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Reviewed October 6, 2010

My wife and I stayed at Sandals Emerald Bay on Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas from Sept. 26th to Oct. 3rd, 2010.
Being that it was hurricane sason the weather was a little rough at first but improved as the week went on. The resort was only at half capacity so it had a real intimite feel to it and we met a lot of amazing people that we partied with all week!
The resort is a little on the small side but absolutely beautiful. The pool is huge and the beach is amazing although it was covered in a lot of garbage the first few days because of the high winds blowing everything ashore.
Our rooms were spotless and the staff were the friendliest I've ever come across in any of my travels! Jerome, Deangelo and Tash who are the entertainment crew were awesome and a big reason we had such a great time!
The resort could use another resteraunt or two as by the end of the week we were getting a little bored of the food although it tasted just fine more options would have been nice.
Everyone gets a butler at this Sandals but we never used ours once, we wanted to but could never figure out a reason to, I guess we're just not that needy?
Not a lot to do at the resort except relax, swim or play volleyball and even less to do off the resort as the island, although beautiful is pretty baron.
We did a 007 Grotto tour of the Cays and I would highly recommend this tour but not through Sandals as they charge more than double. We booked our tour through Four C's Adventures and they were awesome!
The waters of the Bahamas are unreal, I've never seen water so clear and blue in my life!
Service at some of the resteraunts was a little shakey some nights. We waited several times for our drinks and meals for more than a half hour. All those times it was the same waiter and I think he was new so we cut him some slack.
All and all a great time and a beautiful resort!

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank BfamilyKitchener
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 5, 2010

This was our second trip to this resort this year. For full details - see my other review posted in May - I break it down by service, beach, rooms, etc. That review still stands up!
We love this resort.....

Still some good and bad.

The service is beyond good.....its excellent. Yes, sometimes its still slow (island time) but overall everyone is helpful, pleasant, and will do whatever they can for you. Our server at dinner actually left the restaurant to go to another bar to get the drink I asked for - she knew the only bartender who could do it!

Overall - the service, room, and beach are fantastic. Its the best beach at any resort I've been to.

Here is the bad: This is our 2nd trip this year to this resort and 11th trip to Sandals. I had only 1 request - which was for a specific butler. I requested when booking, then thru my travel agent, and also when the Sandals Select rep called me and asked if I had any preferences during my stay. Hello? I had only one and it was not fulfilled. Im not a Sandals snob....we never ask for much....but now that I've visited 11 times and Sandals has gotten a hell of alot of money out of us....wouldnt it be nice to get what you ask for at this point? I found the butler I wanted and he was confused that he was not assigned to us - by the way, he was servicing the room next to ours. Extremely disappointed!!!!
Guess I should have gone to management on the first day, but I shouldnt have to!

Our butlers were fine - one was good and did the extras you expect...especially since we were there for my birthday. The other butler sucked.....my husband had arranged with him a birthday breakfast in cabana on beach....butler screwed that up completely - ordered breakfast to be delivered by 7 am one day as we were heading out for a day trip...he screwed that up too - had to call him at 7:30 and he rushed to get it sent up to us. And he did nothing extra for us the whole week.

Only 2 other complaints - the music! When walking thru a tropical oasis I want to hear island music - not adult contemporary mixed in with a bit of country! And the main pool is all hip hop all day - where is the island feel?

Last complaint is beach maintenance. There were alot of storms out at sea and seaweed was deposited on the beach. At other sandals they rake this up everyday. For some reason it was left most of the time - or they used a tractor to rake it but right in the middle of the morning....dont want to hear a tractor or inhale those fumes while on the beach. And the beach staff left dirty towels on the beach for 2 days.....Several staff saw them but never picked them up.....expect more from Sandals when it comes to that! If you dont believe me - I have proof! See the pics.....

Overall this is an excellent resort - and we will most likely return - hopefully we will start feeling like Select Guests.....trip #12 is next spring.....

Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
2  Thank doglover0000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 2, 2010

