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“Most beautiful beach ever!”

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Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Long Island
Certificate of Excellence
Satellite Beach, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Most beautiful beach ever!”
Reviewed 27 November 2011

We just came back from a long weekend trip to Cape Santa Maria (2 adults, 3 kids ages 7, 10 and 11). Everyone agreed that this was one of the most awesome vacations we have ever taken. The beach is the most gorgeous one we have ever seen. The water is a beautiful turqoise color and very clear. We didn't notice any mosquitoes or sandflies. We chose the breakfast and dinner meal plan and the food was absolutely scrumptous! The kids loved the kayaks, tubes and beach toys, all of which were complimentary. One day the adults took bikes provided by the resort (also complimentary!) and rode to the Columbus Monument which is on the north end of the island, about a 3-4 mile one way ride. The views and cliffs near the monument are breathtaking. The staff was extremely responsive and friendly. It is obvious that the managers (Brook and his wife Ewa) are doing a first rate job making sure that guests have a great experience. We had a truly awesome time! We hope to be back!
Family from South Central Florida

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Peter S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Laurel, Maryland
Level Contributor
108 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 November 2011

Our cruiser friends (i.e. friends who cruise in the Bahamas on their own sailboat, and not cruise ship “cruisers”), who’d spent some time in Long Island over the past 3 winters, told us the beach at Cape Santa Maria was the most beautiful in the Bahamas. That’s quite an endorsement, when you consider they’ve been spending much of their time in the Exumas (including the utterly jaw-dropping Warderick Wells). They were not wrong!

Cape Santa Maria is located on the Exuma Sound (leeward) side of Long Island, just shy of the northern tip of this 70-mile-long island. When Christopher Columbus made his second landfall in the New World on this shore, he must have snapped his fingers, asked for a Goombay Smash, and thought hard about never leaving. Of course, that assumes ol’ Chris liked beaches as much as I do. This one is a gently curving 3-4 mile stretch of shimmery, powdery white sand with the occasional patch of ironshore. The water is the gem-like clear blue that tests the limits of your thesaurus to come up with different names for “blue.” The west-facing shore guarantees spectacular sunsets, including a green flash from time to time (saw one).

The rooms at CSM almost take second place to the natural environment, but that’s because the environment is so remarkable. Like most other Out Island resorts we’ve visited, there is a central clubhouse – this one in two levels of white gingerbread – with reception, a restaurant, bar, library and TV room, and gym. The rooms are half comfortably-furnished screened porch, and half bedroom and bath, equipped with small fridge, coffee maker, and safe. Though we had air-conditioning, we never needed it, and even turned off the ceiling fans at night, so perfect was the weather during our visit. The only caveat: there is no screen mesh fine enough to keep out the dastardly no-see-ums at dusk. Even with liberal dousing with Deep Woods Off (which is thoughtfully supplied on the porch), I was eaten by the voracious little pests. The little beasties are a fact of beachfront life.

Knowing that there would be limited options for dining, we opted for a meal plan (breakfast and dinner) at CSM, and then going elsewhere for lunch. That was a wise decision, since many places outside of CSM weren’t even open for the season yet, and most involved quite a long drive (20 minutes to over an hour). After many visits to the islands, I knew that – even at a hotel with an international clientele – my best bet was to choose local food, which was absolutely the way to go. There is, reliably, conch in all of the traditional variations (conch chowder, conch fritters, cracked conch), as well as grouper and local lobster (crawfish). If you want to go a little more down island, CSM has a delicious chicken souse (a citrusy chicken broth with potatoes, celery and boiled chicken legs and wings) on the lunch menu. If you want to be even more island-y, order boiled fish for breakfast – it’s a broth very similar to the chicken souse, but contains poached grouper. But the most appealing meal we had at CSM was stone crab claws; delicious!

I liked Long Island for its quintessentially Out Island feeling. But while I found Cape Santa Maria to be a very comfortable and pleasant home base, it lacked the Out Island vibe. I hesitate to even say this, but perhaps CSM was a little too groomed for my taste. This, of course, is strictly a matter of personal preference – I prefer a more quirky, organic feeling, like the coral stone of Small Hope Bay Lodge (Andros), or the thatch roofs at Fernandez Bay Village (Cat).

