This was my first experience at a Sandals resort and given the extra money spent, I wondered where I would see the difference...
The resort is located within 15 minutes drive of the very small airport (two tiny buildings) and its nice to be at the property within 35-40 minutes of landing. Definitely a plus from early morning travel. Upon arrival at the hotel, you're taken to a concierge area for a check-in process and refreshments and then on to lunch while you wait for your room to be ready. It was very professional, welcoming, and accommodating.
I was there as part of a large wedding party and I was the only individual in the group without a spouse or someone to share a room. The resort itself is fairly sizable and I was the last from our group arriving shown to my room. It was on the other side of the resort as the REST of our party, which was frustrating. We were all clearly marked as part of the party, and it was a hefty walk to and from the main part of the resort from my room. As far as what I was told, there was no difference in my room from what the rest of our party described so I'm not sure what happened there. Its my understanding that our travel agent requested to have us all near to each other.
My room was on the second floor of a three story building with a beautiful view of the grounds and the sea. The room was spacious with a large bathroom, cable TV, stocked mini-fridge, and separate jacuzzi and shower. It definitely felt slightly more upscale from my other travels. No issues besides a bed that was just a little softer than I'm used to. The bedding itself was very nice.
As this is always important to me, wifi is available throughout the resort, making it easy to stay in touch or check the news. It was nice that you don't have to head to the lobby in order to get on wifi. The free wifi gets you the ability to surf the net, but if you want to stream videos or need more access than a basic service, you'll have to pay extra. The free wifi worked for my needs.
The beach was absolutely beautiful and it was great floating around in gentle, warm waves. The main pool area is where I spent most of my time during the day and there are plenty of seating options around the pool. They also have these fantastic outdoor couches near to the water and well as multiple firepit areas lit up around the pool at night. It was a beautiful place to hang out day or night.
The quality of the food and wine are two key differences I noticed from some of the other resorts I've been to, but I'm not sure the price really justifies the difference. You definitely won't go hungry at this resort, and there are plenty of options whether you hit the main buffet or try the specialty restaurants as well. I enjoyed all meals there. Meals in the specialty restaurants were very good, but it was frustrating that within our wedding party, the EMPTY Italian restaurant wouldn't put tables together so that everyone could sit together our first night. Be prepared for a 1.5 - 2 hour long meal when you go these restaurants. The French restaurant was my favorite of these. Amazing atmosphere and great service.
My favorite morning and afternoon stop is the Cafe Paris coffee shop. Excellent coffee drinks and amazing pastries, ice cream, and even crepes. Skip the coffee at the buffet or within your room and pick up one of these coffees in the morning -- trust me.
I'd say the biggest frustration within our group had to be the bartenders. The customer service is horrendous, they are consistently unfriendly across all bar locations, slow, and appear bothered by you and don't hide it. It was strange because the rest of the staff was completely opposite of this. You can't walk around without being greeted by the friendly Bahamian people but the bartenders had a totally different attitude. It was strange, but if you read my Jamaica review, you'll know I've dealt with worse -- at less cost.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay and I would likely return to this resort or another Sandals location. When I think about value against having a good time, I'd say I had just as much fun as resorts where I've paid a little bit less (Riu Palace) but if money isn't an object for you, you can decide if these differences are worth it to you.
- 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