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“impressive resort”

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Grand Isle Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Great Exuma
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 2 July 2013

This is an impressive resort. The place is well maintained. Everyone was extremely friendly, especially Judy at the front desk. They were very happy to help you in any way.

We stayed in a 4 bedroom ocean view (building 9). We overlooked the Marina and the golf course. You could also see some of the bay. The rooms were very nicely decorated and the kitchen was incredible. There is a terrific porch that we used quite a bit the first 3 days. The last day we had some rain over night and that slowed down the breeze and the bugs came out.

The golf cart is a nice touch but we only used it to ride over to play golf and to hit the liquor store.

The beach was nice but a bit rough the days when we were there. I wish I would have spent more time snorkeling right off the beach because some of it was amazing. The pool was dynamite. Very large infinite pool overlooking the beach. And good service as well.

The food was exceptional and the past reviews don’t do that justice. We did order in some food so only ate lunch and dinner at the restaurant.

Overall we were very pleased with our stay.

Room Tip: Not sure if you can see but I took a picture of the layout map they gave us. All have good views.
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank PParry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 30 June 2013

Expectations were riding high as it's usually our goal to "one-up" our previous vacation, trying never to stay at the same place more than once. Our family of five stayed at Grand Isle 6/15/13-6/22/13. We were prepared for mediocrity compared to the fun we recently had at Turks and Caicos. By the middle of our stay, we were easily convinced that we couldn't have chosen a better family friendly resort in Exuma or all of the Bahamas. (We've been to the mainland Bahamas as well). With three kids, it was a risk staying somewhere other than the popular family friendly resorts, but with help from the reservation specialist, concierge, and some internet research, we confidently took a chance with Grand Isle.

A few years ago when we traveled to the Bahamas, we took a day trip to Exuma and were in awe of the breathtaking beauty and natural wildlife environment, thus it was easy to decide to stay in Exuma for a week. Our kids 17, 14, and 5 made it a challenge to find the right resort that could accommodate a week's worth of fun for all of them and for my wife and me, but our expectations were exceeded.

Prior to our arrival, concierge contacted us about taxi service from the airport to the resort. Dimitri (our taxi specialist) was very accommodating and allowed us to make a quick stop for groceries on the way to the resort. (WARNING: groceries are VERY expensive here due to the cost of getting them to the island, so only get what you need. And remember, the date format in the Bahamas is different than the U.S. (DD/MO/YR). Imagine the baffled look on my face when I saw the expiration date on the milk we bought read 4/8/13!)

Upon our arrival at the resort (a quick 10 minute drive from the airport), there was no wait to check in and it was earlier than our check-in time. The staff gave us a quick tour of our villa and left us to discover the rest. We stayed in one of the Lucayan villas, which spans more than 2,600 square feet and has three bedrooms, each with their own full bathroom. With a full kitchen and spacious living areas, this villa made us feel right at home from the moment we settled in. We were close enough to the pool and beach to walk and didn't need the golf cart half the time, but it was very convenient to have and we used it plenty. The way the villas are built, our privacy while enjoying the balconies on both floors was never compromised. We also had a spectacular view of the beautiful beach that spanned a little more than a mile. The daily villa cleaning was done in a very timely and efficient manner. Very well done.

We had scheduled our dinner reservation for the first three nights of our stay prior to our arrival and were able to make adjustments to those times as needed on a daily basis, which was very helpful. The Palappa Grill sits right over the infinite's edge pool, overlooking the beach. We decided it would benefit us to purchase the meal plan having a family of five, considering we'd be eating breakfast and dinner there six days during our stay. This made it easy to dine and not worry about the menu prices. This covered our breakfast and dinner each day of our stay and we were never left hungry with the options that the meal plan covers. We ended up with a larger tab for meals than what we spent for the meal plan by a couple hundred dollars, so it benefited us, although we could have skipped dessert or appetizers a couple nights and it would have been a wash. There are plenty of items to choose from so that you don't need to have the same meal twice, but a couple of the meals were superb enough to order a second time around by week's end. The coconut ice cream was especially good, rolled over a warm brownie. The kid's menu is more than sufficient as well. Although 15% gratuity is already factored in, it's still polite to tip because ALL of the employee's split the 15% and only get to keep extra from whatever you tip. The wait staff was very accommodating and just like the Bahamian lifestyle, food prep was slower than what you’re used to in the states. But dinner is always a good time to unwind from the day’s events and enjoy a bottle of wine or some other fancy libations, (I recommend trying the Miami Vice). Be prepared to pay $45 for a standard $8 bottle of wine though. Not a lot of quality high end wines to choose from.

