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“My 20th trip to Staniel Cay since 1980” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Staniel Cay Yacht Club

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Staniel Cay Yacht Club
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Staniel Cay
Certificate of Excellence
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“My 20th trip to Staniel Cay since 1980”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2013

In 1980, Staniel was vary basic. No pool, almost no hot water, no amenities whatsoever, but I had the weather, the clear water, the many close deserted islands, and the key, A boat. Who needed more? Today, it is infinitely more advanced with great cottages, wonderful food and great people. There is just enough "do something yourself" to make it my kind of place, and I and my wife returned for 6 days in December, 2012. We've already got reservations for December of 2013.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Anthony K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Charlotte, NC
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2013

We have traveled around the Bahamas to several of the "Out Islands" but Staniel Cay has become our favorite place to vacation. The beaches and the waters around Staniel Cay are some of the most beautiful places you can visit. The colors of the water are striking and there are so many great beaches and sandbars you get all to yourself.

We stayed at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club which has cottages for the guests. We stayed in the Periwinkle Tower. It's a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, two story octagon shaped cottage which was perfect for our 6 1/2 year old. She was able to sleep downstairs on the trundle bed and we stayed upstairs which had a Queen. The cottage was clean and comfortable. The Bathrooms are nice with tile and clean too. It comes with a small fridge which was convenient for us to put some food in that we brought for our vacation. We really liked the concept of the cottages as it gives you a special vacation experience of staying in your own rental instead of the typical hotel. There is a small pool in the courtyard area that the cottages surround which was also a plus for our daughter who loves being in the water.

The bar and restaurant are one in the same building. The bar is the gathering spot for everyone and has a very laid back island life feel to it. The dining room is in another section past the bar and was set up for dinner every night which starts at 7pm when they ring the dinner bell. We split our dinners between eating at the bar some nights and the dining room other nights. Service was good, but we found if the restaurant and bar get slammed, it can take a little while for the kitchen to get your order at the bar. The dinning room was always timely because you have to pre order your dinner if you choose to eat in the dining room. Food and menu selection was good. They are open for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner. Carl at the bar was awesome...was very helpful...and made sure the TV in the bar was set for our Packer Playoff game.

We rented a small 13' Boston Whaler from the to boat around to all the little islands and sandbars. We packed a lunch daily and would head off to find a new beach and sandbar to spend the day at. Snorkeling is great.

This is a real island getaway where we can disconnect from the real world. I like that it's laid back and it's small but has all the amenities we like on vacation.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank jrradio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 18, 2013

If you are looking for a Spa, Room Service, Sandals, Atlantis or something similar, this is NOT it…
If you are looking for an Amazing vacation, crystal clear water, beaches, your own boat, diving, snorkeling, fishing, good food, freedom to do some exploring on our own and/or with friends, and adventure... you found it! “This is not a 5-star Resort....This is a Place to escape the world.”

We spent 7 nights at the end of December, 2012 and if you’ve read any of the reviews, it is even far better than anyone described (there are no words to do it justice, it is speechless). Amazing. From the scenery, the people, the totally relaxed atmosphere, the food & drinks, the crystal clear water, diving, fishing, sun tanning, picnicking, beach walking, and the snorkeling made it is a one of a kind experience that we will never forget. The Full package deal with a rental boat and fuel included, meals and packed lunches made it a vacation to remember and share. We did the all inclusive package plan (excludes drinks and extra food/pop/water ordered outside regular meal times), which I highly recommend. If you plan on staying a week and going out on the boat everyday, I think it’s well worth your Money. Tipping was also included with the package. However, we felt like tipping some of the staff that did an amazing job and made our stay “extra special”. The guys doing our boat, the house cleaners, some of the table servers (Esp. Ruth and Rhonda), David-the coolest bartender ever!

Here’s our week @ Staniel Cay Yacht Club (A place to Escape the world)

Getting there:
Left Toronto, Canada 7:50am (was suppose to leave at 7:15am, but we had a delayed commercial flight). Arrived in Ft. Lauderdale Airport @ 11:15 am, after clearing Customs, we went straight outside to grab a cab. It was now 11:45am. We walked to the left to the Taxi booth (we knew the taxi location from previous experience at this airport). Ft. Lauderdale Airport is about 20-25 minutes from Watermaker Air Hanger. We had the 1:30pm flight on Watermaker Air. Watermaker requested us to be there an hour early. If there was to be any issues or delays, we were to call ahead. But, we were still doing good with our time (a little tight). We arrived at the Hanger at 12:15pm.
Watermaker Air was awesome, they sent us directions to the Hanger from Ft. Lauderdale Airport via email when we booked, we read the directions to the cab driver. The cab driver took us straight there, no issues. The Hanger is small, clean and the services available were above average with Wi-Fi, Free beverages & snacks, washrooms, etc. There were a few people waiting for their flight. (We learned later, it was the owner and his family and their dog). That day, there were 2 flights going to Staniel at about the same time. Easy check in. However, Please keep in mind these small planes can get a little cool so holding onto your jacket or sweater is a good idea. Everything you bring is to be “checked” luggage. Your allowed a small bag. I suggest this be your personal items including your camera. Your about to experience some of the most amazing views of a lifetime. The Exumas are breath taking, crystal clear water and beaches as far as your eyes can see. The pilot was very friendly and professional. Safety Briefing, and what our flight would entail, including clearing customs. On route we had to stop down in Fresh Creek, Andros to clear customs. This was a short stop, we had to go inside the building, bring our personal bag and passport. A little less than 2 hours after we left the Watermaker Air Hanger in Florida, we landed on Staniel Cay Island.

