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Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Great Exuma
Winkleigh Devon England
Level Contributor
17 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Such luxury”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 25, 2013

We have just come back from the perfect vacation (although it rained a bit). We celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary at Emerald Bay and were treated like royalty. Rooms were great, staff were always smiling which made s feel good. Food was excellent. There was nothing about this hotel anyone could complain about. We went on a tour where you were swimming with pigs which
was great fun. Also feeding the iguanas was brilliant. Beaches were out of this world, clear water
and lovely scenery. It was weird to be able to see the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean on the other (so close). Memories to treasure which we will never forget. A must for Sandal members.

Room Tip: Most rooms have a sea view and are quiet. We were on the third floor of block 4 and we were not disr...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank rockyl58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cassie C, Sandals & Beaches Resorts Review Coordinator at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort, responded to this review, July 27, 2013
We're so happy to hear that you had a spectacular 25th Wedding Anniversary at Sandals Emerald Bay. We are honored that you chose our resort to celebrate such a milestone in your lives. Thank you so much for your review.

We can't wait to welcome you back very soon!
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,673 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,228)
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Monson, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 24, 2013

My husband and I celebrated our honeymoon in late June to early July 2013 in one of Sandal Emerald Bay’s Oceanfront Villa Walkout suites and our stay was absolutely AMAZING. The view and location of our room was a part of why we loved this place, of course, but what really made the difference were two of our butlers: Dion and Samson. They were truly outstanding. We received nothing short of white glove service from the moment we arrived right up until the time we left. Dion made himself available to us on a moment’s notice and never said ‘no’ to a single thing we requested. We sipped on a couple drinks while he took us on a golf cart ride through the golf course (which has incredible views by the way!), he saved us special seats at the pool and regularly surprised us with snacks and cocktails that we didn’t even ask for, and he made us dinner reservations at whatever restaurant we wanted each night. My favorite thing he did for me was on my last day there…he brought me a coconut drink in a real coconut (he got it on his day off!). It really made my world! Not once did he make us feel as though we were inconveniencing him or asking for too much. He really knows how to connect with his guests and make them feel comfortable. In fact, he was so wonderful that we wanted to take him home with us! We left Sandals considering him a friend and wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up in a management role at the resort. He certainly possesses the qualities to excel to such a level as he embodies what high-end customer service is all about. Samson was really outstanding as well. He was so thoughtful and talented, adding the most creative little touches to our stay. He decorated our tub with flowers, candles and champagne (on more than one occasion!) and would make the neatest little towel animals and leave them on our bed. When he knew we were headed out on an off-site excursion, he left us a flower message on our doorstep that wished us well. He brought us tobacco from the store (on his day off!), ensured our cooler stayed full of our favorite spirits, and took care of every single one of our needs. I can’t speak highly enough of these two. They really made our trip so memorable. And of course, the resort was really impressive, too. The restaurants were great—we really love the French and the Italian especially. Unfortunately, room service lacked. We tried it twice. One time they never brought our breakfast (even after we placed two calls to room service). The second time we received our order but items we ordered were missing. So we learned we were better off heading out to the breakfast buffet. Thanks to the staff at Sandals Emerald Bay for giving us a beautiful honeymoon!

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jessica A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 24, 2013

I recently stayed here for my honeymoon. Bit pricey but the resort is amazing. Food was really nice but be careful as you will easily put on a few pounds before you leave! They had a good range of food on offer. The staff are brilliant, the only thing I would say is I agree with another reviewer that the bar staff are quite ignorant and occasionally rude but in general the staff are excellent. There were lots of things to do as the resort has a games room and a few activities to do outsife and the resort entertainment was great. The beach is private so you really are alone. The best bit is at night when you can sit by a fire or the pool as the resort is wonderfully lit for a perfect romantic setting. Would definately recommend staying here!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank RichardHawthorne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guelph, Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2013

We celebrated our honeymoon at Sandals Emerald Bay for 7 nights during mid July.This was our first trip to a Sandals resort and also our first trip to the Caribbean.

