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“Honeymooners Beware!!!! Website is Deceiving!!!!!!”

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Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Great Exuma
Reviewed 5 April 2014

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.

Disappointments

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.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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14  Thank T M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 8 April 2014

Dear T M,

We were saddened to learn that you did not fully enjoy our honeymoon at Sandals Emerald Bay. We have had many guests that truly had an amazing time with the help of their Butlers and we are quite disappointed that this was not the same in your case. For this, I sincerely apologize. We realize that anything less than perfect requires more improvement on our part. We appreciate you bringing this to our attention and I will be contacting the resort management team for further follow-up in this matter.
Thank you for your review.

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2,085 - 2,091 of 3,941 reviews

Reviewed 5 April 2014

We stayed in the Beachfront Honeymoon Walkout Butler Villa Suite and absolutely loved it! Lived up to the photos. Beach was fabulous, grounds were beautiful, very spacious, very quiet, and very very friendly staff. Everybody from the front desk, to the grounds keepers, were all extremely friendly - you can't walk past any of them without getting a very friendly greeting. We went with the butler service and enjoyed it - highly recommend the butler team of Harris, Lalau, and Floyd, they are top notch. However, beware that when you sign up for the butler service, you actually get a team of 3, which means you are expected to tip 3x. The two main restaurants were very good and cocktails were fantastic everywhere - expecially from Marvin the bartender at the Poolside bar, he's fantastic. Weather wasn't the greatest, quite windy such that water sports were not available most days. Stopped in at the Nassau Sandles on the way home and were happy we chose Emerald Bay. Nassau facility had a very different feel - compressed grounds, smaller beach, and surprisingly the staff wasn't nearly as friendly - none of the smiling greetings that we got at Emerald Bay. We will definately go back!

Room Tip: Beachfront is great, but not necessary, it's all very nice
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Greg H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2014

I feared that this Sandals would get "discovered" by the rest of the world since our last visit, and it has! What a wonderful relaxing resort! The water says it all! Don't forget to visit the French cafe and try out their crepes in the afternoon! Book your reservations early for the French and Italian restaurants. IF you are lucky enough to be there for the chocolate festival, GO and enjoy the music. Don't forget some baby oil to prevent sand fleas when the winds are still. Rooms come with bug spray for Mosquitos, but they weren't an issue

Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
1  Thank joniefitz4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 April 2014

We stayed March 23-30 and had an amazing trip. The staff was all very friendly and helpful. We had concierge service with Carla who was very helpful and attentive. She did everything from arranging beer delivery to our room to suggestions about tours. We even received a call from her a few days after getting home to make sure we landed safely and enjoyed our stay!!

The beach was spectacular! Very clean and just beautiful! The grounds were very clean and well maintained. We golfed the back nine and the views were amazing. I would suggest getting a photographer to go with you or meet you out there as the pictures are like nothing else. Bring lots of balls LOL Its narrow and unforgiving. Unlike in Canada, there was no one rushing us from behind, so even though I haven't golfed in years, I wasn't pressured to hurry.

The pool bar staff make some yummy interesting drinks. Be careful of the "Aaron Special". Lots of rum! We spent every night at the Duck. James, Roshon and Terrence made our trip!! Running around in the middle of the night looking to restock our vodka and beer. Karaoke nights there were a blast and although James denies it, he can sing!! The food there was really good. Chicken pot pie with fresh homemade topping was to die for and the wings were awesome.

We loved all the food. Pasta is a must at the italian! I had lasagna and my hubby had fettuccine. Pasta was so fresh and they will put what ever you want into your sauce. My husband added sausage in his. If there is a variation of something on the menu you want, just ask!! The buffet breakfast at Bahama Bay was always a hit and make sure you check out their list of themed lunches. The Mexican was really good. If you like lobster and seafood, the Barefoot is the place to go.