Staniel Cay:
There are 365 islands in the Exuma chain (one for each day of the year), with Staniel Cay in the center. Very Safe, one police man on the island and he is not busy, no crime and everyone looked after you. The island is small, it has 4 small stores, a church, 2 restaurants, clinic, and local residents. We were greeted at the Staniel Cay airport by a lady standing at exit of the plane, later we learned it was one of the Yacht Club staff members (We wish she had introduced herself as being from the Yacht Club, We were thinking it was a local trying to get our business, a cab ride, etc). They gathered our bags, we hopped on golf carts and away we went to the Yacht Club. We were directed to the little office next to the dock and check in. Talk about a nice office view…overlooking the docks, the grounds and the ocean. After checking in we were taken to our hillside cottage (What a view, and the name don’t do it justice because we were not only “hill side” but we were also “Ocean View” with our steps and deck built over the water).

Cottages:
Our cottage was a real gem, private and modern, well equipped with a full comfortable King Bed, AC, Stocked bar fridge/freezer (with ice cubes), Stocked Wine Rack, Coffee Maker (with all the ingredients), Coffee Cups, Wine and Champagne Glasses, Clothes Iron and Board, Money Safe. There was a Large walk-in closet with lots of shelves and an area to hang your clothes, with lots of hangers. (It was missing a luggage stand to lay your luggage off the floor, however I have learned they now have luggage racks in all the rooms). The washroom had double sinks, extra large shower, and lots of shelving and hanging hooks. The door was a pocket door, it would not stay close so, if you needed privacy you just had to put the garbage bin or a towel next to the door to keep it closed. There was more than enough supply of soap, shampoo, hair conditioner and body gel. The Towels were replaced daily, with clean and fluffy white towels, facecloths (if you wanted more than 2 facecloths, you had to request them, there was not an issue to get additional. For me, I use a fresh one in the morning and at night, so I need an extra one daily). There was always 2 fresh Extra Large Beach towels. The house cleaners were very good, they even changed out floor mats daily. The only issue we had, was with the shower, the water tap is installed incorrectly. You have to keep the tap to the Right for hot water. Our first shower was cold. When we inquired about the cold water, we were informed the tap is incorrectly installed. They now have a sign on the wall indicating which way for Hot water. (if you had any issue, they addressed it). Once we keep the tap to the right, the water was very hot. Amazing shower head. The water had great pressure. The room was almost perfect - decorated nicely with fresh, white bedding. The linens and sheets smelled so good. (The room was only missing a rack to place your luggage on, rather than use the floor or bar area). The Main area was your King Bed, a sitting window with cushions and pillows, the Bar area (which we use that counter top to place our suitcases, we moved the coffee pot to the closet), The main area had French doors that opened onto the large furnish deck. The deck had a table with 2 chairs (which we eventually moved inside because there was no place to sit, we only the bed or window seat), a lounger, and a Muskoka lay back chair. We also brought our own Hammock and enjoyed it on our deck. It was a perfect fit from poll to poll. (I have pictures, relaxing in it). The view from deck was outstanding. The daily sunsets are breathtaking. The grounds were beautiful and well cared for. At night you would be your bed listening to the ocean beating against the rocks. Amazing feeling just waking up to the ocean every morning! When we went to bed at night, we also open the curtains to the doors so we would wake up to the amazing view.

The Food:
Given the constraints of operating on a remote island, I felt the Yacht Club did a great job with the food offerings and the preparation. However, our first 3 meals were lukewarm to cold. The next day, we asked if they had a microwave or anyway to ensure our food was steaming hot. We were totally impressed from that point, all our food was hot. When we ordered our food, some of the servers even would say to us, “we will make sure it is hot for you”. We found that if you had any issue at all, they would share your opinion with the staff and the staff would ensure you never encountered that problem again. Most of the service was outstanding. Ruth and Rhonda, (two of the table servers) were amazing. David, the Bartender/DJ was outstanding. Those three people appeared to love their job and care for the clients and they respected your vacation, they did what ever they could to ensure you were enjoying yourself.