The resort is so spread out that you never feel confined by boundaries or suffocated by other guests. Even though we were there during off-season, the resort was mostly full. The make-up of the guests varied greatly from younger couples, older couples, villa owners, families, etc.

The pool was very refreshing and felt between 88-90 degrees. There were never too many guests in it and you never felt like you were in someone's space. There is more than enough lounging areas and finding a spot just right for you was never an issue. It was quiet and perfect for relaxing. The furniture was comfortable and the resort supplied you with rafts and other play items. We brought our own Frisbee disc, beach balls, and football just in case, but it turns out they had the exact items we brought already there for us to use. They also supplied all the snorkeling gear, kayaks, sand toys, etc. Towels were always ready for use and in abundance. The pool staff was very friendly and helpful.

The beach was cleaned every morning before anybody made it down there and was prime for a morning jog all the way from one end of the beach to the other (about 2.5 miles round trip). The beach is shared only with Sandals, but it’s far enough away that there is zero interference. We were very impressed with the reef along the short cliffs of the resort’s perimeter. There was an abundance and variety of fish amongst the reef that you could easily spend hours snorkeling. At low tide, you could easily walk more than 150 yards out in the reefs before the water even reached your chest. There were sting rays, barracudas, and schools of fish that numbered in the thousands that seemed to welcome you to their home.

The weather was phenomenal, sunny all day every day without a drop of rain the whole time. It was a bit windy a couple of the days, but with the humidity, the wind was welcomed. We took a full day boat excursion all the way to Compass Cay and back with plenty of stops along the way, two half-day land tours with a guide, and a half day boat tour in and around Moriah harbor. All of them are must-do activities in Exuma. (See my other reviews for more information.)

My wife enjoyed a hot lava shell massage and my 5 year old daughter had her hair braided. The spa was very accommodating and the staff was very friendly. The fitness center was more than enough to maintain even the fitness pro’s workout.

Wildlife around all of Exuma and the resort was in abundance, the likes of which you only see when watching national geographic. The fact that it was constantly surrounding you everywhere you went, in and out of the water, made for a surreal experience, especially being a wildlife enthusiast (and for my daughter, who absolutely loves all things wildlife).

The only negatives besides the poor wine selection was that they had the pool/restaurant radio on the same Sirrius radio station all week, so we heard the exact same songs every single day. The hot tub was also out for repairs, although I’m not too disappointed considering the pool was 90 degrees and it was just too hot to even want to go in a hot tub.

I highly recommend this resort for any pace of lifestyle, couples or families. There’s never a shortage of things to do and convenience is never at a loss. The staff is friendly, the amenities are plenty, and the service is phenomenal.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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10  Thank AustinLada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2013

My husband and I stayed June 20-24th at Grand Isle and we loved it!! The hotel is very nice, rooms are immaculate, high end, comfortable and the staff is very friendly and will help you with anything you need. My luggage did not make it there and the front desk set me up with all my toiletries until my bag arrived. They also took care of following up on my bag with the airline and hand delivering it to my room. The front desk will also set you up with car rentals, tours, etc. Renting a car is a must bc the taxis are extremely expensive and the hotel is far from areas of the island you would want to explore.
The pool is very relaxing and quiet so if you are looking for a place with loud music or pool activities, this is not it. A golf cart comes with your room, which you can take all over the property and down the street to the liquor store which is really convenient! :)
The food at Palappa Grill was very good. Food service overall is slow, but that is the Bahama way so just sit back and enjoy a drink! Pina Coladas were amazing!!
This has been one of my favorite vacations spots and we can't wait to go back and stay at Grand Isle again!

Room Tip: We were in 1523 which had a great ocean view. Some of the ocean views are blocked with trees. They h...
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank tmagoulas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 June 2013

If you are looking for wild volleyball games that include shots this is not your place. If you want to enjoy a beautiful view with very friend people then you need to book now. The staff was very helpful in making reservation for tours, calling cabs, finding coconuts to drink out from... The golf course is beautiful and even if you don't play take your golf cart around to enjoy the view. We hope to return soon and bring our children.

Room Tip: Dont forget the bug spray!
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Linda B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2013

We stayed at the Grand Isle Resort from June 6 through June 12. We had arranged a cab to pick us up at the airport and the driver was waiting when we stepped off the plane. Unfortunately, our luggage was delayed a day but the beautiful ladies in the front office hooked us up with all of our essential toiletries. Sandals (next door) has a shop which is pricey, but they certainly saved us until our luggage arrived. Shantel at the front desk told us of a convenice store a few miles away so we were able to get some snacks until we were able to get into town to shop. The office staff also arranged for our rental car and boat excursion with Four C's. The food at the Palappa Grill is outstanding (have the hummus, you'll thank me!) and the bartenders pour some of the best drinks I've ever had. The pool was never crowded and the beach was spectacular. It was nice to have lounge chairs on the beach and the pool hut offered towels and snorkeling gear. Everyone here goes out of their way for the guests. Yes, that's their job, but as another reviewer said, it seems they all really enjoy what they do. This was a trip of a lifetime for our family and we can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: I can't imagine there's a bad room in the whole place!
  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank lynnva68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 June 2013

We recently stayed at the Grand Isle and had a great time. The resort itself was beautiful - there are little lizards running around, pretty flowers, interesting birds, cobblestone streets, and a very nice pool and beach.

