I'll start with the positive. The beach is absolutely beautiful. Prettiest we've ever seen. The weather was perfect. The Red Line Spa is awesome. The Spa staff is so friendly and very professional. It's one of the best spa experiences I have ever had.
Now the negative. When we arrived, everyone greeted us with big smiles, friendly welcomes, cool washcloths and glasses of champagne. We were initially impressed! (My analogy - This place is like a house for sale that looks good on the outside, new paint, great landscaping, but once inside, you know it's all cheap cosmetic fixes. It's really a dilapidated fixer-upper.)
Our "butler" escorted us to our room (what we thought was a Jr. Suite). When we walked through the door we were overwhelmed by a strong urine smell. The room was a normal hotel room, it was in no way a suite. It had two double beds without headboards, no lamp on the nightstand, only one chair for the table, no clock or DVD player. There were no light fixtures on the ceiling, just bare lightbulbs in the sockets, with one burnt out in the bathroom. There was a coffee pot, but the wrong type of filters so it couldn't be used.
This room was not guest ready my any stretch of the imagination, and double beds????
We told our butler that the room was not acceptable, so we went back to the front desk. The "manager" of the "butlers" came to us and questioned why the room was unsatisfactory. (Are you kidding?????) He told us, with a big smile on his face, that if we stayed in the room (6310) for that night, that he would upgrade us to a one bedroom suite in the morning. We accepted that, and were looking forward to our "butler" contacting us about the room change the next morning. The next day my husband made two trips to the front desk asking about our room and finally that afternoon, we were brought to our "upgraded" room. I guess it was an upgrade because it had a king size bed, furniture you would expect and light fixtures - but we did not get upgraded to a one bedroom suite like promised. The butler manager never checked back with us to see if we were happy. The sad thing is that they put another couple in that horrible room.
We had a hard time locating our butler for the first few days. Many guest were provided with a cell phone to call their butlers, but we didn't get one until the end of the 4th day. The second morning we tried to order breakfast using room service. We called at 8:30am and waited for 1 1/2 hours. Finally we decided just to go to the restaurant and eat. My husband called and cancelled our order. We came back to the room to grab things for the pool. There was a knock at the door.... 11:30am our breakfast had arrived (after 3 hours and canceling it!) The next morning we tried to order just coffee and orange juice and that never showed up. Turns out you had to go through your butler to get anything and we couldn't get in touch with ours. I need to make it clear that the butler's work there behinds off. They aren't just slacking off. They work really hard, but they have too many people to take care of. That's management's fault. The butler service doesn't work. It's a joke and everyone that we talked to said they really didn't want it. My husband tried to make an appointment with the general manager, and was told that we would get a call to set up an appointment, but no one ever called us back. Many guest we talked to said they were really loud squeaky wheels, and the management finally paid attention to their complaints, but we were on vacation and shouldn't have to deal with the stress!
It sounded like the management offered unhappy guest two free nights at any Sandals to be used within a year. "Wow honey, let's spend more money at Sandals for a disappointing vacation!" ha ha!
The bathrooms by the pool were really clean in the morning, but in the afternoon they were filthy, no toilet paper and trash bin was overflowing. No staff picked up empty bottles or trays around the pool all day. I asked for more beers for my husband, an hour later, when we came back from a walk there were 4 hot beers sitting on the ground by the ice bucket that was full of empty bottles and water from long gone ice. It was unbelievable. We tried to eat at the Barefoot By the Sea for lunch one day. The staff looked depressed and tired. We waited over an hour for our food. Everyone around us was served. My husband went to ask about our order. He told me later there were flies all over the food behind the counter. We finally told our waitress to cancel our order because it was taking too long and she looked at us like we had 3 heads. No apology, no anything!!!
Your butler has to make dinner reservations for you at the 'exclusive' (ha!) Il Cielo restaurant, so really, the only place to eat dinner is the Bahama Bay. We ate there 6 out of the 7 nights. The food is good, but the only problem is, they never changed the menu. We did eat at Il Cielo one night and it was really bad. They show you a wine list, but it's for an extra charge, it took forever to get the food, and when it finally came, the chicken parmesian tasted like a frozen breaded chicken with canned spaghettio's. The only good thing about Il Cielo was the dessert bar.
We think the reason that the restaurants were always 1/2 full with extremely slow service is because the place was understaffed. Again, poor management.
It was really sad to see the disappointed honeymooner's. You'd think they would be top priority, but they weren't.
A major problem with this Sandals is that the Butlers and Spa staff are the only ones that can accept a tip. No one else can. So what is the incentive for the other staff? We heard that Sandals doesn't pay nearly what the Four Seasons did and the benefits aren't as good, and not being tipped on top add's for unhappy employees.
Sandals "Luxury Include" vacations is a joke. They need to stay in the value business.
We thought since this was a former Four Seasons that it might still have some of the Four Seasons service that we are used too. Wrong!!
Sandal's opened this resort up too fast. It's just not ready for guest. So we paid the $6,000 price tag for a very disappointing vacation.
- 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