Sandals Emerald Bay, Exuma - Rated the Most Luxurious Destination visited by TripAtlas.com in 2010
The Exumas is a chain of 365 cays and islands that make up roughly half of the islands known as The Bahamas. With a backdrop of vivid aquamarine on a pedestal of soft white sand, it's clear why celebrities such as Johnny Depp, David Copperfield, Nicolas Cage, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw have their own private Exuma cay (pronounced "key").
Part of the draw to the Exumas is their remoteness and tranquility. Most cays can only be reached by boat and some are no larger than the size of a small house. Legend has it pirates would sometimes punish enemies by abandoning them with a bottle of rum and a pistol on small cays throughout the Bahamas. After sailing past some of the cays myself, I saw it less as punishment and more as paradise.
Today, the Exumas are much more accessible and closer than people think. Just a 45 minute flight from Miami and with Air Canada, American Airlines, Continental, Delta and US Airways all regularly flying out of Canada and the US directly to Exuma International Airport, it's the perfect place for those looking for a short trip to a luxurious and romantic world of sun and warmth this winter.
On the topic of luxury, Sandals is a brand that doesn't shy away from going above and beyond. With their motto of "luxury included", you can rest assured that any time you visit a Sandals resort you will be taken care of in every way with the highest level of service and attention to detail.
So when Sandals was looking for a destination to call home to their latest ultra-luxury, all-butler resort, the Exumas made perfect sense. Located on 500 acres of land and 1 mile of unspoiled white sand beach, this place is everything you could hope for from a beachfront luxury resort. Stunning oceanview rooms overlooking the beach, immaculately manicured grounds and exceptional food and service are only part of the experience. There's also a championship golf course designed by Greg Norman that was featured on the Golf Channel's hit show The Big Break, an impressive 29,000sqft spa (or "tropical sanctuary", as Sandals calls it) that's the world's first to premiere the internationally acclaimed Dermologica line of skin care - considered by many as the most scientifically advanced skin care in the world. But that's not all.
The world's first All-Butler Resort means all 183 villas and suites, both oceanview and beachfront, come appointed with a personal 24hr butler whose goal is to ensure you have everything you could want and need at all times. Upon arrival you're given a cellphone with your butler just the touch of a button away whether you're at the pool, laying on the beach or anywhere else on the resort.
Want a bottle of champagne on ice with two flutes delivered to you on the beach? No problem. Your butler will even pack and unpack your luggage for you, arrange activities, confirm dinner reservations at one of the 5 restaurants or even prepare a rose petal bath to be waiting for you while you're on your way back to the room after a romantic dinner. One night I saw a butler setting up a small dinner table with two place settings on small secluded area of the beach for two honeymooners.
Prior to visiting Sandals Emerald Bay I'd heard all kinds of amazing stories about the exceptional butler service but this one really blew me away:
"There was a guest who arrived who had just had her baby six months prior, having been a first time mom she missed her daughter dearly and this made uneasy during her stay. Her butler, sensing this, called her mom back home and requested photos of the baby. The butler received six photos of the baby, bought some frames and placed them all over the suite. When the guest arrived back from the beach and saw all the photos her spirit was immediately lifted for the duration of her stay."
- courtesy of Sandals.com's "Real Butler Moments"
It's clear from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave that this place was designed to impress you. Not in any flashy or gawdy way, but in a refined and elegant manner that leaves you without a care in the world while you enjoy your vacation. This, after all, is what most of us look for when looking for a luxury destination and is the reason that Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, the Bahamas, is the Most Luxurious Destination TripAtlas.com visited in 2010.
Starting at $300US per person per night, for those looking for imitation luxury on a dime, Sandals Emerald Bay is probably not your best bet. For those looking to spend a little extra and get a lot extra in return, than look no further - this is where you want to go.
Share and discuss this story with your friends
Travis Snelling is the cofounder of TripAtlas.com and is based in Toronto, Canada. When not stuck in the office wearing shoes he's out on adventures with his camera looking for new drinks, dishes and experiences.
Located: Toronto Canada
Likes: photography, history, culture, cuisine, adventure