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“Idyllic Luxury Resort in the Bahamas (Great Exuma)”

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Grand Isle Resort & Spa
Ranked #1 of 6 Hotels in Great Exuma
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 July 2013

Wonderful, beautiful, fantastic and luxurious place! Grand Isle is a beautiful property perched in a perfect position above the beach at Emerald Bay. The property consists of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units that are great for families, singles or couples. Due to the positioning of the resort, most of them appear to have ocean views. There's a beautiful pool that looks out over the beach which is just a few steps down some stairs from the pool area. At the pool, you can sign out beach equipment like body boards, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, beach toys for kids, etc. At the beach, there are chairs, umbrellas and palapas. While there aren't a ton of them, there was no moment when we were there (June) when all of them were occupied and there's certainly no race to 'claim' them. The beach has white, powdery sand and beautiful clear water (clear when in it, Caribbean electric blue when observing it). The beach has only two resorts on it, this one and a Sandals - it's a big beach so it still doesn't feel too developed.

The rooms are spacious and beautiful with high quality construction, design and decor. I was traveling with my mother and we shared a one bedroom unit (with me on the pull out sofa, which was fine) and there was plenty of space. There were also two separate entrances to the enormous bathroom (one from the bedroom and one from the living area), which was nice. We never felt cramped at all. The kitchen is large and well-equipped with everything you need though we never cooked. There was also a medium sized balcony with table and chairs. Everything in the room was fantastic and each room comes with its own golf cart that you can drive around the resort and even to the liquor store just outside of the gates (but not as far as Big D's).

There is one restaurant next to the pool that had very good food and enough variety that I didn't get bored in four days/nights even though we took most of our meals there (we had one lunch at Chat'n'Chill on Stocking Island which was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it!). I read some complaints about variety and even quality of tomatoes but that's going to be the case on any slightly remote island where everything is brought in by boat (which means limited and more expensive than home, wherever that is for you). I found the restaurant neither cheap nor expensive for a hotel and same for the bar. I really enjoyed eating at the restaurant each night because it was very peaceful overlooking the pool and beach. The restaurant staff were also wonderful and attentive.

We rented a car for one day only to go to town and Stocking Island (taxis are very expensive) and it was worth it. Unless you want to drive around to different beaches, you don't need a car every day because there's not much else to do . 'Town' is very small and there's not all that much of interest there. Frankly, the beach at the hotel is so nice that we didn't see a reason to drive all over during a trip of only 4 nights.

Don't hesitate to book this place! It's gorgeous! And do visit the spa - I had a great massage there!

Room Tip: I'm sure they're all great but go for an ocean view!
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  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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5  Thank NYC304
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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617 - 623 of 961 reviews

Reviewed 8 July 2013

our second time at this fantastic secret in the Bahamas. Wonderful resort, oppulant villa, incredible beach and fantastic staff made this holiday memorable. We stayed June 30 - July 7th 2013. The weather was great. Food was enjoyed, but was also nice to be able to cook for ourselves (and especially the kids) in the villa's well appointed kitchen,

Overall, we loved the place, and will come back for a third time (and likely more after that)...

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Maurice B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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.
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  • 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
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...
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  • 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!
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  • 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!
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  • 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
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Additional Information about Grand Isle Resort & Spa

Address: Emerald Bay, 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: £301 - £746 (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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