"We remember when we used to dream about being in places like this"The Bahamas Review
We remember when we used to dream about being in places like this. The Bahamas is one of those fantasy lands that inhabits the Caribbean and our destination for exploration was the unmistakable Bahamian azures of The Exumas. Nestled in the heart of the cays and set magnificently across 500 tropical acres and a mile long stretch of white powder, lies Sandals Emerald Bay.
Unprecedented luxury awaits you just 15 minutes from the airport as you are effortlessly transferred to the enclave. Stepping into the resort you are immediately greeted with the Bahamian aura and time stands still, for now you are on island time where days revolve around sunrise and sunset and hydration requires coconuts and an infinite number of all-inclusive cocktails. We were warmly welcomed by our butler, Sampson, who greeted us with a silk-gloved handshake and a beaming Bahama style smile. The resort offers rooms and suites to cater for every requirement, from love nest suites and honeymoon villas creating the most perfect secluded escape for couples, to butler class accommodations and even a two-story royal estate complete with pool. Whatever your preference, be prepared to step out into lush palms, flawless manicured landscaped gardens and the elegance of Bahamian styled architecture.
Offering to unpack our luggage, we bid farewell to Sampson and made tracks from our suite so we could enjoy the last of the day’s rays and lap up the golden glows of the Emerald Bay sunshine, poolside of course. After a sun-drenched afternoon gazing over the half-acre, zero-entry pool complete with fire pit and sampling the all-inclusive cocktail menu served to the sounds of the Bahamian beat, it was soon time to freshen up, don our best dress and head to one of the 11 fine dining restaurants. All unique and offering cuisine and an ambience to suit all nationalities, guest can choose to indulge in an evening of sophisticated delectable dishes, sink their feet into the white sands of the barefoot oceanfront restaurant or socialize into the early hours in an authentic English Pub. Escorted by Sampson to the aptly named Kimono restaurant, tonight’s fine dining experience was to amaze, impress and tantalize our taste buds as we watched an original Japanese chef work his magic and create an amazing array of dishes to both treat our eyes and satisfy our stomachs.
Awaking to the rising sun protruding through the large windows, we decided our balcony would be the perfect setting for our morning breakfast and informed Sampson of our request. No sooner had we managed to rise out of the comfort of our duvet that had enveloped us so delicately the night before, there was a knock at the door. In arrived Sampson, delivering us a vast array of carefully prepared pastries, a plethora of colourful fruits, yoghurts, juices, Blue Mountain coffee and our chosen dishes, eggs benedict. We ate alfresco to the sound of the waves kissing the Emerald Bay shores and watched the mesmerising blues of the ocean change colour as the sun rose high above the cyan skies, coffee in hand.
Perfect preparation for our day ahead! Long had we heard tales about the winding white sands and beautiful blues of the Exumas and today’s excursion led by Island Routes (Sandals' chosen tour provider) was to unveil all. It was also a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet the famous inhabitants of the Exuma Cays and something that has intrigued us throughout all of our travels, the swimming pigs!
After a short bus journey to the harbour, we boarded a small and sophisticated boat and weaved our way through the tiny islets, spotting and gawping at celebrity homes, enjoying secluded sands and roaming cliff tops with unparalleled views of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean sea on the other.
Approaching a small stretch of chalky beach, our captain declared, “welcome to pig beach”, this is what we had been waiting for! As the boat sailed further inshore, to our delight, we spotted a cluster of movement on the sand and in no time at all, the pigs were in the water awaiting our disembarkment! We couldn’t wait to get in and realise a dream! We were given a good amount of time to enjoy the moment and oohed and ahhhed at the mischievousness of the pigs and we couldn’t take the smile off our faces as we gawked at the tiny little piglets enjoying the sands that have become their home. It was safe to say we were as happy as a pig in the sand!
Although the pig beach excursion is unsurprisingly the most popular excursion offered by Sandals, another day saw us snaking further into the out islands to explore the vast beauty of the Exumas on the Moriah Sea Park Adventure! Sightseeing the mysterious blue holes that sink into the earth's core, green turtles, stingrays, beach bars, iguana islands and sandbars that will leave your jaw gaping on the sand, an adventure with Island Routes into the Exumas is an absolute must that will leave you with memories and snapshots that will last a lifetime.
For those wishing to keep a little closer to the shores of Emerald Bay, guests can enjoy a variety of inclusive water sports spanning from kayaking, windsurfing, sail boating, stand up paddle boards and unlimited scuba diving! As avid divers ourselves we particularly enjoyed the professionalism and structure of the scuba diving, which featured as a post-breakfast activity throughout our stay and provided the perfect wake up call. The resort is also home to one of the Caribbean’s most scenic ocean sided and challenging golf courses designed by golfing legend Greg Norman. A real golfers paradise!
Sandals Emerald Bay was the perfect compliment to our exploration of The Exumas and offered us an unrivalled experience in the Bahamas, oozing luxury throughout. Where service reigns supreme and fine dining becomes part of everyday life, choose to do it all or nothing at all!
This review originally appeared on The Wanderlovers’ blog, The Wanderlovers.