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“Perfect for me! Best staff EVER!”

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Small Hope Bay Lodge
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Andros
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 March 2014

Because most people travel as couples and in groups, as I single traveler and diver, I typically read up 12 novels and sometimes more on a one-week vacation...at Small Hope... I barely made it through 3 in 10 days.

I chose Small Hope because of Nicky and Linda in the front office. I called other hotels in the Bahamas with questions about their resorts and diving and was politely but firmly told: "All of that information is on our website if you look..." When I persisted, I was shutdown pretty quickly. When I emailed I got obviously "cut and pasted" formatted answers...

I had real human-to-human chats with Nicky and Linda. When Nicky promised to call back with the necessary info re a single room - I was skeptical. The phone rang five-minutes later... it was Nicky and he'd figured it out for me.

I arrived and got the tour from Linda... she seemed surprised when I asked for a room key... but found one for me. The first few days, I locked my door out of habit.. and big city paranoia.

But after that, somehow - I couldn't be bothered... that Small Hope vibe had given me a certain comfort level and I left it unlocked and open with my work laptop, passport, credit cards, cameras, and oh yes, my cash - lying around - I'm not tidy by nature!

Was that smart? Likely not - but here's the thing - I came home with everything except a pair of socks that I'd left in the dive gear room... gotta love that! And oops.. I inadvertently came home with 2X2 lbs. in my BCD. Sorry!

The rooms are not fancy or luxe... but my bed was comfie... lots of pillows, plenty of towels... I was never hot. Asked for an extra blanket and it arrived in minutes.

Food is great - despite my pre-trip workout and bikini efforts -the chocolate pie(s) were irresistible. If it tastes amazing - those extra calories are worth it!

They don't cheap out on the food - hello shrimp, lobster, TUNA STEAK and tenderlicious beef steak. YUM. I'm not a big fan of carbs and while the homemade potato chips (handcut), scallop type, potato salad, couscous etc are fab - there were lots of veggie and salad alternatives. I'd cook the tuna a tad less (I like red versus pinkish) and ditto on the chicken tho that surely would have ensured complaints.

I love that hot chocolate, tea (regular and about 10 herbal varieties) are available always - my only complaint - the hot water and coffee aren't hot eno but if you ask they'll boil some.

Is there eno to do here? Well I did 16 dives in 7 days... and I meant to walk the beach, sail the Escape, kayak, hike, visit blue holes and hot tub but somehow I feel asleep whenever I wasn't underwater.

Depending on the season - bring long sleeves, 1 sweater, and maybe long pants. I'm a big wimp and wore a wool sweater one night and an entire wardrobe of fleece hoodies... especially valuable on the dive boat.

The diving:
I saw more fish in Fiji and the Maldives but it's not a fair comparison and consider the airfare and travel time tradeoffs. I've never had more fun on a trip or a dive boat than at SHB.

The dive staff are extraordinary (Dennis, Becky, Claudis, Fedi, Tony) - I saw them show compassion, generosity of spirit and caring kindness with a number of divers who needed helped due to physical issues or nerves.

The Shark dive rocked my world...

Despite the fact my Toronto dive shop checked out my reg and BCD before my trip - I had failures on both - Fedi managed to fix one, then another part failed and finally my BCD went... I used their equipment for a bunch of dives. TX guys!

They had a good laugh over the air-conehead I get with my hood and suggested holes... when I mentioned that Gary from Washington was determined to chase my hood with a knife.. the staff offered to make pretty, tidy, stable holes in a pretty pattern with a melting device - tx. Adam and Dennis.

Small Hope really is like summer camp for adults and despite the fact I loathed summer camp - I adored Small Hope - go figure.

Back in the snow and ice and grey - I miss Small Hope and its people more than ever.

I came home grinning!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled solo
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3  Thank karadiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Erin S, MarketingTeam at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 7 March 2014

Thanks for such a great review!!! I'm so happy you had a great time. We definitely had a blast with you too. I agree with you, our office staff is really wonderful. Don't worry about the pies though, on vacation there are no calories, right? I'm glad you got to unwind and relax here. This is definitely the place for it. We hope to see you again soon. Maybe you can try out the rest of the stuff on your list next time! Stay warm.