Rather than signing up for a tour, we decided to rent a car through the tours desk. It takes about an hour to get the vehicle so plan early and is $80-100 for 24 hours. The island has only 1 main road so you can't get lost. However, driving on the left side of the road was exciting but terrifying. Very hard to get used to. We headed down to the end of the island to Santana's. Its a little bar/restaurant on the beach with amazing food and views. Its about $60 for 2 meals and 2 beer and tip. We shared 1 lobster meal and 1 shrimp meal. The food is like nothing I have ever tasted before!I would advise getting there early as they ran out of shrimp by 1 when we were there. We then toured down to the Tropic of Cancer beach, which is by far the prettiest beach I have ever seen, and we only had to share it with 4 other people! We then made our way into Georgetown for some shopping and to get a water taxi to Stocking Island. Water taxi is $24/2 people return. On Stocking Island we visited the cute little conch stand. The staff there keep their leftovers to feed the wild stingray. Because of that, they are constantly hovering around in front of there. Take an underwater camera!!! I got the best pictures of of the stingrays swimming up to me and feeding them out of my hand. It was unbelievable. We made our way over to the Chill n Chat. As the sign says "its not fast food!" and you are there to CHILL! Some people did wait over an hour for food, but when it came it was amazing. We had the ribs and they just fell off the bone! My husband and I agree that this was the best day of our trip. Just going at our own speed and trying the local cuisine.

This trip was truly amazing and the Bahamian people are some of the most hard working and friendly people. I would highly recommend this resort and island.

Room Tip: If you want a chair by the pool, then butler service would be helpful. But we didn't find we ne...
  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Cyzarine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2014

Hello Cyzarine,

Thank you for your review! We are thrilled to hear of your amazing experience at Sandals Emerald Bay and that you enjoyed exploring the beautiful island. We hope your wonderful memories of your time spent with us in Exuma will continue to make you smile until you can return again. We look forward to welcoming you back!

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Reviewed 3 April 2014

My husband & I were totally thrilled with this resort, the accommodations, the restaurants and all of the activities that were planned daily... We were never left without something to do.
However, what is/was our favorite part of this trip was you’re "Staff".
The staff at Emerald Bay is just wonderful!!!! They all each take a personal interest in "you" and all of your wants and/or needs. Each and everyone we encountered were extremely friendly, helpful and out- going.
However, there were a few that did definitely stand out above the rest.
Stanley and Kenny were awesome, never letting you miss one moment of your trip, and were able to capture on film the experiences that were occurring around us.
Roshawn - what can we say, - - he is an absolute blast! There was never a dull moment when he was around. Roshawn has great interpersonal skills and we both look forward to seeing him again one day.
Last but no means least, is Jewels.... She works in the Italian Restaurant and she made my husband’s birthday day (3/22) and my mother’s birthday (3/23) a wonderful and memorable experience, that neither one of them can stop talking about nor will forget. Each birthday celebration - Jewels was able to get the other staff members to sing Happy Birthday to each one of them along with surprising them both with their own birthday cakes (which were delicious!).
When it was time for us to leave and start heading home, Kenny and Stanley both came and said good bye to us, which has and will be a lasting impression on both of us.
Your staff at Emerald Bay is simply the best there is!!!

Anthony & Tammy Manzo

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Tammy N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2014

Thank you for your review, Tammy!

We appreciate you sharing your wonderful memories and stunning photos of your stay in Sandals Emerald Bay. We are delighted that you all enjoyed every moment of your time spent with us and our staff members will be so grateful for your kind remarks. We look forward to welcoming you back soon for another amazing adventure in paradise!

