By J.S. Fletcher and Kathy M. Newbern ©2013
(6th in a series)
Our first story in this series set the stage for our getaway to the Exumas – Great and Little, two idyllic Caribbean islands the Bahamas, a chain of more than 700 islands and cays, (pronounced keys) that run for about 750 miles from a point off the east coast of Florida almost to the island of Hispaniola at the edge of the West Indies.
If you’ve read our last couple of articles, you know we went swimming with pigs at Major Spot Cay, snorkeled in Thunderball Grotto and hand-fed land iguanas at Bitter Guana Cay on a full-day excursion aboard Four C’s Adventures run by Exuma Water Tours.
You can correctly assume that we were tired at the end of our day and were certainly thankful for a comfortable bed and a delicious meal. Perhaps the best place to do that in the Exumas is the property that many think put the island on the tourism destination map: Sandals Emerald Bay.
Sandals Emerald Bay is an adults-only, all-inclusive 500-acre resort that makes you feel like you are on a private island. All 183 villas come with amenities to satisfy anyone’s idea of what a tropical vacation should be. From any spot on the property, you are within steps of the mile-long stretch of sandy white beach called Emerald Bay, yet you will not want to forget the pools and recreational options waiting for you.
Originally, it was a Four-Seasons’ managed property, but after an economic slowdown, the resort closed, soon to be purchased and transformed into another stellar Butch Steward holding, immediately placed in the folds of one of the renowned all-inclusive franchises in the world.
Sandals Resorts is internationally known for their product: great locations, staffing, service, food and beverage services, entertainment and activities. This Sandals, with an 18-hole Greg Norman golf course and tennis center, is among their best, especially since it is situated on Emerald Bay. Not only does it have luxurious accommodations, but it also has a playground of water sports, the largest pool on the island, an amalgam of included activities, gourmet dining options, a spa, and butler service – that’s correct, butler service in the Royal Estate villa.
Playing on the concept of the true Bahamian manor, the Royal Estate villa is a beachfront retreat with luxurious amenities including a private pool, direct beach access and personal butler service as well.
If you’ve never had a butler, here’s what Sandals’ butler service includes:
Before you arrive, your Butler will:
- Ensure your preferences are in-suite upon arrival;
- Arrange airport transfers.
When you arrive, your Butler will:
- Provide you with all information regarding tours and spa services;
- Unpack your luggage;
- Provide a private orientation tour of the property;
- Press your first two suits complimentary;
- Provide you with a cell phone so you can keep in contact with each other throughout your stay.
During your stay, your Butler will:
- Make all dinner reservations, tour bookings, on property activities and spa treatments for you;
- Serve you your favorite drinks while you lounge on the beach or pool;
- Serve you lunch on the beach or on the pool;
- Keep in touch with housekeeping about servicing of your suite to your needs and schedule;
- Ensure that your suite is kept in perfect condition and arranged the way you like during your stay;
- Expedite all room service orders for you;
- Arrange a romantic dinner for two in the privacy of your suite on or your patio;
- Shine/clean your shoes for dinner;
- Tend to your wardrobe;
- Collect and return all laundry for you.
In the evening, your Butler will:
- Bring you amenities and goodies before dinner;
- Escort you (or take you in a golf cart) to dinner where they have reserved a decorated table at the restaurant of your choice – with preferential seating;
- Ensure your suite is turned down and your room has all it needs for the night;
- Will work to deliver the unexpected, which means prepare to be "wowed."
Before your departure, your Butler will:
- Arrange transportation back to the airport;
- Provide you with information regarding check out:
- Assist you in folding your clothes for packing;
- Retain all your preferences for future visits.
At departure time, your Butler will:
- Ensure your bags are brought up to the departure area;
- Escort you to the concierge area/butler lounge and process your paperwork for check out;
- Escort you to your transportation and bid you farewell;
- Kiss you on the cheek – or at least shake your hand – your preference.
If you’ve never had a butler before, this is a treat. They won’t do your taxes, but they’ll do their best to make sure your every whim is satisfied.
Gastronomic options at this Sandals will add to the experience (which we’ll write more about later): Il Cielo offers Italian cuisine; Barefoot by the Sea sports a local flavor; Drunken Duck is an Irish pub; La Parisienne features a progressive French menu and white glove service modeled after spots on the Left Bank of the City of Lights; Bahama Bay specializes in buffet service throughout the day; Dino's Pizzeria fires up its woodstone oven for fresh, hot pies; Café de Paris is a Parisian-style pâtisserie with pastries, crêpes, specialty coffees and dessert delights. If you can’t find what you like here – well, best stay at home.
Of course, there are tons of activities from snorkeling to sailing to basket weaving to dancing to tennis to golf to water volleyball and much more, including a fantastic spa. And there’s always entertainment in the evenings, sometimes rowdy and sometimes mellow, like our very special night after dinner when a jazz soloist played in the upper level of the pool bar while a thunderstorm lit up the skies around us. You can watch the accompanying video to see the action.
Sandals Resorts has helped to write the book on all-inclusive vacations, so trust that staying here will offer a care-free getaway you’ll cherish forever.
For More Info: Go to Sandal’s Emerald Bay.
This is the sixth in a series of stories about the Exumas - Great Exuma and Little Exuma, two islands connected by history, culture, location, and a little one-lane bridge. Be on the lookout for the others to follow, which in total will reveal why so many people are discovering this little piece of paradise.
And if you can’t get there soon, you can go on an armchair adventure called Great Exuma, a personalized ebook by YourNovel.com that lets you be the star in a romantic story about this friendly, romantic water wonderland.
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International Travel Examiners J.S. Fletcher and spouse, Kathy M. Newbern, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourSpaReport.com and YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.