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“Amazing vacation for whole family”

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Grand Isle Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Great Exuma
Certificate of Excellence
dfw
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Amazing vacation for whole family”
Reviewed 15 August 2012

By far this was the most stunning beach/ocean that I have ever been to. Exuma is remote- very remote so don't expect any kind of nightlife. The rooms were stunning, absolutely pristine in decor and comfort. Honestly, the place was pure quality in cabinetry, furniture and everything else. I think I could have lived there forever.

The golf cart was very cute but since the grocery store across the street was closed, it was kind of pointless. Very, very expensive to go to the other grocery store by taxi. You might want to consider bringing some staples: dried beans, rice, spices etc.

The beach was amazing, clear and fun to snorkle near the shore. My sons are 9 and 11, they had a ball! We rented a car and went to the Tropic of Cancer beach. Best beach ever and not a single person was there. It's so strange but no one was ever on any of the beaches. We took a snorkeling tour, the sand bars were amazing.

This is the place to go if you want to spend quality family time. That's exactly what I was looking for but my husband was missing the "touristy" markets and activities as it was so quiet. I encourage you to look up Exuma's history, it's fascinating.

Hotel restaurant was limited but very tasty, nowhere else to go though unless you head by expensive taxi to "town".

I'd definitely go there again, so beautiful!

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank luckymom2boys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Toronto
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 August 2012

We chose to visit Exuma and Grand Isle Resort based on a friend's recommendation. We had heard wonderful things so we went into it with high expectations....well...this beat our expectations and then some!

Firstly, the resort: It is beautiful. The grounds are meticulous. The rooms are absolutely five star, and we have stayed in other high-end accommodations, and have a reference for comparison. The interior is all professionally decorated. We ate many meals either at the resort restaurant or got take out from the kitchen and were never disappointed. The restaurant is small and outdoors, and we were told that the resort will be undergoing significant renovations and they will actually be creating a new kitchen and dining area. The infinity pool is salt water and beautiful to swim in. My husband did have a massage there and he was quite happy with that!

The beach: the beach at the resort is on the same stretch as the Sandals next door. There is seaweed on the beach which is removed every morning (we were up with the kids, so we could see the little machines raking the sand). I do have to say that Exuma has some of the best beaches and water that I have ever seen (I've been to Barbados, Verradero, Margarita Island, Punta Cana, Mayan Rivera, Maui, Honolulu, Sardinia, South of Spain) . The colour and clarity of the water is truly incredible. it is completely pollution free! There are many many beaches on the island and we definitely recommend that you rent a car and see all the beautiful beaches which are all within a 10-20minute drive of the resort.

The people: the Exumians are the friendliest, warmest, most hospitable of all the islands we have visited. They make you feel safe, welcome and are only too happy to share the history of Exuma with you and their pride in their island. At the resort, Emmerson organizes games and activities for the kids and adults. He also chops down coconuts every morning and makes "sky juice" (a delicious blend of coconut water and condensed milk) and so make sure you ask him for "sky juice"....you won't be disappointed. LaTroy and all the ladies at the front desk are very helpful too.

Our advise:
1. Rent a car and tour the island. You can return the car at the resort with no additional fee. Or pick it up at the resort and return at the airport on your way out.
2. Go to Santana Restaurant (call ahead to make sure Dee, the owner is there). The lobster dish is absolutely delicious. While you're there, get some baked goods from Mama's Bakery next door. This restaurant is also close to the Tropic of Cancer beach, a must see!
3. Get on the water!!! The way to truly experience Exuma is on the water. Captain Jerry is amazing and he will take you from Georgetown harbour on an incredible half day journey of seeing sting rays, turtles, feeding fish, seeing where pirates of the caribbean was filmed, going to a sandbank, snorkling etc... We also took a full day boat tour with Four C's adventures. This was great, but it is a long day so prepare for being on the water from 9am-5pm. The kids loved it!
4. Must go to Chat n Chill to have Conch Salad and just hang out for the day on Stocking Island. You can get there by water taxi from Georgetown. This is a must!
5. There are grocery stores on the island, but they are nothing like what we have at home. So take an extra bag with you of your favourite things like Nutella (my kids can't live without it and they didn't have any on the island!)
6. Rent a car. We rented a car from the airport. Check the trunk to make sure there is an inflated spare tire as well as a jack and wrench. Their rental cars are not like what we get back home. They are fine to get around, but the cars are older. We had no trouble with ours.

Overall, a fantastic family vacation and experience. Highly would recommend visiting the island and staying at the resort.

