I truly cannot get over the disparity in the reviews for this place. Three gal pals and myself got a great deal through Groupon and decided to go for it. After reading all the reviews - the good, bad and ugly - I corresponded with a few people who had given positive ones. Their feedback was consistent: if you go with an open mind that this is a three-star resort and plan accordingly, then you should have a great time. So, that's what we did.
Check-in - Yes, they're firm about the 3:00 check-in time, and that's been said here over and over. So, if arriving early, park your luggage, go get your free drinks, and sit in one of the many available chairs on the grounds and enjoy your surroundings. You're in the Bahamas!
Resort workers - Didn't meet one we didn't like. But, we smiled, asked how their day was going and tipped! Took plenty of $1s and starting tipping on day one. The Bahamian people are wonderful and appreciate courtesies and kindness, as anyone would. Start right away and you will receive as many towels as you need, good drinks and wonderful smiles. They work hard for their pay. Find Laverne at the grill for omelets and fried eggs. She's been there 23 years and knows what she's doing. And you're not going to rush her. Her motto: "Love takes time."
(She's also in charge of the bacon stash, an even more crucial reason to make friends…)
The grounds - There had been a hurricane there the week before we arrived, but aside from a shore line with seaweed on it, everything else looked fine. No, it doesn't have manicured grass. Think of it as being in its "natural state," and just look at all the gorgeous flowers and trees. The beach is beautiful, regardless of the seaweed. As said many times, there are plenty of lounge chairs for everyone and ample places with shade. It never felt crowded. We didn't take water shoes, and didn't need them. There were some places in the water where you might hit a little coral rock sticking up, but it wasn't all over and certainly not a problem. You will find your favorite "spot" on the beach where it might be quieter (to the left facing the ocean - green chairs) or more where the action is (to the right - blue chairs). There is a lifeguard on the beach and there was a security guard walking up and down the beach from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. every day, so the management did take concerns about "drug dealers" seriously, it would seem, as we never saw any. And the guy going up and down the beach with an orange shirt and yellow shorts acting friendly with everyone is selling conch shells, not drugs. His mother sells beads on the same beach and they are apparently allowed there, but not at all intrusive. Many women happily had their hair braided by the women walking by and even my friends bought some of the beads being offered. A "no, thank you" will send them on their way.
Rooms - Part of our deal was a Vista room, and it was fine. A/C worked very well and had a consistent hum to it - like white noise - which blocked out any possible outside or second floor noise. Had it set it to a desirable temperature with one of the worker's help. Two of us overlooked the ocean in a first-floor room and two were in a second-floor room also overlooking the ocean and grounds. The beds were very comfortable, and I didn't see one bug - dead or alive - in either of the rooms. We were in the green buildings, Bimini, I guess, and that could be the difference in the room reviews, as some of the yellow/orange buildings faced the trapeze area or each other. (And, yes, there is a working trapeze!) And I'm guessing that those buildings haven't been refurbished yet. Our rooms had two queen beds, a flat screen TV and a pedestal sink in the bathroom with plenty of room on the counter for "stuff." The shower was huge (looks like they took out a tub and glass-enclosed part of the shower for a modern look - very nice). We had plenty of toilet paper, soap, (and shampoo, but I would suggest taking your own). As I said before, make friends with your maid as soon as you arrive and you will have everything you need - even washcloths (but take them just in case…).
Drinks - No one had any complaints and, again, a $1 tip will go a long way in achieving your desired "strength."
Food - First of all the buffet facility was open-air, as is everything except your room - the only place that has A/C. If you go in the summer months, yes, it's going to get warm in there. Sit by a window or under a fan. It's not stifling. There is full and plenty for everyone at the buffet, but as suggested on other posts, get there as early as possible for a good selection. Each night there was a different roasted meat. The first night was a full turkey, another night was racks of spare ribs (excellent!) and another night was a sirloin roast of some kind. Plus, they had all kinds of pastas and salads, watermelon and fresh pineapple every night we were there (very popular!) and a specialty dish each night - one night it was shrimp. We didn't try the restaurants, and really didn't feel the need to.
Pool - Beautiful big pool. You can get beach towels there (you will get a card when you arrive and hand that in for the towel) Lots of activity at the pool - Zumba, yoga, bingo, etc. There's also a large hot tub nearby.
VIP up-grade - We weren't asked if we wanted to do this, and I would only do it if it mean't going from a standard room to a Vista room. The VIP seating wouldn't be worth it, as in the dining area it was an elevated area, which just looked like a hotter place to sit, and on the beach it was a roped-off area in the middle of the beach, which looked a little bit isolating more than anything. Nothing special about it.
Cabs - We had "Chubbie," a great guy who went out of his way to return a package that was left in the cab. A cab drive into Port Lucaya was $20 for 4 of us.
Port Lucaya - A nice little get-away if the weather isn't great, but it's mainly many small "stalls" on streets with people selling their mostly home-made items. There's also a casino in the Memories Hotel across the street. The Bahamian baskets are especially nice, as is some of the hand-made jewelry. Zorba's was a great place for lunch with a nicely varied menu.
Excursions - We didn't do any - our one attempt was cancelled due to weather, but there are plenty to choose from, including an evening fish fry.
Dress - For the most part, very casual. People did seem to "clean up" for dinner, however, and some (women) would wear beachy dresses or pants/capris.
There is a drug store/sundry shop on the premises that sells water, snacks, souvenirs, etc. as well as another store selling some clothes and more souvenirs.
So, to sum this lengthy review up - expect three-star, not five, a Bahamian experience with wonderful, warm people if you treat them as such, and a relaxing respite from life's daily grind on a very nice property. (And don't sweat the small stuff…)
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- Also Known As:
- Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Hotel Freeport
- Wyndham Hotel Freeport
- Wyndham Freeport
- Viva Fortuna
- Freeport Wyndham
- Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Resort
- Club Viva Fortuna
- Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach Bahamas/Freeport, Grand Bahama Island