Me and my wife made the decision to spend our honeymoon at SEB based off of all of your help, so I will try my best to not repeat what has already been said.
Traveler Profile
26 and 23 years old traveling on honeymoon.
Cancun - Riu Palace and Riu Cancun
Jamaica - Riu Negril
Riu vs. Sandals. NO COMPARISON Sandals Wins (and Riu was nice!)
We chose this place because this was our one chance to spluge on a vacation and it seemed like the perfect place. We were right!
Everything was perfect, we booked a coral reef oceanfront and we were upgraded to a bahamian oceanfront honeymoon suite. It was a corner room on the second floor of building 1. It was amazing. Our butlers were Carlene and Anthony. We could not have asked for more from either one of them. If you need something, don't be afraid to call. They are there to help and they will not say no. If you need a drink on the beach, call them, if you are hungry, call them, if you need some bug spray, call them... You get the idea. The food, butler service, grounds, drinks, beach and enterainment have been well described in the past few reviews, so I will skip over them and just provide some tips that not many people may know about. (I have read every single review since opening day and appreciate all your help).
We were dissapointed the seafood buffet was replaced with an asian buffet so we asked our butler if we could still get crablegs and lobster. No problem, what time do you want them! We had crablegs and lobster one night and crablegs alone another night. ...you do have to eat them at Il Cielo so if you plan to eat lobster or crab legs, bring "evening casual" clothes.
We were both craving some shrimp coctail on the beach so we asked our butlers. No problem, 20 minutes later, we had shrimp coctail.
I could go on forever, but if you want something, ask for it. If you like another kind of beer, liquer, food, ect. ask for it.
Take a walk to the golf course or go to the pro shop and ask for a tour. Its free and they will take you on a tour on a golf cart. If you walk to the golf course, you will walk through the condos. Ask the front desk for a tour of the condos. They are nice!
Carry your cell phone with you, your butlers like to know where you are for a few reasons... You will find out when you go.
The butlers will not say no to you, we asked ours for a picture while sitting on the couch by the pool. Problem is, there is no way to get a picture without getting in the water (we were not thinking). She started taking her shoes off to get in the water... We quickly realized what she was doing and told her we would be OK with a picture where she didn't have to get in the water. Be fun with your butlers and let them know they can relax around you and they will be much more fun and eager to serve you.
Ask one of the watersports guys to take you out on the sail boats. He will take you out and teach you to sail. He will then hop off and let you go on your own.
Bring plenty of supplies. (sunblock, shaving cream, toothpaste, ect) The prices at the resort shop are very high.
Order breakfast in bed. We did every morning. You just fill out a card with your choices, and hang it on the door before 2am and it will be there. You get to choose the time in half hour ranges. We just wrote the exact time we wanted it and they were within 5 minutes of the exact time every morning! ...tell them you want mimosas!
Take a tour of the spa. There are many things that are complimentary that many people don't know about. There are also some secluded pools and spas you can use too.
Leave the resort for a day. We called Roberts Island Adventures and he helped us line up with 3 other interested couples to go on an excursion. We did the full day 007 tour. It was amazing. Total price we paid including taxi, lunch, tips, and exursion was $450. Island Routes wanted $750. Don't go to this island and not do this tour. It is a must! We were very sceptible about it since we are not used to paying so much for a tour.
Everyone, and I mean everyone was willing to help, friendly, and willing to make your vacation/holiday the best ever. You will not be dissapointed unless you are going to party.
** A side note. Kerry the pub manager has been mentioned in nearly every review. She was there during our trip, and she was an amazing person. We had a lot of fun with her, BUT.... She left for a 2 week vaction the same day we left. (Sept. 26th) She hinted around that she may be going to St. Lucia after her vacation to manage the pubs there. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message. I am ready to go back!
Thanks again for all your help!

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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9  Thank York42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 1, 2010

We just returned from 1 week at SEB to celebrate our anniversary. This is our 5th Sandals - best facilities of al the properties we have stayed at so far. Here's a breakdown of our review:

Check In - Arrived mid afternoon after 10-15 min drive from airport. Waited just over an hour for our room, however check-in in the Bahamas is typically about 3pm so no big surprise. Welcome drink, lunch and strolled around grounds until room ready. Beautiful foyer/entrance area with an upscale beach theme combined with tradional Sandals plantation style.

Room - All butler, all ocean-facing suites. We had corner room 3rd floor with balcony in building 3. Good location, close to main buildings, pool, beach, etc although overlooked pub where most entertainment was centralized therefore could be heard at night (but was over by 11pm usually). Room was very large with luxurious bathroom, plenty of towels, super comfortable bed, his/her closets and well-stocked bar and fridge. Our room was tidied and refreshed several times a day by maid and butler. We booked the lowest category room and it was probably the best room we've stayed in across all the Sandals we've been to (bear in mind this is a new location). Note: on a couple days washcloths were scarce/MIA but this seems to be more of a Caribbean thing not a Sandals thing.

Pool - One main central pool (open 24hrs) and a quiet pool. Main pool was great - lots of chairs, umbrellas and cabanas - most days we had no problem getting a poolside cabanna but resort was at half capacity ... plan to throw your book on the premium spots early. Two large crescent-shaped hot pools (one warmer than other) surrounded the main pool. On one zero entry side of pool, 4 large couches with cushions were in the water for lounging. Other than arrival day, there were plenty of towels and terry lounge covers to cover around. Not enough floaties though. Probably the nicest pool we've enjoyed at a Sandals.

Beach/Water Sports - There were 5 covered pavillions (they go fast) and lots of beach chairs under thatched umbrella stands. A bit of walk to bar/bathroom ... butlers/wait staff will bring you drinks/snacks though. Water was amazing and beach was a wonderful long deserted stretch for walking. Although a tractor plowed the beach several times per day, we were disappointed that no one was raking up the seaweed and trash (plastic, fins, shoes, etc) that washed up (and there was lots of trash). Six of 7 days were red-flagged and all water sports cancelled due to high winds. Diving and snorkling trips leave from marina not resort (we didn't get to go).

