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Sandals Emerald Bay - Review/ Blog/ Wedding Information

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Just a warning this is going to be long as it is part review, part blog and part Sandals Emerald Bay wedding Information!


We were only ther for 4 days and then took a long layover to Sandals Royal Bahamian (review coming soon) -it was a fantastic 4 days!


Day One-


sandals Emerald Bay definitely has the WOW factor! The resort, stately but inviting, youâ€ll see why this was once the exclusive playground of the rich and famous. Not a glitzy property but understated, rich woods and utilization of the calming palette of the sea.


As we disembarked from our transfer the white gloved serviced started immediately. We were enthusiastically greeted, shown a seat in the elegant lobby while being served champagne. Within minutes, our butler whisked us away to our Bay House Honeymoon one bedroom ocean view luxury honeymoon suite to complete our check in paperwork.


As he graciously showed us our accommodations I kept thinking to myself -what a beautiful room. The large living area, complete with love seat, bistro table & chair plus a television looked over the large balcony that offered an ocean and pool view. From there you entered the bedroom, again spacious and well appointed. Be sure to wake one morning to catch the sunrise- itâ€s beautiful from this room! The walk in closet was ample enough for our belongings-including all of my husbandâ€s dive gear ( it was nice not to have to trip over it!) and the bathroom was just perfect, double vanity sinks with a large soaking tub and separate glassed in shower. It certainly made getting ready for the day, or for dinner comfortable-especially as there was a second restroom with shower in the foyer to the suite . My husband on the other hand was impressed with the stocked mini bar and had popped open the complimentary bottle of champagne- he figured I‘d clue him in on the rest!


After we hastily unpacked, we had a late lunch at Bahama Bay and while service was slow and inexperienced (typical for a resort that was only open for three weeks!) our server was sweet and wanted to please. The food was delicious and while some may say the portions are small, they were just right and true portion size (if still hungry one could always request more or go back to the tapas bar).


After our late lunch we walked the property and spent some time on the beach stretching our legs, hearing the waves and taking in the warm night air. It was wonderful not to have to worry about anyone bothering you ( including our kids!). To kick off our shoes and wiggle our toes in the amazing soft and cool sand was so relaxing. A bit later we went to dinner at Il Cielo. Again, the service while slow, was eager to please, and the food was fresh and well presented. Dessert at Il Cielo is interesting- you proceed to the dessert bar where you watch it being prepared right in front of you and where your after dinner drink or coffee is delivered. If you are a chocoholic please try the chocolate cake dessert, it was sinful. While we were finishing our desserts we had the pleasure to speak with the head pastry chef Mr. Purmessur.


He was so excited about what Sandals Emerald Bay was offering and planned to offer in the future in terms of food & beverage- from the already being served bread made from scratch and the pizza dough made at the resort from a secret recipe (both very yummy) to the freshly created desserts. Nothing was pre packaged and it makes a tremendous difference in the dining experience. While I have always enjoyed the food at Sandals the dining experience at Sandals Emerald Bay was tops!

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Day Two - Resort inspection and Sandals Emerald Bay wedding info!


We skipped breakfast the next day in order to sleep in. Met with a sales staff do our site visit and room inspection. She was so much fun and so proud of the resort ! We were able to see several room categories and visit with the wedding coordinator - who, by the way, is a complete sweetheart!


Weddings at Sandals Emerald Bay will be amazing, there are several options including, at either end of the beach ( currently they are working on building boardwalks to get to the beach for the brides to make their dramatic entrance), a Martha Stewart garden wedding gazebo ( unique to Sandals Emerald Bay ) with a beautiful reflecting pool on one side and a view of the ocean on the other. In case of inclement weather there are several meeting rooms that are lovely, or the spacious ballroom. The resorts lends itself to amazing wedding photoâ€s - from the beach and the lush gardens, to the golf course and marina, the choices are endless! For the bride that wants an upscale but private wedding, Sandals Emerald Bay is the perfect location!