And, if I return to CSM, I would ask whether a large group is booked at the property. During our week, a pilot’s group had a “fly-in,” taking over most of the resort. One of the things I love about the Out Islands is meeting like-minded travelers. But a large group tends to be insular, leaving outsiders feeling just like that: outsiders. Moreover, we were left with whatever dining times weren’t claimed by the group, table assignments that were an afterthought (e.g. near the kitchen door), and service that – while competent – was a bit strained and harried while the group was in residence. It’s great business for the resort to have a group like that visit, but it left me feeling slightly disappointed.

My complaints are mere quibbles, and when it came to be time to leave, I wasn’t ready.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
2 Thank RedSabre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colorado
Level Contributor
28 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 November 2011

My husband and I were a little apprehensive about our trip to Cape Santa Maria after reading a couple of recent, mixed reviews - particularly complaints about the mosquitoes. We were pleasantly surprised by the LACK of bugs. We saw only a few mosquitoes (or any type of bug) during our 5 day visit.
We stayed in a villa which was beautifully appointed. The beds are so comfortable! The view is jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
(Of note: from the exterior, the bungalows look rather dated).
The staff was warm, welcoming and responsive - every one of them! The food was great!!
As others have mentioned, the 2 meals-per-day plan is probably plenty for most people.
The beach was as beautiful as everyone else has mentioned and the sand feels like velvet, although the water was a little cold for swimming in November.
All in all, it was a terrific and special time and we highly recommend Cape Santa Maria to those wanting to truly get away from it all and enjoy the natural beauty that this island has to offer.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank RWWColorado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrookCSM, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this review, 21 November 2011
Dear RWWColorado,

Thank you very much for your review. We most certainly appreciate your kind words regarding our staff. We truly believe we have the best staff in the Bahamas! I also appreciate your comments regarding mosquitoes. It is unfortunate the one or two reviews can change people's opinion, however, if you read a number of our recent reviews I know you will get a more accurate picture of Cape Santa Maria.

Thanks again and we hope to see you soon. Don't forget to join our NEW Loyalty Club! See Oak Bay Marine Group's website for details.

Brook Castelsky
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 October 2011

I've really been putting off writing this review. I keep thinking to myself, why would I want to tell everyone else about this amazing hidden gem in the Caribbean that we found??? It is truly such a wondrous place in every way, that I just want to keep it to myself. But, alas I will share with everyone what a great time we had so you too can go and enjoy it. The more the merrier, I guess:)
We arrived at the small airport (customs people were very nice) and we were picked up by a taxi. The driver was very friendly and we talked to him about the island and his family. He drove us to Cape Santa Maria, where we were staying. There is one long, main road on the island. I want to say it was a decent 15 minute ride. We checked in and everyone was so welcoming...almost like a homecoming. The staff, from the ladies behind the counter to the waiters, were all so kind and helpful throughout the trip. If we needed something they were there.
It was just the two of us so we stayed in one of the bungalows. They were nice and quaint....just what I would expect of a bungalow in the Caribbean. There are locks on the doors despite other reviews saying otherwise. There are A/C units in the room and they worked fine. There was a mini fridge in the room. When we go again I would mainly use this for drinks...not sure if it kept food cold enough. We didn't really bring anything valuable, but we did put our passports and some money in the safe one day and we came home and it was open. Someone up front told us that occasionally if they lose power the safe opens. No big deal to us. We didn't have any problem or feel like our possession were unsafe, but if you feel funny about that, try not to bring anything too valuable that is unnecessary for the trip. There is no TV in the bungalows, which isn't a big deal to us but we did bring our laptop and some movies to watch at night before bed. I'd do that again. While I wish there was wifi in the room we would just go by the clubhouse to pick up a signal and check email, send pictures, etc. Mosquitoes and bugs weren't a big problem for us. I actually didn't see many near the bungalow at all, but they would swarm me near the club house...I would just make sure to use bug spray around there.

