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“BEST BEACH IN THE BAHAMAS AND THE CARIBBEAN”

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Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Long Island
Certificate of Excellence
Oakton, Va.
Level Contributor
30 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“BEST BEACH IN THE BAHAMAS AND THE CARIBBEAN”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 July 2013

We just returned from an eleven day stay at this fantastic resort. This is a small remote resort, where you can escape the crowds and hustle and bustle, and take in the slow, easy life of Long Island in the Bahamas. This is the REAL BAHAMAS! The beach is the best in all of the Caribbean and the Bahamas, with sand so white and soft, it's like walking on baby powder, and the clearest water in neon turquoise. We loved our beach bungalow, which is typical of the Bahamian cottages you see throughout the Bahamas. The bungalows have a tropical motif. They are spacious, with comfortable beds with lots of soft pillows. There is plenty of hot water. There is a coffee maker and coffee, which is replenished everyday. A small refrigerator is also provided for your convience. Shampoo, soap, conditoner, shower gel, and body lotion was also replenished every day, something you don't always find at other resorts. The bungalows and villas are located right on the beach, close to the calm sea. We did a lot of bone fishing while at CSM, and there is plenty to do. There is reef and deep sea fishing, as well as paddle boarding, kayaking, hobie cats, and many day tours. One of the favorite pass times of everyone was to relax on the calm beautiful water with a float and a tropical drink. This is truly PARADISE. The staff at the resort are 5 star. What wonderful people! We love them all. Anola, Nadine, Erica, Kelly, Andy, the beautiful ladies at reception, everyone.

Some of the reviewers have written reviews concerning the food and the meal plan that I found misleading. Well, I can tell you the food is absolutely delicious and in abundance. I found the food plan to be very reasonable, considering the quality and the quanities of food and snacks you receive. Every dinner includes an appetizer, main course, and dessert. Every lunch includes and appetizer and a main course. You have a lot of choices for breakfast, including eggs benedict, pancakes with fruit toppings, and omelets that rival anything you will see on the Food Network. Sodas are also included in the meal plan, along with delicious juices, coffee, and tea, as well as snacks. The tip is also included. You can't find a better deal anywhere and that's a fact!

We shall return next year.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
6 Thank cleanbeachlovers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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613 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (100)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • German first
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  • Any
English first
Gallatin, Tennessee, United States
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2013

Truly one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. White, sandy beaches; crystal clear water in more shades of blue, blue-green, and blue-purple than you can imagine.

The digs: If you want beachfront, this is it. The whole resort is on the beach, connected by a quaint boardwalk. The bungalow was very comforable with a great screened in porch that housed a low table and chairs, had a nice place to hang up wet towels and suits and provided a great place to relax and enjoy the sounds of the surf. Beds were comfy, small refridgerator, nice sized closet, separate sink area from the main bathroom allowed for use by more than one at a time.

The only downside is that there is no TV or Internet in these units. We did NOT miss the TV. The resort had lots of games for use that we took to our suite to play in the evenings and had our own computer for watching DVD's. We were also able to Skype home from the main building.

The beach: Beautiful, as described above - but also like having your own private beach, since the resort is so small. Believe there were probably 20 bungalows and maybe as many villas - but spreadh out across a nice distance so as not to be crowded. There were cabanas, beach chairs, kayaks, bicycles for use (free). You could also rent HobiCats, Paddleboards.

The water was warm, very shallow - for perhaps 60 yards (our part of the beach) it was no more than 3 feet deep - soft sandy bottom with maybe a couple areas where you might find vegetation. There were a couple of stingrays spotted in the shallows.

The excursions: HIGHLY recommend the Sandy Cay tour. We cruised across the harbor to an uninhabited island where a number of very friendly iguana greeted us. Very cool. We then walked across a wide expanse of sand to an area the tour guides set up with chairs and umbrellas where we swam, enjoyed a picnic lunch and spotted a couple of nurse sharks - pretty close to us, actually. We were informed they were not agressive or dangerous. We also spotted a lemon shark in the shallows.

We also took a snorkeling tour which was very enjoyable as well. Lots of activity on the Atlantic side of the island and at reef's edge.

Dean's Blue Hole, a 300+ft deep area just off the beach was also worth the trip. We rented a car for the day and drove there.

The food: The resort food was pretty good. We had higher expectations, but it was still good. The only exception was the yogurt for breakfast - watery. The food was also more expensive than we expected, but it is expensive all over the island - not just on the resort. The resort has a meal plan that some folks participated in. We did not, since we did not plan on eating three times a day and many times we shared a meal, since they were large enough. (I traveled with my 13 year old niece)

Best things: Beach, bungalow. I also REALLY like that it was a small resort. This lead to easy conversations with other travelers, small excursion parties and just a friendlier atmosphere. Nice service - they sent us communication prior to our arrival, arranged for a taxi to pick us up at the airport and to take us back. Very relaxing. I like that the primary language was English, they took USD and the electric current was the same as we have. Makes it easier.