Arrival:
We arrived at the Exuma International Airport where we were processed through customs efficiently. The Exuma Airport is definitely the smallest one that I have ever seen. Sandals had an area set up outside the airport and tagged our bags and loaded us into taxis for the short 10 minute drive. Upon arrival at Sandals we were greeted with a cold towel and ushered into the concierge lounge. In the lounge we were given a glass of champagne and sat down to check in. The staff told us that our room was not ready but someone would take us out to lunch. We got a short tour of the front area of the resort and then were taken to the Bahama Bay for a buffett lunch. After about an hour we went back to the concierge area and were told that our room was ready.

The Room:
We were in bay house 6 and were located on the 2nd floor. The room was a good size and had a nice view overlooking the quiet pool and with light blue water in background. The room did have a musty smell and the water pressure in the shower and faucets were incredibly weak. Our "elegantly arranged" bottle of chilled champagne for the honeymoon package was missing. Even though we called ahead and advised to mark us as honeymooners. Predictably Sandals honeymoon turndown service for the first evening was also missing in action. The mini fridge was stocked daily with soda, water and beer. I put in a request for Heineken with concierge and they said in 24 hours. However, Concierge never met this request. There were 5 liquor bottles not sealed but had bottle pourers on them. The ice machine on our floor never worked. This was reported to the front desk and we were told in the meantime to call room service for ice. The ice machine was pulled out the next day and left dangling outof the closet for the majority of our stay. The water was also shut off for an about an hour or two without any advanced notice. Also, our key cards lost their programming twice. The worst was one night after looking to retire for the evening our key cards did not work! We had to get a couple that we saw in the house to contact the front desk on our behalf. (Thanks!) Then security had to come over and reprogram the lock. This whole process lasted over an hour and really ruined the vibe of a good night out.

Grounds:
The grounds were spectacular, no complaints here. The resort had perfectly manicured green grass and flowering plants. Everything was clean which includes the washrooms.

Food:
We booked our a la carte restaurant reservations as soon as we arrived. We had no issues getting the dates and times that we wanted. Both a la carte restaurants were good, however I liked the French one more. We were seated upon arrival at the restaurants and experienced great service and food. Barefoot was great for lunches and Bahama Bay was usually available in a pinch. We ordered room service multiple times and never experienced an issue. Breakfast Buffet was always good and I loved the omelet station.

Service:
The resort staff seemed pleasant and eager to help. Unfortunately, the exception was the main pool bar where the service did not cut it. Some days it seemed like there were not enough bartenders, completely inconsistent service. Some of the bartenders generally seemed annoyed when a drink was ordered and it became frustrating at times. There was some poolside/beach drink service. It wasn't often but the servers did come around once or twice every 4 hours.

Housekeeping often took place after 4pm which seemed really late. After an afternoon at the pool to come home to the room the way we left it was really disappointing. On the plus side the housekeepers were very friendly.

There was a miscommunication between me and the Island Routes (Sandals Excursion staff) staff at the end of our stay which really left a bad taste in my mouth. Be careful what these salesmen say to you and take it with a grain of salt. I wish I preplanned my off-resort activities on the island in advance. This was by far my biggest regret.

Service was best at the Drunken Duck pub where it was always easy to get a drink. The Drunken Duck bartenders were awesome and we met Pascal there who was by far the most pleasant and energetic Sandals employee that we met our entire stay.

Pool/Beach:
The main pool is huge and extravagant. The entertainment staff did a good job of trying to organize volleyball and other pool activities. The music at the pool wasn't blasting by my judgement but I could see how having a room near it could be annoying. If you are a concierge guest you will have a difficult time getting a decent lounge and it will be impossible to get a cabana. The butlers reserve the good lounges and cabanas for their clients. Most of the time there's no one in them and in some cases the guests never show up. I know it feels wrong but you have to be aggressive and wake up before 7am and reserve multiple cabanas and chairs with towels, clothing, or whatever. The butlers have been rumored to move your stuff which is why I suggest reserving multiple spots. If you sleep in and are out of luck then head over to the quiet pool as there are often places to lounge there and it will be quiet, very quiet.

The beach is amazing with nice white sand and the water shines a beautiful shade of blue. There are plenty of loungers on the beach but you may have to walk around a bit to find one that isn't reserved. The cabanas will all be reserved by butlers so don't even waste your time. The watersports staff were very friendly and willing to provide instruction on the water toys. We did a snorkeling excursion which I would recommend trying, book the free excursion as soon as you arrive.

