Written By: Geoff Millar – Ultimate All Inclusive Vacations
Last month we looked at the Sandals Resorts located in Jamaica. This month we will look at the other Sandals Resorts located in the Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean. To remind everyone Sandals Resorts are Couples only resorts and they also own Beaches, their Family Resort chain, as well as Pineapple, their entry level resorts.
We will start with the Sandals Resorts located in the Bahamas. There are two of them, one in Nassau, The Sandals Royal Bahamian and one located in the Exuzma Islands, Sandals Emerald Bay.
SANDALS ROYAL BAHAMIAN
Sandals Royal Bahamian is located just outside of the town of Nassau in the Cable Beach area of the island. It sits on a very nice calm beach and even has its own private island. It is one of the few All Inclusive Resorts in the Bahamas, and the only couples only All Inclusive resort, as well as the top rated All Inclusive resort on the island.
This resort is made up of 3 different sections, The Balmoral Tower, the Windsor Tower, and the Royal Village. The Balmoral Tower, the Windsor Tower, and the Royal Village each have their own pools but anyone staying in any category can use all the pools. There are 4 main pools as well as the swim-up room pools, one of those main pools is located on the private island.
All sections have been renovated but the Royal Village and the Balmoral Tower are the oldest and the Windsor Tower is the newest. All 3 sections carry the Butler level, the Club or Concierge level and the entry level, the Luxury Level. The two towers are the closest accommodations to the beach and the Royal Village has more of a villa feel spread out within a luxurious garden. Each villa holds either 2 or 4 rooms depending on the category. The only thing I did not care for is that the Royal Village Section sits at the back of the resort and is closest to the main road. It does have its own pool, but the pool is smaller than the two Tower areas.
The resort is well laid out and not overly large. The beach is nice but is on the smaller side. You do have the private island with its own pool, swim-up Bar, restaurant and 2 beaches. You catch the boat shuttle to the private island from the pier at the main resort area. The shuttle runs all day and into the night since the island restaurant is one of the A La Carte dinner choices. The island can be closed for a couple of reasons, if the water is too rough for the shuttle boat or if there is a private function taking place on the island. Other than that, it is a great place to relax. There is a beach on the ocean facing side of the island but, the water tends to be a little rougher on that side.
As far as dining, I have to say that the meals I had at this resort were some of the best I have ever had at a Sandals Resort. The French Restaurant was outstanding. With 10 choices for dining there is, of course, the buffet, the French Restaurant, Italian, Mediterranean, Pan Caribbean, Teppanyaki Oriental, Beachside Café serving your favorite sandwiches, salads, and grilled items, and the always favorite the British Pub serving great British pub food, a Pizzeria, Gordons on the pier with steak and seafood white glove service, and on the private island a Bahamian Seafood restaurant.
As far as things to do on the resort there is a bounty of watersports, Scuba diving included for certified divers, $100 per person for the resort course, snorkeling, sailing, kayaks, water trikes, paddle boarding, wind surfing, and for an extra cost you can try Snuba, a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving. It allows you to go down to 20ft and you don’t have to be certified. As far as land sports they have, tennis, basketball, beach volleyball, lawn chess, pool tables, a fitness center with one of the best views, and the famous 29,000 sq ft Red Lane Spa. If you want to go off the resort you can catch the bus right outside the resort and the cost to go to downtown Nassau is 50 cents. From there you can go to the world famous straw market or take the water taxi to Paradise Island. home of the Atlantis resort and casino. The Bahamas have some of the clearest blue waters you will see anywhere.
This resort would be great for the active traveler, Honeymooner, Weddings and is a popular spot for those 3 and 4 night getaways from the East Coast. Sandals always prides it self with their great wedding dept for those fantastic destination weddings. Remember that U.S. citizens need a passport to go to the Bahamas. I only say this because we do get a lot of calls that, because of the distance from Florida, potential clients don’t think they need a passport to travel to the Bahamas.
SANDALS EMERALD BAY
Our next stop is going to be the Sandals Emerald Bay in the Exuma Islands of the Bahamas. It is located on one of the smaller islands, so it is limited on what clients have to do on the island, most of the activities center around the water. Sandals Emerald Bay does have a fantastic championship golf course on the island. The water surrounding the island is a beautiful color that most of us have never seen before. It is made up of so many different shades of blue that it is a spectacular sight to see. The beaches are made up of pure white powdered sand set against the blues of the ocean. The resort sits on 500 acres with a mile long beach. This is a resort for golfers and those that want to relax. This resort used to be the Four Seasons resort. The only issue with this resort is the flights to get there. They are limited. This resort used to be all Butler, but they now have 3 classes of rooms of which 2 are butler, the love nest which are all 1 bedroom villas, the Butler level rooms, and the 3rd is Club level or concierge rooms.
