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Reviewed July 21, 2010

My wife and I just returned from a week at Sandals Emerald Bay for our anniversary. Overall I would say our experience was great. I will try to comment on all of the components of our trip. We have been to two other Sandals; Whitehouse in Jamaica and La Toc in St. Lucia so let me say the 15 minute ride from the airport was refreshing rather than the 1.5 hours for the other two resorts. The arrival experience was great, standard Sandals (champagne and cool face cloth) and met with Harris our main butler. We had never had butler service on our prior Sandals visits so a few comments about this are appropriate. If you are "high maintanence" or like being served by someone else I think you would love and benefit from butler service. Don't expect them to be at your elbow contemplating your every whim (just doesn't work like that). However, if you are patient and realize the butlers also serve other guests they will get you pretty much anything you want or need. My wife and I are pretty self sufficient so we didn't use our butlers too much, but i have to admit the pre-dinner drawn hot baths (no asking) were pretty nice as were the cheese trays (again no asking). The only real butler related service we did use routinely was morning coffee in the room which was exactly on time and just like we requested. Better than we get with Vegas room service. The weather was great during our stay EXCEPT it was very windy which made the water visibility poor and caused the water sports staff to cancel SCUBA diving for the entire week. We had to settle for pool life and drinking all week hence the relaxing part. Needed a break so not complaining but based on prior reviews and my experience I wouldn't recommend this particular Sandals if diving is very important to you. My wife and I have special kudos to Theo (bar manager) for his great margaritas and ever-smiling service he is a pretty good dancer too. Overall the food was pretty good but fairly predictable resort food. The Italian restaurant was very good and for me the most pleasant surprise was The Drunken Duck Pub. Paulette at the Duck was a superb waitress and the food was good for pub food. We ate there 3 times. I didn't play golf, but the course looked nice from the resort. If you are the type that needs lots of diversion and off site nite life this is not the place for you. There is minimal off site recreation on Exuma. We rented a car and drove the entire length of the island (do not do it on Monday) and found precious little to do. Wish I had stayed in the pool again that day. This would be a great place to go for a relaxing destination wedding and many of the guests were either doing just that or honeymooning. Didn't use spa personally but wife says it was awesome and went 3 times.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank rsl0725
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 20, 2010

I have been researching all inclusive resorts now for two years. My husband and I have been to Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, and we were looking to go somewhere other than Mexico. When I was looking at Sandals, what caught my eye was Emerald bay in the Bahamas. It was a new resort for Sandals that opened up at the beginning of the year, and when I started reading the reviews I was worried. Let me say that we vacationed from July 8th-July15th, and I didn't want to come home. I can't explain how wonderful this resort was. All the negative things that I read about, NOT ONE happend to us. Maybe we were lucky, or maybe we were going forward with an open mind....



Let me say that the trip down to Bahamas was fine. We were leaving from Oklahoma City at 6:40 am and arrive at Bahamas at 5:45 pm. Everything was going well, till we arrived at the Great Exuma airport. When we finished going threw customs, my luggage was missing!!! and of course I did not pack in my carry on an extra change of cloths or bathing suite. So, now I am getting upset. All of my cloths were in my suite case that didn't arrive. We were greeted by the Sandals representative at the airport, and she directed us to the American Eagle counter where we filled out some paperwork and they reassured us that my luggage will arrive the next day. Ok, not Sandals fault, more so of American Airlines. We traveled on by taxi bus to Sandals and when we got out of the van, (I am still pretty upset) we were greeted at the van by our butler Tony. Tony, Tony, Tony....what can I say about this wonderful person. Tony introduced himself with a glass of champane and cool towel and walked us to the check in desk. At this point, I don't want a cool towel or champane, I wanted my luggage!!! Luckly, my husband had his, so I didn't feel to bad, well, yea I did. He packed two shirts and a bathing suite, and I had been planning for months my outfits and 7 bathing suites. So, after we were all checked in, Tony escorted us to our room. Now, let me just say that I booked the Villa upstairs room overlooking the ocean. Tony walked us to a downstairs room, but instead of immediately saying "umm, excuse me this is not my room" I waited till we walked in the door, and I'm soooo glad we did. What I didn't realize is that we were given an upgrade (probably due to my luggage they said would arrive the next day after 5:30 pm) Our upgraded room was the Prime Minister Honeymoon Beachfront Walkout 1 Bdr. Villa Suite. OMG! This room is bigger than my living room at home. You have two full baths, large living room with a dining table by the bar, and our master bedroom was amazing. The master bath was huge, along with the walk in closet that had a safe/dresser to place your cloths in. The walk in shower you could have put 20 people in it. The room was amazing!!!! wow!