There is plenty to do for someone who enjoys nature and exploring.
-The first day we were there we grabbed the kayaks off the beach (which were complimentary for guests...so nice!) and took them over to the cove to the right of the resort. It was so beautiful. We kayaked all the way to the other side and went walking on the rocks.
- We aslo went bone fishing with Bert one day. He was so pleasant. We didn't catch too many fish--those sneaky bonefish! I laughed when we got back to the house because I really think Bert was even more intent on catching the fish than we were! Bert also told us to try some fishing right off to the side of the resort and we actually caught a bonefish over there...there were lot of pods of small ones.
-We dedicated one day to exploring th rest of the island. We rented a car and drove down that main road all day. I love to drive around a see new places so this was a great day and pretty relaxing since there isn't a whole lot of in your face things to do--just lots to see and soak in. Definitely stop at the little restaurant on the side of the road with all the flags....I dream about that conch salad (really, I do!) We also stopped at Dean's Blue hole. Oh wow...not like anything I have ever seen before....pretty amazing. We swam across it (against that little voice of reason in my head!) and it was pretty remarkable.
We also went to the Chris Columbus dedication stone. This is off a slightly hidden road, north of the resort, that seems to last forever. We did read somewhere that said you could ride your bike there. We started chuckling about that half way through getting there. I guess if you are a mountain biker...go for it. Otherwise I think a car with some toughness will work best. The view from up there is breath-taking.
One day we hung out at the beach which was, you know, right outside our front door! We went out at low tide and it was stunning how far the shallow, crystal-clear water went...just on and on.

One of the huge perks for us while staying here was the food. The island is somewhat remote and secluded so there aren't a bunch of restaurants to go to nearby. There actually aren't any to get to conveniently from the resort. But the good news is, you don't need to! Because of past experience in other larger island in the Bahamas (yuck food & crazy high prices) we actually decided to bring some food of our own. To our surprise the food at the resort was very, very good AND fairly priced. I would say you could compare the prices to Outback...most things fall between $8-$25. My boyfriend votes for the Ahi tuna salad. It is actually on his menu back home now....or at least he tries to recreate it:) For the quality and diversity of the menu, we were more than satisfied (and definitely pleasantly surprised). We ended up throwing out some of the food we brought because we kept wanting to eat at the restaurant. The waiters and waitresses were all very kind and accommodating, even making items that were on the lunch menu for dinner. ( I actually didn't think they would do this but, my boyfriend asked and they said it was no problem) Oh, and did I forget to mention that they purify their own water...so it is fair game to drink and tastes good to boot! I would happily eat at the restaurant for all my meals. Yum!

We finally had to move on from our Cape leg of the trip to Marsh Harbor/Treasure Cay. While Treasure Cay is a nice place with a beautiful cove (we've been there a few times,) we kept catching ourselves dreaming of being back at the Cape instead.
So, in conclusion, thanks to you both, Brooke and Ewa, for your hospitality. You have a beautiful place and do a great job with the staff training. Contrary to what you would think, good attitudes and a friendly staff are sometimes hard to find and can really set the tone for a trip. You both have achieved what most in the Bahamas have not achieved. Keep up the good work. We can't wait to come back and we encourage anyone else who is thinking of discovering this hidden gem to do so.
I know this review seems truly glowing, but that's only because Brooke, Ewa,all the workers and the whole island deserves it. We had a genuinely delightful vacation.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Megan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 October 2011

My wife and I spent just over one week at Cape Santa Maria and had a wonderful time. The resort feels like it's truly off the beaten path with just the right amount of amenities to make you feel comfortable but not too many to make it feel like a 'commercial' property.

Getting here was pretty easy, we connected through Nassau on a little prop plane and loved the ride, I suggest bringing a camera! We were picked up at the airport and shortly thereafter arrived at the resort.

Like the other reviewers I cannot say enough great things about the beach. It is unbelievable with it's pure white sand and azure seas. We spent many long days soaking up the sun on that beach. I don't agree at all with the comments about the sandflies though; they are no worse than any other beach resort in the Caribbean. It's fairly common knowledge that swimming late at night in that environment will guarantee you a few bites at least, I didn't swim late at night here but I did on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and I received some bites there. But as I say, it wasn't an issue for us at all.

We did not have a chance to fish while at the resort which I kind of regret as some other guests raved about it. Perhaps it's an excuse to head back soon!

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank iamRobSmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrookCSM, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this review, 17 October 2011
Dear iamRob Smith,

Greetings from Paradise! Thank you very much for taking the time to post a review. It was great meeting you an your wife last August and we appreciate your feedback. Next time you will definately have to try fishing with Bert. If you get a chance, check out a couple of the fishing videos on our website!

