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“One of our best vacations ever!!!”

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Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Great Exuma
Reviewed November 20, 2010

We had previously gone to the Sandals Royal Bahamian and really enjoyed it and were looking forward to another Sandals experience. I was somewhat concerned reading some of the negative reviews regarding Emerald Bay. Boy, do we disagree with them!!
The beach was big, clean, private and had sand that was like white powder. The water was crystal clear saphire. The resort itself was beautiful and immaculately maintained. Our room was outstanding and the bed and linens were first-rate. One of the highlights of the stay were our butlers, Greg and Logesh, particularly Greg who seemed a little more experienced at anticipating and satisfying our every need, but Logesh was great, too. It is a quieter resort than the Royal Bahamian and it and the island of Exuma are probably not for people looking for a lot of night life. But if your are looking for rest and relaxation surrounded by absolute beauty, this is a great place.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank pmichaelaustin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,735 - 3,741 of 4,170 reviews

Reviewed November 19, 2010

We have been to Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica March 2009 and was expecting about the same out of this resort however it did not turn out to be as great as we were hoping for.....
The butlers...a nice feature for those that did use them however we did not use them like others....we are able to go get our own drinks and snacks....Donard though was very nice and when we called him he answered...and Nixon...well we called him Casper...so you can see how good he was...We tipped Donard when we left....

We decided to get married when we were there...so besides the 5400.00 we paid for our trip we paid an additional 1150.00 to get married...

Ann in the wedding planning department was awesome....We went for the simple on the beach wedding and then under the gazebo for our first dance and cake....then received a 7 course meal by the chef...which was the same courses offered on their menu....It was simple sweet...warning though if you want pictures be prepared to pay...for 15 pictures it is 410.00...and that is not on disk.....it was a good thing the couple we met took pictures for us.....we did get one 5x7 that was included in the 1500.00 price for the wedding.....

The beach beautiful.....the pools...they advertise 3 however there is only the 2....the main pool is very COLD....but in the hot sun feels great....

Resturants are good...nothing really stood out for us to write about....
Service...no real complaints there...
Room...clean every day and bar stocked....

We met a fantastic couple that stood up for us on our wedding day....and some more great couples....but overall the other travelers could not be bothered to say hello even know we are both friendly and always do....

I left 2 diamond rings in the safe and called the hotel only to get no one that could tell me whether the rings were turned in....I have asked for the manager to call me and have received no reply as of yet....5 days later....

Roberts Island Tour was the best...make sure you book with them before you go...350.00 for both of us for the day...we met great couples on the tour and had a wonderful full day on the ocean....

We will go back to Whitehouse next year rather then back to this resort....

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank CCIracing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2010

as the old saying goes you get what it says on the tin NOT with sandals you get a hell of alot more this place is out of this world staff great location great every thing great
thanks `sandals will see you again

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank ihavebeenthere002
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 16, 2010

We had a very good time at the newest Sandals Resorts in the Bahamas. The property is absolutely wonderful and I know it can get better as Sandals settles into the management. The resort was only 50% full when we stayed there in late August. That sure was a nice time to go because there were always loungers by the pool and the little cabanas out by the beach. I would rate the food a 3.5 out of 5, it was not as good as I was expecting but above most chain hotel standards. Sandals kept the property very clean and had crews daily replacing all left out towels. We did enjoy the helpful people at the water sports desks as well as the the great bartenders at the pool. The spa was excellent, it even seemed better than the biggest named Vegas hotels and Los Angeles boutique hotels. We did have a few problems with our in room safe, it kept on needing serviced. That should have been fixed earlier in the trip after the 1st couple of times, besides that the trip was wonderful We will definitely be back

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank lltman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2010