Breakfast:
The Breakfast always started with a large piece of fresh fruit. If you found it was too much food, they would rap your fruit for your lunch box. We enjoyed it as a morning snack on the beach (saving the peel for the pigs). I tried several of the breakfast items, the french toast made with Bahamian bread was amazing, the eggs and Bacon was really good. But, once I had the sandwich, I knew nothing else would compare. Each breakfast came with a coffee and an additional beverage. We usually had fresh cold juice, a mixture of Orange and Pineapple, it was very refreshing. At Breakfast, if you were having a lunch box for Lunch, you had to put your order in for your choice of sandwich.

Lunch:
We were out in the boat, on the beaches all day. We did the lunch box (packed in a cooler) for 6 of the days. (Christmas Day we came back to the club for Lunch). The sandwiches were either: BLT, Turkey, Ham or Tuna. My favorite was the BLT. But, what made them stand out was the Bahamian bread. Yummy! The lunch box was a red cooler, clean and packed with beverages, fruit cup, potato chips and sandwiches all on clean ice. (And if you had left over fruit from breakfast, you could request it be in your lunch box).

Dinner:
Dinner bell is around 7-7:30pm.
For dinner we tried almost every choice on the menu over the period of the week. After breakfast, you had to tell the bartender your choice for Dinner that evening. The Catch of the day was a good choice, fresh caught fish, it was always cooked perfectly. The lobster was Huge but, being from the East Coast of Canada originally, we found them to be dry and tough. We are use to smaller lobster that is very moist and soft. We meet people who really enjoyed the lobster, so it is individual taste. The Cornish Hen was outstanding, I think it ended up being our favorite. The Ribs were good. The Pork chops were excellent.

Christmas Day:
As I said earlier, we came in for Lunch. But, after lunch we were too full and realized we would have enjoyed the Lunch Box much better. The Dinner was Sold Out! Of course, we did not have to worry, the Guest are always included in all functions and meals. There was over 100 people (close to 130 I think) for Dinner. A lot of the Boaters came in. We were told ahead of time that it would be the busiest evening. We dressed for Christmas, headed down to the club expecting poor service due to large crowds. However, We were amazed, impressed, etc. The club was so organized, extra bar staff, extra table service, etc. I think we were actually served faster than any other evening. Maybe a little later starting but the service was outstanding, the food once again was very impressive. It was a Christmas Dinner we will remember for a very long time. Everyone was smiling, laughing and having a good time.

The Boat:
This was by far “The Best” part of our vacation. The freedom! The 17-foot was a center console with lots of space and seating with back support. No need to worry about getting lost, the islands are all very close to each other and there is a very tall tower that could be seen from a far distance on the water, plus each boat came with a radio if you needed to call the Club for help. There was also a laminated map of the area and a Safety box. The boats were fueled every day, ready for you at 9am (depending weather and except for check out day, even if you checked out at 11am and your flight was not leaving until 3:30pm, you were not entitled to a boat that day as you were now considered checked out. This was unfair as you paid for all the days. They never deducted the amount for check out day of your bill. However, when we questioned it, they said they could give us a boat for a few hours if we wanted). The boat came with 4 life jackets, 2 floating cushions, and a beach sun umbrella. The Boat service was great, they were always ready by 9am! The guys looking after the boats were outstanding, they made sure you were enjoying yourself. The boats though a bit beat up, worked great. The motors had more power than I thought and we had no problem zipping around to our hearts content. We usually started our day with a nice boat ride, visiting the pigs, riding around to see other boaters anchored for the season, general sightseeing, admiring the 100-foot yachts, visiting the Iguanas and then finding our beach for some sun tanning and snorkeling. On route back to the Club, we would again visit the pigs and do some general sight seeing. There was one day of full clouds, we spend most of that day Boating. We checked out a lot of islands, beaches, boats, etc. You have to check out the ocean side of Staniel, it is simply stunning. I suggest you pick your day, be sure the winds are good and not too much sea on. We are experience boaters (we were both raised with boats, our families fish the oceans in Eastern Canada). We really enjoyed the ocean side, but it is not for everyone. If your not a boater, stay on the Staniel side (West). We seen great White sharks on the ocean side. It was amazing.

There was so much to see and do with the Boat…
Beaches:
There was no limit to the amount of beaches to visit. If you find someone enjoying their privacy on a beach, go to the next one! The Staff gave you a map of the area with all the beaches marked. The map included beaches that were private, settlement, and which ones had the Swimming Pigs and Iguanas. They even showed us how to get to the general store in boat. We visit the general store for our daily ice cream. We bought cheese and crackers for our room. We also bought some personal items and of course…chocolate! The lady working at the store, showed us where to beach our boat to visit the other stores. She was very friendly and did not mind showing us how to get to the other stores. I think she knew we would be back for our daily ice cream.

Pigs:
We visited the Swimming Pigs every day, first thing in the morning or on route back to the club after a day on the beach. We would feed them our left over food.

Iguanas:
This is a must see, even if you stay in your boat. The islands are amazing, the Iguanas have worn the rock away to a shine, it is an amazing sight. They are very very big, scary but to be honest they were not aggressive. We feed them and took pictures. I was told it is better to visit them late day as in morning they are hungry and could get aggressive.

