Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Quick Tour of Sandals Emerald Bay

I have been to the majority of the Sandals & Beaches properties. I know the resorts really well. However, Sandals Emerald Bay was one of the resorts that I had never been to before. I had the opportunity to visit it for a couple of hours (yes, I said hours) and check things out.

I have heard in the past that Sandals Emerald Bay, located on the Bahamian island Exuma, is very quiet. It used to be the Four Seasons until Sandals took it over. I can verify that, yes, the resort is on the quieter side. It isn't loud or a party resort, like Sandals Montego Bay. It is fantastic for older travelers that don't want to be bothered with the Spring Break type of crowd. Frankly, it is the perfect resort for me and my husband-- We aren't big partiers at all. Sandals Emerald Bay offers a serene location, beautiful beach, excellent food and high quality service. All of the rooms at Sandals Emerald Bay are either Concierge or Butler categories. The Concierge service is now called "Club Level" instead of "concierge." The club lounge is a great place to relax, cool off, and get some work done if you have to work while you are on your vacation. (Something I unfortunately know way too much about.)

Speaking of working while on vacation, Sandals Emerald Bay offers complimentary wifi throughout the resort for all of their guests. Previously, guests would have to pay $14.99 for a day of service if they wanted to access the Internet. This is only if you have basic internet and don't use live stream services, such as Skype. (Personally, I have no idea how they would know the difference...)

The Red Lane Spa at Sandals Emerald Bay is the largest spa in the Bahamas. I wish I had enough time to get a service done. They actually had models set up with services, so that we could look on our tour and be jealous. They had outdoor treatment areas as well as indoor, and it was split for men and women. The prices are a little more expensive than what you get at home, but so totally worth it. They use Peuvonia products in Red Lane. Since all of the rooms are Concierge and Butler, everyone has 24 hour access to the plunge pools, saunas, spas and so forth in Red Lane. Plus, guests can also take advantage of the fitness room and personal trainers on site.

Sandals Emerald Bay is the only resort in the Caribbean - and perhaps the world - where you can swim with pigs. (Yes, pigs.) While I didn't have the opportunity to take advantage of such a unique experience - and, even if I had the opportunity, I question myself as to whether or not I would - we were greeted by a Caribbean Junkanoo band. They played music for all of the travel agents that arrived and danced. It was a very lively greeting, and quite fun.

For those of you that aren't familiar with Sandals resorts, it is all-inclusive. Actually, Sandals calls themselves "Luxury Included" because the resorts include so much more than what you would get at other "all-inclusive" resorts: all food, all drinks, taxes, tips, fees, water sports, activities at the resort, snorkeling and even scuba diving-- two one tank dives or one two tank dive PER DAY. Where else can you get that? No where. Trust me-- I know. I've been everywhere.

Sandals Emerald Bay is a great place for a wedding or renewal of vow ceremony, especially for a second marriage because it is so secluded. While the resort is big -- 294 rooms -- it still feels quite intimate. There is no doubt as to how luxurious it is, either. Couples can get married on the beach and have their reception at the secluded reflecting pool and garden (pictured to the right). The Red Lane Spa has a salon where brides and her attendants can have their hair and makeup done. Weddings My Way gives brides the opportunity to design their own weddings based on their own tastes and styles. Or, if they prefer, they can choose a Martha Stewart theme and have everything chosen cot them in the specific package.

Overall, I like Sandals Emerald Bay. I think my husband would really like it. Because of the golf offered on property, I think my mom would really like it, too. If you are looking for quiet luxury in paradise, Sandals Emerald Bay is certainly a terrific option for you.

If you are interested in booking a vacation to Sandals Emerald Bay or anywhere else, please send me an email or call 850.DAY.TRIP and I will personally help you plan your vacation! That is, of course, when I return home from paradise myself...

Candice Cain is the owner of the Candy Cain Travel Co. She is a Certified Sandals Specialist and a Destination Wedding Expert. Please feel free to email her for help with your destination wedding!

Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Tour of Sandals

I'm not going to lie... It has been a few years since I have even considered booking Sandals due to personal reasons. I've taken the majority of my destination wedding business to Mexico, which I love. Let's just sum it up by saying that I had a personality conflict with someone at Sandals who is no longer with the company.

That being said, my wonderful Business Development Manager, Andrea, came to me with an offer I couldn't refuse:  A Bahamian tour of the Sandals properties plus two nights at Beaches Turks and Caicos. Now, I haven't been to Sandals Royal Bahamian since December 2004. I've never been to Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma. And I haven't been to Beaches Turks & Caicos since 2009.

So, I said yes, and here I am. I am actually typing to you right now from the Concierge Club Room at Sandals Emerald Bay. I don't have internet access since I don't have a room here. At this property, basic wifi is free to all guests. If you're going to stream on the internet (like Skype), there is a charge-- either daily or weekly.

I took a bunch of pictures, but they are all on my iPad. Tonight when I do a review of Sandals Emerald Bay, I will be sure to post my pictures. Right now, however, I don't have them. And to be honest, I don't want to write a blog entry without the pictures. I just wanted to let you all know what to expect over the next three days.

Candice Cain is the owner of the Candy Cain Travel Co. She is a Certified Sandals Specialist and a Destination Wedding Expert. Please feel free to email her for help with your destination wedding!