We stayed at Sandals Emerald Bay from November 6-13th. We had a very relaxing trip, and I would recommend this place to anyone looking to relax. That being said, I will break my review into pro's and con's. First, the Pro's:
-The property is beautiful, and you can tell that this was a Four Seasons prior to Sandals due to the beautiful buildings and tasteful decor. I hope they keep it this way, rather than "Sandalizing" it too much and making it tacky.
-The grounds are beautiful and loaded with tropical Flowers
-The beach is the best I have ever seen- White sand, clear aqua water, and no seaweed. It looks like swimming pool water.
-Our room was very spacious, and right on the beach, which was great, and again, nicely appointed bathroom etc. due to the fact that this was a Four Seasons.
-One of our butler's, Carleen, was AWESOME! She always brought us snacks and drinks without us even asking, and she had a bubble bath waiting when we got back from an excursion, as well as many other nice touches. Our other butler was a joke, we saw her for maybe 5 minutes the whole trip, and then we are expected to tip her, really? That was annoying. I would have preferred not to have a butler, because we didn't need it and it a large added expense due to the large tip they expect at the end. We tipped Carleen $150 for the week and Travonia $20. I did not feel the need to tip someone who didn't do anything. I think there should be an option to have a butler or not.

Now, the Con's:
-The Food.... Mediocre as usual at Sandals. I will say, Breakfast was good at Bahama Bay, as you could get an omelet made fresh, they had plenty of fruit, and they have a great pastry chef that makes awesome croissants. Also, at lunch you can get pasta made to order, and it was good. But most of the food is in warming trays and doesn't look or sound good. They try to make "fancy" food, but it just comes out wrong.
-Drinks... no real fruit to make drinks with. I knew this going in, because we have been to Sandals Regency in St. Lucia, but if I want a strawberry daiquiri, I want some strawberries in there, not some strawberry syrup and a maraschino cherry. yuck! Some drinks were ok, just not the ones that you would expect to have fruit in them.
-Food at Il Ceilo.. The first time we went there, I could not eat the sea bass that I ordered, because it was so fishy, and it tasted like it had gone bad. HORRIBLE! Also, I ordered the tomato mozzarella basil salad, and it had no basil on it, and paper thin tomato slices. The second time we went there, my husband ordered pasta with shrimp and I had the Game Hen, and both were really good. Also, the tomato salad was a lot better.
There is a waiter there named Javaughn, and he was reallly good. A lot of the staff seems SOOOOO laid back that it can seem like bad service to an American. But, Javaughn was funny, attentive and really a great server.
-The pub was fun, and had good food. We played ping pong and darts a lot while we were there, which was fun. However, when "DJ Scooby" was there at night, the music was WAYYYYYYY too loud. I am all about loud music and having a good time. but we couldn't walk into the bar because it was hurting our ears.

So, that's pretty much it. My other tip would be to look into Robert's Island Adventures for your excursions. You will save about 40-50% compared to using Sandals. I think it is important to go on excursions at this resort if you are there for a week, you might get a little bored.
During our trip, Sandals Culinary Ambassador was there with some other Sandals person. We saw them in a lot of the restaurants. So, perhaps our experience at Il Cielo was a sign that the food will be improving. My only comment would be, that these Sandals guys didn't talk to any of the guests, which I though seemed rude for people who work for the company.
My thoughts on the butler thing, I think it is a cost cutting measure on Sandals part, because these people work mostly on tips, and I bet Sandals doesn't have to pay them as much. So, by channeling everything through the butlers, they don't have to have as much staff at the resort. That's just my opinion. I loved our butler Carleen, but we tipped her $150 dollars that I would have rather not spent, and they expect a tip like that after a week.
All in all, a very relaxing vacation and a beautiful place!

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JNPhillips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 10, 2010

Sandals Emerald Bay is an outstanding location. The beaches are perfect white sand, the water is crystal clear and the pool is terrific. The Italian restaurant is very good. We went with a group and had a terrific time.

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Trav123456789
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 8, 2010

We stayed at Sandals Emerald Bay October 30 – November 6. This was our 5th different Sandals resort and it is now our new favorite Sandals. I have a lot of tips and observations to offer with this review, so I will break it down into sections.