Snorkeling:
Snorkeled Thunderball grotto is a must! (a hollowed-out island). The turquois blue water with bright glowing fish were just spectacular and amazing coral is breathtaking. Try to hit the grotto at lower tide. If the tide is high, the current is really strong. The tide changes several times a day so watch for low tide so you can enjoy yourself and take in the spectacular view. Dive Hole at the top of the island is suppose to be fun. I never did this, I have pictures of other guest diving down in a hole on an island and swimming out under the island. That looked amazing but not for me. It was a deep drop and I would be scared to do it. They seem to really enjoy it. This was only minutes from the club, actually I think it is safe to say, it was the first island next to Staniel Cay.

Diving:
Staniel Cay Divers. The actual Dive shop has a lot of items (Some things that you may have forgot to bring, so it is worth checking out). There is a great dive master, Jake. He will take care of you if you plan to go diving. Don't miss Danger reef, it is a great dive! There are no actual words to tell you about his Dive shop and his experience with Diving, this place is amazing (Jake is amazing). He knows his stuff and extremely patient. He knows the area far more than anyone else we meet. If you want to go diving, you have to check him, his shop and his boat out. He takes great pride in his work and it is noticeable in his equipment, shop and his boat. The Team (Jacob, Joelle and Cliff) at Staniel Cay Divers work very hard to maintain their gear, boat, and equipment. Jake is a certified Padi Open Water Diver, an Instructor and can certify divers from Open Water up to Divemaster. The team does both day and night dives. He knows all the good areas. A day with him is will worth your money. He Loves his job! Safety is one of his best practices, he puts Safety first! He also ensures each dive is a “dive to remember” and he will make sure you enjoy it and see things you will be expressed with. His boat is very clean and you can tell from the minute you step foot on it, it is well maintained.

Fishing:
If your interested in a fishing trip, visit the Staniel Cay Diver’s shop and ask for Cliff, a Bahamian who is also an awesome fishing guide. Very knowledgeable and will give you a trip of a lifetime. Safety is #1 and your Fishing experience will be tied for the #1 spot! You will have a great experience.

Sharks and Rays:
Yes, there were sharks and Rays. Lots of them. There were sharks and rays near the grounds, they would congregate near the fish cleaning station, the locals would clean fish and the sharks would eat the fish pieces. These sharks and rays did not stop anyone from swimming. Even the owner’s son would dive of a boat in this area. That showed how safe they are. They are nurse sharks. There are convenient steps down into the water if you should dare to swim with them.

Shops:
Staniel Cay Yacht Club
There is a gift shop, with high quality flip flops, t-shirts, sun block, personal items, local crafts, Club flag (which we bought) etc. They also had a Wine selection, you could buy wine by the bottle for your room.

General Store
Walking distance (but, suggest renting a golf cart). It was reachable by boat. You could beach your boat in front of the store. (It was safe to leave your belongs in the boat while you shopped). All the vacation boaters would shop here. It had marine supplies, groceries including amazing fresh cheese, bread, eggs and ice cream, personal items including mouth wash, tooth paste, etc. The staff was exceptional. Very helpful. We bought cheese, crackers, chips, ice cream. We also bought some personal items and of course…chocolate! This was a daily ice cream stop for us! Prices were reasonable.

Blue Store
You will meet Ruth, she also works at the club as a server. She also makes well crafted handbags. They are on display at the store. I bought two. Very well made and I’m enjoying them very much. This store is the cleanest one on the island. It is well stocked. I bought a bottle of pain medical oil, it is amazing. I also bought chips, ice cream, candy, crackers, personal items and of course chocolate. Ruth was working there both times I visited, so the service was excellent. I believe it is her family business.

Pink Store
A really nice, elder lady was working there. We had a few nice conversations and enjoyed a few laughs with her. I bought crackers and a few gifts for my family. I visited with her twice. Both times enjoyed the conversations. She was very knowledgeable….in many way! If you don't see it, ask for it.

The Wicker Store
We bought 5 t-shirts of “007 Thunderball", a really nice zippered beach bag, a pair of men’s swim shorts and a necklace. I was a little concern for the prices. The hanger with the shorts clearly said $20.00 however, the lady said they are all on the wrong hangers. The actual price is $30.00 a pair. It gave you the feeling that the prices changed if you were interested in buying, or if she knew you would pay extra. That was the only shop that I would question prices prior to showing you were going to purchase. It was obvious the items were not all priced for a reason. We really learned this later at the club when we showed some of our purchases to interested guest. They went to buy a t-shirt and the lady quoted a different price (higher). The store was overstocked, lots to go through. She clearly needs a larger store for the amount of products she has. If your looking for a sun hat, flip flops, swimsuit or a beach bag, she has a huge selection.

