Sandals Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, Bahamas
Merging sophistication, comfort and an unspoiled setting, Sandals Emerald Bay sets the standard for paradise, island-style. This temple of gracious living resides on secluded Great Exuma, in the Bahamas spectacular Exuma cays. Each guest room and suite has its own furnished terrace or balcony, and Residence Suites boast indoor and outdoor dining areas. For a la dolce vita gourmet treat, dine at El Cielo, whose enchanting Bahamian ambience is accentuated by floor-to-ceiling glass panels.
Steps from your room, you can savor a homeopathic treatment in an outdoor spa cabana, the tranquility of the quiet pool or the serenity of a white sand beach. For the tee set, the resorts championship 18-hole golf course was designed by golf legend, Greg Norman. Divers and snorkelers will relish Exuma Cays National Park and the brightly colored tropical fish, delicate coral and graceful manta rays right outside the bay. If you need a dose of culture, head for the George Town Straw Market or Little Exumas 16th-century cotton plantation.
Location of Sandals Emerald Bay
Nearest Airport: GGT
Reviews for Sandals Emerald Bay
The water & beaches are likely the most stunning of any we've visited. Pictures will not do it justice. It was simply breathtaking. I am going to try to cover everything since I really depended on the reviews here before I went on our trip. Thank you to everyone--as we took a lot of bits and pieces from numerous reviews. I do think that reading said reviews also allowed me to set realistic expectations before ever even leaving Wisconsin. I knew that the rooms were in rough shape--and I was grateful to know that up front so that it wasn't a total surprise once we arrived. Accommodations (Room/Halls/Etc)- Given that this is classified as a 5 star luxury property, I can assure you that isn't accurate. The rooms are extremely dated given the cost to stay here. We had lots of mold in our shower area, as well as on the window in the toilet area of the bathroom. When looking closely at the light fixture in the shower area, it looked like no one had ever bothered to clear out all of the dust as it was at least an inch thick. The ice machine was rusted and gross with a ton of garbage that was covered in dust bunnies underneath of it. The hallway to our room had the same garbage in it all week long--no one ever picked it up. Our leftovers that we brought back to the room were placed right outside our door by our housekeeping staff and it sat there for more than 24 hours. It was gross and I was worried it would start drawing bugs but I had no idea where else to put it? I took a bath using an amazing bath bomb that I bought in the gift shop on Day 4. Our tub was never cleaned once for the remainder of our 9 day trip. Housekeeping typically came at the very end of the day and once they didn't come at all. To Vernae's credit, one day I called and requested service midday (because they hadn't come the day before) and someone came right away to take care of our room while we went to a late lunch. She was extremely responsive to issues. If you are club level, you will likely have to call to have your fridge stocked, and again they don't come until 4 or 5pm. Island time is a real thing here--and we appreciated that everything moved slowly most days, but for it to take multiple calls to get a few bottles of water was sort of annoying. Also, I had called several times before our arrival and had requested to be located in the 7000 building. This didn't happen. We were placed in building 4. Our view was nice, but it wasn't what I had requested on multiple occasions. They did say that they could offer us a room in the requested building by midweek, but I had no desire to unpack and repack everything. Stuff to do Off Property- The pig tour is seriously amazing. If you are visiting Exuma, this is a MUST-DO. We booked through Island Routes right at the resort, and it was quick and easy. We did the 1/2 day tour for $188pp. Yes, we did research other companies before going, but felt that Island Routes was most reliable and had the most positive feedback in terms of customer satisfaction and safety. Our tour guides MJ & Vano were amazing. The beer was bottomless along with soda and water. They did hand out cookies as a snack. I made the mistake of not bringing my own snacks--don't be me. 5 hours out in the sun is a long time when you are sucking down Sands' Beer for the duration, and a cookie or two won't cut the mustard. I don't drink beer, but I was still starving. Do yourself a favor and bring some food along. All 6 people in our party enjoyed every part of this tour. You won't regret spending that money, I promise. My husband and I also opted to rent a jeep for Valentine's Day so that we could tour the entire island alone for the day. I had done a bunch of research and had booked a month prior to our travel with Exuma Airport Rentals. I had an email confirmation from the company showing this. We did stop by the reception desk prior to Valentine's and ask if we needed to do anything further and the staff assured me that our car would be delivered by the company as requested. Well, nope. The Island Routes desk claimed that they worked directly with Exuma Airport Rentals and that they didn't have my confirmation despite me showing them my email proof. We ended up having to get a bigger vehicle than we had requested a month prior on top of having to pay an extra $80. We both felt this was an easy way for Island Routes to just upcharge us since we had already confirmed through Airport Rentals. The whole thing felt super shady and sheisty to both my husband and I. Whatever the case, we really just wanted to get our day of exploration started, so we were finally on our way about 1.5 hours after we were initially scheduled. We went from one end