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Kamalame Cay
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Reviewed 17 June 2013

What a magical escape from the bustling life of the city! A short boat ride away from Nassau but a completely different world. We have been to Kamalame many times and the beach continues to grow- thanks to the owners removing invasive plant species along the coastline. The beach on the west side of the island is a welcome addition for those winter days when it may be windy on the east side.
The diving is great- just offshore is the third longest barrier reef in the world and Andros is famous for blue holes both in land and off shore. We swam with a friendly pod of wild dolphins that we found in the channel between Kamalame Cay and the mainland. Snorkeling is very good, although you are best off taking a boat out to one of the uninhabited cays just offshore to see the most fish- and have a picnic while you're out there.
Food is delicious- we were there for Crab Fest (middle of June) and had tasty crabs for dinner on the beach by moonlight. The band that plays at the tiki bar on Saturday nights is excellent. We appreciated that the owners are concerned about marine conservation and don't serve crawfish or Nassau grouper when it's out of season. The tuna caught just offshore couldn't have been fresher.
The owners were most welcoming to our whole crew- family with small children and dogs too. This is not the place for you if you are looking for shops and busy entertainment. It is peaceful, quiet and remote- a perfect relaxed island getaway.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank CasuarinaWesley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2013

As a couple of well seasoned travelers it is really hard to find a place that works perfectly for both of us. That was until our visit to Kamalame. It is really hard to find a place that is not full of loud mouthed tourists ( I know, I know we are tourists too), and that offers a true island experience (sand at your door step, miles of beach to yourself, great food and great people). We arrived by sea plane with a guy called Paul Hardling. It took about a 20 mins and was just spectacular. The first night we were there they had a beach BBQ with a bonfire and Junkanoos (sp) - we danced under the stars around the bonfire until really late which for a Mom with three kids is a rare treat. The next four days were bliss. Rode bikes on the beach, went diving twice, went fishing and slept in late (its been years), ate way too much of the amazing food and got to know the staff really well. Special thanks to Leah, Sampson and Patrice for making our last night so special.

Casey and Wynter

P.S I wrote this last night and just noticed andyepsts review as I was about to post our review. Feel free to contact me as it looks like we were there the same time as you were and we loved everything.

Room Tip: We stayed in Wild Dilly which is right on the beach.
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Wynter C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
davidkamalame, Owner at Kamalame Cay, responded to this reviewResponded 7 June 2013

Dear Wynter & Casey,

We are so happy you enjoyed your time here at Kamalame. Thank you for you your praise and appreciation!

The Junkanoo is such a special event! The troop that we use is one of the best in the nation. They compete every year both locally and nationally. The major Junkanoo ‘rush’ takes place in Nassau on Boxing Day (26th December) and New Years Eve. It’s always a fantastic evening when we have them come and rush for us!

Thank you for your complements on the food, too! Food is such an integral part to a visit to Kamalame. We pride ourselves on sourcing our seafood both locally and from the Bahamas. And of course, our ice cream - more than 10 varieties, made from scratch - each and every day!

We look forward to seeing you again soon our way! Please come back and see us soon!

Best,
David Hew

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 June 2013

I wanted a place that my wife would like to stay at while we went bone fishing. We found it hard to believe there would be a 4* place on Andros, population 8,000 and inconvenient to get to. When Kamalame Cay resort was built, it was probably amazing. Everything was new and it mush have been great. Well, the shame of it is, that it is now in disrepair and in desperate need of renovation. Some of the cottages are in better shape than others. I can only surmise that those who gave the place high marks, must have stayed in one of the better cottages. We stayed in 3 of them during the 4 nights we were there. The first one, had lots of ants. They sprayed. Now it was a matter of smelling pesticide all night. Beside that, the a/c was blowing warm. they had to and did fix it that evening by adding freon. The faucets were all tarnished beyond repair, wood in need of painting outside, gaps under the door allowing bugs to get in easily, etc. To call it shabby chic is a good description but not at $1,000 per night plus. $300-$500 maybe. We moved rooms and the next one was a bit better but still had its problems. A roach and a spider came out of the drain. At least the beach was raked at this one because the first cottage which was furthest from the office was ignored and it had plenty of seaweed. The food was ok and the staff was great. In fact, after asking, they gave us one comp night so we stayed an additional night at another cottage. Same condition. Don't get me wrong. This place has a lot of potential but just not worth the amount they charge. here are some other observations:
golf carts are only in fair shape
not every cottage had a charger so you had to beg borrow steal a charger
many electrical boxes throughout the grounds were left open to the rain. this is not only unsightly, but also a hazard.
cleanliness of the beach previously mentioned
no Internet in the rooms. you have to go to the main office to get Internet
no phones in the rooms. they give you a small cell phone to call them in case of a problem.
the front desk is not manned late a night so you are on your own
By the way, I fully agree with those who gave poor ratings to this place. I tried contacting some of the people who rated it as excellent just to see which cottage they stayed in. Nobody got back to me. Now I wonder if those reports are phoney's. Maybe the management was making them up

