Is Sandals Royal Bahamian worth the hype?
Every year at Christmas, my husband and I take a vacation. While the holidays are typically the busiest time of year to travel, that is the only time of year he is guaranteed to time off of work, so make it work. We are beachaholics and love to spend Christmas with our toes in the sand.
We spent five nights at the Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, New Providence Island in the Bahamas. This was our first visit to the Bahamas and second visit to a Sandals Resort. Prior to our trip, I did a lot of research and read countless reviews of Sandals Royal Bahamian. Beyond location, we chose to stay at Sandals due to the all-inclusive, adult only nature of the resort.
Prior to our trip, I did a lot of research and read countless reviews of Sandals Royal Bahamian. As a frequent traveler, I know to take reviews with a grain of salt, as everyone is looking for something different during a vacation. We had a great week and returned relaxed and sun-kissed. Despite the great time we had, we were unsure if we would return.
Sandals Royal Bahamian Review
When you book a trip to any Sandals Resort, you have the option to book your airfare as well. I use miles when we travel for vacation, so I booked our own flights. I did book the trip myself through the Sandals website. There are a number of room options when you book your trip. Initially, I booked a Royal Village Honeymoon Deluxe room. Prior to our trip, I made an upgrade to a Balmoral Honeymoon Beachfront Butler Suite. The cost difference for the time that we were there was $182 per night. It was worth every penny to upgrade.
Our room was incredible. I am so glad that I upgraded us to the Balmoral Honeymoon Beachfront Butler Suite. We had a large walk out balcony with an incredible view. The balcony had two really nice lounge chairs and a table.
The room was spacious, as was the bathroom. We had a mini-fridge that was stocked with mixers and water. Sandals Royal Bahamian is all-inclusive, so liquor is included. The room had full-size bottles of liquor as well.
This was our first experience with Butler Service. The service was good, but we are not used to being waited on and it was rather awkward. We received the service due to the type of room we had. If it was an additional expense, I would not have paid extra for it. Our butler carried a phone with him and gave us a phone. We were told to call him if we needed anything including, dinner reservations, order food, order drinks, scheduled excursions, and reserve beach/pool chairs. He also attempted to escort us to dinner, but we declined after the first night.
The benefit of butler service for us was having our chairs reserved by the pool in the morning. People are crazy about those chairs and will get up before the sun to put towels on chairs. The only other service we requested from our butler was on the last night of our stay. My husband surprised me with a romantic dinner on our balcony. Our butler brought us chilled champagne and dinner from Gordons on the Pier.
In summary, the butlers we had were very nice (and likely following protocol), but we would rather walk 20 feet to the bar than call a butler to come outside and bring us a drink (it also faster to get it yourself).
This resort has ten restaurants. Breakfast was good. For lunch, we were usually in pool or beach mode, so we grabbed something quick (burger, nachos, etc.) at the cafe. We found all of our dinners to be average at best, except Gordons on the Pier, which was exceptional. Service during dinner at all the restaurants, except the Hibachi, was very slow and not on top of drinks. Perhaps this is due to the no tipping policy.
We were happy to see the various types of liquor available including Jack Daniels & Absolut. The bartenders make drinks differently every time, even the ones on the Sandals drink menu. The Billard Room bar made great martinis in the evening. It is worth noting, the included wine list is limited. There is a more extensive wine list available, but the bottles are at an additional cost. You can also request higher end liquor, such as Grey Goose, in your room for an additional cost. We learned this from our last visit to Sandals, so knew what to expect.
Sandals advertises that guest can go to the “exotic private offshore island escape”. Well, that is sort of true. It is more like 1/3 of an island that is open to cruise pass holders. The other part of the island is owned by a cruise line.
The day we went to the offshore island, there were a bunch of people there on cruise passes (yes on the Sandals side) using all the amenities. It became very crowded (and not exotic or private).
To get to the island, you take a shuttle boat. If you want to get a good beach chair, get in line a little early. We showed up for the boat shuttle ten minutes before it left and didn’t make the first boat. By the time we arrived, we barely found a place to sit by the pool and all the beach seating was taken. We stayed for the morning, had lunch at the restaurant and went back to the main resort.
All guests are offered a “free” photo session. Much to my husband’s dismay, I schedule a sunset photo session. It is a great way to get some photos from your trip that are not selfies. That said, I was not overly impressed with the photos. We had about two good photos out of a hundred. The photographer did not do a very good job and did not seem overly interested in her job. We bought a CD with photos and did a lot of editing when we got home.
Private Airport Transfers
My husband and I are not huge fans of shuttle buses. We were very happy to find out private airport transfer was included when we upgraded our room. We rode in style in a Rolls Royce to and from the airport.
The pools are nice, as you would expect. The beach is beautiful and the ocean is refreshing. The gym that was in the same building as our room was well equiped with cardio equipment and weights. We did not use the spa or book any excursions during our trip. There is a small boutique/ gift shop. We bought a few items here during our stay.
In summary, we had a great stay at Sandals Royal Bahamian. It is a wonderful location for an all-inclusive, adult-only Carribean vacation. I hope this Sandals Royal Bahamian review is helpful for you in planning your next Carribean vacation.