The island also has:
-Church
-Medical Clinic
-There is an all-age school (17 kids in total on the island, which includes 2 infants)
-Telephone booth
-Restaurants (Thunderball cafe is closed), There are two other restaurants within a 5 minute walk of the Club. Both are open for lunch on weekdays, and one is open for dinner.

Money
The Bahamians accept American cash for all transactions. The Bahamian dollar and the US dollar are equal and are monetarily tied together. Your change could be in either US and/or Bahamian dollars. I suggest you use any Bahamian money you received before returning to USA. SCYC would accept credit cards but they would then add a 5% surcharge onto the bill. There are no banks or ATM's on the island, so you have to be sure to bring enough cash with you.

Communication/Phones
The island had several phone booths that I assume one could use for calls back home. Otherwise, for local island calls, everyone used the VHF radio. They constantly monitored channel 16. If you wanted to talk to someone, you just "paged" them over the radio. Everyone had a different call sign. After they replied, you'd switch to another channel for your conversation. It was a lot of fun listening in on all the conversations, especially those of all the boaters anchored or sailing around the nearby islands. They were always comparing anchorage conditions, checking on fellow cruisers and making reservations for fresh baked bread or to bring in their dirty clothes to local island women who did laundry. The radio could also be used to call the local restaurants to make meal reservations. Every morning at approx 8:00 am someone came on the radio with the local weather for the day and the forecast for the next few days. We brought our own VHF Radio, but there was one supplied with your boat.

The Not So Good:
There was one Lazy bartender, he refused to serve my Strawberry Daiquiri in an Actual Glass, it was served in a flimsy plastic cup (There are no dishwasher @ the bar, the bartender is the dishwasher, so he would use disposable plastic cups). Prior to leaving for this vacation, I emailed to confirm there would be glasses as I WAS WILLING TO BRING MY OWN. I don’t drink wine or any fancy drink out of those plastic cups. If I’m paying $6.00-$11.00 per drink, I would at least expect it in a real glass. I spoke to Management about him and his attitude. The very next evening (Christmas Eve) when we gathered at the bar prior to dinner to enjoy a drink he started a confrontation with me in front of everyone, defending his actions and blaming me for being wrong about him. I had to walk away, without ordering a drink to prevent escalation. I watched him over the duration of the trip and it was obvious he was not enjoying his job and was only looking for Large tips…even if it meant serving some of the regular boaters Free drinks! He was very difficult to speak too, he almost ruin my vacation. My husband insisted that I not let it bug me. I was the one who went “without”, I never wanted to order drinks from him. I was not going to fight for an actual glass. The sad part was, when he served my husband that night, he gave him a thick glass that I’m sure did not even belong to the bar. I bit he had it planned to me off even more. The other bartender, David was amazing. Great service, great attitude and was not out looking just for Big Tips. He never once had attitude and he really enjoyed his job. Always smiling and his drinks were amazing. Always served in a glass. The strange part is, this was pre dinner drinks, when we were at dinner, I’m sure there was time for him to do dish washing! The bar was not as busy at the actual dinner time. When your on vacation, relaxed and dress for dinner, it is nice to enjoy a pre dinner drink in a nice glass!

The drinks (Mixed drinks and wine) were a bit expensive - understandable entirely considering everything must be flown or boated in.

Watermaker Air 35 pound limit. If your going for more than a week, 35 pounds don’t cut it. It was difficult with keeping it to 35 pounds for 7 nights. Watermaker Air charges $1.50 per pound for extra weigh. I would suggest you watch your weight or else you will end up paying for extra luggage. The return flight from the island is not weigh (feel free to shop)!
Watermaker Air return flight was only 4 passengers. We flew straight from Staniel Cay to Ft. Lauderdale, where we had to clear customs. The pilot did not do a good job at explaining what the process was, we had no briefing. However, we had to take all our luggage inside this small room, pass in our passports and answer a few questions on what we were bringing back and where we stayed. The customs officer checked one of the guys bag and the rest of the luggage for us was find to go. The pilot asked if we needed a ride to the Ft. Lauderdale Airport and I confirmed yes, we need a cab. He insisted we take the Town car, Lanes Limo. We told him we were told by friends who had a bad experience with them to not use Lanes, esp for your return ride as they tend to make up to 3 stops on route to airport to pick up other clients. If you take a cab, you’re the only ones in the cab. He said, he could not help us as they only call Lanes, they can’t call us a yellow cab. He suggested we take our luggage and go outside and there might be a cab there. We went outside, only to find darkness and no phones. We flagged a guy in a truck and he called us a cab. Not a good finish to a vacation. He could have at least took us back to the hanger but we had the impression he did not want to handle our luggage any further and there was no more money to made from us on this trip so he was done with us. He appeared to be very lazy and not enjoying his job. Or maybe it was because Staniel Cay was late getting us to the plane that day, maybe he was not happy, he was now behind a few minutes. What ever the cause for his poor attitude, he should have return us to the Hanger, where we started our trip with Watermaker Air.

