Hotel Review: Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exumas, Bahamas

View of the Main Pool at Sandals Emerald Bay at sunrise

Quick Summary

  • 5 Star Beachfront Resort
  • All-inclusive and optional Butler
  • Suitable for couples
  • Unlimited fine dining at 11 restaurants
  • 6 bars including swim-up bars
  • 3 swimming pools including adults only pool
  • Unlimited watersports and landsports
  • Roundtrip airport transfers
  • Suitable for couples
  • All tips and taxes included in all-inclusive rate

Background Information

We’ve been dreaming of going to the Bahamas for a long time and had heard amazing things about Sandals Emerald Bay, the beautiful resort located in the Bahamian Out Lands along one of the bluest beaches you’ll ever see. So what better excuse to go here than on our honeymoon?

Beach Swings at Sandals Emerald Bay Bahamas

Sandals Emerald Bay is a luxury 5-star all-inclusive resort – yep that’s right, ALL INCLUSIVE! Here’s a quick run-down of the inclusions.

All-Inclusive inclusions:

  • Airport transfers (round trip)
  • Water sports & land sports (see Activities section for full list)
  • Day and night entertainment including live shows
  • All gratuities included (except for your butler if you opt for Butler Service)
  • Free Wedding for couples who stay longer than 3 days

Optional Add-ons

  • Spa Experience
  • Local Day Tours
  • Luxury Private Airport Transfers
  • Luxury Cabanas

Keep reading for a review of Sandals Emerald Bay Resort based on our 3 day stay here in July 2019.


Getting There

The Bahamas is a long way away from Australia so we decided to spend a few days in New York to make most of the trip before we flew to Georgetown Airport (GGT).

There in Georgetown, our airport transfer (included as part of the resort stay) was already waiting for us at the exit gate and we were instantly on our way to Sandals Emerald Bay. Easy. Seamless. Great!

When we arrived at the resort, we were taken to the lounge for check-in and given a nice cold glass of Bahama Mama as well as complimentary food and drinks. Right away, we could tell we were in good hands.


The Room

Walking into our Beach House

We stayed in the Beach House Oceanview Club Level Junior Suite – OJ. This included:

  • 1 King Bed, 1 Bathroom, 1 Shower, 1 Bath Tub
  • Free WiFi (strong connection all throughout the hotel)
  • Stocked complimentary in-room bars
  • Stocked water, coffee, tea
  • Bathroom Amenities
  • Hair dryer and Ironing facilities
  • Private Patio with hammock
  • Smart TV with Cable
  • Beachfront view

Our absolute favourite feature of this room would be the ocean facing patio. Once those glass sliding doors opened, we were just a few steps away from the beach and the photos simply don’t do this place justice!

Backyard view of our Beach House Oceanview Room
Beach view from our patio

Besides the breathtaking view, the beds were extremely comfortable and we had no issues with the air conditioning and were never short on amenities or towels.

Bedroom of the Beach House Oceanview Club Level Junior Suite – OJ

In fact, we had everything we needed right in the comfort of our own room that after we checked-in we spent the rest of the day just lounging in our patio, walking along the beach and ordering room service to our room.

For 2 adults, this room was more than enough space and we highly recommend this room for couples or pairs.

This room is currently priced starting from $388 USD per person per night.


The Beach

Hammock on Sandals Emerald Bay Beach

To say this beach was spectacular, is an understatement. Both of us have travelled to some of the best beaches around the world and the beach strip along Sandals Emerald Bay is now up there with one of our all-time favourites.

Beach Cabana

The sand was so fine and soft, the water is blue beyond belief and the water temperature was just perfect. If you opt to do any water activities, we have no doubt you’ll lose track of time enjoying the sand, sea and sun here.

Beach swings at Sandals Emerald Bay

For those that would rather lie on the sand, there are two beach swings, lying nets and a number of hammocks along the beach. Around sunset time (which was 7pm for us), most people were enjoying dinner while we were on the beach embracing the sunset hues pretty much all to ourselves. Yup, we were definitely in romantic honeymoon mode *cheesy grin*

Hammock at Sandals Emerald Bay
Annie pretending she’s a mermaid at Sandals Emerald Bay Resort

The Pools

Sunrise view at the Main Pool

If you need a break from the beach water, Sandals Emerald Bay has three amazing fresh water pools, jacuzzis, a sunset tower that overlooks the sea and a swim-up bar (remember, the food and drinks are all inclusive!)

Main Pool and Sunset Tower at Sandals Emerald Bay

The area around the Main Pool is quite popular with guests so the cabanas around here are filled quite quickly. A good tip for those wanting to reserve a cabana here is to leave some of your non-valuables (like a towel or hat) on your seats on the way to breakfast.