A few other wedding features that are must know!

** Sandals Emerald Bay has a private reception option at Il Cielo where you can have dinner at no extra charge. This is perfect for the midsize group. Available only when the restaurant is open- the details are still being worked out on how to reserve, but will likely depend on the group size and first come, first booked.


**Smaller groups of 10-12 it will be easier to accommodate dinner together as the restaurant has many table of 6 that can easily be joined with tables of 4. As Il Cielos‘s requires reservations it should be easy for smaller weddings parties to enjoy dinner together! Also there are a few large tables of 6 at Bahama Bay as a second option.


**I discussed with the spa manager utilizing a private area at the spa for our wedding parties to gather and relax while getting services for the wedding. We will likely also be able to arrange for light appetizers and beverages to be served, itâ€ll be a fantastic option for the ladies to relax prior to the wedding! Not just limited to weddings we can also arrange this for other groups that are traveling together such as a girlfriend getaway or a golf group!


**Stay tuned for two new wedding packages to be rolled out exclusive for Sandals Emerald Bay !


**Be sure to order your wedding flowers early as they only receive shipments three times a week from Jamaica.


** The wedding office was large and inviting. I especially liked the room with the large ( i think it was a 52 or 60 inch) flat screen television where you can view all of your wedding photo's in comfort and privacy. They will also have all of the photo's taken while you were at the resort- a great time saver as the photo shop was always busy!



Diving at Sandals Emerald Bay - My husband went to meet with the dive instructor and to sign up for diving the next day. At this time the dive operation is still getting off the ground- Sandals Emerald Bay is waiting for delivery of the custom made Newton 47†dive boat and hopefully that will be in the next week or so. For the moment they are using another boat and while not ideal, it gets the job done. The exciting part is that this area is quite virgin and the reefs look great. Lots of life, large corals and crystal clear water makes for a great experience. Keep in mind that the water will be chilly in January & February so be sure to bring a wetsuit or plan on renting one. No diving on Sundays.


By the time my husband returned from the marina, he was given a full tour and watched them unpack the brand new dive gear, it was a bit late to do much before itâ€d be time to get ready for dinner so we spent some time with Jaime, the swim up pool bartender. He kept us entertained and on our way to being inebriated. We met some wonderful people from all over including guests that would be the first couple to get married at Sandals Emerald bay, prior Four Season regulars to past Sandals guests. Everyone was having a great time and that was in part to Jaimeâ€s antics and the great drinks.


When we returned to our room we found the Jack Daniels and Sambuca that my husband had requested from our butler was there. It was nice to be spoiled and not having to trudge the 30 steps to a nearby bar to get our favorite drinks. My husband enjoyed a drink on the balcony listening to the band while I got ready for dinner. We then sat together on the balcony watching the stars and enjoying the evening breeze. This evening we decided to try the Drunken Duck as the steaks and pork chops looked good. We arrived late when they were switching from dinner to late night menu- I had wanted a steak but the kitchen was closed- our server, Violet saw how disappointed I was and made a few phone calls and voila-we had steak for dinner. It was service above and beyond! Another great meal and Violetâ€s service was fantastic during our entire meal and she continued to check on us the rest of the evening!

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Day three- lazing around!


Sunday was a beautiful day although a little overcast towards the afternoon. We enjoyed spending time walking along the beach, watching the varying shades of blue (have I mentioned how powdery soft the sand is and how stunning the water looks?), then sharing one of the hammocks that are scattered throughout the gardens.


We went to Dinoâ€s pizzaria for lunch- Be sure to stop in to the pizzaria ! This is by far the BEST pizza in the Caribbean or perhaps the world! The dough is made daily onsite with a secret recipe that the talented pastry chef gleaned from top chefâ€s in France! It doesnâ€t stop there as it is topped with fresh ingredients and quality mozzarella. Be sure to say Hi to the shy but wonderful young man who will make your pizza ( he also makes the dough fresh each day!) heâ€s such a sweetie and takes great pride in his work! .


