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“This is paradise.”

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Fernandez Bay Village
Ranked #1 of 10 Hotels in Cat Island
Certificate of Excellence
1 review
“This is paradise.”
Reviewed 30 May 2011

I love the privacy and beauty of this island and Fernandez Bay is incredible.

  • Stayed June 2010
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Helpful?
Thank Deannap1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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296 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (80)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
68 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 April 2011

I was originally drawn in to FBV from an ad I saw in one of my travel mags offering "2 fly free" which was free airfare from Nassau to the out island (Cat Island in this case) if you stayed for 4 nights or more. I checked out the FBV web site and was wowed by the photos and images.

This place is every bit as gorgeous live as it is on the web site.

The resort:

Its gorgeous. The bay is stunning. There are lots of 'toys' - kayaks, sand toys, whalers, floats, lounge chairs. Plenty of palapas or beach umbrellas on the beach for us red headed, freckle skinned burners. They also had bicycles if you wanted to see a little of the island (we did bike into New Bight to have a hot lunch at Bluebird)

Staff were very friendly, very accommodating. Food at the clubhouse was quite good and there was plenty of it.

Even though the resort was fully booked, it did not feel that way, and you felt like you had the beach to yourself many days.

The rooms:

I have to say, this was by far, the smallest room I have ever had in the Caribbean - and I've been all over the islands. Now, the view was quite nice - straight on view of the beach from the bed, but really, there was not a lot of space between the foot of the bed and the two screened doors. There was not a lot of space period, but what space there was had a piece of furniture in it. We had the Conch Cottage -- and other rooms appeared to possibly have more space than our cottage had. If I were to go back, I would not stay in this room simply because it was just too tiny for a week's stay. For a couple of days, maybe. I don't spend a lot of time in the room other than to sleep but the hubby and I were tripping over each other - it was an orchestrated effort to move about.

I do like the outdoor shower concept, and we've had it before in St. Lucia. The thing I really liked about the bathroom is the large number of hooks and the drying rack -- really was useful for the wet bathing suits and towels.

Queen size bed was ok. Not the best we've had, nor was it the worst. The view from the bed was definitely the best thing going for the room.

Towel service -- I found it to be erratic. When you arrive, your room has 2 beach towels. When they cleaned the room on Monday, of course, we had the beach towels on the beach. So they left 2 clean ones (very nice). And so it went the rest of the week - left 2 wet ones, took the 2 new ones to the beach and they'd leave 2 new dry ones. But then on Thursday, we rented a car to explore the island and left all 4 beach towels in the room. They took all 4, left 2 new. Friday, we had the 2 towels on the beach, they did not leave us any new towels. Saturday, same story. So we ended up using the same wet towels on Friday, Saturday and Sunday......thank goodness I never rely on the resort for towels and always carry my own. Just in case.

Restaurant:

Every meal is buffet. Breakfast was usually scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, and a variety of fruits and baked goods. You can make your own toast or English muffin. They also have 'menu' items on special request - beware, the French toast is spiked with rum! but we found breakfast to be surprisingly good, don't assume all buffet scrambled eggs are bad because I really liked the eggs at breakfast!

Dinner: they tell you when you check in that they assume you will be at dinner every night unless you tell them by 10am otherwise. Which we found a bit odd. Until we rented a car and ventured 'off the reservation' as it were. There just isn't a whole lot out there. So anyway, dinner started around 645 or 7, with appetizers (conch fritters were very good) adn then dinner was buffet style. My favorite dinner was the lobster tail, of course. I had 4. I think the remaining live lobsters cheered when I left the island. But dinners were always good and there was always something you enjoyed, as well as a few new things to try.

The way the meals are done, it somewhat forces you to know the other vacationers - which was quite nice. We found the majority of folks were 'repeaters'. And we met a bunch of pilots, and a few other newbies like us that were interesting.

