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Sandals Emerald Bay Golf, Tennis and Spa Resort
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Reviews (4,330)
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Reviewed 1 August 2014

My husband and I went here for our honeymoon last June. It was our first time to the Exumas and it was beautiful! The staff was excellent...we paid for a week in a beachfront walkout villa butler suite and it was so worth the money! Our butlers Sheldon and Valentino were amazing!! Anything we wanted drinks, snacks, food delivered to our room was only a phone call away! Water and beach were unreal and we just booked this resort for next June :-)

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Nicole A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2014

My husband and I just returned from Sandals Emerald Bay 7-18-14. This was our 3rd trip to a Sandals resort, the others were Sandals Negril and Sandals Whitehouse. We were married at Sandals Negril and came to SEB to celebrate our 10th anniversary. We fell in love with Sandals and brought our friends to enjoy the exceptional quality of a Sandals vacation.....until now.
We were sure that based on website and reviews this would be the best one yet but when we arrived we were truly shocked and disappointed.

The resort opened in 2010 and should look new, but it seems the attention to detail is not there. The furniture in our room and front lobby looks worn and dirty. Upon arrival to our room we found a bureau drawer broken and the bench at the end of the bed was filthy with spots. We asked for them to be replaced and this was taken care of the next day. But really! This is Sandals? Not motel 6. I also noticed the carpet in Bahama Bay restaurant is ripping to shreds and needs replaced badly.

Service: Some days good some days poor. Primarily I mean Bahama Bay, the staff seemed less than thrilled some days to be there. The pool bar was great, no problem, and the other restaurants service was average; nothing exceptional.

Food: Not the gourmet experience I expected. Other Sandals have been much better. I can see they are trying with atmosphere but food was really just o.k.

Beach and Pool: We quickly learned we had a serious issue with chairs and umbrellas at both. They have very limited chairs and umbrellas or cabanas at the beach. If you want one you have to run down about 7:00 a.m. and reserve them with towels or you are out of luck. There is no staff to help set up portable cabanas if you find one not broken. I get the feeling that because they have such a beautiful beach the don't feel any urgency in rectifying this problem. The butlers were reserving chairs as well for their guests who paid for that service and this does not help with the problem. No matter the level of room we buy we are entitled to have the relaxing vacation we paid for and not have to fight for chairs.

Returning guests dinner: Returning guests receive invitations to this dinner and are also given t-shirts. We never received either and had to inquire about both.

Fogging: They fog the resort for mosquitos most days(which I understand is necessary in that climate) but they gave us no warning. They would go through with a thick white fog at the dinner hour and breakfast hours when people were walking to dinner or breakfast. We witnessed the fogger driving through the patio dining area of Bahama Bay restaurant one morning and had to run inside to escape the fog. The patio tables were set up for breakfast and 15 min later guests were sitting there eating with the cups and utensils that were fogged. I could not believe my eyes.
Another morning, while my husband was on his chair reserving duty, he witnessed the workers cleaning out the septic tank next to Bahama Bay restaurant at 7:30 in the morning and the odor was horrible. Unless there was an emergency situation, that should not have happened at that time of day.

Activities: Nightlife is pretty low key not much of it. While I'm not a late night partyer, I feel that they could improve on this area. The watersports area is an issue. When it is windy they don't allow much of anything to be used. Snorkel trips are limited to one a day and they fill up quickly.
Staffing at the watersports area on some days seems to be lacking. They insist on a sign up sheet to use the equipment but then they don't use it when things come available so it ends up being first come first serve. They don't always have a rescue boat available.

Overall, I did not feel that we got the Sandals level of service, food, or quality of experience at this resort. I also know this is not the first negative review they have gotten and I just don't understand why they are not rectifying these issues. Based on this experience I would not return to this resort and hope that the other Sandals resorts still have the same quality I have seen in the past. To top off our" vacations of errors" , when we left, no one picked up our luggage from our room, if we hadn't watched the operation to oversee the situation and inquired about our luggage it would have been left at the hotel. Just unacceptable Sandals! Mr. Stewart where are you?

Room Tip: I would never pay extra for butler service. You pay or all inclusive but are expected to tip the butlers! No Way! Most of the Bay House rooms look the same and I don't think the butler rooms are any different.
  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
13  Thank Joseph S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2014

This was our 2nd stay at a Sandals resort. The resorts are very well maintained and the staff take super care of you. This was our first time to have a butler room and the experience was top notch. The butlers that took care of us were superb. Getting us a place on the beach, bringing a cooler full of drinks and drinks from the bar were just a few of the fabulous things they did. They made our dinner reservations and took care of restocking our mini bar. The beach was better than great. The white sand, the clear water and of course feeding the fish made this a very enjoyable vacation. Exuma is a smaller resort which is what we were looking for. It is quiet and not crowded. There were lots of options for food and activities. We had a blast and would return to this resort again.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank michaels883
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2014 via mobile

The piano bar at 9 pm starts playing live music and invites the guest to sing along. Here is a video of one of the bartenders singing along. Jason did an awesome job serving the guest and surprised us with a song. The time was awesome there. And make sure you hit up the Drunken Duck later.