Downside: There is not much else to do on the island. No central shopping area or developed areas of entertainment. Also missed having internet in our suite so that we could Skype home more privately. Also there is no swimming pool or room service.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank PocketsLK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2013

Beach is a long crescent like something out of a movie. First thing you realize is that there is not a Marriott a half mile down the beach. A few single person homes but you are all alone with this beautiful beach.

Beach is very calm, almost bath-like, Great for the kids to play in. It is shallow for a long way out. The snorkeling isn't great right off the beach. The water is crystal clear without many places for the fish to hide. We did find a large starfish right off the beach and a very large school of fish swam right through us. If you look close you can see some very small fish or crabs.

The driver from the airport told us no one on the island locks their doors and there is no crime. We followed that custom and never locked our doors either. It is a very safe feeling and it was nice for the adults to just sit and relax and let the kids play with no worries.

The food was really outstanding but it does take a long time to prepare, lunch and dinner did take about 90 minutes. I can't understand any of the reviews that thought the food was just okay. We were only here four days so I guess the menu could be limiting if you were here a week or two but we thought everything was terrific. We opted for the full meal plan. I think I would do the modified next time. The breakfast goes until 11:00. The happy hour with appetizers starts at 4:00 and dinner starts at 6:00 so I think the modified plan is doable and obviously less expensive.

We really enjoyed the snorkeling excursion from the resort. For the kids, this was the highlight of the trip, better than the beach or Dean's blue hole. Speaking of, while I am glad we did get to see the blue hole, I'm not sure I will go again. It is a full 2 hours away. And once you have done it, there isn't much to see. We rented cars for the day and while we looked for some other attractions, we didn't find any. And we kept asking ourselves why we left such an amazing beach.

I really loved how close you are to the ocean. The villas are literally 10 steps to the beach and another 25 to the ocean. There is ocean front and there is ocean front!

We travel a lot and only once have we gone back to the same place but we will definitely come back here!

Room Tip: Villa's are much newer and worth the extra price. There are five so you can request one closer...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank PParry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Massachusetts, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2013

There are no words to adequately describe the time we spent on vacation at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas. Pure paradise! The villas are beautiful and the view is just breath-taking. I would say it may be impossible to find a prettier beach. Also, I need to commend the staff, especially Brook and Ewa for their impeccable attention to detail. The staff has a unique way of meeting your evey need and making it look seemless. Thank you for making my sister's birthday so special and memorable! Also, my husband and I ventured out to try new places to eat, but came to the conclusion that Cape Santa Maria has the best food on the island...nothing beats the blackened grouper after a day of fishing! We are happy to say that we cannot wait to return and hope to bring friends to share in the Cape Santa Maria experience. Thank you!

Room Tip: Love the villas. New and beautiful!
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Vanessa C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brook C, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this review, 3 July 2013
Dear Vanessa C,

Thank you very much for the glowing review. It was a pleasure seeing you and your husband again. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed the beachfront villa, the quality of food, fishing with Bert and all of our wonderful staff.

Look forward to seeing you next year.

Sincerely,
Brook Castelsky
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 June 2013

Our 3 day stay was planned as a break in an otherwise busy travel schedule and this was the perfect place to rest. From the moment we sat by the beach here we felt the weight of the world slip away from us. In the first few days of June the weather was clear and dry although I heard rain was expected in the few days after we left.

The staff are super friendly and quickly learn your name (and room number). Everything can be charged back to your room so no need to carry cash anywhere in the resort. The staff were able to help us with a rental car (also charged to our room) which are kept on site. We arrived back after reception had closed for the day so returned the keys first thing the following morning with no extra charge.

The bungalow had a tropical feel to the decor which felt a little like a cheap motel but I can see why it was chosen for this environment. The beds were comfortable and there was a fridge in the room which was handy. The screened in porch was a great place to relax first thing in the morning. The bungalow was larger than I expected although it is worth noting that the bungalows are in pairs (so 1 and 2 share a wall, as do 3 and 4, etc). We arrived in the off season (just) so were the only guests at this end of the beach. There are gazebos that are shared among guests but with so few guests we had one to ourselves and spent a lot of time relaxing here.

