This is a complex place and one that Trip Advisor is really not set up for in that 1 to 5 stars does not adequately describe this property. Part of this is due to the fact that Grand Isle is not a pure Villa property, nor is it a pure hotel resort. It has aspects of both. I'd give it between 3 stars on some levels and five on others thus my compromise of 4 stars but read on as it's not that simple.
Before jumping into the hotel, a word on Great Exuma. We loved this island! We've been to many islands before and this place is totally an undiscovered gem with miles, and miles, and miles of pristine beach that are undeveloped. The colors of the water were more vibrant than any place we'd ever been in the Caribbean and we've been to a lot of islands. Trash is an issue on the beaches (they need to have a public works project around that) and while the people we met were very warm and friendly, there clearly is a pride and self respect that's probably gotten in the way of the island really taking off as a tourist destination. This said, we'll definitely go back.
So on the high end of Grand Isle the Villas and grounds are terrific. Everything they advertised (with the exception of the workout facility) is spot on. The beach is beautiful, very nice pool and a fine restaurant and bar (although nothing fancy). We stayed at an Ocean front 3 bedroom and it was excellent. Ocean view is really more accurate as none of the Villas are on the beach. Golf carts are great, albeit not really necessary if you're staying on the bottom of the hill.
There are also some great staff (Judy you were terrific)! Most of the staff were warm and polite, although there's clearly a lack of training and the ability to improvise on the fly is a challenge for many.
But it's funky. When you get there the check in is much more akin to a Villa check in than it is a resort. Two woman working the desk. There is no gift shop on premises for fundamentals, let alone for anything more than that. My wife, kids and I quickly deduced that there was a vibe here and it you wanted to make the best of the vacation, you had to get into it. We did and it was great.
The service is spotty, again I attribute this to three things 1) training, 2) the management company is not local (it's based in the states) 3) It's not a hotel or a villa thus it's not sure what it wants to be. So here were some examples. There were a ton of staff working on the grounds, which are gorgeous, but other than grating the sand in the morning, no staff was on garbage detail on the beach (plenty of trash to be picked up). The beach bar/food service was erratic and there was certainly no one to help you set up your chairs for the day.
The restaurant was actually quite good, although the menu was pretty limited. Service was just fine and when we told them we were in a hurry, the staff made things happen for us (Thanks Shrug). Wine list is pretty bad but there's a nice liquor store close to the property where you can get a decent bottle of wine and pay a corking fee.
We worked out everyday at the workout facility, which was fine but the cardio was slightly limited with 2 treadmills, one recumbent and one old stair stepper. Weight machines were all in good shape and they had free weights up to 50. The golf course is not their's, it's the Sandal's and while the course is beautiful it needs some attention. The spa, was really basic, more like a couple of tables rather than a top notch facility with men's and women's locker rooms.
The snorkeling off the beach is okay, especially in this day and age, but again, trash on the ocean floor is distracting. This said, the sand on the beach was really wonderful and made for many a great walks.
Would I stay here again, you bet. But they've some work to do to make this a truly great resort.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Isle Resort And Spa
- Grand Isle Hotel Great Exuma
- Grand Isle Resort & Spa Bahamas/Great Exuma