Room Tip: The rooms facing the bay I think have better views (versus the ocean - which is still spectacular no...
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Sally S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Monclova, Ohio
Level 5 Contributor
53 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 August 2012

I chose this property based on trip advisor reviews and it is surely perfect. The location is perfect on the beach and the grounds are quiet and secluded. The room was top notch. Every single item in the room is high dollar brand name. They spared no expense to great a 5 star high quality place. Having a golf cart to drive around is perfect for after dinner sightseeing. The pool area is busy but never too busy or crowded. We ate almost all our meals at the restaurant and all were great. Nothing over the top fancy, but it was the casual relaxed fare that we enjoyed and expected here and it was not as overpriced as any other US big city restaurant. We loved walking the beach and most the time felt like we had the place to ourselves. All the staff is so friendly and eager to please. Latroy at the front desk was remarkable. We did not book at the spa or any excursions because it was only a long weekend, but we did rent a car for one day and drove to beautiful secluded beaches. It was very memorable! Visit this island and this resort. You will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Jcjohnson1021
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dayton, Ohio
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2012

First of all, the rooms are really plush and beautifully decorated. Feels like you are staying in someone's home, not a resort. The kitchens are very well stocked with almost everything you need but no dish soap. Not a big problem though! The pool area and beach are really lovely and the whole place is very clean. We enjoyed our stay, but it could have been better with a few easy improvements. There is not enough shade to be had at the pool or the beach area. There weren't very many guests being off season and at that, too few umbrellas and chicki huts! Very uncomfortable beach chairs. There was some significant seaweed on the beach and where you enter the water which could have easily been cleaned up. Sandals is right next door with no seaweed. The food is just ok, but worse, I got food poisoning from the conch fritters. I did report this to the front desk and kitchen, and their response was very underwhelming. One of the front desk employees was very unhelpful with trying to make some water tours, and generally unwilling to really be of assistance. For a half day snorkeling tour all he could come up with was a $450.00 per person. On an island with several operators that is frankly unbelievable! His response was " Well, that's all we have". The rest of the staff were so nice.. in fact all the island folks were really friendly. It's a beautiful island to visit. Also their outgoing phone lines didn't operate, and cell phone signals not available in our room. Will go back to the island but not Grand Isle.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank JillMadamie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Flic En Flac
Level 5 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 July 2012

We visited from July 14-21 and could not have been more pleased with this professionally run resort. I loved the layout as we were close to the pool and it made it handy to visit the bar, restaurant or the beach. Pool was clean and it is freshwater not saltwater as I had read somewhere.

We rented a one bedroom villa overlooking Emerald Bay and it was as though we were the first guests in it- it was definitely clean, not even a fingerprint on the shower. Desk personnel were top notch, well trained, personalble people that were a delight to visit with and also to get directions etc.

On arrival we were given a tour of the villa ( which was stunning throughout-tastefully decorated with local artwork and photos etc) and shown how to operate everything. Furniture was nice and comfortable, bed was just right, a pleasant change from Mexican resorts which I think are stuffed with sand. We were then shown where the complimentary golf cart was and our greeter insisted on carrying up our bags. He would not let me do it.

Housekeeping was very good. She showed up at 9am on Sunday and we asked her to come back at 11 am. That was the only time she did that! She never came that early again the whole week, but somehow got the job done and done well. I never did see her again!

Pool , bar area and towel area were perfectly laid out, perfect size, not crowded very very pretty, tons of loungers etc. Flavored lemon and cherry water was at the towel shack all day long. Drinks were not cheap, but they were very good. I laughed though when I got to Miami airport as the drinks were more expensive there.

A good tip is bring some mixers such as LT Blenders Pina Colada and Mojito etc. Because you can take your cart across the street at the resort and get your liquor duty free at the well stocked liquor store. Beer is not cheap, but it's fun to mix and match a lot of the local brews. 14 bucks for big bottle of top shelf rum for example. Maybe 2 dollars for a bottle of beer.

The villas had parking just outside your room for your rental car on the very nicely landscaped grounds - which IMHO is a must to fully exploit your visit to Exuma. Gas is $5 something a gallon, but - you don't have to use much gas as the island is compact. We went from Barratarre to Williamstown and did so on several occasions beach hunting. Easy to get around, plenty to see and do. The whole resort was kept up perfectly and the staff was friendly everywhere you went.

You are up north a bit, but the island is so small. it's no problem to go any where in a short time. The beaches are awesome, our favorite was Jolly Hall. I have to say, the shoreline and water at Santannas was prettier ( to me) than the Tropic Of Cancer.

Emerald Bay at the resort is fine, but not my cup of tea as the water is a bit rough. But, nice to walk the beach and jump in to cool off.

I really liked the infinity pool and we also ate at the Palapa on site 2 times and had nice meals.