While enjoying our personal pizzaâ€s we overheard a couple who were former Four seasons guests (well the tables were really, really close and you couldnâ€t help it!) they were talking about how great a concept Sandals was and how the food overall was better than when the resort was a Four Seasons. That‘s quite a compliment!


Meant to use the hobie cats after lunch but the weather started to turn and it was just a bit too chilly for me ( but I like to be warm- at all times!). Dave went swimming and I enjoyed basking in the sun. The beach is so large that you have a tremendous amount of elbow room and can stake out your own patch of sand. It was fun watching the guests enjoying themselves while the butlers brought them everything from sunblock, to stocked coolers of beer, water and pop to snacks to munch on! Then we explored the marina ( my husband loves boats of all shapes and sizes and there were quite a few to look over) and a bit of the golf course- I don‘t know how anyone could concentrate on their game- the views are breathtaking! Overall just lazing the day away together. With our hectic schedule and three daughters we donâ€t get to do much of so this was a real treat! The relaxed pace lends itself to re-connecting with your spouse or partner.


We planned on having dinner at Barefoot by the Sea that evening but it was closed due to the poor weather- wind and light rain. So off to Bahama Bay we went- the tapas bar was great-including the chilled snow crab legs! Service was definitely better than the night we arrived!

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Day four-


On Monday I went solo to Il Cielo for a late breakfast as my hubby was off diving. I enjoyed a perfect eggs benedict ( yup- I gained weight on this trip!). Then back to the room to catch up on emails ( I know-itâ€s terrible to be working while I am suppose to be on vacation and relaxing, but duty calls!) . Email service at times was really great- at other times you couldnâ€t log on. You could pay 13.95 a day or 38.99 for the week. I had planned on taking more photoâ€s of the property and spending some time playing on the beach – hoping to do some snorkeling and hobie cats but unfortunately the day ended up being a bit brisk and dreary with showers off and on. We had lunch at Barefoot by the Sea and Dave scarfed down the freshly made nacho chips, salsa and guacamole- hog. Enjoyed a fresh seafood salad and sweet potato soup while Dave had the blackened grouper sandwich- all was great! Took a brief tour of part of the island with some of our new friends and then we spent some more time at the pool bar ( it was THE place to be even with chilly weather and the location is great- right between the beach and pool- great crowd and everyone was having fun!) and then warmed up in the hot tub while the sun set.


An early night for us as our flight in the am left at 7. Check out was traumatic- I didnâ€t want to leave.



Normally I wait 6 month before I can recommend a newly opened property, as there is always a learning curve when a property is new- Sandals Emerald Bay will accomplish in 6 weeks what other properties take 6 months to do. I found it quite interesting that the resort was in the high eighties % for occupancy in the first 3 weeks - that in itself was amazing- but for the staff to function as well as they did was a high testament to Sandals !

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In a nutshell -What makes Sandals Emerald Bay so special ?


Butler in every room- ahhhhh, the butlers are the secret to amazing pampering. Theyâ€ll arrange your pool or beach chairs, deliver food or drink and arrange for your every desire to be met! Definitely utilize this service and you will not regret it!


Grounds- lush and spacious, the park like grounds invited you for a stroll whether it was day or night.


Food & beverage - fantastic. Every meal is created from fresh ingrediants and it makes a world of difference. From the freshly made bread to the delicious but beautifully prepared entrees to the scrumptious ( and not for the calorie counter) desserts this one really shines !


Elbow room-the resort was in the high 80â€s occupancy, yet we felt like we had the resort to ourselves. Plenty of loungers on both the beach and by the active and quiet pool.