of the island to the other. Coco Plum was stunningâ€¦absolutely beautiful. No words to describe its beauty. We hit Santana's, did some window shopping in Georgetown, and randomly stopped at the most amazing beach ever on our way back to the resort--we thought it was Tropic of Cancer but there were no signs, so I'm guessing we were wrong. It was the most stunning beach we have ever seen, though I can't tell you what it was. It wasn't far from Santana's going back toward Georgetown. We couldn't find the ferry to Chat & Chill --likely this was just us missing it, but we were fine without it. I felt like Santana's was crazy overpriced, but that is likely just my interpretation since I don't eat seafood. $90 for my husband and I to each have one entree and one drink seemed crazy. (That amount did include a handsome tip for the lovely staff there.) We also hit Mom's Bakery right next door. So yummy! Rum cake--and she doesn't skimp on the rum. My bestie got 3 ladle's full. Mmmmmmm. Be sure to walk over to the Marina to take a look at all of incredible yachts. It was crazy to see multi-million dollar vessels just chilling in the marina. It was a quick and easy walk along the golf path to get over there. Food- We tried everything on property. Honestly the food was great. Tops was probably Kimono's. Chef Nice was entertaining and his food was delightful. Service at this restaurant was hands down the best we had. Our cocktails were filled before they were ever empty. I wish I could remember the gentleman's name who was our server--he was on top of it. My husband also raved about the sushi place, Soy. Based on his pictures, he and a few other friends enjoyed all that the menu had to offer and everything was stellar. The french place was also great--their french onion soup was fantastic. We loved Bombay and enjoyed that our party of 6 were served family style. Again, we ordered everything on the menu and all items were great. We ate twice at Italian, and both times were good. We did Barefoot one afternoon for lunch. It was okay. Dino's pizza was a quick and easy grab and go, and we enjoyed this several times throughout our 9 day stay. The only negative for the food was that I felt their breakfast buffet was lacking in terms of variety. After visiting Iberostar Grand Resorts for our last several vacations, I felt that Sandals paled in comparison. We did opt to hit the Italian place for a la carte breakfast for a few days, and it was enjoyable. The Drunken Duck had fantastic pub fare. We feasted on bar food several evenings and fully enjoyed it. On Valentine's Day/ White Night Party had the most amazing dessert buffet ever. Literally tables upon tables upon tables of desserts - plus a chocolate fondue table too. OMG. So good! Also, don't miss the bread lady on the beach. Her white chocolate stuffed buns were heavenly. Nightlife- We had so much fun in the evenings at this resort. Our group of 6 are all in our late 30's. The Piano Bar was SO much fun. Heston is so unbelievably talented, and can play pretty much anything on demand. Be sure to spend time with him. He has a wonderful story to share that is worth your time. He really went out of his way to include absolutely everyone in the audience and all got their moment 'on stage' with him. The Drunken Duck was a ton of fun. Imagine your favorite bar where the drinks are bottomless--and also free! From the DJ who played tons of great dance tunes, to the evenings with Karaoke. Our group really enjoyed this place. I have seen a lot of other bum reviews on the Duck--I do fully believe that I was travelling with a group that brings the party wherever we go, so we made our own fun most places and other guests happily joined in. We made friends from one coast to the other on this trip. I encourage you to do the same. Staff- The staff at Emerald Bay absolutely elevated our experience. I have so many names to call out, but to list a few... Heston, thank you for making us feel like family while we were there. You're an incredible entertainer and Sandals is truly lucky to have you. (Tell them Kasey and Joe-Joe said so.) Kwame at the pool bar. This guy is as good as it gets in terms of bartenders. He was a ton of fun, extremely personable, and went out of his way to come up with creative and fun things for us to drink. He treated us like family. Our Yeti's were never empty ever. Same goes for Michelle at the pool bar. She was a rock star time and time again. Irvaughn who worked the Piano Bar as well as the Italian restaurant, I don't think he ever takes a day off. He works tirelessly to ensure everyone is happy and cocktails are always full. Lauren was an amazing server at the Italian place. She was extremely upbeat, friendly, and on top of it despite trying to serve many, many tables at one time. Dwavonte, our photo guy was also awesome. He shared a ton of tips for the pig excursion and was just super friendly and a ton of fun to be around. Antwan in Club Sandals was great as well! My husband got Scuba certified while we were there and both gentlemen in the Dive shop were amazing, Lincoln & David. Lincoln even came in on his day off so that my husband could get his second dive in before we left. So appreciated!!! I know I am missing a number of awesome people, but I did my best to remember who I could despite consuming sizable quantities of alcohol for 9 days. Our takeaway from Sandals Emerald Bay is this...will we return? Very unlikely given the amount of money spent and the accommodations provided. Please give the rooms a rehab, and we would absolutely consider it. Would we visit Exuma again, yes absolutely--the water is such a sight to behold. But I will take the advice of a very wise and sweet older woman that I met at the airport before we left and stay at Club Peace & Plenty for less than $150 a night and enjoy a truly authentic Exuma experience.