Entertainment:
This resort didn't have an amazing nightlife but we expected that. However, there were some evening shows including the beach party on Friday night at 7pm. Do not miss this event as it was the best entertainment of the week. Other nights Sandals had short shows/concerts at the band shell. The piano bar was great on the first night but it closed way too early. Also, after going to the piano bar any subsequent night you will experience a lot of repeated songs. The Drunken Duck was where the late-night entertainment was supposed to happen. However the atmosphere was a hit or miss. Some nights had karaoke while others had dancing.

Tips:
Bring lots of sunscreen as it’s expensive in the gift shop.
Reserve a la carte restaurant times as soon as you arrive.
Wake up early to reserve loungers/cabanas by the main pool. (Concierge only)
The Drunken Duck has Guinness available in cans and chicken wings late at night.
Book off-resort activities well before you go.
Rooms near the main pool will be noisier.
Take advantage of the watersports and book their free excursions (snorkeling) early in the week in case it gets cancelled.

Conclusion:
Overall we had a good experience but there were a lot of hiccups and aggravations that I feel shouldn't have happened. I would love to visit the Caribbean again but it would have to be an awesome sale at Sandals in order for me to use their brand again.

Room Tip: Rooms near the main pool will be noisier
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank ianmc99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seal Beach, CA
Level Contributor
16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2013

We spent a week at Emerald Bay in December 2012. This is a really beautiful resort, with most of the amenities and qualities that Sandals known for - friendly and attentive staff, well maintained grounds, luxurious rooms. etc. The one glaring exception is that there is simply not enough variety in the dining options, especially when compared to the other Sandals that we've been to in Nassau and Jamaica, as well as at the Beaches resort in Turks & Caicos. I suspect that is because this property used to be a Four Seasons, so Sandals had a limited palette to work with once they took it over and rebadged it. The French and Italian restaurants were pretty good (but both require reservations, so you have to plan that out in advance) as was the barefoot bar, and so was the pizza, but that was really it. I never like the buffets so consequently never go there, and the pub food is not something I wanted to have more than once. By the end of the week I had really grown tired of the food options.

Some other thoughts:

1) The piano bar - when Heston Dean was there - is a blast. He's simply one of the best piano bar hosts I've ever seen, and he even recognized my wife and I from a trip that we had taken to the Sandals Royal Bahamian a few years prior.

2) The couples massage is a must.

3) I was a little disappointed in the Water Activities Desk. When we were there, there was only one day all week that the ocean didn't have a red flag warning (and that was the day we arrived), which meant that we could not take out the kayaks or paddle boards or go on a snorkel trip the entire time we were there. I live in SoCal, and the wind/water/wave conditions were nothing that I would have even considered an issue, so I can only surmise that they are too overly cautious with the conditions.

4) If you enjoy yoga, they offer comp classes on the lawn a few times a week, which we took advantage of.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Brian D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Goose Creek, SC
Level Contributor
79 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2013

My husband and I stayed here from June 29-July 3, 2013. We purchased our vacation through the Sandals web site and received 65% off the price which was a great deal! An all-inclusuve vacation is definitely a big advantage because we didn't have to worry about having cash for anything! Everything was paid for including air fare, lodging, food, drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) transportation from the airport to the hotel, plus all tips and gratuties. This is a beautiful property and the staff is very accommodating, but we experienced a few hiccups during our stay.

First of all, the fire alarm in our building went off 3 times during our 4 night/5 day visit. Our first morning at the resort, we were awakened at 6:05am to its blaring noise. NO WAY TO BEGIN A VACATION!!! It sounded again that evening and then again 2 mornings later at 7:10am. There was never a fire. The alarm was being set off by smoke from lawn equipment being used to maintain the grounds. We never received an explanation or an apology from the staff for this occurrence which was quite disconcerting. We noted this in our post-vacation survey and in a separate e-mail to Sandals but have received no response. So, I guess one downside of an all-inclusive is that they offer no perks if something goes wrong or if you are dissatisfied, because the vacation is already paid for in full.

My husband received 2 free rounds of golf with our reservation and he paid to take his own clubs to the resort. However, he found the greens to be in bad shape which made his game frustrating. The golf course has beautiful views, but there needs to be better maintenance of the grounds year-round for guests to enjoy the experience.