Beach chairs or loungers. I would have like to have a Beach chair or lounger with the boat, even if it meant renting one every day. They don’t have to be supplied Free. (I did rent one from a local guy). I prefer a chair or lounger for the beach, even if it is the fold up style kind. Again, not everyone would pay for this. It would be personal choice. I’m a sun tanning person. However, my husband really enjoyed the beach sun umbrella that came with the boat.

The room needed Luggage Stands, even the folding style. To keep your suitcase off the floor, even so the cleaners can wash the floor and not have to worry about your luggage. I prefer my luggage up on something, off the floor. We used the Bar/Coffee area. (I have since learned, SCYC now has luggage racks for all the cottages, once again showing, if you show concern or reason for something, they will try to react and improve on any situation).

This did not happen to me, but some of the other guest we meet said they were surprised when they got their final bill at the end. They were charged for extra bacon, pop, water, extra dessert, etc. The meals are pre set, you can order this or that but if you order anything extra, it is extra money. If you bought a pop or water outside of your meals it was charged to your bill. But, if you did not order a beverage with your meal, they did not take it away from your bill. It appeared that some customers felt they were nickel and dimed! Again, I read all the fine print and asked questions about what was included and what was not included. My bill had no surprises at the end. Remember, if you do not bring cash to pay your bill, you will be charge a 5% service fee for credit card. Again, this was all in your info you received from the Club at time of booking, no surprises. If you bring cash, you can pay in advance, if you had one of the older cottages without a safe, you can keep anything in the safe at the office (all well protected, no crime on the island).

Things I would suggest you bring:
Lots of Swimsuits
Beach Sandals
Beach Bag
Good pair of polarized sunglasses (the dive shop has some to purchase if you lose yours).
Binoculars, we enjoyed having ours.
Mask, snorkel (STYC, but I would recommend to bring your own).
A good sunscreen (you can buy some there).
Hat for protection from the sun.
Full wetsuit if you plan to be in the water diving. (dive shop has some).
Dry bag for the boat.
Camera with polarized filter if you have one.
Hammock (we brought one, and enjoyed it on our deck)

This was by far one of our Best vacations. We will return for another vacation. We can honestly say, it was a true vacation! No need to be stressed or feel like you needed a vacation to get over the vacation. It was very relaxing and we felt it was worth the money!
Thank You SCYC.

Room Tip: The Hillside cottages are quieter, your away from the loud music late at night from the Club and you...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank SailTan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
Level Contributor
20 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 16, 2013

What a great location! Stayed on a private yacht and in the cottage, both were awesome. The staff was friendly and helpful and the food was great. Great place to go fishing, snokeling, and have fun in the sun...cant wait to return!

Room Tip: Every cottage has a great view.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank highborne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
houston
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2013

On arrival at Staniel Cay, we were told that room was not available and that we should have breakfast in the restaurant. Not really hungry, but few places to wait, so we eat. Told after the meal it is not free since we have not checked in yet - $30.

We could see the room is finished so we ask several times if we can occupy it since we are travel weary. Told every time that check-in is 2PM. At exactly 2PM we ask and reception hands us the key. The room smells bad and almost never any hot water, but this is typical for a rustic island hotel. Internet available for extra charge, but very slow and only works about half the time. Username password one device at a time.

Local seafood in the restaurant is good, chicken and pork dishes are very poor - freezer burned.

The next day we begin to relax reading books on the back deck of the yellow cottage. Late morning we walk over to the bar to buy 4 beers to keep in the room refrigerator. Walk the dock to see the boats. Gone about 45 minutes.

When we return to the room, it is flooded with raw sewage. Shower drain and pot are bubbling out a steady stream. Since there are no cabinets, everything I brought is sitting on the floor soaked in poop - luggage, clothes in the luggage, etc. Normally I use a hard sided case, but Watermaker Air has a 35 pound limit so I used a Lands End canvas bag that absorbs like a sponge.

I try to get everything out as quickly as possible while my wife tries to find staff to help. Now my shoes are soaked in poop. Staff is not sure what to do, but management finally arrives and hands us a plastic bag to put clothes and luggage in to be washed.

At this point I just want to leave and ask assistance getting the next available flight out. They return and tell us the first available flight out is Sunday (it is Friday) and that they are trying to fix up the blue cottage for us to move into, but it is not ready. They also offer a bottle of wine which appears to be their response to anything that goes wrong.

Management's first primary responsibility is to protect the health and safety of their employees and guests. One task of this responsibility is to have a properly designed, adequately sized, operable and regularly inspected sanitary sewage system. No explanation will ever change the performance evaluation for this task to be anything other than a failure.

Untreated sewage is an extremely dangerous human health hazard. Employees cleaning up the mess had no personal protective equipment and I suspect no training to deal with hazardous waste.