kaseyandjoejoe - Madison, Wisconsin
We travelled to Sandals Emerald Bay in July, where we stayed for 7 nights on our honeymoon. We had a very enjoyable stay and look forward to traveling to Sandals in the future. Below are the pros and cons of our trip (we've stayed at 10+ all inclusive resorts). Pros: - Scuba diving - amazing staff and dives. We dove 4 days. Lincoln and Bancroft are knowledgeable, friendly, and great dive masters. - Food- Hands down best ever all inclusive resort food!! Including ambiance of restaurants, We loved everything. - Rooms- Simple, clean, nice. We had a great balcony and unobstructed ocean view. - Beach access- the beach is beautiful and private. The whitest and softest sand with beautiful water. The most shades of blue I've ever seen! - Staff- friendly always saying hi regardless of their position. I never once met an irritable or grumpy staff member (can't stand the same for other all inclusives!) - Grounds are beautiful and very well kept. - Swimming pigs excursion!!! Set up directly with hotel. - Photographer everywhere. So if you would like to pay $16.32 for each picture, that's an option (while we thought the pics were way overpriced, they were nice pictures and we liked the option). Cons: - Pool service - no drink service around the pool, empty drinks sat on pool ledge all day (literally! In fact, 2 mornings all the empty cups were still at the pool when we left for diving at 8:20 AM) - Pool Bar- slowwww service. Expect to wait about 20 minutes for your drink order (we learned to order 2 of each drink). Alcohol is watered down. We literally watched them fill water from soda water dispenser into alcohol bottles. - Room Service - we ordered 3x. First wait 1 hour 35 minutes. Second time, after 2 hours and 10 minutes, I called to ask status. After phone call it was delivered in another 15 mins (2 hours and 25 mins total wait time). 3rd time I thought I'd rush them by calling after 50 minutes when ETA was 40.... This didn't help (and just made me more annoyed) and food showed up after 1 hour 30 mins. - While the beach is beautiful, don't count on a chair unless you have a butler.
AmyVivv - San Jose, California
if you are a golf or tennis player - excellent resort. We went to dive - resort did not make much effort to adjust dive times when winds were high in morning.... so didnt get to dive for 4 days - when others (off resort) were diving
Josh F - Livonia, Michigan
Trash on beach, in stairwells entire time. Very rude staff. With the exception of the French restaurant and the lobster tails the food was below average. Got sick from the sushi. Had a water leak and uncovered a molded rug.
DTT4243 - Atlanta, Georgia
Great resort on Great Exuma Island. All inclusive resort that pretty much takes care of everything form the time you get to the airport, till the time you leave. 1. Airport-This is the only thing that really needs improvement. Small, hot, crowded airport. On arrival everyone is jammed into a space which is much to small and bags are manually brought through a garage type door. You need to claim your own bags and climb over people/bags the try to get on line to clear customs. On the way home the resort drops you off at the airport and it takes quite some time to check in (only one agent for Delta, and one for American) and the waiting room is cramped and needs upgrades. That said, once through customs the transportation and check in is very organized and professional. 2. Rooms- Not five star but definatley 4 star, with nice resort views. If you need a view of the ocean from your room, request a 3rd floor room or pay extra to stay at the villas on the beach. Housekeeping is a little weak, as your room wasn't usually cleand to late in the day (around pm) 3. Food_ Better than most carribean resorts, with plenty of diversity. Great breakfast buffet, and we really liked Bombay the Indian Restaurant. Only restaurant we didn't like was the Italian restaurant where the service was spotty and food mediocre. Drunken Duck was excellent with a lively bar . We found you were better off not eating meat (beef) as it was tough with an over abundance of grizzle. The fish at every venue was great and fresh. Service was generally very good 4. Golf- Excellent golf Course in very good condition. Very challenging especially because the wind is constantly blowing between 10-20 mph. Bring plenty of golf balls , if you hit it off the course it is either in the ocean or vegetation. Also, play from the appropriate tees, the course is challenging and don't forget you are there to have fun. Note : The golf operation is loose, they will give you a tee time, but it really doesn't matter, one day 4 different groups were given the same tee time, we worked it out ourselves on the practice green. Pace of play was surprisingly good for 5 of our six rounds (the 6th round we got behind a group of 4 men who were playing from the wrong tees, were struggling and were the type of golfers who didn't care that they were holding up the course for everyone else, and wouldn't let anyone play through. ) We along with a couple of other groups, skipped a whole to pass them and that solved that problem. Course is very well designed with spectacular holes on the back nine. Resort- Well laid out with nice beach, and great facilities. Different pool areas available for those who want it noisy and those who want a more sedate lounging experience. Average age of guests were in the 30-50 year old ran
hyeykysy - Wallace, North Carolina