available to us.
We opted for the butler service initially because we were looking to be right on the beach for the views and the sound of the waves, which didn't disappoint. We had never used a butler before so we weren't really sure how much we would utilize it....until we met them. Our team of Valentino, Adam & Sheldon were superb. Valentino met us upon arrival, gave us a quick tour of the property (while getting familiar with our interests for the week) and escorted us to our villa. After we had a look around the room with a second glass of champagne, he hit the highlights of event options for the week as well as confirming our pre-booked spa appointment. He had also made advance reservations at the Italian and French restaurants for two nights. Each day the butlers would set-up a spot for us on the beach or by the pool. The poolside cabanas would have been hard to get otherwise even though we were out earlier than most at 8:30-9:00am. The cabanas were great options for taking a break from the sun while still enjoying the pool area. For others considering whether to go for the butler service here are some of the other things they did for us: Our requests - bottle of champagne in room on arrival, dinner reservations, golf tee time, lunch from Barefoot restaurant brought to our pool cabana (2x), changed dinner reservation time. Their initiative - pre-lunch snacks delivered to pool (nachos first day, then we requested fruit plate), creative towel animals or messages in the room, cooler with ice and bottled water delivered to us at beach or pool each day, calls to check in periodically to see if we needed anything. They also offered to provide in room dining from any of the restaurant menus and luggage unpacking, we chose not to utilize either. All in all we used them more than we expected because they were very good, extremely friendly and never made it feel pretentious.
The restaurants were very good and we tried all of them at least once. The French and Italian were the highest food quality (lamb chops @ French and penne arrabiata @ Italian in particular) but the service was so-so. Barefoot by the sea has wonderful views - recommend during windy times as this made the flies less prevalent, otherwise they descended the moment your food hit the table. The Bahama Bay buffet was great for breakfast with a good array of choices and an omlet/egg station; didn't try it for lunch/dinner. The Drunken Duck pub was good for a walk-in dinner when you didn't want to be on a schedule. Delvina the hostess was fun and spunky each time we visited which made it memorable and inviting. A tip for the Italian restaurant (and perhaps French too) is that they seem to get a lot of no-shows - we saw lots of empty tables despite being "fully booked" when the resort seemed to be well short of sold out (guessing 50-60% of capacity). On two nights we showed up at Il Cielo either early for our reservation or without a reservation, inquired politely and were seated after a 5-10 min wait at the bar.
Activities we would recommend include a round of golf if you play and going for a run on the back nine (there is a designated 2.7mi loop along the cart paths). The Greg Norman golf course is spectacular - one of the most beautiful and challenging courses I've ever played. We also took out a catamaran, water trike and paddle board from the water sports shop. Note, 4 of our 7 days the wind and waves were strong enough to shut-down all water sports, 2 days were yellow flag which was OK for sailing and kayaks and 1 day was green flag for everything. Evening entertainment wasn't a big draw for us, but we did hit the chocolate night, reggae band and Junkanoo parade each for a brief time. There wasn't a big turnout for any of these as it seemed lots of folks were tired from a full day in the sun like we were.
Lastly a special thank you to Georgette from the photo shop, who came in on her off-day to rescue our sunset photo shoot on our last night. Our scheduled photographer was not available and she pitch hit with no notice and captured some great images for us. So what was looking like a letdown on our final night turned into a good memories for us and significant sales for the shop. Well done to Livingstone & Georgette for going the extra mile.
Overall we were very satisfied with our stay and would definitely do it again.
- 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