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Reviewed 12 July 2010

We recently returned from a 1-week stay at the Stella Maris Resort on Long Island, Bahamas and it was a truly lovely vacation. This was the 2nd trip to this destination for my husband and me (see "This Place is a Gem!" review posted in October 2007 for comments regarding that trip). We enjoyed our stay so much back then that we decided to return this summer, this time bringing our kids (ages 14 and 11).

Long Island is a delightfully sleepy island; there is simply no hustle and no bustle. The island doesn't even have a traffic light! Despite being fairly remote, it's easy enough to get there: we opted for Stella Maris Air from Nassau, which made the logistics very easy. We were able to book a non-stop flight from Philadelphia to Nassau, then took a 5-minute taxi to another part of the NAS airport where we were met by Joel (Stella Maris' pilot/manager/host/server) who loaded our bags onto their aircraft and before long we were enjoying a spectacular flight over the gorgeous Exumas and on our way to the resort, Within less than 6 hours from the time we departed Philadelphia we were on the ground at Stella Maris!

For this trip we booked the Rainbow House villa, which is a 3-bedroom, 3-bathroom house which has its own pool and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. This was an excellent choice for our family, as it gave us all the space and convenience we could hope for. I highly recommend this accommodation for families with children ages 10+ and/or groups traveling together. However, I would not recommend the Rainbow House for families traveling with younger children for several reasons: (1) Only 1 of the 3 bedrooms connects to the main living area; (2) there are no bathtubs for bathing younger children; (3) it is a fairly steep walk up to restaurant, and (4) the pool is deep (5' at its shallowest, and 6+ feet deep in most of the pool).

When you walk into the Rainbow House you just have to say "Wow!" The view is incredible, and you just know instantly that you are truly on vacation. Time to relax and enjoy!! The main floor includes an entryway, a bedroom to the right, a kitchen to the left, and a spacious dining room/living room ahead which opens to the upper balcony and overlooks the infinity pool and ocean beyond. There is a wall of sliding doors at the far end to maximize your view. From the upper balcony you can access the other upstairs bedroom, or head down the steps to the lower patio, pool area, private gazebo, tiki bar/grill area, and access to the lower level bedroom.

Furnishings and decorations are quirky and fun in the Rainbow House. Fishing trophies are on prominent display, as are African and tropical-inspired furniture and accessories. Where else will you stay where there's an 8' carved giraffe in your living room? :-)

Each bedroom has something different to offer. Both upper level bedrooms have beautifully updated bathrooms - the one with the better view has twin beds and a nicer (IMO) bathroom, while the other upper level bedroom offers only a partial pool/ocean view but is a bit larger and features a king-size bed. The lower level bedroom is by far the largest of the 3 (sprawling really), and features an incredible view of the pool/ocean, but its bathroom is vintage 1960's (that said, it IS both clean and functional, so you really can't complain - especially considering the room size and view!)

We enjoyed lovely warm (OK, hot) weather punctuated by a few brief occasional showers (not enough to disrupt any activity). We took advantage of complimentary resort excursions including snorkel/boat trips, visits to the Cape Santa Maria beach (a MUST!), and sightseeing at the Columbus Monument (which entails a hairy car ride over some rocky terrain, and a steep uphill climb - WEAR SNEAKERS - but definitely worth the trip). In addition, my husband and son went scuba diving every chance they could get (which, if you're not on a scuba-inclusive package, seems to be available only every 2 or 3 days). TIP: If you're interested in doing a lot of diving, the SCUBA-inclusive package would be a better way to go. They'll take you diving every day with that package, and the diving is splendid..