Butlers
Most people are turned off by the whole butler thing, but if you know how to use them, it can make all the difference. We’ve had great service at every Sandals, but this one was over the top, mainly because of our great butlers. We had butler service in Antigua and probably didn’t completely get our money’s worth because we weren’t comfortable asking for things, didn’t know what things we could ask for, etc. So this time I went prepared. I prepared a sheet for our butlers that I gave them when we arrived. The sheet listed our favorite snacks, asked for snacks to be delivered on the beach, lunches to be delivered on the beach, snacks in the room in the afternoons, listed the spa appointments that we wanted, and the dinner reservations we wanted. (Not our first trip so we knew our patterns and habits for the week!) The butlers followed this list completely all week long--all of these items happened without us having to ask again or make reminders! Other couples that we hung out with didn’t hear from their butlers unless they specifically called to make requests and they were amazed that ours just appeared with snacks, drinks, lunch without us having to even use our cell phone! We also asked them to leave beach towels in our room each night since we are early risers and the water sports/towel desk didn’t open until 9am. Every night we would get back from dinner with our towels already in the room. The butlers also provided other little surprises that we didn’t ask for and that was a nice touch.

Beach
The beach is what made this resort tops for us. It is probably 1 ½ miles long and no other resorts or people from other places use this beach. Even with choppy waters from tropical storm Tomas, the water was clear and colored beautiful blues and turquoise. The beach area was never crowded and there were always plenty of cabanas and palapas available for shade. You could go out in the water 100 yards or so and it was still only about 5 feet deep and clear with no seaweed and no rocks. The beach is also very wide with soft white sand. Due to the choppy waters while we were there, debris did wash up on shore, but the watersports staff raked the beach several times a day to keep Mother Nature at bay.

Pools
The main pool is large with a swim-up bar and is where all the activities occur. If you’ve been to other Sandals, you’ll know what to expect. The pool cabanas can be reserved through your butler on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is cocktail service at both the pool and the beach, which is a very nice touch. I’ve never understood why all Sandals don’t offer such a simple service.

Rooms
We had booked a Pinks Sands Penthouse room but were upgraded to a Walkout Grand Isle One Bedroom Suite. This was a very significant upgrade and the room looks exactly like the pictures on the website. Everything was clean and nicely furnished. There was a bedroom, living area, kitchenette, and two bathrooms in this suite. My only complaint is one that other reviewers have mentioned—the nightly entertainment at the Pub is loud and can be heard from Bayhouses 2 and 3. Some nights were louder than others, but this really disturbed the tranquility of this otherwise peaceful resort. Our friends in Bayhouse 1 could not hear any of this, so you may want to consider room location when booking.

Food & Dining
The food is very comparable to other Sandals resorts, just not as many restaurants to choose from. We thought this would be a downside, but we were actually happy to visit some restaurants twice since there were some menu items we enjoyed so much that we wanted to try again. We never had a disappointing meal. Lobster and crab legs are available at Bahama Bay. Conch dishes are at Barefoot. Il Cielo requires reservations—we ate there twice and it was elegant and delicious both times. No slow service issues at all from any of the restaurants and the resort was at 100% capacity by the end of our stay. The room service menu is very limited, but once again, use your butlers! They will bring you any menu items from any of the restaurants that are open.

Tours/Excursions
If you plan to do any tours or excursions, the Sandals prices are really high. Do your research before you go because many outside companies offer the same tours at a much, much lower rate. We dealt with Starfish Exuma and they were great, even though our 007/Thunderball tour with them was cancelled due to the high winds from Tomas. We did the half-day bus tour of Exuma (Sandals gave it to us free since there was a photo shoot happening at the main pool that day), but I wouldn’t really recommend this tour. There’s just not that much to see—it’s a very undeveloped island. If it hadn’t been free, we would have been disappointed, but since we didn’t get to do our other tour, we were glad to get to do this one. Also, the tour of the Sandals golf course is very scenic and a nice little one-hour outing—it’s free and can be arranged through your butler.


Please feel free to contact me with any questions. We had an amazing week at this resort and would recommend it to anyone looking for relaxation, pampering, and scenic beauty. We are already studying our calendars to pick a time to go back to this great place!

  • Stayed: October 2010, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank hoppersh
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

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 6 Hotels in Great Exuma
Price Range: $573 - $1,775 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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