Some talk is bandied about that they are shutting down to remodel the restaurant area. I can understand this, but I hope they are careful and do not change too much as we loved it just the way it is, sitting there looking out at the ocean.

I highly recommend the resort in case you can't figure it out.

My wife went to the spa and gave it the thumbs up on the massage and the pedicure. She really liked the ladies in there.

But, more than that, I highly recommend going and getting a car and visiting with all the VERY warm and friendly folks on Exuma as they are a class act. Period paragraph. I have never met a more beautiful and friendly people. They actually outstrip the beauty of the island if you can imagine that.

My wife and I have been to numerous islands and we never felt so safe and genuinely welcome. Every one would ask: "Are you coming back?" Yes. We are coming back and we are staying at Grand Isle in the same villa-

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank jw051215a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sandy Hook, Connecticut
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 July 2012

I have read everyone's reviews over the past few months and based on their glowing recommendations along with the 2012 TripAdvisor Luxury Hotel award we decided to take our family vacation here last week. My wife and I and our four boys (15, 13, 11 and 9) spent 5 nights at the Grand Isle villas. I will highlight each category below:

Villa - the rooms were very good. Décor and appliances were high end. Very nicely done – Bahamas with high style. Kitchen was well outfitted with everything needed to prepare meals. The family room had a 50" flat screen TV with DirectTV. The bedrooms were all well appointed and the beds very comfortable. The apartment size washer/dryer was a plus for our big family.

Pool - was nice and large, nice vanishing edge style and there were plenty of lounge chairs around the pool. The pool cabana offered fresh towels as well as a variety of pool floats, snorkels, masks and swim fins at no charge

Beach - the beach was moderately rough which was not bad however there was a lot of seaweed in the sand and in the water. The staff raked the beach in the am but that was it. Two complaints were they should have raked the seaweed more often and also there was no beach service for drinks or food. If you wanted anything you would have to walk back to the pool and bar area and order.

Restaurant - we only ate there for dinner and the food was average at best. As everyone has stated the menu is limited. I was hoping for more seafood selections. Also when the food arrived they had to light sterno's to deflect the swarm of flies that descended on the food.

Golf - we played twice and the course is above average, however some of the greens needed to be mowed as it was difficult to determine the green from the outer rough. We paid $85 for adults and $60 for kids which wasn't bad.

Rental Car – highly recommend a rental car. Must have for trek to Tropic of Cancer Beach (40 min ride from Grand Isle Villas), Georgetown (20 min ride from Grand Isle Villas) and water taxi to Stocking Island. Set your expectations low on the car you’ll be driving. We had an OLD Honda minivan with all kinds of check engine lights on – which the rental agent assured us was “no problem”. He was right – it kept us going for a week!

Highly recommend trip to Stocking Island for lunch at Chat ‘n Chill. Food was simply prepared and delicious. Take time to stroll down the beach and explore – absolutely beautiful. Also enjoyed lunch at Santanas restaurant – past Tropic of Cancer beach.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
10 Thank JJJJ4444
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
philly
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 July 2012

Small family friendly resort that gets everything right. The staff from concierge to pool to restaraunt to housekeeping were terrific - great customer service, lots of laughter and smiles.
We stayed in a gorgeous two-bedroom villa with our two teenage daughters. The villa's kitchen is well detailed with top of the line appliances and every utensil you can think of. All the furnishings and linens were excellent and we loved hanging out here after the beach and the pool. They have a nice little restaraunt on the premises and the infinity pool/bar area is great. They have a nice stretch beach a few steps down from the pool with a great snorkel reef running out for quite a bit. Sandals is just down the road. We never ventured over but you can buy a day or evening pass if that's your thing. If you are looking for a laid back vacation at a very well run resort, this is your place.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 1112 with oceanfront view.
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank mully65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Isle Resort & Spa

Property: Grand Isle Resort & Spa
Address: Emerald Bay | PO Box EX-29253, Great Exuma
Region: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Great Exuma
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Great Exuma
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4 star — Grand Isle Resort & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 78
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located on Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, The Bahamas, Grand Isle Resort & Spa is a stunning ocean front resort. The exclusive gated community comprises 78 luxuriously appointed 1- to 4-bedroom villas that range from 1,250 sq. ft. to 5,200 sq. ft. and offer a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living area, high-end amenities, and extraordinary views. Getting around the resort is quick and convenient, as every villa is equipped with a personal golf cart. Grand Isle is one of the finest resorts in the Caribbean and is ideally suited for family holidays, romantic getaways, destination weddings and honeymoons, or for simply enjoying the beach. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Grand Isle Hotel Great Exuma
Grand Isle Resort And Spa
Grand Isle Resort & Spa Bahamas/Great Exuma

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