Poolside Cabana at Sandals Emerald Bay

If you’re someone that prefers peace and quiet. Look for the Quiet Pool which has a lot less people and a lot more available cabanas. The Quiet Pool also has a bar with the best strawberry daiquiris – but be warned, they run out fast so order a glass (or two) for yourself as soon as you get to the pool.

Quiet Pool at Sandals Emerald Bay

Activities

There are so many different land and water activities that are part of your all-inclusive rate at the resort. In between enjoying the beach, pool and our patio hammock, we found ourselves saying “I wish we had more time to do X Y Z” during our stay, geez, talk about a first world problem hahaha

Water Sports available on the beach at Sandals Emerald Bay

Here is a run-down on the available activities:

  • All-Inclusive Activities: Scuba Diving, Kayaks, Windsurfing, Snorkeling, Sailboats, Paddle Boards, Golf, Croquet, Tennis, Bocce Ball, Lawn Chess, Pool Tables, Horseshoes and Gym Classes.
  • Optional Extra Activities: Private Cabanas, Red Lane Spa Treatments and Local Adventure Tours including fishing, swimming pigs, ATV and historical tours.

Swimming Pigs Bahamas Tour

If this is your first time visiting the Bahamas, we HIGHLY recommend booking the Exuma Swimming Pigs Adventure Tour ($197.95 USD per person).

Our Swimming Pigs Tour included:

  • Resort pick-up and drop-off
  • Packed lunches
  • Snorkelling
  • Exploring the lesser known Exuma cays
  • Cruise tour of the privately owned islands of celebrities
  • Bahamian rock Iguana Island
  • And of course, the Swimming Pigs!

The water was also crystal clear and we caught a glimpse of stingrays, nurse sharks and turtles too.

We saw so much wildlife in one day so the tour was well worth the extra add-on to our stay and was the absolute highlight of our time in the Bahamas.


Restaurants

We could not believe that there were 11 restaurants to choose from daily. You can see a full list and description of all the restaurants here. However, the restaurants that we personally tried were:

  • Dinos: This is a casual pizzeria open for lunch and dinner. Here you can order a selection of both meat and vegetarian woodfire pizzas and any drinks from the bar menu. The pizzas here are made fresh to order and the size is suitable for 1 pizza per person. No reservation is required for this restaurant (although some restaurants do require one).
  • Bahama Bay: This is a casual restaurant which serves the breakfast buffet for breakfast and a la carte menu for lunch and dinner. The cuisine is Bahamian, Carribean and Continental and no reservation is required. The vegetarian options here are a bit limited but you can request the meat dishes to come without the meat (just order a bit more sides and a dessert to finish and you’ll be sweet!) but for the omnivores out there – you won’t be short on options don’t worry.
  • Barefoot by the Sea: If you’re dressed for the beach but you need to grab a bite, you can continue to dig your feet in the sand as you dine at Barefoot by the Sea. This is located between the main pool and the beach and is open for lunch and dinner. We really enjoyed the seafood and pastas here and there are also both meat and vegetarian meals here. No reservations required.
  • In-room Dining: The in-room dining menu has breakfast, lunch and dinner options. We ordered the loaded nachos, vegetarian wrap and beef burger and it took about 30mins to cook and arrive at the door. The food portions were very generous and we thoroughly enjoyed being in the comfort of our own room and patio for a day.

Summary

Swinging on the beach at Sandals Emerald Bay

We can honestly say that after this experience at Sandals Emerald Bay, we 100% want to discover the other Sandals Resorts. The staff here always went above and beyond to make us feel comfortable and well looked after, even though gratuities were already included in our all-inclusive rate. It’s a resort that genuinely looks after their guests and that combined with one of the most beautiful beaches you’ll ever encounter, you won’t want to leave.

Sandals Resorts always have specials so we highly recommend seeing if any deals are available to you when you plan your next trip to the Bahamas!

Thank you Sandals, it’s been great and this won’t be the last you’ll hear from us for sure.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Love your articles and photos, I have seen you on IG initially before stumbling on your blog! 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, I hope that my content has been helpful to you!!

      Like

  2. Katelyn says:

    I came upon your blog after stumbling upon your IG. have to say, I love your IG! I thought your blog would be more informative since you were always advertising it in your posts. However, trying to plan a trip to the bahamas myself (this being the first destination I’ve read off of your page), it was not informative at all. You basically provided a quick overview–stuff I can find off of the hotel or tour’s website. I was anticipating a more informational and genuine review of your experience like: time you left for the pig beach tour, time you got back. Pictures of the hotel food? ACTUAL weather during your 3 day stay? i find it hard to believe that July is their monsoon season, and you caught picturesque sunsets/sunrises all 3 days. Did the pigs bite?? Reality vs IG at pig beach? Was the ferry ride rocky? If i get motion sickness, will I need meds for the ride? I’m a bit disappointed.

