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“Amazing Beach”

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Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Long Island
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 April 2008

The place is very secluded. In winter there is NO way to get there the same day. We caught a 6:30am flight from St. Louis which was supposed to arrive in Nassau at 1:30. The latest flights fron Nassau to Stella Maris leave at 2:30 from the domestic terminal so we would have missed the flight. In the other half of the year flights leave at 3:30 becuase Daylight Savings Time gives an extra hour of daylight. Apparently airplanes aren't allows to fly after dark. So, in winter you WILL spend the night in Nassau.

Money is one for one with the US dollar so you can use either anywhere with no conversion. That simplifies things. The cool thing is that Bahamas money includes a three dollar bill. It is about as rare as a two dollar US bill, but I found one. How many people can claim they own a three dollar bill?

There are two resorts on Stell Maris that I know of. The Stella Maris Resort Club is right near the airport. The Cape Santa Maria is a $20 cab ride down the road. And it is the only thing there so it will cost you $20 to go anywhere else once you get there. All Anna wanted to do was sit on the beach and enjoy the sun so we didn't care.

You can rent either a beach bungalow or one of the two story villas. I think the villas are a full house but I never really checked into it because they were more expensive. The beach bungalows have a screened in patio with chairs and a coffee table, a bedroom with two double beds, a second bedroom with two single beds and a bathroom with a bathtub. There was even a little refridgerator and a coffee maker with coffee. I found the beach bungalow was in good condition and worked fine for us.

They also sell the two story villas. We met a couple who had bought one of them. They like it so much they fly down to Cape Santa Maria every other month for three weeks. They seemsed really impressed.

The beach is amazing. The bungalows you stay in are a boardwalk width away from the beach. There is almost noone on the beach (at least not in January when we were there) an it goes a very long way. It makes you feel like you are the only ones there.

The water was colder than we expected and very shallow. We walked about half a mile out to where a boat was anchored and it came up to my chin. I didn't see any fish (probably because the water was so shallow). The sand is this incredible fine white sand both on the beach and under the water.

We got one of the package deals which was very good value. Three nights at $133 per person. They have a meal plan and I recommend it because it is much cheaoper than the prices on the menu and because it is so secluded you will end up eating in the restraunt.

The restraunt menu is adequate for a three night package but would get a bit boring for longer stays. The selection is limited but the food tasted good. Anna is allergic to seafood and lots of the menu items have conch meat and I wanted the cultural experience so I stuck with "Bahamas cuisine" I think there was only three of each on the menu. The menu prices are expensive but we had the meal plan so it was reasonable.

We took our 8 month old child with us. The resort gave us a portable cot and blankets for him. The restraunt had a high chair. They have these gazebos on the beach so we moved the portable cot out of the bungalow and into the gazebo during the day. The kid enjoyed eating the sand when not in the portable cot.

The have internet access (extra $10 per day) and they have a TV room with a TV and a reasonable selection of books. We didn't use either very much. Much more fun to sit on the beach outside the bungalow after supper with a bottle of wine.

The get the conch every day, so they have LOTS of empty conch shells. I chose three that were in good condition that had nice coloring and wrapped them up very securely and brought them back. They arrived with almost no damage. The TSA will NOT let you carry them on. They said "Shells are dealy weapons" and since there are people who make knives out of plexiglass so that they can wear them through the metal detectors, I guess it you broke them you could use them like a knife.

I didn't find any problems with the service at all. The service in the restraunt is the same as any place where the tip is built into the price - a bit slow and sometimes you have to ask twice. All the staff (both the restraunt staff and everyone else) seemed really friendly to me. They accomodated all my weird requests cheerfully. For example:
- We took our dessert and a bottle of wine back to our bungalow at least twice with no complaints. It think you could have just as easily taken it to the TV room.
- Our flight left at 8am the day we left and we would have missed breakfast so they made up a cold breakfast (fruit, bread, yogurt, etc)
- They helped me collect the conch shells and then when I wanted to wrap up the conch shells they found me as much packing material as they had, let me use the tape, etc

When we stayed over in Nassau on the way down we stayed at the Orange Hill Beach Inn. It seemed a little run down but they were very friendly to us and the food in their restraunt was good.