BEACH: The first day we arrived, we went to the beach and the water was like glass. I was shocked that the water was so calm. I, however couldn't swim in the water, but sat in one of the cabanas at the beach and that was fine with me. Water was like a swimming pool, good temperature and the beach was clean and the sand white.



POOLS: You have the quite pool and party pool with swim up bar. Both were wonderful, we NEVER had a problem obtaining a cabana at either pools. One day we were the only ones at the quiet pool. We had the whole pool to ourselves! You also have a bar at the quiet pool, that served mixed drinks, coke and sprite. The party pool was great, HUGE whirlpools at both ends of the pool, and the bar opened up at 10:00 am and could again get whatever you wanted. Not to crouded, but more people at this pool. We have to say the "Aquasize" was hallarious because the entertainment requested if anyone wanted a little workout in the pool till lunch. We watched these poor people work their behinds off for an hour! very entertaining.



RESTAURANTS: We really thought all the foot was excellent, we ate at Drunkin Duck, wonderful place, buffalo wings/steak were the best, didn't care for the hamburger, but hey, if you don't like it order something else. Bahama Bay: we ate there every morning for breakfast (buffett) and was awesome, some people said they needed a variety...really? So, what do you have for breakfast?? They had everything from scrambled, fried, omlet eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage, french toast, fresh fruit (WONDERFUL) coffee and all the juices. Cielo (Itialian restaurant) was really good. They do not have reservations anymore, or when we were there, and on the website it says you have to dress resort evening attire, but I saw men come in with slacks and flip flops and women in slacks, so I don't think they care just as long as you don't show up with a bathing suite on. Dinner everywhere starts at 6:30 pm as well. We also ate at Dino's PIzzeria (wonderful) and barefoot by the sea also very good. The only negative thing we can say about the dining is that every restaurant needs to have more of a dessert selection. My husband also recomends an Ice Cream Bar. On Wednesday night, Bahama Bay has Seafood night buffett (they have crab legs and lobster tail) and then they had an ice cream bar. The line at the ice cream bar was longer than the line getting into the restaurant. I would also recommend having more options of seafood (not just fish) on the menu and not save it for Wednesday night.



BUTLER: We had two that traded shifts Tony and Ainsthworth. Both were great, but my favorite was Tony. This guy not only did everything we requested, but went above and beyond and drew me a bath one evening with flowers decorating the tub and our bed. Tony always delivered. We got a butler phone and used it at lunch to have our pizza and drinks delivered to the pool/beach. Our butler ALWAYS called us in the morning to see what we were doing that day and what we needed. We were very easy people, so he knew we needed ice in the room in the afternoon, a lot of bottled water, coke, and sprite. We even requested beach towels till we found out they have them at the pool. One evening before dinner, my husband and I were sitting on our patio and he came over and talked to us for a minute till he received a call on his butler phone and had to go. He was over 10 rooms, and we all kept them busy. I wish I could have brought Tony back with us! The only complaint I have is when we were leaving. There were a few couples leaving at the same time, and when it was time for us to board the taxi, we went out front and I saw every couples butler there, hugging them and saying goodby and loading their luggage for them on the taxi. Our butler (Ainsworth) was late and eventhough we were the first one's in the lobby, we were the last to get a taxi and head for the airport. It all worked out because our flight was delayed....but really they both did an excellent job.



The only thing to look out for is the Sand Fleas (little black bugs) one review stated to use baby oil. I took some and bug spray, and the baby oil worked better than the bug spray. I still got bit, but hey, I was in PARADISE and didn't care!!!!! it was well worth it.



