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“Amazing and Relaxing Vacation!”

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Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Great Exuma
Reviewed 22 October 2017

We enjoyed a delightful week at Sandals Emerald Bay Oct 6-13th 2017. This was our 2nd Sandals visit, the 1st was to Grande St. Lucian. I know I read all the reviews before visiting so I’m going to try and give some helpful tips you’re probably looking for.

When we arrived, our room was having some maintenance done so we were switched to a lower category room for the first night (they compensated us for the difference). Both were beachfront villas and both rooms were very nice with excellent views (had rooms 9424 and 9305) and we would have been happy with either one. One of our rooms had bug spray in it, the other didn’t, so do bring bug spray. I did get bit on our balcony and at the quiet pool (forgot to apply the bug spray). Another nice touch was that housekeeping stopped by every evening to make certain we had enough towels.

There is a reason that Emerald Bay is touted to have the best beaches of all the Sandals resorts, the sand is like walking on powdered sugar and the water changes to the most amazing shades of light blue you’ve ever seen. Be sure to grab a cabana on the beach! Each cabana is nestled between sand dunes so they feel pretty private. The palm leaf canopy on them is large and somewhat low so you can be in shade the entire time while enjoying the ocean.

Tip: Wifi on the beach is stronger towards the edge of the resort (around cabana #65) rather than at the middle of the resort (around cabana #40), where it barely is available.

The main pool has great music playing and makes for a festive environment. The bar is pretty busy for the most part, so you need to be patient when trying to order a drink. If I may offer one suggestion to the resort, it would be to add another bar tender to the main pool bar. We were lucky in that sometimes our butler would see us there and would come behind the bar to make our drinks. The quiet pool is very quiet, it almost felt weird to speak at a normal level. My husband loved it there to take an afternoon nap. The bar was never very busy so you’ll get your drink fast. I’ve read a lot of reviews where you “need” a butler in order to get a cabana. My observation was that if you are at the main pool by 9:00am, you can find a cabana on your own. Ocean cabanas are easy to find until about 10am and the quiet pool cabanas are pretty easy to get all day long.

Tip: The cabanas at the ocean are much cooler than the cabanas at the pools due to the ocean breezes. The pool canopies can get hot inside even with the sides of the canopy open (no worries though, just cool off with a jump in the pool)

We did have butler service with two hard working butlers, Ekron and Kevin. They really did try to make sure we were having a nice relaxing vacation at all times. Extras that came with our butler service: Room is always decorated with flowers, often with cute messages spelled out, whether that’s on the door mat, the bed, the bathtub or the table. Our butler walked us to dinner at the French restaurant because he got us the best table and had it specially lit and decorated with flowers for us. They will reserve you a cabana anywhere you wish. Drinks appear magically wherever you are. They will bring you lunch on the beach or at the pool. For our excursion day they packed us a variety of yummy snacks to go. Ensured we were among the 1st to get a shuttle to the airport to go home, reducing our check-in time. The butlers will drive golf carts with the butler guests around the back 9 holes of the golf course on Sunday 4pm if you wish to see it. They gave me a special gift of surfboard earrings that said Bahamas when we left.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask the butlers for things, they want you to be happy. Want champagne in your room that evening? Ask. Want cheese and crackers in your room daily at 3pm? Ask.

We went on the half day pig excursion with Island Routes, booked through Sandals. It’s an experience! You see the pigs on the island and they are huge!! They will swim up to the boat and it can be a bit intimidating to jump in the water with them and they stingrays, but it’s fun. There were 2 baby pigs that you can hold, the mamma pig doesn’t mind. You’ll stop at a private beach to comb for shells or play in the water, stop at a place to take a small hike up a hill to see the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea on the other and stop at an island to feed endangered iguanas grapes.

Tip: Sit at the front of the boat, if you sit on the sides or back you will get soaking wet. Seriously, you’d be drier if you jumped in the ocean.
Tip: You need shoes, but not necessarily “water shoes”. People were worried they’d step in pig poop. The pigs poop in the water (not on land) and it floats away, so you won’t be stepping in it.

The golf course is stunningly beautiful and very challenging. My husband is a professional golfer and even he was intimidated by some of the holes. Hole #1 in particular, you have to hit it very straight, if it goes to the right it’s in the water, to the left it’s in the brush. He says the greens play slow, also making it more challenging. I went in the cart with him and I’d highly recommend you go! The back nine is literally right on the ocean, it’s gorgeous.

