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Trip Report Sandals Grand Bahamian October 2013 Trip Report

We had a short (3 day) trip to Sandals Grand Bahamian. When vacationing in the Caribbean, we typically do cruises. This was our first experience at an all-inclusive resort. One of the factors in picking this resort was air-fare prices! This was the cheapest island for us to fly to, and the resort looked amazing. One of the distinctive features is that it comes with it's own private island!

We arrived at the airport in Nassau and found the luxurious Sandals desk on the lower level. Going through customs entering the country was a breeze. The airport was also very nice. There were lots of upgrades and everything was immaculately clean. After checking in at the desk, we were directed outside. We had to wait about 15 minutes for another couple to arrive to share the van with us. If you are a butler-level guest, you get picked up in a Rolls Royce! Classy.

After a quick jaunt, we pulled up to the Grecian themed property. The staff greeted us with cold towels and handled our bags. We were ushered into a very inviting reception room, where we waited about 20 minutes to get checked in. They brought us champagne while we were waiting. You don’t have a desk that you go up to- they come and sit down with you on sofas to complete the check in process. We were escorted to our room, which was the “Royal Village Luxury” room type. I was immediately impressed with the grounds. Tropical plants grew in abundance. There were statues and fountains everywhere! The resort had a very private feel to it: the walk to our room was a path through secluded gardens.
Our room was on the ground floor of a two story small building. You entered the room through a private lanai, which was spectacular! The room itself was ok. It had a grand wooden four-poster bed and a nice bathroom area. It also came with a stocked refrigerator. My favorite part of our room was the lanai. We had a private breakfast out there that was absolutely amazing! In the future, I would like to stay with an ocean view room, but I did like the privacy of not being in a tower.

There were two main pools (and a plethora of smaller ones in the garden area). The pools both featured swim-up bars. One also had a waterfall area with Greek style columns and the other pool had amazing ocean views. My husband thought the Grecian theming was a little cheesy, but even he had to admit that it was stunning at night. The way everything was lit up was beautiful and very romantic.

The beach area was very well maintained, but there was a lot of seaweed around that area that could make swimming problematic. They actually raked the seaweed off the beach every day. There were plenty of chairs and umbrellas for those looking for shade. One of my favorite areas was the lounge with fire pits overlooking the beach.

The best part of Sandals Royal Bahamian in my opinion is their private island. You take a short boat ride directly across a bay to get to the island. The boat ride is short, probably only 5 minutes. Once you're on the island, the beaches are amazing! For swimming and snorkeling, the first beach where the boat docks is the place to be! If you prefer stunning ocean vistas with a secluded and exotic feel, the back beach is for you! We spent almost all of our time in a tiki-style hut with reclining loungers. There is a restaurant there called Stewfish. The almost 360 degree view of the ocean is spectacular, but the food left something to be desired. The service here was the slowest by far. It had the best views, but it was my least favorite restaurant of the resort. There was also a beautiful spa. I did not have any services done, but we went and looked around that area. It was very nice! Private massage bungalows, zen fountains in abundance... very relaxing.
The first night they had Junkaroo performers. Other night entertainment that we saw included a marching band and a jazz saxophone player.
One disappointment for me was that I forgot my snorkel at home. I still saw several fish from the pier and in the water. The water clarity was some of the best that I’ve seen in the entire Caribbean. They do have snorkeling excursions, but they were cancelled every day we were there due to oceanic conditions. I have asthma, so I could not participate in the diving activities (those were not cancelled). You have to book snorkeling the day before, so that is important.
The Italian restaurant was my favorite! I had the Ossobuco (veal shanks), and it was phenomenal! The menu described the risotto with orange as an ingredient, which I was a little apprehensive about. It was fantastic as well. The orange flavor was barely there- it wasn't overpowering in the least. I also really appreciated the variety of the antipasti bar. I had the house Merlot, which was also very remarkable. The next night we ate at the Asian restaurant. They had a sushi bar and hibachi style dining. Our chef was very friendly and engaging. He sang and put on quite a show while he was cooking dinner. The food here was also very good, and this restaurant had the best service in my opinion.
The last day we could not get reservations for a different restaurant. We were told that you could only make reservations the day of, but we called at 9:00am (when the desk opens up) and could not get a table at either of the other restaurants. I feel like making reservations was a big hassle and kind of stressful. In this way, I think they discreetly push the butler level rooms. We were hoping to eat on the island one night, but we never could get a reservation.
For breakfast we usually went to the buffet style main restaurant. The food was good and the service was also very slow. The last day we ordered room service to eat outside on our lanai. We wished we had done that every day! The food was my favorite (for breakfast) and it was a very special treat for my husband and me.

Many of the guests were taking advantage of the photo services. Packages started at $150, but the decent ones really began at $300. I would like to do this in the future. We also saw many people Wind Surfing, and I talked to a couple that raved about their scuba experience. Overall, everyone we encountered seemed very happy. I was a little concerned about the alcohol being included that people would be obnoxious. We only had one brief run in on the boat with a group of people who acted like they were on spring break circa 1990. Thankfully, the boat ride was short and we never encountered them again.

The gym was a little hard to find, but it was worth it! Located on the top floor of the main tower, it featured sweeping ocean views. There were also two little balconies you could go out on from the gym. I wanted to run but I had trouble getting my treadmill up to the desired speed, so I changed over to the elliptical machine.

The resort was not crowded at all- it almost felt like we had the place to ourselves, which was kind of nice. One of my other favorite activities was to sit on the couches by the fire pits overlooking the ocean at night. Very romantic!
This is definitely a place for “beach people”. There is not a lot you can walk to close by, and there are no other activities during the day besides the pool and the beach. My husband and I prefer a variety of locations and a plethora of activities, so I think we will remain avid cruisers. However, this was a great first experience for an all-inclusive resort, and I would recommend it to others!

Here is a link to the photos from my phone:
http://worldtraveler2499.blogspot.com/2013/10/trip-report-sandals-grand-bahamian.html

My husband also took lots of pictures, but he is in Mexico on business right now. I'll have to add those when he returns.

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