Everyone at the resort said Good Morning, Hello, it was amazing how beautiful the gardens were, the beach, the pools, everything was clean and nice and service at every restaurant was on time, no waiting. We will definately come back again, probably not use American Airlines if we can help it. Our return flights home were crazy, three hour delay in Miami because they couldn't locate the flight staff!!!! serioiusly!!! Let's just say were were exhausted when we got back home. We will try another airline for sure.



We were so impressed we are looking at Beaches Turks and Caicos for next year vacation. Everyone we talked to said it was the best family resort. I can't believe it took me this long to book with Sandals....You guys are the best!!!!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank OU4Ever1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 20, 2010

We stayed from July 11-18. This was our first visit to a Sandals resort and we were extremely pleased. Everything...from the airport to check-in and the entire stay was smooth. All employees were friendly and helpful. I don't think I ever passed an employee who didn't smile and say hello. We had the best butlers, Michael and Adeep. They went out of their way to make sure we had what we wanted. My husband even requested for our room a specific liquor that the resort didn't have and the next day they delivered it to us. We were given cell phones to communicate with our butlers but rarely used them because Michael and Adeep were calling us to see if we were OK if they hadn't heard from us in awhile.
The entertainment staff were outstanding! Kudos to Karmen, De'Angelo, Jerome, and Rashaad for great volleyball and beach soccer and poolside games! We hope to cross paths with them again one day.
The food was excellent. Room service was pleasant and timely. We enjoyed all the restaurants but especially the seafood buffet and the italian restaurant (the lasagna and sea bass were to die for!).
Mixed drinks were great, and we tried quite a variety. Our favorites were the Pina Coladas with rum cream (don't get it without the rum cream!) and the Chocolate Monkeys.
It was especially nice to go back to your room after a long day and the tub was filled with scented bubbles, flower petals strewn around the tub and on the bath mat, champagne chilling nearby, and a cheese and fruit tray.
Having said all that, there is not alot to do in Exuma. Some of the things are also quite expensive. We did, however, rent a car (cost was $74 for 24 hrs) and drove to Georgetown..took 25 min and it was a very easy drive...then we took the water taxi to the Chat n Chill...had a fresh conch salad, some great margaritas, and fed some stingrays. I would highly recommend it; we had a great time! If you go, wear your bathing suit, the water and beach are beautiful.
We used the exercise facilities almost every day. The gym is very well equipped and was never very busy in the morning.
My only complaint was the manicure I got at the spa. The next day it was peeling off and if we hadn't been leaving that day I would have asked them to do it over...which I feel pretty sure they would have.
Don't hesitate to go...you will love it!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank AtlantaCandycane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 18, 2010

I've been reading reviews of the Emerald Bay Sandals and wonder if these negative comments were really about the same place I stayed. My husband and I found the place beautiful and relaxing with excellence service and top rate meals. The food at the pub was delicious as was the Italian restaurant. We ALWAYS had delicious entrees, cooked to perfection with personalized service. The pool and beach were spectacular and the swim up bar-the best. Our room was clean and cool and the butlers went above and beyond with their special touches such as a bubble bath! The only negative- the dinner on the beach was a disappointment as there was no cabanna like the pictures and the lighting was poor. Other than that, I would definitely return :) It was a trip in Paradise!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Duzzman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 17, 2010

