Our Honest Review of Sandals Emerald Bay

We recently visited Sandals Emerald Bay and had a great time.

Main Pool at Sandals Emerald Bay

To be honest, this resort get a lot of mixed reviews. We loved our time there, but we can see why some people had issues with some things. I am going to share our experience, but also why some people did not enjoy their time here, while others come back year after year.

We recommend this resort for anyone looking to relax and experience the Bahamas.

Another benefit of going to Sandals Emerald Bay is that you can do the most iconic thing to do in the Bahamas, go swim with the pigs! It also is a great destination if you are interested in

Here is all you need to know about this luxurious Sandals resort in the Bahamas.

First, a bit of history about Sandals Emerald Bay

The resort was actually built first as a Four Seasons resort. The original investors put $300 million into the resort in 2003, but they had financial issues during the recession and Sandals purchased the property in 2009.

The resort was still fairly new, but they still invested $12 million into the resort to create some of the features Sandals is known for, mostly in the pools.

So now you get to enjoy a Sandals Resort with the build quality and features of a Four Seasons Resort.

How Much Does Sandals Emerald Bay Cost?

Rooms at Sandals Emerald start at around $441 per night per person. You can check for last-minute deals and current promotions here.

Arriving at Sandals Emerald Bay

To get to Sandals Emerald Bay we actually came from Nassau for the quick flight, but there are several direct flights from the US especially from Miami.

After landing at George Town Exuma International Airport we waited for our luggage and made our way to a Sandals representative who showed us to a taxi that was ready for us. The drive took about 15 minutes and we were at the resort.

Sandals Emerald Bay Rooms and Suites

After checking into the resort we were escorted to our room by our butler.

We stayed in a Beach House Oceanview One Bedroom Butler Suite which had a spacious bedroom and comfortable sitting room with a private balcony.

The room was perfect for us, but has shown some wear, nothing unusual for an island resort. There was a wonderful view of the ocean from the patio.

We would have loved an upgrade to one of the beachfront rooms, but they were unavailable by the time we booked this trip, but definitely something we recommend since it puts you closer to the beautiful beach.

Pool Review

There are a few different pools to choose from at Sandals Emerald Bay. The main pool is very large and has several zero entry areas to get in. This is where the entertainment happens throughout the day.

Our butler would save us seats each morning, but since it was a very large pool area, there were chairs available most of the time.

This are has a DJ most of the day and the entertainment team will lead bingo, name that tune, trivia and other games throughout the day.

If you are looking for something more relaxing, there is a small quiet pool nearby. This area is so quiet, they don’t even have a blender at the bar.

There is an additional pool in the spa that guests can use with or without spa services.

Beach Review

One of the main attractions at Sandals Emerald Bay is the beach. The powdery white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. stretch over a mile.

The calm, warm waters are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and various water activities, with excellent visibility for underwater exploration.

We loved that the water remained shallow for a long time as we walked out into the ocean.

We mostly stayed at the pool, but would come into the Caribbean water throughout the day. There are sun loungers, cabanas, swings and hammocks to relax in as you enjoy the beach.

This is also where you will find the water sports, including kayaking and paddleboarding, with equipment provided.

Dining at Sandals Emerald Bay

As soon as we checked in to our room we made sure dinner reservations we made for our entire stay. We highly recommend everyone do this or the restaurant you are most interested in might be booked out. They do not open every restaurant each night so keep that in mind.

For breakfast, we usually like to go to the buffet so we can have as much variety as possible but there is an a al carte restaurant as well.

One morning we decided to eat in our room and our breakfast was spread out on the patio where we had an amazing view.

Breakfast on our balcony

Cafe de Paris is a great place to go for a latte or other specialty coffee drink, a crepe or a snack any time of day.

For lunch, we enjoyed Barefoot By The Sea since it was close to the main pool and had a variety of food available. We aren’t too picky around lunch so we loved the quesadillas.

Nearby is also the Jerk Shack which we love and the Pizza restaurant which uses a brick oven making thin-crust pizzas.

For dinner, we love the Soy Sushi Bay where I always order spicy tuna rolls, Champagne Lobster rolls, and tempura vegetables.

They also have a Kimonos hibachi grill where the cook the meal in front of everyone on a flat iron grill.

We loved Bombay Club since we could order several different dishes to try and we even encouraged by the server to order more so you can count on zero guild dining.