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    1. Hi Katelyn,

      Really fair points you’ve made there! Overall there is just soooo much to cover so apologies if the overview was brief but let me try to break it down for you according to the questions you’ve askekd:

      PIG BEACH TOUR:
      – The start time of the tour can vary depending on the type of tour you select. We did the full day tour and our pick-up time was around 8:30am but it can sometimes vary according to the weather (you’ll be notified of any changes) and the tour runs for about 8 hours.
      – When you arrive at Pig Beach, there will already be a few other boats and tourists there too. You’ll be given bread (pigs seem to love the bread!) and our advice is to find a nice clear space in the water that isn’t overly crowded and just stand there patiently waiting for the bread and the pigs will eventually swim over to you.
      – If you go out of your way to chase the pigs or invade their space, this is when they can accidentally kick you while they’re swimming or you could scare them causing them to bite or react. While we were on Pig Beach we didn’t see any pigs react negatively but we could definitely see that not all pigs were open to human interaction so its good to just be mindful of the pigs and be patient with them.
      – The Pig Beach was just 1 stop of the overall Pig Beach Tour, you’ll also visit Iguana Island and a few other pit stops too including the estates owned by famous celebrities. However, the pigs and the iguanas are definitely the highlight!
      – Our tour took a little longer than planned because as you said, it was monsoon season so we had to stop a few times when we were out on the island to wait for the rain to pass. The rain would last maybe 5-10minutes and the sky was clear and sunny again and we were off on our merry way, there were really no issues there. But it is worth noting that weather is always unpredictable.. so we were lucky that the rain was very short and swift but for others it may have not been. Before you go on your trip its best to do your research and check the weather forecasts so you’re prepared for whats to come.

      INSTAGRAM VS REALITY:
      – The pigs are A LOT larger in real life than in the photos (I remember that being my first thought!) so it can be a bit intimidating to hop in the water with them at first… and because there are a lot of other boats and people around, I imagine that it can be quite overwhelming for the pigs too.
      – Instagram tends to also make people forget that there are other people around so just be prepared for the crowds and definitely take our advice on finding your own space in the water away from the crowds and practice patients. The pigs pretty much swim wherever there is food so after they have finished one section, they will make their way to you. So don’t feed them all at the same time as everyone else.
      – If the pigs swim to you when you have no food, just raise your hands in the air to show them that you have no food and they will swim away. If you shoo or point, it can come off as aggressive and they might feel threatened and react.
      – Overall, the pigs are so so adorable and we did enjoy visiting them but when other people are being disrespectful to the pigs it can definitely hinder your experience.

      FERRY RIDE:
      – The ferry ride started off smooth and the waves were small so the small bumps were actually quite fun. Then on the way home, the waves were stronger because of the sun shower and it was bumpier on the ride home. I don’t generally get sea sickness or motion sickness so we were okay and it seemed like everyone else on the boat was fine too. But having said that, it could be different for yourself – so just bring motion sickness medication if you’re sensitive to this.

      HOTEL FOOD:
      – Unfortunately we tend to scoff down our food faster than we can photograph it! Hahaha and because we were spending most of our time in the beach or pool, we didn’t really have our cameras on us when we dined at the restaurants. I can say that the food portions were extremely generous and our favourite joints include the Barefoot By The Sea for lunch and dinner. Sorry I really wish I could be more informative but overall we thought the food at Barefoot was decent and we had no complaints.

      WEATHER
      – As I mentioned earlier, we did experience some rain during our stay (maybe about 1 or 2 showers during the day) but the rain only lasted 5-10 minutes before it was gone. As soon as the clouds rolled away the weather was scorching hot and everything was pretty much dry in no time, it was almost like the rain never even happened. By the time it was sunset, it was a beautiful tropical sky and the pictures of the sunrises and sunset were indeed what it was like during most of our stay.
      – The only time we didn’t experience the picture perfect sunrise was during day 2 because it had rained overnight so the sky was still cloudy. Then by the time we finished breakfast the sky was clear again.
      – But again, weather is extremely unpredictable so always do your forecast research before heading to any destination.

      Hopefully that answers some of your queries and we’ll make a conscious effort to be more informative on future posts. Thanks for the feedback!

      Like

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