The food is fantastic! Our top 3 restaurants were:
#1 Bombay- Surprised it’s #1?! So were we! Do try it, even if Indian food is new to you. You’re sure to find a few dishes that will knock your socks off. They serve small dishes of each entree and it’s served family style so you can easily try 3 entrees. The manager, Sarkar, has a passion for the restaurant and has got it running like clockwork.
Best dishes: Goan shrimp curry has shrimp with coconut and a hint of heat form the curry and the butter chicken is a milder dish that is so rich and creamy. Get naan to mop up the decadent sauces.

#2 Il Cielo: The Italian restaurant is pretty fancy and has the dress code where men wear long pants and no flip flops. We didn’t see anyone there who didn’t adhere to the dress code. Our server Sonia was a true delight, very interactive with excellent recommendations on what to order.
Best dishes: Spaghetti Carbonara is so creamy and the egg coating on the noodles glistens. Bacon added some salt and more richness to finish the dish. Cacciucco is a Tuscan seafood stew with a generous portion of mixed seafood topped with a tomato based sauce and red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, served with crusty bread.

Tip: At the bar outside Il Cielo be sure to see Rasheen for the mint chocolate chip cookie shot or a “Rasheen B52” shot. He’s will make your drink order more of an experience rather just ordering a drink at a bar.

#3 Jerk Shack: Caribbean food at its finest and the best place for lunch. They have a sitting area with small picnic benches and umbrellas for you to have lunch, or you can take it to the pool. Even the mild sauce has a kick of heat to it and the hell-fire sauce is called that for a reason… Drinks arrive quickly and a food manager stopped by each time we were there just to make sure it was all going well.
Best dishes: Order dumplings (who knew?!?). They are a bread dumpling that taste like the sweet corn bread coating on a corn dog at the fair. They will help balance the heat! The jerk pork is the top winner of the meat choices, but all of the food is good.

Tip: order the sauce on the side (not coating the meat) to help control how much spice it gives to the food.

Honorable mention: Breakfast buffet at Bahama Bay.
Best dishes: See Montess at the omelet station, makes crazy good food and she is a joy. What a smart lady to remember everyone’s complicated egg orders and she seems so happy to be doing it.

Leaving you will be taken to the airport in taxi’s, 2 couples per taxi, and then undergo the extremely slow process of checking in. I tell you this, so you will know ahead of time that this is going to be a process, maybe bring a magazine. This includes being questioned, in a conversational fashion, things like” What’s in your suitcase?” “What type of work do you do?” “Where did you go on the island?”. They then manually check each person in at the airport. Once you’re checked in you can go across the street to Kermit’s Airport Lounge and grab a drink or a last-minute souvenir. Kermit’s is not air conditioned but the waiting area past the security in the airport is.

Tip: You can purchase Wifi in the airport waiting area for $3.

Room Tip: Beachfront villas are in a row in front of the Beach house villas, giving a closer view of the ocean...
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  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
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    • Service
12  Thank Christina D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 22 October 2017 via mobile

This Sandles has an amazing beach and ocean water to enjot. Anyone looking for a relaxing vacation, this would be one of mt recommendation. I would also recommend the Red Lane Spa. Ask for Sherrel Newton, and tell her what kind of experience your looking for and then let her recommend times and services. Sherrel created an amazing experience for me. If your into three days of spa treatment, then Sherrel is your girl. I recommend the Deep Water Couples at the beach and Heaven and Earth facial. These were my two favorite. The Indian and French restaurants are a must at dinner and require reservations. Don't be scared to order more than one thing at either restaurant, because there is more than one great item on the each section of the menu. The Drunken Duck is nice, but if your a Guinness drinker get there early. They only stock the bar with one case per night and it runs out quick. If you can hang until 10pm, the DJ at Drunken Duck plays some great dance music.