It is unknown if they would have later asked if they could help me to obtain a toothbrush, razor, medication or decontaminate my shoes, laptop, camera or electrical items because at that point until departure on Sunday, I had such raging anger I refused to speak to any representative again. I overheard an employee saying it had something to do with forgetting to pump the septic tank. I don't want to know where they pump it to.

My refusal to talk to them did not prevent their attempts. At breakfast, staff told me to stop using my laptop because they are not allowed in the dining room. Later, when we were waiting for a takeout order the bartender started a confrontation I had to walk away from to prevent escalation.

At checkout, they offered one night free.

Compared to ruined luggage, my wife's new leather bag I gave her for Christmas, clothes, airfare, hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, cabs, meals, the loss of a needed and rare vacation and not least, the risk to my health from raw sewage, the offer was not, or could ever be fair compensation.

I would ask the resort management for two things:

First, remove my name from your Christmas card mailing list and never attempt contact again. My (and probably management's) greatest desire is to forget this incident.

Second, do not write 12 paragraphs claiming misrepresentation or that somehow the event was my fault like you did to the last guy that had a complaint about your facility.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
13 Thank hassuna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
StanielCayYachtClub, Owner at Staniel Cay Yacht Club, responded to this review, January 17, 2013
Where to start with this one… well first, let me say that this response is provided by David Hocher, the owner of Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Normally, a response to a review might be provided by a manager, in consultation with staff and/or myself, however, in this case, I thought it was appropriate that I personally respond for two reasons. First, as negative reviews go, this is a REALLY bad one. Second, I was on the property the for the entire duration of this couple’s stay, and was actually the “first responder” to this incident when his wife came into the clubhouse to report a problem. By chance, I was also the person that drove this couple from the airport to the property in my golf cart on the morning they arrived. So my first-hand knowledge of the situation I feel is relevant in this case.

Now to the main issue… we did indeed have a problem with our septic system that caused it to back up. It is important to note here that the septic/soak-away process is recognized as a completely safe and acceptable way to handle sewage for small hotels. The Department of Environmental Health inspects us regularly and our septic systems are sized appropriately and meet all codes.

The drain-field in question was a bit older and evidently its time had come. A water transfer process from one drainage field to another was in effect until after the holidays when we could get equipment on site to construct a new field (so this is the answer to the “where they pump it to” question above). This job has been completed.

From management’s point of view, and having owned and operated Staniel Cay Yacht Club for about 15 years (my father for another 40 years prior to that), I can say that I’ve seen some crazy things happen. As a small hotel in a remote location, we have dealt with issues that sometimes leave me shaking my head in disbelief… this one included. But when a guest has a particularly bad experience, I believe that the response by the hotel and its staff/management is critical at that point. Does management act quickly and in a way that will solve the problem? What actions are taken to rectify the situation and make it better? In this regard, I feel we did all the right things in response to a very unfortunate situation and I am very proud of our manager and our staff for the way they responded.

When your wife walked into the clubhouse and told me about the problem, we immediately walked over to the cottage so that I could see what was going on… about a 30 second walk. I’m sure it seemed like an eternity to you but the characterization of management “finally” arriving is misleading. As soon as I saw what had happened, and without hesitation, I directed our maintenance staff to immediately start cleaning up, and to move fast to correct the problem by attending to the system - both of which they did. I apologized to you and to your wife and literally ran to grab our manager to assist as well. We returned immediately with plastic bags for your clothes and took them to the laundry. They were returned to you, completely cleaned and folded, a few hours later in your new cottage. We were able to move you immediately to our Blue Waterfront Cottage, as it was unoccupied at the time.

Our manager visited you in the new cottage that afternoon to see if there was anything else she could do and to offer further apologies. However, as you say, you were in a rage and would remain that way for the duration of your stay. You did promise her (laced with a few expletives) that you were going to post the pictures on Trip Advisor and obviously you kept your promise. At dinner that night, and on my instruction, she made sure you were served first as the courses came out and paid extra attention to your table throughout the meal to ensure quick service if it was required.

The next night, our bartender did indeed approach you and your wife as you sat waiting for your dinner to go. He did so at my suggestion, as I happened to be sitting right there. I asked him to go over to your table, offer another apology for the situation and see if there was anything he could offer you to drink while you waited for your meal. What was meant as a nice and empathetic gesture by our bartender was somehow interpreted by you as a “confrontation” that you “had to walk away from to prevent escalation” as you say above. The bartender returned to the bar obviously a bit stunned and shaken by your aggressive response. I don’t know what exactly it was that you said, as I was too far away to hear, but you stormed out the front door and left your wife waiting for the food.

At checkout, as you say, I offered your wife a complimentary night as a gesture (again, I happened to be standing there when she came in to check out… you were not present). She declined, saying that it was really not necessary. After I apologized again for the incident, and only after I insisted, did she finally accept the offer, which is a $352 value. If you believed this was unfair, I would have liked to have had this discussion at the time of checkout. What IS a bit unfair, in my opinion, is saying nothing to my staff or me at the time but then using a forum like TripAdvisor to vent. If items were permanently damaged or destroyed, this was never communicated to me or my staff.