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186 - 192 of 526 reviews

Reviewed 23 February 2014

If you are looking for a truly laid back vacation without all the fluff and frills of a typical tropical hotel I would highly recommend Small Hope.
No trained dolphins
No piped in music from speakers hidden in manicured landscape
No highrises
No waterslides
No shopping malls
No high heals
No sidewalks
It's like stepping back 50 years and enjoying
Walking barefoot
Hammocks
Fishing
Snorkeling
SCUBA
Kayaking
Bike riding on bumpy roads
Exploring
Playing ping pong
Reading
Eating local food
Enjoying the company of only 30+ others who are there for the same reason you are.
It's the most REAL tropical vacation you will ever experience.

Room Tip: All of the rooms (20?) are on ground level and look out to the water. Even the "furthest"...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Donna K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Erin S, MarketingTeam at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 March 2014

Thanks for such a great review Donna! It was great meeting you and your family. I am so happy you were all able to enjoy the things that make Small Hope special - the beach, the relaxation, getting away from it all, the great company here. I hope to see you guys back again for more fishing, relaxing, and maybe another dance party!

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Reviewed 22 February 2014

The staff at SHBL were REALLY great with my gluten-free diet. They came to me at each meal to tell me what was safe and not safe for me to eat. They cooked a separate batch of gluten-free conch fritters for appetizers each evening, and specified that they used separate frying oil. They brought in hard cider and gluten-free beer from Florida, especially for me. They obtained gluten-free baking mixes ahead of time, and made cookies, cake, and similar items for my desert. I couldn't possibly ask for more to address my gluten-free diet. And it tasted good!

This is a small place, serving mostly buffet-style food, with the guests and employees eating together. The staff were friendly, attentive, and caring. They got to know me personally, so that I usually didn't have to ask about any of the food.

Somebody called SBHL "summer camp for adults" and it's a pretty good description. It's low-key, water- and outdoors-oriented, a place where you get to know the other guests and the staff. The cabins are roomy, comfortable, and clean, though the bathrooms are rather cramped. They are lined up along the beach, directly facing the ocean.

We bicycled each day to some nearby sight, such as a blue hole. I went diving each day. And we relaxed. It was just what we wanted.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank swimmer402
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Erin S, MarketingTeam at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 February 2014

Thanks for the lovely review! I am so happy we could make your stay a great one, while making sure we provided you with some great gluten-free menu options. We always try to accommodate all dietary restrictions or requests and our kitchen staff does a wonderful job at incorporating gluten-free menu items. I am glad we could help make your vacation a relaxing one. Hope to see you back again soon!

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Reviewed 22 February 2014

It's interesting to me that the Trip Advisor review form asks writers to rate the *property* and not the *experience*. I am not one who measures the quality of my vacation by the kind of accommodations, but by the whole experience I have, how I feel while I'm there, and how I feel when I return home.

I must say, I have rarely returned from a vacation feeling more relaxed. Every time I stepped outside my cabin & caught sight of the water, I exhaled about 25 pounds of stress. Every moment I dozed in a hammock, I added back days to my life. Each time I looked down the beach, I felt a little more peaceful. Every time I sat down to breakfast or lunch or dinner & good conversation with a table of people I had met that day or that week, I felt energized. Each time I hung out with some fish-- I'm a snorkeler, not a diver-- I felt happy. Every adventure my husband and I embarked on added richness (and some good stories) to our many years together. To me, *these* are the things that ultimately make a five-star vacation.

I can understand that some reviewers might feel unhappy about showers, cabins, water pressure, beds, food, whatever. If you're considering this as a vacation spot, you have to understand-- this is not your standard 'resort'. It's on a mostly undeveloped island with no place else to go and nothing else to do-- no tourist shops, restaurants, nothing. Everything has to be brought in by boat or plane. Water is purified using reverse osmosis.

Do they charge if you want to use air conditioning? You bet-- at $1.50 per kilowatt hour, you probably would too. Are cabins, kayaks, bikes a little worse for wear? Yep, some equipment spruce-up would be good, but c'mon, when was the last time you rode a bike with fat tires and coaster brakes? Is wifi spotty in the lodge? Yep. They should either get a new router or make it clear that they really don't have wifi available during the day. If these things really matter to you, this is not your vacation destination.

Am I a shill for the management? Nope. My stay had its less than glorious moments. One night, I went into the teeny bathroom, tripped over the step to the shower and fell sideways into said shower. I startled my husband and had (have) a notable black & blue elbow to show for it. The next night, I used my head lamp.

A couple of times, I flopped into a hammock and my butt skimmed the ground-- OK, they should probably tighten the tie lines. The next time, I just hoisted myself into the hammock more gingerly.

We didn't have bugs, but we had some stiff breezes. I put on a long-sleeved shirt; if there had been bugs, I would have put on some bug stuff or stayed longer in the water. SHB is not in control of bugs, wind speed, or wave height, so comments about those things are irrelevant.

