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If you are trying to decide whether to spend your honeymoon at Sandals Emerald Bay Exuma, you’ve come to the right place. This is where my husband and I went for our honeymoon four short years ago. Seriously, though, where has the time gone?!
Anyhow, I never really wrote about my experience there, but I’ve always felt I should. Booking a honeymoon is a hard choice, as there are so many options at your disposal. It’s really hard to choose what reviews to believe and which seem like they were written by resort ownership, if you know what I mean…
Below is my completely honest, unbiased review, along with tips and trips for planning an incredible trip to the Bahamas.
Sandals Emerald Bay Exuma is easy to access
Of the various Sandals locations, the resorts located in the Bahamas had the best flights. We live in Ohio, and just about every flight option was going to include a layover somewhere.
The flights to the Bahamas were by far the shortest. We went through Atlanta to get to Exuma, so it was two hours to Atlanta and two hours to Exuma.
Some would argue that the Atlanta airport is a zoo that requires trams to get you between the terminals. Yes, it is a zoo, but the tram is easy to navigate, and we experienced zero issues finding our flight.
Ultimately, we left Cleveland, OH around 7:00 am and arrived in Great Exuma around 12:00 pm. Not too shabby if you ask me. Also, the Exuma airport is tiny with very little activity, so you are in and out of there very quickly.
Even baggage claim is a breeze! It was a very stress-free experience, which is something I look for in a honeymoon.
Staying in any Sandals resort is a splurge
Sandals resorts are lovely in that they are adult-only and all-inclusive. However, you do pay a price for this luxury. A week’s stay here certainly doesn’t come cheap, but for our honeymoon we decided to splurge.
You may notice limited-time promotions on the Sandals Emerald Bay Exuma website warning to hurry before time runs out. Fear not – the promotion always starts again when the time runs out. Even still, it ends up being quite pricey.
We booked a beachfront butler suite, among an assortment of butler room options. These tend to range from about $400 – $500 a night for a beachfront suite.
We put down a $500 deposit initially, and continued to add additional payments to our account in the months leading up to the trip. The benefit is that once you arrive, all your food and drink has already been paid for, so you can spend your energy relaxing instead of fretting about costs.
A word on the Butler suites – the idea of having a “butler” is a fun extra to splurge on for your honeymoon. We were served by 3 butlers over our stay, and found them all very friendly and personable individuals that made our stay more enjoyable.
However, their service tended to be very slow, and most of the time we could get food and drinks for ourselves much more quickly than waiting for the Butlers. If you are tight on your budget, you are not missing much by skipping the butler suites.
Spend lazy days at the beach and pool
The easy access to the beach and the expansive pools on the property are why you go to Sandals. The beach at Sandals Emerald Bay Exuma is wide with white fluffy sand. You can sit here all day, and live the life of luxury while your butler brings you drinks all day.
The pools definitely needs to be mentioned as well. I remember there being one huge party pool that played music and hosted some games and fun events throughout the week. It honestly wasn’t even that loud in my opinion, but a fun atmosphere.
There was a second “quiet pool” where mostly older folks would spend their time. We spent zero time at the quiet pool, as we loved lounging by the main pool with the games and swim-up bar right at our disposal.
They offer varied food and drink options
To your benefit (and my dismay!) Sandals Emerald Bay Exuma actually offers even more restaurant options right on the resort then when I was there four years ago! There are all sorts of choices from sushi, to Italian, to an English pub. This helps to keep you from getting bored with the food choices over a week’s stay.
However, you may get sick of the food anyhow. Eating out day after day gets really old, and I guarantee by the end of your stay you’ll be looking forward to a home-cooked meal again.
My favorite place to eat was Barefoot by the Sea. The specialty here is seafood, including lobster tails (super yum!). Plus, all the tables are outside in the sand to really give you that romantic beachy ambience. So definitely go to Barefoot at least once!
Wear bug spray religiously
This is especially important if you are leaving the resort. The resort is diligently maintained to keep it fairly free of bugs. However, this ends as soon as you leave the resort grounds, and the mosquitos are rampant. Even during the day!
We did a tour of the island excursion during our stay. This encompassed a drive around the island in a stuffy van with no A/C, where we would occasionally get out to see a site. Unbeknownst to me, I was getting devoured by mosquitos during the entire tour.
That is, until I was awoken in the middle of the night to the itchiest mosquito bites of my life literally covering my legs and parts of my butt (darn those short shorts…). Unfortunately this happened very early on in our trip, so I was in itchy misery for the next 5 days.
A word on excursions – If you choose Exuma for your Sandals resort, just go see the swimming pigs like everyone else does! The tour of the island excursion in a hot stuffy van was super unpleasant. Plus, it was really hard to even hear the guide unless you were sitting in the front of the van.
There isn’t much of a local feel
Other than the resort workers who live on the island, there isn’t anything else about Sandals Emerald Bay Exuma that gives you a feel for the actual island where you’re staying. The already paid for food and drink gives you little incentive to leave the resort. Unfortunately, there is really nothing local about the resort food, and the drinks were always made very weak and were very sugary.
If you’re the kind of person who truly loves travel and experiencing new places, an all-inclusive resort may not be your vibe. If you do stay here, and want to see more of the island outside the resort, just remember my bug spray comments above!
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As you can see, the largest benefit to staying at a Sandals resort is there is very little thinking or planning involved. You pay the upfront expense, and the beach is waiting for you when you arrive.
It truly is a relaxing option after months of wedding planning. Yes, it’s quite pricey and not very adventurous. However, if you are looking for a slow-paced week on the beach while sipping rum punch, this is your perfect option.
So, will you be booking your honeymoon at Sandals Emerald Bay Exuma? Is there anything else you want to know about our experience? Comment below!