On the drive from the airport to the Freeport Resort and Club, you observe that this section of the Bahama Islands appears to be a bit depressed, i.e. you see a lot of half-completed buildings, developments and homes. Some formerly open hotels/resorts are shuttered. The parking lots surrounding them are splintered by weeds, and are flecked with societies detritus, e.g. rubbish cans, plastic chairs, wind-driven plastic rubbish bags. Apparently, a few years ago, three hurricanes caused destruction from which the area has not yet fully recovered. Close to the resort, a casino closed, and the International Bazaar, where locals displayed and sold their wares, was shuttered. Therefore, your initial impression might be one of disappointment and trepidation of the week to come.
Arriving at the resort, you discover that the registration area is a bit smallish, crowded and not well lit. The person behind the desk was very nice and told us where our room was located, provided our keys and relieved us of $40.00 for maintenance and utility fees. You will be responsible for bringing your luggage to your apartment. If that apartment happens to be on the 2nd or 3rd level, you will need to carry your bags up the stairs – there are no elevators.
The apartment itself was quite clean, spacious and nicely furnished. The kitchen has a full complement of dishes, cutlery, microwave oven, coffee maker, etc. The TV is the older picture tube version, not the newer flat screen type, but adequate for viewing.
The resort provides a “Supermarket Run” on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday mornings where you can purchase food. The prices, of course, are higher than in the US stores and the selection is not as expansive. If you will be only staying at the resort for a week, you probably will be going to some of the Freeport Resorts’ sponsored/organized dinners (more on that later), so I caution you not to buy much food for evening meals but rather focus on buying breakfast cereal and/or eggs, juices etc.
The weekly Sunday 3:00 PM orientation meeting takes place in a smallish bar area adjacent to the pool. This was hosted by Billy, a rather affable young man who tries to put at ease all new arrivals and give them a perspective as to what to expect during their stay at the resort. His overall emphasis is to relax, take it easy, get to greet/meet the other “newbies” and look upon your vacation as one big happy family event.
Billy then introduced, “Smiling Pat” a lovely full-sized native with an beautiful infectious smile and keening laughter. Although “Smiling Pat” is not employed directly by Freeport Resort and Club, she apparently is favorably sponsored by the resort. Smiling Pat then explained/offered three events to take place during the week for which one can make reservations
Tuesday – Tour Botanical Gardens, Gold Rock Beach, an underwater cave, a tour to the east of the island where we were feted to fried lobster boxed lunch (with corn and dark rice) and Bahama Mama cocktails
Weds. – an expedition/boat ride to a private island, complete with a Bahamian style cookout and Bahama Mama cocktails
Thurs Evening – Junkanoo Lobster Fest which took place at the Caribbean Sports Bar, a local, open-air bar. Included were two free drinks (either beer or Bahamian cocktails; i.e. no hard liquor)
The total cost of these 3 events is $199.00 per person and, as Smiling Pat points out, does not include admission fees to the Botanical Gardens, does not include lobster lunch on Tuesday (paid to a local woman at the lunch site) and other miscellaneous items (a total of $33.00 additional costs). Also, Smiling Pat was unable to accommodate credit card payment, so several guests were driven to a local ATM machine to make a cash withdrawal to pay Smiling Pat in advance. After partaking of the 3 functions, the group decided that the $200 per person price was a bit on the high side; a more palatable/equitable price would be $150.00 per person, given the quality of what was received, BUT, when on vacation, higher prices are normal.
Most guests conceded that Smiling Pat needs to improve her organization, siteing, content and control of these tours. Every tour was late in starting. It appears that she arranged for a Taxi/Van/Bus on a last minute ad hoc basis and, as a result, there were some occasions where the party had to split up because the vehicle was too small to accommodate everyone. At the Thursday Lobster Fest , several persons were promised a complete lobster (not just the tail) but were only served the tail. Smiling Pat “appeared” to be concerned, but nevertheless, was unable to repair the situation.
Of the three events, the Wednesday event was best, the Thursday evening Junkanoo Lobsterfest, second and the Tuesday tours, third. However all 3 events were pleasant and provides one the opportunity to meet, socialize and build memories with the other guests at the resort.
The dominant demographic profile of guests at the Freeport Resort and Club is married persons, nearing or already retired. Singles probably would be disappointed in spending a week there.
The Smiling Pat tours/events, although lacking a bit on overall quality, nevertheless provide an environment where the guests mingle and get to know each other. And it is that camaraderie, those friendships that become the seasoning, the spice that makes the vacation total experience successful at the Freeport Resort and Club.
Would my wife and I go back to the Freeport Resort and Club ? Despite our disappointment at the overall quality of the Smiling Pat events, we met some wonderful people and therefore had a very enjoyable vacation, with some very special memories. However, “catching light in a bottle twice” is unlikely and therefore we probably will not return to Freeport Resort and Club.
Hope that this review/commentary provides you with some guidance in choosing your next vacation spot.
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- Also Known As:
- Freeport Resort And Club
- Freeport Resort & Club Hotel Freeport
- Freeport Resort & Club Bahamas - Grand Bahama Island