The crowning glory ? The Beach and water. The above all make it an amazing property but the Beach-neither pictures nor words can do justice to this beach! Just shy of a mile long, the crescent shaped beach was made for lovers. The softest sand that I have ever enjoyed, this quiet getaway has no beach vendors to interrupt your tranquility. The bay changes colors throughout the day reflecting all the shades of blue and emerald that you can dream of.


A couple of notes-


-Pack lightly! Most flights into the island are on the smaller jets, therefore there is limited room for luggage and many pieces get left behind till the next flight comes in!


-This is a small Caribbean island, not for those who seek nightlife and lots of excursions! Be prepared to take in beautiful views of the ocean while relaxing, itâ€s a slower pace all around!


-At this time not all events proceed as scheduled on the daily entertainment sheet, nor are the restaurant & bar hours quite as stated- again typical of a resort that is just opening and I have no doubt that will improve.


-The golf course is not for the faint of heart. Greg Norman designed the 7001 yard, par 72 Championship Golf course with 6 signature Oceanside holes. I overhead it described as challenging and that Greg Norman made it for just for one person to play - himself! However everyone that tried it fully enjoyed and said the views were impressive.


-Let your butler know if you are going fishing as the chef can prepare your catch for that eveningâ€s meal!


-There are six Har-Tru tennis courts that were in use during our stay-there was also a tennis pro available!


- The spa looks fantastic, not enough time to enjoy a treatment during our brief stay but it was large and had 17 treatment rooms. Dermologic skin care treatments are available, also several couples rooms, a yoga room and a fitness center with Cyberex equipment and a few free weights.


Sandals Emerald Bay has become that special place for me - you know the one where, when you need to think happy thoughts and find a little peace in a hectic day, that you daydream about. Even though there were a few grand opening glitches-particularly with wait staff and it was obvious that the resort was understaffed, I found that the overall experience was amazing and the potential for the resort, breathtaking. Each day you can visibly see the staff improving and by our last day service was nearly perfect- I can only imagine what another month under their belt will accomplish!


Sandals Emerald Bay is the perfect resort for those seeking a remote adult only retreat, the ease of all inclusive, and the most beautiful white sand beach framed by the Caribbean sea one can imagine.



Check out my photo's here-http://sandnsun.smugmug.com/

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Sandals Emerald Bay will follow a different Wedding Policy then the other resorts, please see below details…



-SEB does NOT offer Free Weddings, the cost for Beautiful Beginnings is $1,000 inclusive of Administration/Government Fees.




VISION IN WHITE - $2,700.00


CHIC & NATURAL - $3,800.00


-$500.00 Administration/Government Fee is waived for stays of six (6) nights or longer, any room category for those purchasing the above five (5) Themes.


Remember 50% deposit is due at time of booking, balance 60 days prior to arrival and non refundable within 45 days to arrival

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This is huge and can be revoked at any time so if anyone is looking for a Honeymoon, Vacation or a beautiful Bahama Wedding it's a great opportunity!

Offer: Free Companion Airfare

Book By Date: Now – Further Notice
Revised Travel Dates: Valid for travel now in effect through December 22, 2010

Resorts: Sandals Royal Bahamian and Sandals Emerald Bay
Black out dates: 3/19/10 - 4/10/10 (All travel must exclude these dates)

Booking Procedures
Deposit is completely non refundable, comprised of $400 and the total cost of
2 airfares. No First or Business Class Fares in any segments will be allowed

Accounting will adjust to reflect one airfare credit within 72- 96 hours.
• This promotion is valid for US bookings only
• For all bookings originating from FL the minimum night stay is 3-nights
• For all other states, it is a 4-night minimum
• This can only be booked with Sand & Sun Vacations- Web bookings not allowed.

Not Applicable to groups


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Wow Jennifer! Thanks for the great review and info. I can NOT wait until my wedding there! I'd be interested to hear from anyone who actually gets married there. I'm sure there will be someone who gets married before us as our wedding is not until next March. Thanks again! I loved looking at the pics!

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