But the people of SHB? They are jewels. The Dive Masters, chefs, servers, office helpers, interns, everybody who works there, are each a joy to be around. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversations with them. And the other guests? I didn't love everybody I met, but that wasn't a requirement. I did, however, have conversations & adventures with people I liked a great deal & would look forward to seeing again.

The night before we left, as the traditional giving-of-the-certificate ceremony was underway with all its requisite silliness (including extreme caution and bravado!) I watched four new arrivals raising eyebrows at each other. They had opted to claim a table all to themselves, chosen not to extend a hand to any other guest in introduction, and thought it was appropriate to chat on a cell phone during dinner. I'm betting they come to Trip Advisor with a negative review.

I think Small Hope Bay is less about the physical 'stuff'-- food, accommodations, activities-- and thank it is about the ethos, of people reconnecting with the sea and nature and each other. *That's* why I'd go back to SHB in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank klbzklbz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Erin S, MarketingTeam at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 February 2014

Thanks so much for that review. I agree with you, the experience is what makes the vacation. And here, it sounds like you got to experience what we are most proud of - our beautiful location right on some of the most beautiful blue water in the world, relaxation, great food, and great conversation. Looking forward to the next time we see you!

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Reviewed 17 February 2014

I visited Small Hope Bay by myself as a sort of work vacation, to further research the subject matter for my second novel. The resort is fantastic. The atmosphere is casual and laid back, yet the facilities are top notch and the food prepared by their on-site chef is second to none. The staff became friends in the short time I was there, and the scuba diving off Andros Island's barrier reef and an ocean blue hole was some of the best I have experienced anywhere in the world. Plus, the diving staff is one of the safest I have had the pleasure to meet.

I have been to the Bahamas before, and already love the country and its people. While Nassau is a great spot as well, if you are looking for a more relaxing vacation, superior diving, an atmosphere similar to that seen in the television show Cheers, and a slower pace, it's well worth the minor effort to head over to Andros Island and Small Hope.

Room Tip: All the rooms are great and very clean, although semi-rustic. If you are like me, though, you spend...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled on business
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2  Thank Ryan L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Erin S, MarketingTeam at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 18 February 2014

Small Hope Bay Lodge - where everybody knows your name. Thanks for the great review, Ryan! I'm glad you had a great stay and were able to see some of the great diving we have here. You'll have to come back again to see some of our other blue holes on the island. Good luck on the book!

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Reviewed 17 February 2014

So my husband and I have avoided all-inclusive vacations successfully for several years. We loathe crowded resorts filled with demanding, annoying vacationers with lousy food and prefer to stay in out of the way funky, quiet, peaceful places. He was suspicious when I told him we were staying at Small Hope! But by the end of the week he told me he has never relaxed so completely and quickly in a one week vacation. I couldn't agree more. Everything is taken care of by Jeff's attentive and kind staff. The small group numbers lend to an intimate and casual atmosphere. The food was fantastic, the diving was great, and the hammocks are everywhere. The owner and staff are always present and available to answer questions and get you anything you might need from bicycles to directions to a cold drink. I completed my Advanced Open Water cert while there and found the dive staff to be incredibly knowledgeable, helpful and on top of things. Everyone does a check-out dive before heading out to dive--a very professional and safe place. And the resort course is free which is an amazing perk for anyone wanting to try out diving for the first time. We met some really wonderful people during the week and ate some of the best cake I've ever had (did I mention I don't like cake?) The food is laid out abundantly for every meal--we never had to carry a purse or wallet or anything for the entire week. Kayaks, small sailboats, snorkel gear, loungers and bicycles are available to use whenever you feel like it. Though there weren't any kids there during our week stay there is a whole room available to them where they can eat, hang out and play. We were there to dive but many of the folks we met were there to fish or just relax on the beautiful beach. Wake up, eat, dive, eat, nap, dive, eat, relax, laugh, sleep was our daily routine. If you like to shop at glitzy boutiques, wear high heels and makeup on vacation, or watch tv the whole time do yourself a favor and go somewhere else. The only thing you will find at Small Hope is rest, relaxation, great food, kind people, great conversation, turquoise water, lots of hammocks and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. The owner told me he thought of the lodge as an adult summer camp. I couldn't agree more! We will definitely be back!