Room Tip: wait till they renovate. it is in desperate need of renovation
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank andyepst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
davidkamalame, Owner at Kamalame Cay, responded to this reviewResponded 4 June 2013

Dear Andyepst,

It deeply concerned me to read your review of Kamalame. Thank you for the complements on our staff, Leah and the rest of the team worked very hard to address all your needs. It was a lovely surprise to receive the note from your wife saying how wonderful our staff is. I am also sorry that we were unable to accommodate you for the further additional night you had wanted to stay as we were fully booked. But I also wanted to address some of your observations, personally.

We work very hard to maintain our beach. We have experienced a freak bout of weather for this time of year over the past couple of weeks with unusually high winds. With this, comes a great deal of seaweed that washes up. After working with many different options, we have found that our beach cleaner is the most efficient and effective solution. We clean up literally hundreds of pounds of seaweed every week. We also take care to leave a certain amount for the coastal ecology which is so important to us here at Kamalame. When we started the resort some 15 years ago, the beach was lined with Australian Pines which are an exotic and invasive species here in the Bahamas. Their pine needs are toxic to other plants and as a result none of the indigenous flora can survive with them present. We worked tirelessly to cut down and burn each one of the trees along the beach. As a result, we were rewarded with the wonderful beach we have today. The seaweed is an integral part of this restoration. The sea oats, bay lavender and other coastal plants that now grow in place of the Australian Pine have resulted in our beach gaining 30’ of sand in some places. And as a further encouragement, we are also recognised by the National Audubon Society as having one of the largest known migratory populations of the endangered Piping Plover. However, the fact still remains that we are a barrier island and as such we are constantly working with nature to maintain and improve the beach and waters surrounding the cay.

From our inception, one of the main tenants behind us starting Kamalame was for it to be a place where one could escape from the stress of the every day. And with this, we made a conscious decision to not put phones, TV’s or internet into the rooms. Times have changed slightly and internet no longer plays a solely work related role in our lives. However, we have a clear split of opinions from guests on this matter. We have those, like yourself, that would like to have internet in their rooms. However, we also have a large portion of our guests that absolutely relish in the idea that they cannot be reached by email and social media. They are thrilled that they have to make a special trip to Pineapple House to pick up a signal and then they can leave the world behind them. We have couples and families alike that love it that the others in the party have to limit their contact with the outside world and really enjoy the down time together - So, too, with the absence of phones in the rooms. For the most part, our guests come here to get away from everyone and everything. The small cell phone we provide proves to be sufficient for the majority of communication that is generally needed. We have always been of the position that this is the guests’ opportunity to relax and get away from it all and it is not our place to intrude upon such seclusion. Although our font desk is not manned after 7pm, there is the full staff in the Great House until the end of dinner service and then every phone has a direct line to the manager on duty in case of an emergency or other unforeseen needs.

I would like to address your final comment on your review. I am distressed by the suggestion that we would have false reviews posted on our profile. Not only is this against Trip Advisor policy, but it is also unethical. Every one the reviews posted on these pages are written by guests that have felt to take it upon themselves to share with others their experience, such as yourself. We understand that Kamalame is not for every traveller and there is a plethora of options today for different experiences. We are proud of what we do here at Kamalame. We take everyone’s reviews and critiques very seriously and work continuously to improve upon what we deliver.

I want to thank you again for choosing to come to visit us at Kamalame. I know the staff very much enjoyed their time with you. And I know each and every one of them is looking forward to your return – which I understand you’re thinking of planning already. I, too, look forward to welcoming you back to Kamalame and getting to spend some time with both you and your wife. We are a family here and our guests become an extended branch of that very same family. As ever, I am at your disposal if you have any questions or concerns.