Stayed: August 2014
2  Thank Solomon1972
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2014

We had a 10 year retie-the-knot vow renewal on the beach here, stayed for a week in one of the beachfront walkout villas at the far end of the resort (aka: the cheapest walkout villa!). Did we have an amazing vacation? Yes! Did we have a great vow renewal experience? Sure. Would the service have ruined everything if this was our actual wedding? Yup.

First the good - and arguably all you need to know: This place is amazing. Rarely does anywhere look like the pictures, but this resort does. The beach really does look like the pictures & commercials. It's gorgeous. A little bit of seaweed here and there but mostly as clean and pure as can be. The pool is incredible too, and the hardest decision you have to make all day is deciding when to leave the beach and go to the pool. Our room was also 5-star: luxurious, enormous, and comfortable. (And the in-room bar is a nice touch.) Food was about what I expected - slightly better than a cruise ship, though the reservation-only restaurants are best. We had spent our honeymoon 10 years prior at another Sandals in Jamaica so we were prepared for a certain experience, and Emerald Bay delivered. If you want to go to a Sandals, and you saw the commercial or website for Emerald Bay and said "I want to be there"... go there! Don't even read the rest of this... unless you want butler service. If that is important to you (it wasn't for us), read on. If not, GO NOW!

And now the bad. Forget good service here, you won't get it. We're not picky - I don't remember the last time I ever mentioned bad service in a review. But this was pretty poor. Our main complaint was the butler service, which was completely worthless. They reminded us often to let them know if we needed anything: reservations, booking an excursion, food, drinks, anything. We never once, ever, got what we requested. Just one example: we had them book us on an excursion, took two days of asking before we got a confirmation that we were booked and when to show up at the tour desk. The morning of, our butler points out the excursion has no food so he offered to bring us a pizza to the beach an hour ahead of time. He never did. When we ran out of time, we went up to the self-serve pizza place and ran into him, finally with what we ordered. Annoying, but it gets worse. The tour desk had no record of us on this excursion. They almost didn't let us go, but another couple didn't make it so we got their spots. This is one event in a long list of ridiculously comical failures on their part, including an apology for the excursion mishap... during the middle of our vow renewal ceremony. Good thing it wasn't a real wedding.

Every morning our butlers said they would reserve a lounge chair for us by our room on the beach. Every morning we never saw them and just took a chair, assuming it was ours. Every morning we ended up seeing the butler > 1 hour later who would take a drink order and never come back. This and more would have been outright horrible if I came here wanting butler service. Fortunately for us, we didn't care - we just wanted the room, and it happened to come with useless service. It just turned bad when we counted on them to do things they promised, and it never happened.

To be completely fair, near the end of our stay the butler dept. called and asked how we liked our service. It wasn't until we said it all out loud that we realized how bad it was. The butler director visited us multiple times afterwards and apologized and tried to make things better. But really there wasn't much to be done, because we vowed to not depend on the butlers for anything else for the remainder of our stay. We found our bathtub drawn up with rose petals in it that night... I'm sure that would have probably impressed somebody else, but we didn't really care.

I bring all this up because we noticed this was normal for the resort. Service in the restaurants was often slow, to the point where once we left without dessert because we didn't have the patience to wait a half hour. For a couple days we chalked it up to "island time", who cares, we're on vacation! Well, after a while, you kinda care. Every single employee was very friendly, but most were ineffectual. The nicest bad service you'll ever get!

I purposefully waited a month to post this review to see if, upon reflection, the bad service stuck with me. Sadly, it did. Which is why I am forced to admit that if I never dealt with a human being there, this would have been the easiest 5 star review ever. The resort itself, the beach, the pool... it kills me to rate it less than 5 stars but, for the price, there is no way it's perfect. If you go, do what we did on our final 2 days: stick to yourself, depend on no one, enjoy the Bahamas. Do this, and you will be in paradise.

Room Tip: The furthest room from the main building and pool is only a 5 minute walk. I should know, cause we were the last room of the last building. I read a review or three where people complained about how far away it is... preposterous. It's a beautiful walk whether you go through the gardens or on the beach. The beachfront villas have a grassy dune between the patio and the water, which maybe someone would feel misled by, but they're amazing nonetheless.
  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
18  Thank puablo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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