The resort provides beach towels which are changed daily and offers free kayak rental. Scuba masks and flippers can be rented for a small fee. We made use of most of these facilities in our short stay. The water here is warm and very clear - even at nearly 6 feet deep you can easily see the ocean floor. The sand at the water's edge is so fine and soft it felt like walking on powder, although it does get a little rockier as you walk up the beach. The bay is protected so the waves are gentle. We didn't see a lot of wildlife on the beach used by the resort but early in the morning you can spot birds and crabs on the water's edge, and early evening we found ourselves in the middle of a school of fish.

I had read a lot about the cost of food here. I understand that most foods have to be brought to the island and found the cost to be more expensive than most of the places we had visited in the US prior to this but in line with the cost of food in NY and Australia. The quality is a little hit and miss - we really enjoyed the pizzas from the bar menu and the banana bread was delicious.

I'm not normally a beach holiday kind of person and was worried I would be bored here but I could easily have spent a few more days exploring all the resort and the island has to offer. I would definitely recommend this resort and would be happy to come back again.

Room Tip: Bungalows 1 and 2 are furthest away from the main building so it feels like you have your own privat...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Chinagirl828
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brook C, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this review, 4 July 2013
Dear Chinagirl828,

Greetings from Paradise! Thank you very much for the review and we are happy to hear that you enjoyed your stay. I meet so many guests that are worried about having enough to do, however by the end of their vacation, everyone wishes they had a couple more days. If the complimentary bicycles and kayaks are not enough, we have activities such as paddle boards, a snorkelling and nature cruise, picnic lunch on Sandy Cay, Reef, Bone and Deepsea fishing and a Long Island Guided Tour which includes stopping for lunch at Max's Conch Bar.

It was a pleasure meeting you both and we hope to see you for your next beach vacation.

Cheers,
Brook Castelsky
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 June 2013

Absolutely everything we hoped it would be! We're already planning a trip back next year and hoping to stay longer! The bungalow was wonderful and perfect for our family. The staff was friendly and helpful. We stopped in Nassau for a night, but next year plan to go straight to the Cape. Water was beautiful, beach was beautiful, weather was perfect (80s and sunny all week), food and drinks were delicious, snorkeling was great. Thank you so much staff of CSM, you helped to make this trip the best!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Jana C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brook C, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this review, 30 June 2013
Dear Jana C,

Thank you so much for your kind review regarding the staff, food and snorkelling. Please let us know when you are arranging your flights for your next trip so that we may inform you of the available flights from Nassau to Stella Maris. Southern Air provides an excellent service into Stella Maris, however we are eagerley awaiting the arrival of an alternative airline. This new service will offer a scheduled flight in the late afternoon that will allow most of our guests to connect to Stella Maris, Long Island on the same day.

We look forward to seeing you next year.

Cheers,
Brook Castelsky
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oslo
Level Contributor
20 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2013

The staff was friendly, the beach and location was amazing. The bungalow was clean and right on the beach, and since we went in low season we had the beach to our self a couple of days. We went in middle of June and had sun every day for almost a week, only a bit rain in the night.
As you can read in the other reviews the food is not very good. With that I mean the fish was very dry and over cooked every time, the steak was ordered medium rare but came out well done and dry. The breakfast was alright, the lunch was also okay they had an amazing lobster salad that everyone should try. The problem is that the food is quite expensive compared to the main land, I do not mind paying extra as long is the food is good, but not when its below average. I would recommend the resort to friends and family because it is a nice place!

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank gun0
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brook C, Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this review, 25 June 2013
Dear Gun0,

It was great to meet you and your husband and I enjoyed chatting with you about your travels all over the world!

I am glad that you enjoyed your stay; we agree that we have a special place here.

I am concerned about your comments regarding the food. I remember personally quality checking some of your meals and your response was that the food was good. We endeavor to make sure our guests enjoy their stay and dining is a large part of this. If indeed you were not enjoying a meal, we would have gladly had it remade.

We receive a lot of great feedback regarding the quality of food. In fact, 12 of the last 13 reviews say the food is either “very good” or “excellent” with many commenting on their favorite items. One of our guests from Riner, Virginia says, “…we found the food to be very good, with a nice mix of western and Bahamian cuisine.” Another guest from Illinois says, “We were never bored with the fare. Anything you could possibly want for breakfast including omelets, eggs benedict etc. Three huge courses for dinner. You can have shrimp cocktail, followed by lobster tail every night if that's how you roll. All I'll say is, ‘Don't pass up the apple fritters! They're to die for.’” As part of our continuous improvement process we have been testing a few new menu items on our daily feature sheet and we will soon launch these on our dinner menu. In addition, we have recently updated our dessert menu.

All the best to you both, and we hope you will consider us for your next beach vacation.

Ewa Castelsky
Resort Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas

Property: 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 Top resorts Hotel in Long Island
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Long Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
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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