Stayed: October 2017, travelled with friends
Thank Heather G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 October 2017

We tried to figure out if there was anything Sandals hadn't considered/thought about...we couldn't find anything. This place is a well oiled machine intended as the ultimate all inclusive.
The grounds are spectacular, the beach well cared for, and our room was lovely. 2 bath rooms, a living area, 2 tv's, and daily service of cleaning was flawless. They even have a mini drying rack on your patio to dry off wet bathing suits.
Dinners at all the restaurants we visited were excellent, The Bombay Club being our favorite. Options for breakfast were plentiful, but Il Cielo was the most relaxing for us with a great menu and nice view out over the gardens and pool area. Lunchtime food was just OK.
Diving and snorkeling were limited during our visit due to sea conditions and visibility.
Butler service was amazing, and the best part of our trip. We read reviews on TripAdvisor, and decided to spend the extra money...it was worth every penny. From the minute we arrived, Trecot , Jamier and Steven took care of everything for us: dinner reservations, beach cabanas, drinks and lunch at the beach, snacks in our room (unasked for, but very welcome), ice service, champagne and so many other things. They were terrific!
We prefer quieter, smaller vacation spots and stayed away from the main pool and busier bars, but if you wanted buzz, there was plenty available.

Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank AustinLesley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 October 2017

I was at this resort from Oct 6th through Oct 14th and had a very good time. To begin with, the beach is the prettiest of any I have been too. The water is not as calm as many but it was fine for most of the week. The lack of seaweed, sea shells or rocks in the water made up for the small waves. Truly an amazing beach.
The resort itself is a little more laid back than most. The help was very good too. It seemed to me that the resort is trying to appeal to a “non-party” crowd and is therefore a little more subdued.
Each Sandals seems to have its own personality so it is difficult to say which is best as the positives and negatives of them make it difficult to give a grade that is accepted globally.
I am not a “foodie” but the food here was amazing. Barefoot Bay had a tremendous Mahi and the Grouper was wonderful. Cleso was our waiter and he was superb. The French and Italian restaurants were top notch too. The Indian restaurant was highly spoken of so we tried it and we were pleasantly surprised. Make sure you go there as there are many choices and the waiter we had (Michael) was extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
The quiet pool is very peaceful but does need attention to the cleanliness. There were days it was not vacuumed and there was black algae on the tiles. None of the whirl pools had heat in them which was surprising and disappointed many of the folks we encountered who went to them. The cushions by the whirlpool in the quiet pool area were pretty dirty and had caterpillars and mold on them.
There were some brief power outages as we had heard but the power was back on in the three instances I witnessed in less than five minutes and it seeme business as usual for everyone.
We did go swimming with the pigs and used Island Routes. When we deplaned, we were told the Island Route tours do not go to the original Pig Island. We did some research and it is true, but I do not believe it makes a difference as we had a great time and after 15 minutes the novelty was wearing off . The actual Pig Island is a lot further away and accessible by an all day trip whereas Island Routes trip was four hours which was plenty. The two crew members on our trip did a great job. The three other stops including the Iguana Island were well worth the money.
We also went to the Chat and Chill. Cab rides are just over $100 to Georgetown which includes the cabbie waiting and returning you to Sandals. We wanted to see more of the island so we called Smitty’s Taxi and he charged us $240 for four hours. That would have been for up to four people he said but only my wife and I went. Smitty (Dimitri) did a spectacular job showing us the island. He is a lifelong native and very knowledgeable about Exuma. He explained a lot about the culture, its history and told us about the plant life and other things. When he saw me looking at my watch he told me to stop and not worry about the time, there would be no extra charge if we ran over.
After a couple hours of seeing the island we were ready for the Chat and Chill and he advised us to take the Island Boys Water taxi instead of Elvis’ water taxi. It was 20% cheaper and the two gentlemen were very friendly and professional. They recommended we eat the Conch Salad at a little stand on the island. My wife ordered it and I am not a salad guy but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The guy who made it had a great personality and was very friendly. It is highly recommended.
Overall there were no big problems during our stay and we met many great guests and employees. Chalique at Bahama Bay was a great server, Chris, Elvis, Will and Michelle did a great job serving drinks around the resort too. The Piano Bar has great entertainment. When at the main pool bar, say hello to Irvaughn.. as in “ Get Your Irv On.”
Clayton at the Loyalty office is another high performer.
We have no plans on returning at this time but would not hesitate to do so. The weather at this time is a little cooler too which made it great at night but a little uncomfortable to be in the pool.
The room we had was very clean and very big. We were in building 1 which was a little walk to where the action is and the Wi-Fi reception in the room was poor. We had a walkout room and usually stay on the 2nd floor. We never felt unsafe either on the resort property or off the grounds.

