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.
- 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