Hope to see you again,

Brook Castelsky
General Manager
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Florida
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 September 2011

On an island with limited options, especially during the summer months, Cape Santa Maria is a great place to make a stop. The meals and drinks are good and it really is located on the most beautiful beach. As others have mentioned the mosquitoes are vicious, however we were not bothered at all by them either in the restaurant, or on the beach. the parking lot and even the restroom in the resorts lobby area were a challenge, they are very large and within a few minutes you can be covered in bites. They wouldn't prevent me from going by for lunch but you might want to bring some repellant.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank em04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrookCSM, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this review, 17 October 2011
Dear em04,

Greetings from Paradise! Thank you for taking the time to review our restaurant and we are very happy to hear you enjoyed the food and drinks. With regards to the mosquitoes, you did visit during the time of year when they become more prevalent, however, please be assured that we have programs in place to deal with this. In addition, guests frequently compliment our open-air, screened-in Beach House which houses our restaurant, bar, reception, gift shop and washrooms. The building is very comfortable and takes advantage of the panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. The Cape Santa Maria Beach House is the perfect spot to watch a golden sunset while having dinner.

Hope to see you again,

Brook Castelsky
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Turin, Italy
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 September 2011

the place is amazing, an autentic paradise: the front beach, the sea are sensational. Unfortunately here we are in mangrove environment full of mosquitos and overall sand flies. The manager of the resort is not taking care about this problem because for him is not considered important, but if you plan to stay here for more than 4-5 days it willl drive you crazy. I had more than 140 bites on my body and due to this I couldn't sleep during the night; after 5 pm you cannot stay on the beach because of them, so any sunset on the beach; we had to stay in the veranda to avoid sand flies; Management should perform a daily treatment as in all other caribbean resort is normal to do (Cuba, Anitlle, Bahamas as well...); since you pay at the very end more than 500 $ I pretend also not to have this serious problem.
Do not sign for a full meal plan; it is definetely not convenient for you, you will never spend that money in a day.
Prices for diving are too much expensive if compared to the rest of the world!

Finally: a paradise that turn into hell due to the above problems. It never happened to me in a place like this to be happy to come back home!

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank margo6767
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrookCSM, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this review, 29 September 2011
Dear margo6768,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review. We really enjoyed meeting you and your family and we are happy to hear you enjoyed the sensational beach and turquoise Caribbean Sea. I am glad we had the chance to ease your concerns while at the resort.

In response to your review, there are mangroves behind the resort which are wonderful for kayaking, but these salt water tidal areas do not contribute to the breeding of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes breed in stagnant or pooling water, but this is easily minimized by using a larvicide which we obtain from Bahamas Ministry of Environmental Health. As we discussed, like many other resorts, we do conduct regular fogging (if required) in the very early morning so you would not even know it happens. Fogging during this time of day is most effective in reducing mosquitoes and provides for a better guest experience. With regards to sand flies, often called no-see-ums, they can come out on the beach area during dawn and dusk for approx. 30-45 minutes, however we often have the wonderful southeast breeze (often called the "trade winds") that keep sand flies at bay. In addition, our screened porches provide a comfortable sitting area for you and your family and we supply each room with 2 different types of OFF repellant to assist keeping sandflies and mosquitoes away.

I am surprised you did not enjoy the meal plan because most of our guests say otherwise, and this is reflected in other reviews. I often recommend the Modified Meal Plan which includes breakfast and dinner. Our breakfast is served until 11am and dinner starts at 6pm. Often only a snack is needed in the middle of the day.

Given our conversations during your stay and our lengthy discussion regarding “continuous improvement”, I am confused by your comment that I do not care. Hopefully this response will assist in changing your opinion and you will think of us for your future beach vacations.

For anyone reading this review, I would encourage you to continue reading other guest reviews and I think you will get a great idea of what to expect at Cape Santa Maria; please do not hesitate to email the resort if you have any questions.

Best regards,
Brook Castelsky
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas

Property: Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas
Address: Galliot Cay, Long Island
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Long Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Long Island
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Long Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas 3*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Untouched... Undiscovered... Barefoot elegance in a Caribbean paradise. Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort is unlike any place you have ever experienced. Mile after mile of silky-fine sandy beach melts into the warm turquoise water. With twenty bungalows and a handful of villas steps from the most beautiful beach in the Bahamas, an escape to Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort is an experience you will never forget. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas Hotel Long Island
Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort And Villas
Cape Santa Maria Beach Hotel
Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas Bahamas/Long Island

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