We just got back from a relaxing week at Sandals. I, like many others, read the reviews almost daily before our tip - so I feel compelled to write my first review now. Overall, we had a great time. The beach is beautiful and they have worked out many of the problems they had when they first opened. I think in a year or two, they will be much better. This is our third time staying at a Sandals resort and some things were better than others, some things worse.
We had a connecting flight through Nassau and unfortunately missed that connection and had to spend a night there. After going back and forth between the airlines (we came in on American Eagle and were supposed to go out on Bahamas Air) and getting no help, I went up to the Sandals desk there and told the lady what had happened. She told me not to worry, she would take care of us. Within 15 minutes, she had a van ready to take us to Sandals Royal Bahamian for the night. When we arrived, we were quickly escorted to the reservations desk and Samantha checked us in for the night. Chauncey walked us up to our room and asked if we needed anything. He informed us that they would be having 4th of July fireworks near the boat dock and that we could see them from our room. We had a great dinner then sat on the beach to watch the fireworks. When we got back to the room, there was a message from Samantha telling us what time to be in the lobby to go back to the airport and again asked if we needed anything. They made us feel so welcomed. The next morning we went to Emerald Bay. What a contrast. We got to the reservations desk and instead of being told that our room was waiting for us (sorry about your delay???) we were told that they couldn't find our reservation. I had to show them my paperwork and a few minutes later, they came back with a form for me to check. They had the wrong home address for me as well as the wrong phone number (so much for checking in on-line ahead of time to expedite the check-in process). They told us they would contact our butler and to wait in the restaurant Il Cielo for him to meet us. We had the slowest breakfast there. The food was good, it just took forever to get it. We finished breakfast and still no butler. So, we went back to the front desk and they told us they would call him again. After waiting another 20 minutes our butler finally came and took us to our room. It took another 2 hours to get our bags. We were determined not to let it ruin our trip but the contrast between the two resorts was hard to ignore.
ROOMS: We paid for the lowest room category and were told we were upgraded one category. We were on the third floor of Bay House 1. We had a nice view and the room was a good size. The bed was very comfortable and the pillows were big, fluffy, down ones. I never missed my own bed (which I usually do after 2-3 nights). The room was very quiet - until the weekend when they had bands playing outside until 11:00pm - not a problem for many but we like to go to bed early. If you like quiet ask to be put on the other side of the resort (near the quiet pool). The one thing that really disappointed us was when we noticed that they just rinsed out the glasses in our room and put them back. One of the glasses in the bathroom had toothpaste in the bottom of it when we got there. I am not sure they ever wash/replace the glasses.
FOOD: Overall we were happy with the food. We loved the chicken pot pie, fish & chips, and the blue cheese hamburger at the pub. Kerry, the manager of the pub is full of energy and instantly made you feel welcome (as did the rest of her staff). We also enjoyed the jerk chicken and the mahi mahi at Barefoot by the Sea. The restaurants never felt crowded (maybe we ate at off times) and the service was great everywhere except for Il Cielo.
SCUBA DIVING: They really spoil you here. When you get on the boat, they have everything set up for you (BCD and regulator already hooked up to your tank). You just tell them what weights you want and you are off. They had some good dive sites - our favorite was Chubb Reef. There was some good coral but not as many fish as we are used to seeing. We were disappointed to find out that they only offer one single tank dive per day. They go out for a second dive but it is for people taking the resort classes. Then on one of the days, they announced that they would be doing a wall dive and would only take people who had advanced certifications as they would be going deeper than 60ft. We have never been excluded from a dive before because of depth and asked two of our local dive shops after we got back. They said that it sounds like Sandals is trying to make money by forcing people to take their Advanced class. They said that they have not heard of a depth restriction on an open water certification. On Fridays they only have a paid dive excursion - $100 for a two tank dive - a wreck dive (that you have to be advanced for) and a shark dive. You have to pay for both dives even if they will only let you go on one of the dives. Sundays are no dive days. So, we were only able to dive 4 times during our 8 day trip. Most of the dive crew were very friendly and helpful. Leslie, the head dive master, was very concerned for safety and was the one who would not let us dive the deeper dives even though we have completed over 50 dives and have gone over 100 feet several times. You would think that would matter more than what certification you have.
BUTLERS: We were not given a cell phone as the one for our room was broken. We did not use the services of a butler much at all. He did not offer to unpack for us, did not offer to carry our scuba gear for us when he saw us carrying it to our room (he stopped to say hi - but that was it). It was not worth paying for a butler service for us.
SNORKELING: We went on the snorkel boat a few times and they took us to some decent sites. We found that we enjoyed just snorkeling off the beach more than going off the boat. There is some great snorkeling near the golf course. The ocean was very warm and you could just walk right in.
Overall, we had a good time but would not come back to this resort. We are thinking about going back to the Royal Bahamian - much better food, entertainment, and service.

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank diversdown2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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