Bars - Sandals got it right with their great big drinks! How often have you had to get a whole tray of drinks in those cheesy little plastic cups just to quench your thirst? At main swim-up pool bar, premium liquor, Heineken draft, Kalick and Sands (local brews), other brands in cans available. Lots of frozen drinks, mojitos with real mint, and drinks of the day. And did we mention they came in huge glasses! Other bars within restaurants served same beverages.

Food - No reservations requried at any of the a la carte restaurants.
Bahama Bay Buffet - beautiful beach cottage decor - 3 meals available daily. We only had breakfast and lunch. Don't expect garish, huge buffet - offerings were adequate and healthy in our opinion - if you want monster buffets, go to Vegas or on a cruise.
Drunken Duck Pub - just pub grub. Some loved it ... it was okay, no real healthy choices.
Barefoot by the Sea - lunch (burgers etc), snacks, dinner (seafood etc). All good.
Il Ceto - Italian, dinner only. Lobster available with 24hr notice - not well advertised, not on menu, not sure if extra charge.
Ballrooms - Sandal Select guest cocktails/dinner and 1 weekly all-guest dinner. Set menu. Food okay, band too loud to have conversation.
Room Service - 24 hrs, we only had breakfast once. It was standard.

Entertainment/Fitness - This location did not have an Entertainment director when we were there - in process of hiring. One lounge act was quite dated (50-60's music), nightly DJ at pub (never went), one major act was good but cut short due to rain. Lots of games and activities all day at pool (aquasize 3x week) and beach. We didn't use the fitness centre but Mighty Mike Fitness Coordinator did daily 8am walks around the golf course and beach. Awesome Greg Norman golf course (didn't use but other guests enjoyed). Half price fees due to recently completed aeration on greens.

Staff/Service - All guests assigned 2 butlers (8am-10pm) and on-call afterhours - a cell phone is provided for you to contact them. Butlers check in with you periodically throughout the day to see if you need/want anything. The butlers can't reserve beach or pool chairs, but they will bring you snacks, drinks, items from your room, make arrangements for you, pack/unpack your stuff and will leave really cool towels animals on your bed. Each day, we returned to a different treat: hibiscus floating in a hot bath, cheese trays, cookies, candles, etc from our butler Ainsworth. This was our first time with a butler and we didn't use them much, but appreciated the convenience of served drinks/snacks occassionally. Other guests had their butlers reading menus to them, walking them to restaurants and other requests that seemed over-indulgent to us. Recommended tipping is $20 per day for butlers. Overall, all staff were exceedingly helpful and polite.

Miscellaneous - Bring bug spray and Afterbite! Use it! May be just the time of year. They are similar to mosquito bites, mostly out at night.
There is nothing much to do on the island, a taxi into town (no real shopping at all) is about $100US return - we rented a car for $80 (plus gas - drive on left side, with roundabouts. We had no problem). Island is 80km long we drove to end and had lunch at roadside seafood stand, Santana's. The seafood was incredibly delicious and fresh, served up by owner Denise. Get her to show you her Johnny Depp photos from when he was there making Pirates of the Caribbean! You might get to meet some other great locals like Harold who are happy to chat or show you around. This was the highlight of the trip for us.

If you're looking for a luxurious resort away from it all, this is the place to go. If you want nightlife and shopping stay in Nassau.

We would definately go back!

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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2  Thank Rob_DebBarrieOntario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 29, 2010

We went to celebreat my husband's 60th birthday and chill and wow what a time we had! This was our 2nd Sandals vacation(St LUCIA at The GRANDE)....We loved this resort even more than that.

The butler's we were assigned were Keischa and Vino and they both went out of their way to make our whole holiday fab,and the birthday was fantastic..It started with Keischa bringing our pre-orded breakfast to eat on the balcony(room 1209 with a view of the beach)We had an amazing dinner overlooking the pool in the Sandals' Tower.One on one service ,a special celebratory 4 course meal with wine and champagne...Yummy...Then Vino suggested we see out room,well the whole place was decorated with balloons+ candles and a birthday cake+ bath tub full of bubbles and flowers....What a treat..

We loved the property,I'll Cielo was my fave place to eat for dinner+ breakfast,the lamb was amazing+ Jerome was lovely and the best server was Tommasina..her attention to detail was flawless.

Kerry the manager at a the pub was fun and challeneged my husband to have his toes painted purple for his first ever pedicure at the spa..He enjoyed the whole experience and also had a lovely haircut....He painted only one toe purple to Kerry's delight ! I had a wonderfual massage too...The spa is awesome and we felt like celebs..

We also had wonderful contact with a lot of the manager's ,Patrick and Florian were particularly nice and very visable....The staff is great and we really felt comfortable the whole time,the resort is cosy and not not too big....

I can't tell you how much we enjoyed it all.We are from Canada and came down on a straight through 3 hr flight with Air Canada,, + 8 minutes from the airport to the hotel...what more could you ask for?

We hope to return there as soon as we can and would highly rate this location..What a special place.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Grammie-1955
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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