We took a public bus from there downtown to check out Nassau and we found that it wasn't that much fun. Very crowed with tourists and not too many actual locals. The bus driver pointed out the funeral home where Anna Nicole had her funeral.

We stopped in at Cartier jewellers and compared the price of a ring we had bought a year previously at Cartier on Rodeo Drive in Hollywood. It was the same price but taxes were higher so it was about 5 bucks more.

On the way back we didn't have to stay over in Nassau like we did going to Stella Maris because the flights work out in that direction. We used Southern Air Charter from Nassau to Stella Maris and back and that went fine with no problems.

The only complaint I have about the entire trip is the Airport in Nassau. The international departures has lost of souvenier stalls, a convenience store, and exactly one place to eat. The cafeteria looked very dirty and the food looked terrible. We didn't eat there. I am sure it would have been closed by the Board of Health if it had been in a different country. So we got a bag of chips from the convenience store. Don't plan to eat at the airport.

  • Stayed: January 2008, travelled with family
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5  Thank AucklandJerry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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463 - 469 of 665 reviews

Reviewed 12 April 2008

We just returned from a family vacation to CSM on Long Island. We flew non-stop from ATL to Georgetown, Exuma on Delta and then chartered with Marty Fox -Island Wings to LI--perfect timing and very easy! Avoided Nassau altogether and returning to ATL was even a breeze given that it was spring break. SHHHH! don't tell anyone else...I was really torn whether or not to share this wonderful place with more people. We have traveled extensively in the Caribbean and have to say that it is the most beautiful beach we have ever rolled out of bed onto first thing in the morning! To be able to stay right on the beach--not lock your doors--never worry about the children wandering off or going in too deep--or watching too much TV is a LUXURY! That was the best part... no TV, video games, telephones, cell phones or laptops (they did catch American Idol in the main beach house TV room), but really, isn't that what vacations are all about? My parents arrived the day after we did, (try not to rely on BahamasAir--it did not make the scheduled stop in Stella Maris and took them directly to Deadmans Cay from Nassau delaying their arrival) and the kids spent time with all of us fishing, walking along the beach, star-gazing, swimming, kayaking and most of all, talking. I must address the restaurant/meal plan question...we stayed for seven nights and elected to have the modified meal plan (breakfast and dinner). We thought that the menu was extensive considering where we were. It is quite diverse, beef, pork, chicken and PLENTY of seafood. We went reef fishing with Bert and Doug one morning and caught our dinner--the chef prepared a platter of grilled and fried grouper, triggerfish and snapper that same evening--FRESH and delicious! The service was very typical of the other islands we have visited before, and we understand and respect that. I made sure that we showed our appreciation --always. I think that makes a huge difference when traveling and would never expect things to be the same in the Bahamas as they are at home. That's why we visit other places and experience their cultures. My husband asked me to add that the bone-fish are very smart in LI--they know how to hide and it is a great challenge to catch one. (My 9-year old son happened to out-fish he and my father on their excursion with Bert) Overall, I can't recommend this place more highly, from Breanda who greeted us when we arrived to Mark who greeted us at dinner every night and shared his stories to all the wonderful staff who made our stay so comfortable...I can't describe the feeling when your children tell you that they are sad to leave a place after seven days. Please feel free to contact us with any questions! And make sure you GO!!

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank snorklemom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2008

Don't fly via Bahamas Air (gov. owned/dmv of airlines) - had a difficult time getting there - ended up chartering a private plane and missed a night. Once there, it was exactly as advertised. The place was peaceful and beautiful and I loved the staff. Everyone was friendly and helpful. People don't move at a New City Pace but to me, that's part of the charm.

I can't wait to go back. Mark the manager/trainer was great and the front office/reception people especially patient. The food is not world class but good enough and not too expensive.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled with friends
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3  Thank SoCalCopilot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2008

Upon arriving, this resort appeared to be everything that the reviews said. The beach is really and truly incredible. I have never seen water like this. The rooms were great--a little run down in some areas, but comfortable and with great screened-in patios to sit and look at the water and sunset. If all I had to do was sit and look at the water, this would have been paradise on earth. A note to divers/snorkelers--there is nothing to see in the water because it is incredibly calm and shallow. Unless you take one of the very expensive boats or trips at the resort, don't plan on interesting diving. A couple that we arrived with left early because they expected better diving. This is not "interesting" water--it is great for watching and swimming.

