Fellow travelers: This review may be helpful to some and not so much to others. Here's the background for this review. My now husband and I took this trip as our honeymoon after celebrating our wedding in Puerto Rico. We saved for 2 years to take this trip (without going on any vacations during that time) so we splurged and spent 2 weeks at the resort. I researched and researched to find the perfect honeymoon location. After reading all of the wonderful things on the Sandals website, we decided on Emerald Bay. BIG MISTAKE!!!! (Note: This may seem choppy. I apologize in advance. I previously posted a trip advisor review but that review was rejected because I quoted the sandals website and emails that were sent between myself and the GM. This is apparently against trip advisor policy so I had to come up with a completely new review in order to post it. I am doing so because that is how strongly I feel about sharing our experience with you and letting you make the decision on whether or not to spend your money at Sandals Emerald Bay. If I can save one couple from the hassel and terrible experience we had, my mission is complete.)
I have to start with the very few positives.
People: Nikki from Il Cielo restaurant = awesome!!!! She made our last night so special because she knew about our experience with the butlers. Naydene, front desk, helped us make a long distance phone call since our phones were not working. Drumeka, front desk, helped us log onto the internet and always had a smile on her face the every time we saw her.
Our room was not spectacular like we expected but the view is very very beautiful. The water looks so pretty with the sun and the beautiful homes as a back drop. That said, there are many other islands with beautiful water. Save yourself the hassel of this one.
Alcohol and food tasted fine. My husband and I are not food critics so we aren't the best judge but he was very pleased with the lobster and steak. I am a vegetarian so my choices were more limited but the buffet for lunch and breakfast I loved because there were great choices and everything looked fresh.
We booked a butler suite because when looking at the resort map it was clear that the only true ocean front rooms were the butler suites. (Side note: we were correct. The butler villas blocked the other rooms views) We wanted to have the best that we could afford since it was our honeymoon. As honeymooners we expected to be pampered and treated extra special. (This is not what we would normally expect but if you read the website, which I can't quote, then you would see how we would get that impression.) That was our first mistake. Expectations were a 10 and our experience was a 1. Our butlers (I will not name them) were TERRIBLE!!!!! They wanted a tip at every turn and once they realized they weren't getting a tip from us everytime they did something (i.e. escorted us to our room during check in, which is on the website as a perk of the butler suites) they mostly left us alone. Other couples whom we met during our visit (after all, we were there for 14 days) had such different experiences with their butlers. (I would like to point out that none of the other couples we spoke with were on their honeymoon.) Their butlers were apparently wonderful. They decorated their room each night with flowers, escorted them to dinner (website says this should be expected from butlers), brought them a romantic dinner in their room so they didn't have to leave, brought them snacks when at the pool or beach, brought them snacks before dinner. The list goes on and on. Yes, I believe there were a few days our butlers saw us walking to the beach and asked if we wanted a cooler or a chair at the pool. Or one time I wanted a coconut (you can get the grounds crew to cut one down from the tree and open it for you for coconut water) and I asked the head butler how to get a coconut and he called our butler who brought me a coconut. But our butlers did not seek us out or even call us on a daily basis to see what we were doing, where we were going, if we needed them for anything. It was such terrible service that we complained to some of the other staff i.e. waitresses at the restaurants and the woman at the restaurant reservations desk. However, we did not feel comfortable complaining to higher management about our butlers because they were our butlers for the remainder of our stay. (I emailed the GM about my complaints and his only response was that he was sorry for our experience and since we didn't not complain to upper management while at the resort there was really no recourse.)
Another problem that occured frequently was housekeeping knocking on our door at 9:30pm. We told our butlers we didn't want turn down service. Nevertheless, every night, we had to get out of bed at 9:30 to sign a paper saying we didn't want turn down service. Romantic?? We even called housekeeping to let them know we didn't want turn down service. That did not work either. We were very frustrated and did not know what to do. We thought that all we had to do was address it with the butlers and it would be taken care of. Obviously we were mistaken.
I have heard from numerous people, oh you went to Sandals that must have been awesome. I have to sadly point out the disappointments from our room being on the edge of the property and overlooking a chain link fence to the terrible terrible butler experience. Perhaps if we did not have butlers our experience would have been better because our expectations would not have been so high. I do not know. I just know that if you want to go to Emerald Bay and you book a butler suite, you are taking a risk. Not all butler suite guests are treated equal. My husband and I were not made to feel special at all. We enjoyed our trip together because we had each other, we just got married, and are in love. We made the most out of a very disappointing experience that does not seem to bother Sandals. They took our money and do not care to hear our concerns.
We gave a Poor rating instead of a Terrible rating because of the people mentioned earlier.
I know that this review is based on our experience alone. That is the only opinion we have. Please take all of the reviews into account to make sure you are paying for a wonderful vacation. If we can shed a little insight for one couple, this review has been worth my time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- •NEW!! Jogging Trail on property - 2.6 miles long •Greg Norman designed 7,001 yard golf course with 6 signature oceanside holes•Three fresh water pools including the Caribbean’s largest zero entry pool with a central fire pit•24 hour room service to all rooms and suites•Seven exciting dining options to choose from•Red Lane Spa with sixteen extensive treatment rooms•Personalized off resort excursions arranged by our Island Routes Tour specialists•Sits on 1 mile of the Exuma’s best powdery white sand beaches•6 Har-Tru tennis courts including a sunken stadium court•Voted Sandals Resorts “World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company” 16 years in a row•Voted Sandals Resorts “Caribbean’s Leading Hotel Brand”, 18 years in a row•Voted Sandals Emerald Bay “Caribbean’s Leading Luxury All-Inclusive”•Awarded #9 spot in the 2012 Readers' Choice Awards "Top 12 Resorts in The Atlantic" ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, TripOnline SA, Hotels.com, Prestigia, Odigeo, HotelQuickly, Evoline ltd and 5viajes2012 S.L. so you can book your Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Sandals Emerald Bay Hotel Great Exuma
- Four Seasons Great Exuma
- Great Exuma Four Seasons
- Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis And Spa Resort Bahamas/Great Exuma