Other restaurants include Il Cielo (Italian), La Parisienne French Cuisine, and Bahama Bay (local dishes).

In the evening the English Pub is a great place to go. Eating the Fried Buffalo Chicken Wings was one of my favorite meals, its a shame they aren’t open for lunch!

If you go to Barefoot by the Sea for dinner, wear bug spray, and ask the hottest for more to spray before you sit down.

Activities at Sandals Emerald Bay

Most of the time we were at Sandals Emerald Bay we hung out by the main pool, but there is so much more available!

We aren’t golfers, but you can also enjoy world-class golf on the award-winning Sandals Emerald Bay Golf Course, designed by Greg Norman and known as one of the most beautiful ocean-side 18-hole golf courses in the Caribbean. Greens fees here are included in your stay.

Dan playing Bingo in the pool

I went scuba diving which is included in the cost of the vacation, but if you are not a scuba diver you can go on a snorkeling trip each day with complimentary snorkeling equipment. On the beach there were other water sports equipment for kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding and more.

Unlimited land sports are included, such as beach volleyball, horseshoes, croquet, bocce ball, day and night tennis, pool tables, board games, and more. There’s also a fitness center available.

In the evening there is always entertainment. We enjoyed the live saxophone and some of the performances in the evening.

Spa at Sandals Emerald Bay

For this stay we did not use the Red Lane Spa, but if you would like some treatments ther are 17 treatment rooms, a beauty salon, a studio for yoga and Pilates classes, a steam room, plunge pools, and secluded relaxation areas in tropical gardens.

Excursions at Sandals Emerald Bay

The most unforgettable highlight of our trip was visiting the swimming pigs!

The excursion consisted of a boat ride through the beautiful water, visiting several beaches with crystal clear water, going to an Island with a ton of iguanas and of course swimming with the pigs!

These guys were huge and came swimming towards the boat as soon as we arrived. They would swim at you trying to eat the carrots the crew provided for us. There were also little piglets we could pick up. We had heard this excursion would be fun, but it really exceeded our expectations.

Swimming with pigs is just one of the fun local adventures you can add to your stay at Emerald Bay. You can also go on an ATV sightseeing tour, visit the famous Moriah Harbor Cay National Park, and more.

What to Pack for Sandals Emerald Bay

You can pack light when you stay at a Sandals Resort since so much is provided for you. For example, you don’t need to pack a hairdryer. A gift shop is available onsite in case you forget any necessities.

In terms of clothes, the dress code is casual during the day and resort elegant at night, which means a mix of shorts, t-shirts and tanks, sundresses, casual slacks, and swimsuits, plus dressier outfits for dining in the nicer restaurants.

Is Sandals Emerald Bay Safe?

Yes, Sandals Emerald Bay is safe. The Exumas are a laidback, uncrowded area with very low crime rates, especially crime against tourists, so you can visit here without any concerns for safety.

Choosing Between Sandals Emerald Bay vs. Sandals Royal Bahamian

While both resorts provide the luxury all-inclusive experience that Sandals is known for, there are some differences.

Sandals Royal Bahamian is located in Nassau on the main island in the Bahamas, close to many attractions there. Next to beautiful Cable Beach, it is also close to the airport. This sophisticated resort has a British influence, with billiard rooms and daily high tea. A unique offering at Sandals Royal Bahamian is the private offshore island with a restaurant and cabanas.

Sandals Emerald Bay feels more private, with a larger beach and resort area. Great Exuma is a more laidback location, also fostering a sense of seclusion, but there is still plenty to do.

Both resorts offer a wide range of delicious dining options, fun activities, and luxurious accommodations, so you really can’t go wrong with either choice.  You can even enjoy both in one trip.

But we prefer Sandals Emerald Bay over many other Sandals Resorts. The only other thing worth noting is Sandals Exumas seems to have an issue getting adequate staff to the resort.

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2 thoughts on “Our Honest Review of Sandals Emerald Bay”

  1. I did a 25th anniversary at this resort and had a lousy experience honestly. In mid December with a red flag the whole time the main pool still wasn’t heated at all. The rooms are from the 70s. My pig trip was rescheduled without any notice the resort offered to let me check out late. They added the late check out fee to the end of my bill without telling me.

  2. If you’re going to experience unlimited golf, check the Korn Ferry Tour calendar first. Sandals did not warn us the course would be closed for over half of our trip. From investigation, this is a very common Sandals omission. Very disappointed.


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