And it was a good thing the kitchen was so good there. Cat Island, unlike just about every other island I've visited so far, just doesn't have much in the way of eateries and restaurants -- unless you call a few hours in advance to tell them you are planning to stop by the take out shack, and even then, they may tell you they can't serve you. We just found it to be odd! But the population is so small, and every resort is set up the same way (isolated resort on bay, with own kitchen, not many rental cars, not many restaurants that you can even go to) that is just Cat Island. So if you did not like the cooking or if it was really bad, its not like you'd have much in the way of options! And that was about the only thing that we did not like about our stay on Cat Island. We do like to get out and mingle with the islanders and eat what they eat, see how they live, etc. Its really hard to do that when every meal is at the resort, and getting off the resort is pricey (rental car was $100 a day). The taxi rates are ridiculous; we were charged $14 for our ride from the airport to the resort --- and its literally, less than 2 miles. Thats worse than NYC.

Anyway, what would I change?

If I were FBV, I would just go to an all-inclusive price, or at least give that as an option. I mean, really. We only had a fridge in our room, we were basically held hostage - food wise- where you gonna go? An AI option would have avoided the sticker shock at the $1000 food bill ($90 was bar tab) at the end of the week. That was just 6 breakfasts and 6 dinners, folks, no lunches. Yeah, this does not go down as a 'value' trip. Food is expensive on the island, and you can't get around it but an AI option at least prepares you for the cost.

Barring that, I'd expand the cottages to have kitchenettes. Right now, the only options with kitchens are the 2 bedroom villas, if I'm not mistaken.


Tips for those going to FBV:

pack BUG SPRAY. I was literally eaten alive every night. Yes, they have some at the bar, but you need it to actually get to the bar..... its the islands, and some islands have more no-see-ums than others, its not FBV's fault - but know you need bug spray.

I packed a jar of peanut butter in my suitcase. We bought bread, snacks (Doritos are $5 per bag, just a warning), beer, rum, vodka and mixers at the grocery store on the island. No, it was not cheap - we spent about $175 altogether. But , we did not have to buy lunch the entire time and it really cut the bar bill. Plus, our cottage was quite a ways from the bar, and it was a shorter walk to the room to get a cold beer from the beach.

pack a flashlight. Our cottage was farthest from the clubhouse and at night, walking back to your cottage, especially if you've had a bottle of wine or two..... a flashlight would have been helpful. I must have tripped over that same stupid tree root every single night on my way back to the cottage.

Remember to leave a light on in your cottage if you don't have a flashlight -- our first night after dinner, trying to locate our room was a comedy of errors.

Overall, this was a great place to unwind and relax. No phones, no TV's. It has a beautiful beach, nice amenities, we met some good, interesting people, and had a lot of good food.

Room Tip: Book at least 4 months in advance.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
12 Thank PittsburghPam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stratford, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 February 2011

My husband, two girls (5 and 9) , and I just returned from a seven night stay at FBV on Cat Island, Bahamas. The cottages and villas are all located on the beach and the ocean is only steps away. If you are looking for peace and quiet, relaxation and rejuvenation, then this is the place to find it. We were one of perhaps four families/couples visiting the resort during the second week of February so we often found ourselves pleasantly alone on the beach with just the sound of the gentle waves. Loungers and hammocks dot the front of the beach and provide a welcome spot to sit and read or take a nap. We also enjoyed taking the kayaks out for a paddle in the Bay or up a small creek nearby. The kids really enjoyed watching out for turtles, small nursing sharks, and conch shells as well as small schools of fish. We also enjoyed snorkelling and fishing during our stay and an Eco tour. Mark is an excellent guide and host with endless patience. My girls were thrilled to have a fresh coconut one afternoon and spent a lot of time searching for and watching the small lizards that inhabit the island. The food at FBV is top notch and I highly recommend having supper there every night. As previous guests have mentioned, FBV has an honour system, so you just help yourself to a drink at the Tiki bar and write down what you made. The staff are professional yet very welcoming and accomodating, and they work hard to make sure you enjoy your stay. We did and we'll definitely be back!