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Reviewed 3 April 2014

We stayed at this resort March 23 - 30, 2014. We had a standard room on the third floor. (no butler necessary!) We had a beautiful garden view with partial ocean view. The room was very nice with a comfy bed and was very clean. We really liked the size of this resort. It didn't feel crowded.
The beach was beautiful and very quiet. We went for long walks everyday and enjoyed the warm water.
We enjoyed the entertainment. There was just enough going on at night to keep us interested. We enjoyed the live music and were really impressed with Heston at the piano bar. We enjoyed his entertainment 5 nights in a row and never got bored. Couldn't get enough of his deep laugh. He really knows how to get a crowd going.
The food was very good at all restaurants. We enjoyed all of our meals. We especially enjoyed the latte's at the little coffee shop. We never went hungry and found a nice variety. Don't miss the Bahamian bread offered at the bread oven by the pool. It was fantastic.
Our only gripe was with the bar service. We found many of the bartenders to be inconsistent with their cocktails. The bartenders at the pool were busy and rushed, and we didn't always get what we wanted. We would walk to the quiet pool, where the bartender wasn't as busy. We didn't feel that Sandals offered all of the top shelf brands that we were expecting. We were also turned off by the method of washing glasses at the pool bars. We think they could increase their standards in this area.
We would like to give praise toTamara and Jason at the Il Ciello bar who gave us great service every evening. They were very busy and fun to watch. (enjoyed Jason's funny laugh!) Make sure to try the Limoncello Martini's.
Make sure to rent a car at the tour desk. You must leave the resort to fully appreciate Exuma. We had a wonderful day discovering quiet beaches and touring the towns. We felt safe and had a few laughs driving on the left side. Santana's served awesome lobster with a great view.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Sandals Emerald Bay. The location was amazing. This was our first Sandals experience and we are not sure that the brand impressed us enough to book again. We have stayed at other beautiful all-inclusives in the Caribbean for less that offered a little more in regards to food, beverage and entertainment. (Excellence and Secrets for example.) We like to try different locations but would highly recommend Sandals Emerald Bay.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank bauerSaskatchewan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2014

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of Sandals Emerald Bay.

Your input is invaluable to us and we appreciate you sharing your insight as our guest. We are pleased that you had a lovely time exploring the beautiful property but we are disappointed that you were not completely impressed. I will be sharing your comments with the resort management team for immediate evaluation and action as needed. We hope that you will return so that we may deliver the full luxurious Sandals experience on a future stay.

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Reviewed 2 April 2014

This was our first visit to any sandals resort. We went here for our honeymoon and visited from March 23-March 28th. When we arrived at the airport the sandals taxi service was waiting to take us to our resort. We then learned that my luggage had been sent on a different flight and would get there later that evening. The Sandals staff did all the could and made sure i got my bags later that nigh. When we arrived at the resort we were handed cold towels and champagne. We were escorted around the resort and shown where the Restaurants, spa, golf shop, and pools were located at. Once that was done we were escorted to our room. The beach and water is absolutely breath taking at this location. I have never seen anything it in my life. My wife and I got a Couples massage and an Island bath from the spa while we where there. The spa was tremendous and everything I imagined. They also have a sauna and showers at the spa if you want to use them right after your service. We ate at Il Cielo the first night we could and the Lobster with seafood risotto was delicious. I am a huge food critic and i have nothing bad to say about any of the restaurants here. The lamb at Parisienne was magnificent. Jason and Tamara where our bartenders at the Il Cielo lounge and piano bar. They made awesome drinks and Key lime pie Martini is definitely worth a shot. The Whole staff was so helpful and always willing to help us out with anything we needed.At night they would come in and give us a rose petal turn down on our bed which was great. They were always willing to stock our bar with what we wanted so you dont have to keep what they put on the bar or mini fridge. We did hang out by the quite pool a few days we were there and also stayed at the larger pool one day of our stay. The swim up bar is very helpful and always willing to have a little fun with the guest. My wife and I liked the fact it was quite and not a whole lot going on at night. Very quite and blissful at night. I am not a golfer by any means but i was told multiple times that the golf course is great here. We are planning a trip back there next year for our anniversary.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Skee P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lauren B, Online Review Coordinator at Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 5 April 2014

Dear Skee,

Thank you for your review of Sandals Emerald Bay! We are delighted that you enjoyed your honeymoon stay with us and that you returned home with amazing memories of this special trip. It's wonderful that you thoroughly enjoyed every moment of your first Sandals experience and we look forward to welcoming you back in the near future!

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Additional Information about Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort

Address: Queen's Highway, Emerald Bay, EX29142, Great Exuma (Formerly Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Great Exuma
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 6 Hotels in Great Exuma
Price Range: £413 - £1,038 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort 5*
Number of rooms: 245
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 
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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

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