We had a villa facing the ocean - in between us and the water was a golf course and a marina, so were definitely "ocean view," but we were not on the water. The villa is well-appointed and very quiet. The appliances were top-of-the-line, there were plates and glasses and most things you could think of. There was ample room in the bathroom with two sinks and plenty of drawer space. The hair dryer could have worked better- I don't know if it was the hair dryer itself or it was functioning poorly, but I could not get it on "high." I am sure if I asked for a new one, they would have provided it to us. They provided L'Occitane toiletries, which is nice, and the towels were big and soft. There was WiFi in every villa, so if you bring your phone, just switch off the data plan and turn on WiFi only and you can use to your heart's content. There were two TVs and two DVD players (not Blu-Ray), and I believe there is a DVD library there, but we brought our own. Maid service comes once a day and you can request a time for them to clean the villa.

We were provided a golf cart to get around, although we were close enough to the pool that we did not need it, but it was a nice addition. You have a little garage to store it and keep it charged.

The pool area was nice. The pool water was much warmer than the water in the bay. You could order food and have them bring it to you or you could just sit at the outside restaurant. They have a somewhat full bar, but we stuck to the drinks offered on the menu.

We mostly ate at the restaurant -we had stopped at a grocer upon arrival for breakfast foods, which we ate in our villa, but we ate lunch and dinner there daily. The food was very good - the spiny lobster tail and the jerk tenderloin were tasty as well at the conch fritters and the conch and/or lobster soup. We ate grouper sandwiches or burgers for lunch. The only thing I would have liked better, and this is a personal preference, is if they had a screen or some sort of inside dining option because once the food comes, so do the flies. They had to put out sternos to keep the flies away. Also, for some meals we waited a long time for our food to come out - we just went with the flow, but one meal was so long that they offered us a drink in apology, and we didn't even complain. They suggest dinner reservations and although the resort seems small, the restaurant is not that big, so we put our name in daily. You can also order food to go, which is what we did one night.

The bay is beautiful. There was a lot of seaweed on the beach in certain areas that they tried to remove, but you just kind of go around it. What is really neat is that in the bay there are several reefs and the villas provide you with snorkel gear and there were tons of beautiful fish out there - we saw many kinds of tropical fish and this was all a few yards from the shore. The beach is shared with Sandals on the other end, but there is plenty of privacy and you can take a nice walk around the water.

The reception area had a computer for use and they give you excursion towels if you go on a tour. They helped us with planning tours and fishing . We did not use the spa as we were only there for a few days.

The island itself and the people are charming. The airport was very small and there is a small gift shop there to pick up some trinkets on the way out. Unfortunately, we didn't get down to Georgetown as there was some heavy rain before we got there and some of the road (there is one main road on the island) was flooded. We will have to visit there when we return. We rented a car, which I would advise, but we really couldn't use it with the flooding.

We have stayed at Sandals resorts (not in Exuma) and we love the all-inclusive aspect, however, when we return, we will go back to Grand Isle - it was quiet and relaxing and I would recommend it for a low-key getaway.

Room Tip: Ask to face the bay, if available.
  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank FuninPhx71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 May 2013 via mobile

I've done many many 5 star resorts in various parts of the world, including the very expensive Fairmont Kea Lani at Wailea in Maui, Hawaii... I have never been to a place quite as stunning as the Exumas. We had a gorgeous 2 story villa at Grand Isle with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, full kitchen with top of the line appliances, a balcony overlooking the beautiful crystal blue waters (you would not believe how blue the water is...it was literally like swimming in kool aid...just STUNNING) the view of the water from our ocean view suite was breath taking. Each villa also has their very own golf cart to drive around the property and all around the Emerald Bay community, which came in useful when we wanted to go across to market, and over to the marina, or just driving around for fun to check out the beautiful scenery. I give this resort 2 thumbs up, I would love to permanently live here!!!!!! Looking forward to go back there soon!!

  • Stayed: June 2012
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3  Thank Priscilla A
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

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: £258 - £782 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 Resort And Spa
Grand Isle Hotel Great Exuma
Grand Isle Resort & Spa Bahamas/Great Exuma

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