Best,
David Hew

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 May 2013

First off, we should mention that we had a reasonably good time, the staff was nice, and the food was good enough. But it's a very bad deal.

We paid $750/night for a beach suite (we had the one called "Driftwood") incl breakfast basket delivered to the room every morning, which comes to about $900/night incl taxes, etc. (beware: that does NOT mean breakfast included; if you go to the mainhouse in the morning and have BF or order some real BF such as scrambled eggs from the a la carte menu, you'll pay extra! And another immediate thought: the $400/day add-on to get the all you can eat and drink package is probably only worth the money if you are a serious alcoholic and even then only if you intend to be continuously [--]). That's a rate that gets you a night at the Curton Bluff in Antigua or pretty much most major 5-star island resorts around the world if you can time it a little (just one example, the Kanuhura in the Maldives where we've been before would have cost about the same during the same period)

And that's where the problem lies. The whole place looks and feels like the Kanuhura done on a budget while still charging Kanuhura prices, and it even feels like they have the balls to suggest that the shortcomings are on purpose to make it more natural or authentic (the "natural" and non-kept beach, absence of TV and wireless in the room, no real room-service). It feels like a bad joke.

For avoidance of doubt, we don't need creature comforts at all costs and in fact we love going to off the beaten track unconventional places, we've been to Thailand, etc. But then we'd pay, say, $200/night, not $900. Basically it's like an amateur resort charging pro rates. And thinking that they'd charge some $1,300+ for a 1-bedroom villa (which we might have wanted because we came with 2 young kids) just makes us laugh.

So, with this basic issue settled, a couple objective ratings which we'd hope people might find helpful:

- the beach: we don't want to be mean but honestly, it sucks! On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the whitest and finest sand the world has to offer), we'd rate it a 5. We are not snobs who need a manicured beach. But if a 10 is La Digue in the Seychelles, Kanuhura and a few other places in the Maldives, or even Pink Sand Beach on Harbor Island in the Bahamas, then this beach doesn't even come close irrespective of whether it's kept or not. It's fairly shallow which is nice for young kids and the water isn't rough. But that's about it in terms of positives by global nice beach standards. The sand is neither fine nor deep and it simply looks dirty (blackened seaweed and other plant debris and actually a fair amount of man-made debris; they sometimes try to clean it and run a tractor with a machine attached up and down the beach but it actually makes it worse because it just works the debris into the sand). Plus we went the last week of March which is in fact the start of the horsefly season (as duly noted by another reviewer and unfortunately ignored by us). Horseflies are about an inch long and very aggressive, their bites hurt like [--] and they are everywhere on that beach. We also saw some white bubbles at times. Whether that's just soap from the hotel or not, who cares, it doesn't belong into my dream of a beautiful beach. And last but not least, dried out spiky plant "balls" are everywhere on the beach and stepping into it really hurts, so basically you can't even walk barefoot in the sand. Yes, it's 3 miles long but objectively, it's not a nice beach at all when you are on it

- the rooms: they do have nice touches, a good atmosphere and overall style, and are right on (10-20 yards) the beach. But when the bathroom is illuminated with spotlights that I bought at Ikea when I was a student... 'nuff said. Again, I wouldn't mind it, but I mind the fact that for $900/night I get brand spanking new marble bathrooms with ambiance lighting right on the beach elsewhere

- the food: good enough; some stuff was bad, like the tuna starter (clearly frozen before) or in fact most of the fish dishes were pretty mediocre and in our humble opinion came from the freezer (pretty ironic on an island that on top of it prides itself in being a fisherman's paradise, isn't it). The best dish was probably the tenderloin skewers starter, the crab cakes were good too, and all the chicken dishes were good, as well as the conch dishes. To be sure, the daily cookies are great, I don't even care if they make them or not

- the resort: faded is not a good choice of words because it would imply that it had its heyday and I doubt that it ever did. It was never built as a polished 5-star place. Case in point, the grass around the resort is pretty dry and faded. It obviously never came with the kind of irrigation system that other $900+/night resorts deploy. The pool does have some mold or dirt on the side (not much but enough to show) and the tiki pool bar is practically not used (or manned; it's an honor bar so feel free and try to get every 2nd drink for free) and the place has the atmosphere of low season even during high season. Obviously, some people might look for that feeling, we do too at times. But when there's just no staff manning some of the facilities, I wouldn't call it quiet or peaceful but I'd call it dead or trying to reduce costs just before its inevitable demise.