I would also like to clarify a couple minor things in your statements above that I believe are either not accurate or leave a misconception in the minds of TripAdvisor readers.

First, our “all-inclusive” package includes 3 meals per day for each paid day the guest is on the package plan. On arrival and departure days, lunch and dinner are included on the day of arrival, and breakfast on the day of departure. This is stated on various correspondences and normally at check-in. Our check-in time of 2pm is also clearly stated.

Second, we DO have a long-standing “no-computer” policy in our dining room for reasons that have to do with preserving the overall atmosphere (a small sign is posted as you enter). Most guests understand and appreciate this policy. Our wait staff is instructed to politely remind anyone of this policy when it is necessary.

In closing, I will address your last two requests, restated here:

"First, remove my name from your Christmas card mailing list and never attempt contact again. My (and probably management's) greatest desire is to forget this incident."

While I can and will remove your name from our mailing list as you’ve requested, I have no desire to forget about this incident as you imply. As I stated above we were and are very sorry this happened, and we have already corrected the maintenance issue so that this most certainly will not be a problem again. Obviously, “forgetting” about it is not our desire as you state. My staff and I are proud of our facility and of the service we give our guests, and quick attention to any and all problems and guest concerns is a vital part of this for us.

"Second, do not write 12 paragraphs claiming misrepresentation or that somehow the event was my fault like you did to the last guy that had a complaint about your facility."

With regard to your second request, I would never claim that this particular event was your fault, but of course I had to respond in a detailed way so that TripAdvisor readers have the information necessary for an informed opinion. The septic system did indeed back up as you say. I would only say that I believe our response was fast, gracious, apologetic and appropriate. As is our philosophy, we tried to do right by our customer in every way and at all levels of our small establishment (not just when it happened but throughout your stay thereafter) in an effort to “make it right” and to ensure that the rest of your stay was enjoyable. While this does not erase the event itself, most reasonable persons would have seen the efforts by our staff in the following hours and days as significant mitigating factors and not “confrontations” as you interpreted them.

In any case, I do apologize again for the inconvenience caused and also for the fact that our efforts to rectify the situation with you were obviously unsuccessful. If you wish to have further conversation about this you can reach me directly at dhocher@stanielcay.com. And for that matter, if any other reader has any further concerns after reading this post and my response, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

Sincerely,
David Hocher
Owner
Staniel Cay Yacht Club
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Texas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 12, 2013

I did not hate this vacation, but it wasnt what I had expected from the reviews I had read. I have traveled quite a bit and I do not have to have the finer things to have a great time. Our room, The Big Cottage was comfortable and clean. It will sleep 5 comfortably. While we were there the AC leaked all over the floor, so the floor stayed wet the entire week, not a problem we just decided not to use that room and we used the teeny tiny room instead. The food at breakfast and dinner was great, the packed lunches were great, but as far as eating lunch there you are made to feel like your imposing. I asked a waitress for a menu for lunch and she wouldnt give me one. Overall the waitresses were very unfriendly, not all but most. Bartenders were great, it can be hard to get a drink but they work hard and do the best they can with as busy as they are. The water is very pretty and thats what I wanted to concentrate on, the advertisment said we would get the large Boston with the Big Cottage that we splurged on but this never happened. we were on some days lucky to get a small one. We also did a charter trip with a local and though I cant remember his name he was great fun but its very expensive. The other guests for the most part absolutely loved it there, they have a lot of repeat guests. I knew going in that I might have made a mistake but we did have a pretty good time but like I said it wasnt good enough to repeat, and in all fairness unless a trip is fantastic I generally dont repeat very many trips because i want to visit as many different places as possible in my travels

Room Tip: The Big Cottage sits in the back, it is not on the water nor does it have a water view but this was...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank kncburns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Allen, Louisiana
Level Contributor
14 reviews
5 hotel reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2013

This was a perfect spot to stop for lunch during the Exuma Cays tour with Captain Bob! I had the conch burger and it was great! Definitely more than enough food!!!! The atmosphere was great! The service was great! There was a good crowd of people in the restaurant and bar! Definitely a good chill spot!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank gypsygrl32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Staniel Cay Yacht Club

Property: Staniel Cay Yacht Club
Address: Staniel Cay | Exuma Cays, Bahamas, 00001, Staniel Cay
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Staniel Cay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Staniel Cay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Soothe your body, mind and soul with small island charm. Let one of our beautifully decorated cottages be your relaxing home while in the Exumas. Your balcony will literally overhang the clearest waters in the world. Secluded beaches. Incredible SCUBA, snorkeling, fishing and kayaking. Delicious cuisine. Inviting pool and sundeck. Friendly island bar. Full-service marina and 3,000’ airstrip. "Watermakers Air" provides convenient flights to Staniel Cay. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Staniel Cay Yacht Club Hotel Staniel Cay
Staniel Cay Yacht Club Bahamas

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