  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank REO32909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 October 2017

My husband and I recently returned from our anniversary trip to Sandals Emerald Bay, Butler Junior Oceanview 2nd story walkout. Our trip exceeded our expectations! This is one of the most laid back, safe, cleanest, friendliest resorts we have been on to date!!!

-The minute you get to Sandals, your Butler sweeps you away to a tour of the grounds. Then it's off to your very own COOLED air-conditioned room where they give you champagne and cheese platter. Believe me, after traveling all morning, you will WANT this!

Plan on your bags taking a bit to get to your room. No pressure... just lock up your valuables in the safe and head to one of the local restaurants to grab a bite to eat and cool island treat. I suggest Barefoot. :)

-It was amazing. Clean, well maintained. PRIVATE loungers separated by sand dunes. <-
THIS was my favorite part daily. You could hang out in the privacy of your own space all day!

The water- Lets just talk about how AMAZINGLY BLUE it is! And a beach for DAYS.

This was the FIRST trip to the Caribbean that I didn't come home bit by sand fleas or no se ums. There were a couple of mosquitos buzzing around but didn't get overwhelmed by them.

The food at the restaurants was always good not fantastic.... but I didn't have a meal I didn't like at any sitting (breakfast, lunch or dinner).

The Bahama was my fav choice for breakfast. They had everything from cereal, fruit, crepes, pancakes, waffles, omelets, pastries...anything you could and it was centrally located...

Soy, the sushi place, was easy to get into and SO SO GOOD. Try the sake special drink, you won't be disappointed!

Bahamas has surf and turf. I asked for two lobsters and was easily granted. This was my second favorite meal.

Ironically the BEST meal we had was the cheeseburger and steak at the Drunken Duck. Seriously! Be sure to tell Elvis hello.

Cafe de Paris was my favorite night cap with baileys and coffee on our walk home.

In none of the restaurants did I feel underdressed. They ask for long pants but will not EVER say a word to you if you are in different attire. Men, wear shorts and it won't be a problem, I promise.

The service at Sandals was very good. Everyone there loves their job. I didn't have anyone that was unkind or unwilling to help (I've had this at other sandals resorts).

We had Hilton and Quinton as butlers while we were there. They sure know how to take care of you there! Please make sure to tip your butlers daily or once at the end. They are the only ones that can receive this type of compensation.

If you want a specific type of alcohol in your room, be sure to put that ahead of time and remind when you arrive. It most likely won't be there. The butlers can and will bring it to you. Also, they can reserve your cabana and stock your cooler for you daily. But you have to ask for it and remind.

I definitely agree w/the earlier review that they have their own pace there...and are on island time...You will find that out the first couple of days you are there and will adapt to it..I think Americans are always in a rush so have the shock more than others but it is nice not to rush.... If you order room service or lunch/drinks from the butlers, count on an hour. It is what it is.

We LOVED this island, the people, and the resort and would definitely recommend this place to anyone wanting to get away w/someone special. We requested Thelma (taxi) and rented her for the day ($50/hour) to take us on a tour of the island. We went to Chat and Chill- A MUST! We rented a boat and tooled around each island and snorkeled. Went to Santanas to eat lobster- A MUST!

If I could do it again I would:
-Bring the majority of my wardrobe cute bathing suit cover ups
-Dont bother with long pants men
-Dont bother with curling irons..I put my hair up every night for dinner

Room Tip: Junior butler ocean view 2nd floor- 1st floor is blocked by the sand dunes
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  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Lisa W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 October 2017

This time we upgraded to the beachfront Villa right on the ocean, with butler service. I would never go back to the normal room nor would I ever give up butler service now. Well worth the extra dough. More personal service to get the exact booze brands you want in your room, and the right dinner reservations and extra treatment. The extra 3 restaurants now open made a big difference in our very positive experience. Gold was also great, even though a little windy. Re-booked for July 2018 now as well!

Room Tip: Buy the butler service and arrive early. That way they can change your room if your have a preferenc...
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  • Stayed: July 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank JazzScuba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 October 2017 via mobile

If you are fortunate enough to get Sonia as your server, then you are in for a great experience. She took wonderful care of us and made the best recommendations! She truly cares about you having an enjoyable dinner or breakfast.

Stayed: October 2017, travelled as a couple
Thank Amanda A
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:
Region: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Great Exuma
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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: $762 - $2,256 (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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