- spa: the massages were great but the site, while again with some nice touches such as the panoramic open windows over water, is nowhere near the substantial effort other high-class beach resorts offer; the upstairs area had nails sticking out of the wooden floor which if you are barefoot would easily rip a hole into your feet.

- the staff: everyone was nice enough. But they were never meant to be serviceable at the level offered at other resorts. First of all, the little cell phone they give you upon arrival is really only meant for emergencies as was being emphasized by Colette. It's clearly not meant to be the "everything is just a phone call away and otherwise we leave you in peace" type device that some reviewers here took it to be (and other high-end resorts do in fact offer) . Again, we don't need 24h room service to be happy. But at $900/night we'd say it's a joke to practically have no room service at all. We should mention though that Samson and Patrice at the restaurant were very nice and very helpful. But the place is clearly severely understaffed and badly run and having "met" the owning family's son, I have a good guess why.

- tennis court: decent quality, as good as one can expect in a beach resort (well, some places offer tournament-quality courts like at Curton Bluff but ok, that's their choice; the court here was good enough and it is in fact on the beach); you can also happily play without shirt (we like to seriously work it) which is a nice detail compared to other more formal resorts. But bring your own racket cuz the ones they provide are crap.

- diving: good equipment and the local dive master Mike has a good vibe. As far as dive- sites go, it isn't the Maldives or Bora Bora but it's probably as good as you can expect in the Bahamas. The dive-site called Amphitheater is probably the most interesting one where the likelihood to encounter sharks and other big stuff is the greatest but generally it's mostly about corals and colorful fish (both good average by global great dive site standards) and not so much about big things or big schools of fish. Beware of the pricing though. For a one-person 2-tank dive with a total on-the-boat time of 90min they had the audacity to charge $540, and defended it even after I pointed out that the price is a rip-off bordering on a scam (we have dived in many expensive places, and this tops everything by a wide margin)

- Overall: On their website, they use the term "private island" to invoke serenity, privacy, exclusivity (funnily, it's not the website's main theme, it almost feels like they were trying to put that private island image out there but then someone on the team realized it would be a little too ridiculous and de-emphasized it again). We have been to a few of those (North Island, Fregate) and can say that this place has nothing to do with that concept of exclusivity. That is also true for the people we saw here. While I don't want to disrespect some of the positive reviews on this site, it's clear to me that their benchmarks must be low, and quite a few of the people we saw seemed to be repeat guests and older. We wonder if they get huge discounts, because honestly, if you have been even to Harbor Island, let alone to some destinations in the Indian Ocean, I have no idea why you'd like Kamalame for that kind of money. Frankly, putting it all together, it seems like they are desperately trying to reduce costs and it shows everywhere. Btw, when the guys at the airport asked how we liked it and we said we didn't they told us that pretty much everyone says the same thing about the place recently, they have staff issues, and the Jamaican family that owns the place under-invests in the property.

So in short, we'd say that at, say, $300-350/night max, we wouldn't have felt completely unhappy with the place (the beach still wouldn't get any nicer). But at the asking price, it's a very bad choice and practically a joke.

I'm hoping Conde Nast Traveller update their reviews ASAP because it's way below their usual standard.

Feel free to contact us if you have questions.

  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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17  Thank marcuset
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2013

We stayed here from April 9 thru April 15, 2013. My husband is an avid fisherman and wanted a place for us to go as a couple. He wanted to fish all day and not worry about me being bored. This was the perfect place. It is pricey and not sure we will be able to go back but it was the perfect first time experience in the Bahamas. My husband had a fantastic bone fishing experience, he loved his guide Lavado. I just relaxed, road the bikes and had a couple spa treatments. I thought I would not like the fact there was no TV but I loved it and did not miss it at all. All the staff was very friendly and helpful. I do not eat or drink enough to justify the all inclusive. Friday they put on a BBQ for the island with Junkanoo dancers and a band. They had a bondfire on the beach and it was a nice time to mingle with the other guests. If you like lots of night life and lots of people this is not the place for you. It is the perfect place to get away from it all and relax and as for the fisherman, my husband said the bone fishing was awesome and he even fished the flats right there around the island. Bringing bug spray it a must if you are going to be out on the flats fishing or just walking around.

  • Stayed: April 2013
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1  Thank Ann M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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