The only reason that I could not give this place a top rating is the restaurant. We were there for seven days and this is an extremely secluded resort. Unless you want to rent a car ($70 per day plus $5 per gallon gas) and drive for at least 30 minutes each way (over horrible roads), you have to eat at the resort restaurant. For an expensive and well-reviewed resort, the restaurant was a huge disappointment. The food was unimaginative and expensive and often in skimpy portions. One example--$13 for two small triangles of chicken quesadillas. There was not nearly as much seafood as I would have imagined for a beach side resort and side dishes with the $25-40/plate dinners included frozen then microwaved peas and carrots.

However, the biggest problem was the lazy and resentful service we received at the restaurant. The waitresses stood by the cash register gossiping until you demanded service, often having to ask twice even for a glass of water. Then they would give you a look like you were interrupting the otherwise nice day they were having and walk over to the table as if dragging an anvil behind them. I could not believe how bad the service was. At one point, we were one of three couples in the restaurant. They did not offer to seat us, so we sat ourselves. Then they moved us twice until we were right next to the kitchen (and all the noise from them gossiping in the kitchen) even though every better table in the place remained empty throughout our meal. There was never an explanation for why we had to change tables and certainly no reason for us to sit right next to the noisy kitchen.

I think the problem is that there is a mandatory "gratuity" (it is not a gratuity if you don't get to decide the amount based on the quality of the service) of 15% and there are no other restaurants in the area. The waitresses are going to get the same money regardless of the service they provide. We finally got to the point after about 3 days where we went to a convenience store and got snacks so that we could avoid the restaurant as much as possible. It was that bad. We also ended up renting a car on two different days so that we could go grocery shopping and go to different restaurants. On a side note, Chez Pierre's was wonderful.

This restaurant would probably be okay if you were only staying for a little while, but for trips over 3 days it was really terrible. It didn't ruin our trip, but it definitely seriously hampered our enjoyment of an otherwise great place. We unfortunately can not say we would ever return.

I would like to say that the rest of the service, especially housekeeping and front desk, was great. Also Southern Air Charter worked out very well from Nassau to Stella Maris.

If you are considering this place, you should also consider how much seclusion you want. We found it very peaceful and relaxing, but there was seriously nothing to do. They did have fishing expeditions and some other things, but be prepared to pay through the nose ($250 for a half day of bone fishing?). No TVs in the room, no phones and no cell phone service for the most part, and very slow internet. There also are not very many people at the resort. There is nothing for miles around on the island. Like I said, we really enjoyed it but it was more secluded than anything most people have ever experienced on a vacation. Just be prepared for it because I am sure a lot of people would not enjoy it.

All in all, I wish this place had lived up to the reviews. Had the restaurant been better managed and offered better food, I would have no trouble recommending this place as a beach paradise.

  • Stayed: March 2008, travelled as a couple
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13  Thank katshif
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2008

We have a private helicopter and we were able to fly right there and land. There is a landing strip next to the resort which we absolutely loved. With just a short walk to the premises, which was much needed to stretch our legs, we were checked in and 2 minutes after that we enjoyed a cocktail in their lovely bar. I enjoyed a massage while we stayed there also. It was so relaxing. The woman came right to our bungalow, so private and oh so wonderful. Food was excellent, EVERYTHING was clean and we also experienced our first 2 seater bicycle ride...what fun....everyone must go!!! Debra and Tom
d.acee@maddenconcrete.com

Thank you Wendy!!!

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank zzztjmdebra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2008

This fabulous beach resort on the northern end of Long Island, Bahamas was the perfect six day setting for us to have a second couple get married. We stayed in one of the 2 BR Villas -- 1800 sq feet of luxury overlooking the 3 mile long beach. The Villa, which runs $795/night on season, $595 off, had an enclosed porch, spacious living room/dining room/full kitchen area with TV/DVD, wireless access, washer/dryer and 2 separate bathrooms, one with Jacuzzi. All rooms were nicely appointed, appropriate for their now current $900K selling price, and all offered great privacy. Our new found friends enjoyed their smaller bungalows, but the Villa offered far more enjoying options and space for the four of us.