A few other things to mention about the Rainbow House: There is a DVD player and CD player, and the resort provides a full-size water cooler for drinking water. The tap water is potable but not tasty; the water cooler is a much better alternative. The Rainbow House kitchen is well stocked with dishes, glasses, utensils, cookware, etc. You can have a taxi driver take you to the local grocery/liquor store so that you can stock up on supplies. There isn't a dishwasher, but if you opted for housekeeping services you can leave your dishes in the sink and the cleaning staff will wash them for you in the morning. Can't beat that! In addition to the full-size kitchen on the main level, the lower level bedroom also has a mini-refrigerator as well.

The "new generation" of managers is doing a commendable job, and the hallmark friendliness of this resort remains intact. We were delighted to recognize a number of the same staff we'd seen back in 2007. For this trip the standout employees included Stacia and Queen in the restaurant; Robert on the dive boat; Shawn in the bar; and Miss Sue at the Moonshine grill. The front desk staff was always there to greet us with a smile. It was also great to see owners/former managers Peter and Bruno again - although they may be semi-retired (?), they are still very much present and making their marks.

Stella Maris is a resort that consistently earns repeat business, and it's easy to see why. The majority of guests are repeat customers, which speaks volumes regarding the quality and uniqueness of the resort experience here. This was our 2nd trip to Stella Maris Resort, but I dearly hope it won't be our last!

I highly recommend Stella Maris Resort to anyone who is seeking a quiet and relaxing chance to get away to a unique and lovely tropical destination. ENJOY!

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled with family
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3  Thank Luv2Travel_19438
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2010

Everyone was extremely friendly, food was unbelievable, and the resort was beautiful. We are highly recommending it to everyone we know. The island has the most beautiful water I have ever seen, and I have been from Hawaii to Panama and other parts of the Caribbean. Also the activities, they were great.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Saltfly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 May 2010

The resort and island far exceeded our expectations. I had read that the staff at Stella Maris make you feel like an old friend or part of the family, and my wife and I certainly found this to be true. The food and drink was unbelievable, and the setting could not be better. We opted for the "all-inclusive" and were not disappointed. You can relax on the beach or do any number of activities - all of which are included with your stay. We left our wallets at the front desk and never needed them all week - everything was taken care of. The island is so sparsely populated that you never feel cramped, and there is virtually no crime. I would highly recommend this resort for your next trip - Long Island's best resort for the cost.

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank wes_smith01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2010

We would go back in a heartbeat- we loved the gorgeous setting/ landscaping, extremely clean accomodations, delicious food, helpful staff (they went way above and beyond.) We thought it was a good value because so many activities were included in the rate. Our nine year old son loved it and was never bored even without a t.v. in the cottage-(he did bring his ds and portable dvd player.) He had a blast at the pool and playing foos ball every night after dinner, they also have a pool table and an outdoor ping pong table. Everything was extremely laid back which we loved. The beach immediately in front of the resort is rocky (but still really dramatic and beautiful) but the resort will take you to a variety of calm sandy beaches for snorkeling/swimming and will even pack a lunch for you. We did rent a car for 3 days just to explore the island on our own. We have been to several of the Bahama Out Islands and the USVI's and we feel that this is our favorite island /resort so far. I had 2 mosquito bites and maybe 10 sand flea bites the whole time I was there- son and husband had about the same number so bugs were not really a problem for us. Used Repel Lemon Eucalyptus when we thought about it but sometimes we forgot, which is probably when we go bitten. Fabulous trip!

  • Stayed: May 2010, travelled with family
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3  Thank justrobin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 March 2010

We came back from Stella Maris about a month ago, the food was excellent as well as the service, we took our two kids (under age 5) so we needed a somewhat kid friendly environment, the beaches were wonderful. Really so many beaches to explore we did not get to them all. Our kids had a great time on many of the daily beach trips and boat trip as well, nothing was an added cost which is hard to find, we biked a lot, enjoyed the rum punch party with band one night. The only negative thing I can say is our son got eaten alive with either sand fleas or "no see ums" we could never figure that out, would not recommend for elderly travelers - not for those looking for a lot of nightlife, ie, no TVs or phones in your room.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with family
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2  Thank RobinTS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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