The resort offers water sport equipment, but for the entire time we were there the winds were too high and the water too choppy to enjoy these activities. We signed up for a snorkeling adventure (fee included with our trip), but snorkeling was cancelled for the entire time we were there due to the weather. However, we found out from other guests, that snorkeling excursions at an additional cost ran on time. I found that quite interesting. How is that possible when the weather is the same regardless?

The pool area at the resort are very nice. We loved the foam floats for guest use and enjoyed getting cocktails from the swim up bar. However, we found it sometimes difficult to get chairs or cabanas by the pool. Of course, these are first come, first served - but we observed people putting items on chairs the night before to reserve places for the following day. So very inconsiderate! Also, some people would leave the pool area without removing their towels from the chairs or cabanas, so it was impossible to tell what was being used and what wasn't. We felt that better management of the pool area could have eliminated this issue.

We ate at all of the restaurants while there. Our reviews are: Italian - excellent; French - excellent; Bahama Bay - typical buffet food; Dino's Pizzeria - excellent; Barefoot by the Sea - burgers at lunch were undercooked; Drunken Duck Pub - ordered the fish and chips and the fish was raw so we exchanged for the strip steak which was good, but our first impression of this restaurant was ruined; Cafe de Paris - great ice cream and coffee! We ordered breakfast by room service on several occasions, and it was always delivered on time and was very good!

Entertainment was pretty good. We spent a couple of evenings by the pool listening to live music which set a very romantic mood. The one entertainment choice we thought rather comical was the High School marching band playing tunes from the tower above the pool one afternoon. Rather lame entertainment for a romantic resort!

We enjoyed playing billiards in the Drunken Duck pub as well as playing shuffleboard and bocee ball on the grounds. They also have a giant chess board and ping pong which we didn't use. The staff tried to arrange game activities with the guests every afternoon but very few participated. I think everyone was more interested in doing their own thing.

All in all this was a good vacation but it could have been better. My husband and I equated this experience as a "cruise on land". We would have been happier if there had been a wider area to explore and if we could have gone snorkeling. The absence of the blaring fire alarm would have made for a much better experience, too.

We would be willing to try another Sandals location, but I doubt we would ever return to this one.

Room Tip: We had a Walk-out Coral Reef Luxury Oceanfront room and the view was gorgeous! We were in the last b...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cindyrobinson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lowestoft
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 23, 2013

We have recently returned from celebrating our Silver Weddinf at Sandals Emerald Bay and cannot speak highly enough.
I think its fair to say that it is not 5 star but very good 4 star with bags of atmosphere and is the complete package.
If there was an overall rating between Very Good and Brilliant we would have used it!
We had read some previous reviews and were a bit worried about a couple of things - namely being able to get good table reservations, not being able to get sunbeds / cabanas and insects - none of them were a problem.
We deliberatly didnt choose Butler service as I dont like the thought of 'in your face' service - we visited the Consierge Lounge and booked the tables we wanted at the times we wanted with no problem at all.
We got the Cabana or Sunbed we wanted every day (which was helped as I choose to get up early - otherwise their could have been problems but it really wasnt too much of an issue).
We ate lunch regually at Barefoot by the Sea but had no problem with insects as it was fairly breezy.
The accomodation was very good, clean, well serviced with excellent sea views - We were in Bay Tree 1.
The food was very good at all restaurants - we tended to avoid the buffets.
The service was fantastic and with a smile at all times (Christope is an absolute winner!).
The facilities were all very good and well maintained - we didnt use the golf course.
The atmosphere and overall enjoyment were faultless.
If we had one small issue it would be the attitude and manner of the Butlers toward 'Non Butler' guests.
The Butlers will leave magazines / towels on Sunbeds and Cabanas overnight and when you go to sit on them say they are reserved (even though everything was saturated with the overnight rain - when you explain this to them and they realise that they cant 'railroad' you into going along with this they put their hands up and apologise.
They will also try to push 'their' guests in front for dinner seating etc. - but I guess that they are think of their tips at the end of the week! Sandals need to be wary of this as several people noticed.
Overall Sandals and Emerald Bay exceeded expectations and we will be back.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mark-Lowestoft
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort

Property: Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort
Address: Queen's Highway, Emerald Bay, EX29142, Great Exuma (Formerly Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay)
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Great Exuma
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 7 Hotels in Great Exuma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 245
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

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