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Hayleyscomet_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Detroit
Level Contributor
19 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2011

Cat Island as a destination is what people visiting the Bahamas need to experience. A beautiful, relaxing, friendly island experience. "The Real Bahamas". Fernandez Bay Village is a great place to stay while experiencing Cat Island. You must explore the island to feel the connection with it and its people.
I must note the Garden Bath in the rooms are interesting and unique but can be cold when showering at night.
You will feel the warmth of the family that runs this place and be seduced by its back to basics philosophy.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank kirbytravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Naples, Florida
2 reviews
Reviewed 29 November 2010

We are planning our next trip to FBV and it seems that whenever we do that, the excitement of seeing Tony and Pam and the many friends we have made over the years on Cat Island gets the best of us...40 years ago it was just me spending some time.... a few rooms behind Tony and Mrs. "A"s house and relaxing at the bar built around that big tree on the beach. Now it has evolved into what we believe is the number one destination in the out islands...and we are fortunate enough to be able to share this great secret place with our seven grandchildren....there is no other place that we have found that can take you back in time to "how it used the be"....has the ambiance of bygone times...the food of a gourmet restaurant and the comfort and friendship only available in a family owned Resort property...If you have never been to FBV, you are shortchanging yourself in life experiences and missing a chance to fall in love with a place that should be number one on your "bucket" list..............

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Janigirl51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glen Rock, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 19 August 2010

We arrived on Aug. 6th 2010 for a weeks stay. Fernandez Bay Village knows what customer service should be. My wife and I had to wait in the Nassau airport for 7 hrs. because our inter-island flight had been delayed. When we finally arrived at 7:30 pm we were greeted by Evan. A nicer more unpretentious young man you will not meet anywhere. He was aware of our delay (the cat island/new bight airport is just 1/2 mile away) and just wanted to make sure we were happy and content. He showed us around and gave us the 411 on everything. Dinner was just being served and he made sure we were comfortable in our accomodations and led us to eat. The food here is incredible. The kitchen staff does a wonderful job with all the meals. They have a meat and seafood choice nightly. I would eat both! (I'm on vacation) :-) Cracked lobster, cracked conch, grouper, steak, mashed potatos, rice etc. They also had salad, rolls and a tastey dessert every night. I can not say enough about all the meals. They have an "honor" tiki bar where we would gather for drinks and hors d' oeuvres before dinner. It had a wonderful atmosphere and we would head back there after dinner for more drinks and mingling with the other guests. My wife and I stayed in Shane Shack which is located right on the beach. It was the perfect accomodations for us. 10 steps to the water and a wonderful view from the porch. It had a thatched roof, A/C, queen bed, sitting area, small fridge and an outdoor bathroom. (The outdoor bathroom is really nice once you grasp the idea) The beach here is to die for! One mile cresent beach with virtually no one else on it. Its like having your own tropical getaway. The water in Fernandez Bay is breath taking. You have to see it for yourself! They have snorkling gear and floating mats for the guests to use along with sea kayaks that you can paddle over to the mangrove next to the property and see baby sharks, turtles and all kinds of fish. They have a boston whaler you can rent if you want to explore outer reaches of the island or just go skiing. You can do and see as much of Cat Island as you like or just veg. Its up to you. Thanks to Donna, Evan, Cherell and all the staff. You made this the most relaxing vacation ever. Tony and Pam Armbrister (owners) have a hidden gem of a resort here. Resort just does'nt fit this place as we were made to feel like family and will never forget it. A special thanks to Evan & Shane for taking us out with them at nite to meet with the locals at a few "rum shacks". Playing dominos with them and drinking Kalik on a warm summers evening at waters edge. Just doesn't get any better than that. I could go on and on but you get the idea. Don't miss a chance to stay at this lovely intimate jewel. We will definately be returning. Thanks again to everyone there for making our stay unforgetable. ----- Chip & Kathryn Curry

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Chip6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fort Myers, Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed 16 August 2010

My parents and I first visited Fernandez Bay Village in the spring of 1989. Its natural beauty and tranquility left an indelible impression on all of our minds. Having just returned for four days with my wife 21 years later in August of 2010, we can happily say that it did not disappoint us. Pam and Tony (the owners) and the staff were just as welcoming, helpful, and unpretentious as ever. Our room was very comfortable, the food was excellent, and as we left, my wife, who has travelled the world, said, “I think that is the most beautiful place on earth.” We’re so happy that Cat Island has not lost its charm after all of these years.

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ircross
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Fernandez Bay Village

Property: Fernandez Bay Village
Address: Fernandez Bay | New Bight, Cat Island
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Cat Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Cat Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3 star — Fernandez Bay Village 3*
Number of rooms: 16
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Fernandez Bay Village Hotel Cat Island
Fernandez Bay Village Cat Island, Bahamas

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