AS far as dining there are 11 choices at the Sandals Emerald Bay. There is Italian, Seafood, French, British Pub called the Drunken Duck serving the best Fish & Chips, Shepherds Pie as well as other British Pub food, the Buffet, a Pizzeria, A Parisian style Patisserie serving a variety of coffees, pastries, and crepes, Caribbean, called the Jerk Shack, specializing in Jamaican Jerk, Indian, a Sushi Bar, and Japanese Teppanyaki. Sandals does like to offer a large variety of dining choices. I have noticed that other resorts are starting to offer a few less dining choices but increasing the quality of the food they serve.
As I said most of the activities at this resort are focused on the water. There is also a great championship golf course at the resort with fantastic water views. As far as water sports you have, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, kayaks, Wind Surfing, Sailing, Aqua trikes, and Paddle Boards. Clients also have to do the world famous swim with the pigs offsite tour. All offsite tours are at an extra cost. There is also excellent fishing, and the James Bond Tour an unforgettable tour of some of the sites used in the James Bond movies. As far as land sport there is of course, Golfing, Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Bocce ball, the famous Red Lane Spa, a Fitness center, a wide variety of evening entertainment and activities, and Sandals fantastic wedding service.
This resort is great for golfers, Honeymooners, Weddings, and those that want to get away from it all and just relax.
SANDALS GRANDE ANTIGUA
Our last stop this month in the Eastern Caribbean is going to be the island of Antigua. Here Sandals has 1 resort that is actually 2 resorts. It is officially called Sandals Grande Antigua and is made up of two very different sides, the Caribbean Grove and the Mediterranean Village. The Caribbean Grove is the original Sandals Grande Antigua and the Mediterranean Village is the newer Villa and all Suite side of the resort, more of a high-rise resort. The Caribbean Grove is made up of two sections, the Caribbean Grove and the Bluff sections, both are just referred to as the Caribbean Grove. Antigua is known for its 365 beaches, one for each day, and the Dickenson Bay Beach, where the Sandals Resort sits, is, by many peoples account, the best beach on Antigua. Sandals Antigua wins the most romantic resort in the Caribbean award almost every year.
The accommodations range from, luxury rooms, Rondovals, up to 1 bedroom villas. In the Caribbean Grove, the original resort, the room categories are, Luxury Rooms, Club or Concierge Rooms, Butler Suites and the Butler Rondovals, small villa type suites with their own private pool. All these accommodations sit in a beautiful garden setting on the main beach and in the same area as the majority of the restaurants and public areas.
In the Mediterranean Village the accommodations are, Club or Concierge Level Suites, Butler Penthouse Suites, and what Sandals calls Love Nest Butler 1 bedroom villas. Notice there are no luxury room categories in the Mediterranean Village, it is an all suite and higher part of the property. Every category except the Villas are contained in a high-rise tower setting. The Towers sits behind the pool offering spectacular views of the grounds and the ocean just past the pool.
One thing I caution here is when booking this, make sure the client understands which part of the resort they will be on. We have had clients call us confused because they got multiple quotes and the quotes had a very wide range of prices and they did not understand that some quotes were for the lower priced Caribbean Grove and some quotes were for the higher priced Mediterranean Village.
For dining there are 11 choices, International fare, Italian, Caribbean, Seafood, British Pub Fare, Teppanyaki style Japanese, Southwest Tex-Mex, Sushi, Hamburger and Sandwich restaurant, Pizzeria, and Parisian-style Patisserie serving coffees, pastries, and crepes. The Italian, the Pizzeria, the Café De Paris, and the British Pub restaurants are located on the Mediterranean Village side of the resort. All the others are located on the Caribbean Grove side of the resort.
When it comes to activities there are a number of them, they are made up of the standard Sandals activities. For water sports there is, Scuba Diving, Snorkeling, Sailing, Paddle Boarding, Wind surfing, Kayaks, Water Trikes, 6 pools, as well as just lounging on the beach. As far as land sports they have, Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Bocce Ball, Fitness Center, and Pool Tables, as well as the fantastic Red Lane Spa. There is also a full schedule of entertainment and daily and nightly activities. You can also go off the resort and try to visit every one of the 365 beaches on the island. Don’t forget Sandals great Wedding Dept for that unforgettable Destination Wedding.
This resort is first and foremost known as a romantic resort but is also great for those beach lovers and those that just want to relax. The hardest part of this vacation will be just getting here. Remember, in the Caribbean, the smaller the island, the less and less frequent the airlift is.
Until next month when we will finish the Sandals Resorts located the Southern and Western Caribbean, stay safe and good selling.