The Villas are on the south end of the resort, a short 3 minute walk to the main office/restaurant/indoor bar and outside eating/drinking area along the water. It was great to walk down the main street—the amazing wide, soft, white beach—to greet friends who we met on our first day. The beach at Cape Santa Maria is by far the most beautiful and amazing that I’ve been to and that includes other Bahamian beaches, Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Morocco, Southern France, Crete, Florida, Mid-Atlantic, and California. The water, even in February, was warm, gentle and beautifully shaded from clear to delightful shades of turquoise and green. On the extreme southern end was a very diverse reef and rock area that provided several different environments for fabulous snorkeling and viewing of coral, small and larger fish, sea fan fields and the mildly terrifying barracuda. The northern end of the beach ends in a well protected cove, where I found 2 live large conch, which I brought to the staff who cleaned them, gave us the meat to cook for a pre-wedding dinner in our fab kitchen, and polished the shells for us to take home. Also in the cove are bonefish, rays, smaller reefs, and there were several fly fisherman working the flats. The free kayaks and bicycles allow one to explore caves and nearby surroundings.

The food at the restaurant was very good and plentiful, with dinner entrees ranging from $22 to $39, and included a range of Bahamian specialties, as well as steak and chicken offerings. Drinks were generous and ranged from $5-$7 for great tasting Bahamian favorites. Service was very good to excellent, and uniformly deserved the included 15% service charge [standard in the Bahamas]. A car to explore the island and pick up provisions cost $70/day, but the Resort offered the far more exquisite experience than we were able to find on the island during a day’s ride.

As a couple in our party got married, and then decided to spend their honeymoon in Sandals, Nassau, I can only say that the wedding experience has to be vastly superior at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort. What one misses in a well tuned wedding program that the larger Sandals offers, in which our couple were informed they could get married during a particular hour, sandwiched between other weddings, one gains in the most personable service provided by the Long Island administrator, who most graciously expressed that his time and service were for the happy couple. At the Cape, we were able to have a most private, unhurried and beautiful ceremony, beneath the fine gazebo right in front of our Villa and right on the beach. I’ve been to some great wedding settings, but this takes the cake –LOL. Really, the ambience, the administrator, accommodating staff [a free bouquet of hand picked flowers], the presence of new found friends, the ease of walking down the Villa stairs to the gazebo with sun shining on the sea in the background, all created a perfect experience for the lovely couple.

Oh, and did I mention that since the beach faces the West, the sunsets are divine!!!!!!

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank DPNDPN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2008

A weekend is not long enough to enjoy Cape Santa Maria, we would have loved to stay at least a week for the total relaxation this resort offers. Our Villa was beautiful with an incredible view of the beach, only steps away. You can walk on the beach for hours and not run into anyone else and as the bay is protected, the swimming is wonderful. We've spent many holidays on the beaches around the world and this was one of the best.

All the decks on the Villas and the Bungalow are screened in so you can sit "outside" to watch the sunset or the sunrise even if the weather doesn't cooperate.

The menu offers a selection to suit everybody and the meals were delicious. Living in the Bahamas I know how hard it is to get the fresh ingredients you need to offer these kinds of dishes so hats off to the Chef.

The staff were friendly and warm, the service was always good. We look forward to going back soon and have already recommended the resort to several of our friends.

  • Stayed: February 2008, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jackelberry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas

Address: Galliot Cay, Long Island
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Bahamas > Out Islands > Long Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Long Island
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Long Island
Price Range: £209 - £307 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas 3*
Number of rooms: 40
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Untouched... Undiscovered... Barefoot elegance in a Caribbean paradise. Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort is unlike any place you have ever experienced. Mile after mile of silky-fine sandy beach melts into the warm turquoise water. With twenty bungalows and a handful of villas steps from the most beautiful beach in the Bahamas, an escape to Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort is an experience you will never forget. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort And Villas
Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas Hotel Long Island
Cape Santa Maria Beach Hotel
Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas Long Island, Bahamas

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