Room Tip: Some cabins adjoin so be sure to specify if that's something you would need/like.
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank mvymermaid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Erin S, MarketingTeam at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 18 February 2014

Thanks so much for the great review! I am so happy you two enjoyed your time (and cake) here. We are definitely a different kind of all-inclusive resort than many are used to. We would love you see you guys back here soon. Congratulations again on getting your Advanced Open water certification!

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Reviewed 12 February 2014

Okay, first let me start this review by saying that Small Hope Bay Lodge is not for everyone. If you are looking for Las Vegas style "High Roller" treatment, you are looking in the wrong place. My wife and I picked Small Hope because we wanted to get away from the typical tourist trap style resorts. If you need a spa, swimming pools and casinos, you may want to try Nassau or Vegas. Small Hope is a "get away from it all" style resort. We stayed for 8 wonderful nights and though some reviews say that the rooms were "dirty", please keep in mind, the resort is ON THE BEACH...you are bound to drag some sand into your room (especially if you don't use the little feet washer tubs outside of the room)... When YOU are the person that is dragging dirt into your room, it is a little unfair to say that the rooms are not cleaned. Speaking strictly from my experience, the cleaning crew does a phenomenal job of making sure that the rooms are sand free, have clean towels daily, and that the bed is made exactly the same as it was when we arrived.

As far as reviews about the rooms being humid or muggy. Keep in mind, you are staying on a tropical island. If the room seems too wet or humid, they all have air conditioner units that you can use if you would like. Close the windows and fire up the old A/C if the urge hits you. We did not utilize the A/C for any of our stay. There is a ceiling fan and a rotary fan in the room that, with open windows, does a pretty good job of keeping the room cool enough.

In response to the reviewer who stated that the trip is not worth it "unless you are a diver", that statement is not only false, but absolutely ridiculous. I arrived at Small Hope Bay not only never having dived before, but without any want to get in deeper water for a fear of sharks. This thought however, quickly vanished with the help of the amazing dive staff that Small Hope Employs. Dennis, Tony, Rebecca and Federico are an absolute joy to be around and are very knowledgeable with regards to diving and diving safely. If the urge strikes you, it is more than possible to earn your open water diving certification on your stay (I did!) For those people that are not into diving or do not wish to dive, there are TONS of other activities offered for your enjoyment. When I was not diving, the wife and I spent our time relaxing in the hammocks or the lounge, snorkeling, kayaking the creeks or bay, going on the tour of and swimming in the magnificent blue holes, learning about bush medicine and hiking etc... To say that there is nothing to do unless you are a diver is not a fair statement to make when you take into account that there is even more that we did not have time to do.

As far as the food goes, it is true that most of the meals are done in buffet style dining. When you take into account the variety of foods that are being offered (to ensure that there is something there for everyone) it only makes sense to serve the meal that way. The variety is vast and the food is cooked wonderfully. Oh and if you are going to be out exploring one of the activities previously listed, you can also get lunch to go.

There are quite a few very unfair reviews that have been posted. The folks at Small Hope are very friendly, care about the needs of their customers and will jump through hoops to ensure that you have a good time. Throughout my travels, I have never visited a place that made me feel like a family member or that has given me such a sense of belonging. We already have another trip planned for October. Cannot wait to get back down to Small Hope Bay Lodge to visit with Jeff and the rest of the family. See you all soon and thanks for a great time!

Paul Freitas

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Paul F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Erin S, MarketingTeam at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 15 February 2014

Thanks for the great review, Paul! I am so glad you both enjoyed your time here. We are definitely a get-away-from-it-all kind of place. And I definitely agree that there are plenty of activities (and inactivities) for both divers and non-divers to keep as busy as they wish for their entire stay. It was really great meeting you two and we look forward to seeing you both back here soon! Congrats again on getting your dive certification!

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Additional Information about Small Hope Bay Lodge

Address: Fresh Creek, 00000, Andros
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Andros
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 9 Hotels in Andros
Price Range: £308 - £654 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Small Hope Bay Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We have been catering to scuba divers, snorkelers, fishermen, eco-tourists, and relaxers since 1960. Third largest barrier reef in the world and bonefish heaven. There are 21 all-inclusive rooms in cottages right on the beach. Come experience our unique ambience, friendly staff, and natural safe environment. Our dock and dive shop are right on property and fishing trips are easily arranged. Of course, if grabbing a drink, a book, and a hammock are more your style, go right ahead. We have 2 beaches and plenty of hammocks. Rest, Relaxation, and Rediscovery ... ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Small Hope Bay Hotel Andros
Small Hope Bay Resort
Small Hope Bay Lodge Andros, Bahamas

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