Sandals Royal Bahamian Review
This is my fifth visit to this resort, so I know it pretty well. Sandals Royal Bahamian is on New Providence Island in the city of Nassau on Cable Beach. It’s a good sized resort with just over 400 rooms, but it’s compact enough, so you’ll easily be able to get around the property.
Sandals Royal Bahamian is the closest Sandals resort to the US, which makes it the easiest to get to. It’s less than an hour’s flight from Miami, FL. The resort is only 10 minutes away from the airport, so there are no long transfers. One super cool thing about coming to the Bahamas is that when you return to the US, you’ll clear US customs before you leave, which is a breeze, compared to Miami, Charlotte, Atlanta or Los Angeles.
Sandals Royal Bahamian has a very British feel. It used to be a colonial manor and hosted the Duke and Duchess of Windsor in the 1940s. It also has a private island; Sandals Cay. A little known trivia is the role the island played in Beatles history, as scenes from their movie “Help” were filmed there in 1965.
Dark woods, white walls, marble floors, frescoed ceilings and elegant furnishing create a relaxed, yet formal atmosphere at the property. Statues and fountains evoke European elegance. Arriving guests are given a cool towel and check-in on iPads while sipping champagne.
There are three main areas of rooms;
The Balmoral wing, which is closest to the reception area and the fun piano bar. A large pool with swim-up bar runs alongside it and it’s known as the “quiet pool”. It’s closest to Spices, which is a buffet for breakfast and lunch and a Mediterranean a la carte restaurant in the evening. At the front of the Balmoral wing is the ocean, just steps away and a large Jacuzzi that is not private, however hardly used by anyone not staying in those rooms. Tip: The best rooms in the Balmoral wing are those at the front near the ocean. They are larger, with the best view and are most accessible to the ocean. You can get a suite with butler service in the Balmoral wing, which would help make your honeymoon or anniversary extra special. My favorite butler is Everett.
The Windsor wing, which is closest to the dive shop, Kimonos Restaurant and The Cricketer’s Pub. It runs alongside the “active pool”, where pool games and music run throughout the day. Toward the front is the ocean and the watersports area. This is a great location for scuba divers. On the opposite side of the Windsor wing are some newly completed swim up pool rooms. It’s very shady and quiet over there. The higher rooms on that side overlook a parking area, so I recommend only those rooms that access the swim up pool rooms or the second floor at the highest. The Windsor rooms are larger, in general, than those in the Balmoral wing, especially those toward the front of the building, facing the ocean and pool. You can get a suite with butler service in the Windsor wing, as well, which I highly recommend. Imagine your butler serving you a gourmet dinner while you dine looking out at the ocean on your private balcony. Or coming “home” to your room after you’ve been scuba diving, to find a hot bubble bath drawn for you with rose petals scattered on it.
The Royal Village is in the garden area, toward the back on the property. The buildings are like little manor houses, which have five rooms per building. It’s quiet and serene back there, so if you like seclusion, you’ll like these. Each building has its own small pool, which are hardly used, so this adds to the peace and quiet. One of them has a Jacuzzi, so that would be my recommendation as the best area. Most of these rooms come with club level service, which gives you room service from 7:30AM to 10:00PM daily, which is a great perk. There are no longer any butler rooms in the Royal Village
The restaurants that require reservations at Sandals Royal Bahamian are Gordons Pier Restaurant (seafood), Baccarrat (French cuisine), Kimonos (Oriental cuisine) and Stewfish (dining on the private island). Remember, these are all included. These other restaurants do not require reservations, however you can make reservations, if you wish: The Crystal Room (Mediterranean cuisine), Casanova Italian Ristorante, Spices (Caribbean cuisine), the Royal Grill (casual restaurant serving lunch), The Cricketers Pub and last but not least, Bella Napoli Pizzaria. The evening restaurants are very good, however the buffet does leave something to be desired. Tip: When you’re checking in, make your dinner reservations for the four restaurants that require it. Then, you can relax and fill in any remaining nights at one of the others.
Private Island: The private (mostly) island at Sandals Royal Bahamian is called Sandals Cay. A boat goes over every hour from 10 AM to 4 PM and returns 50 minutes later. On the private island, you’ll find Stewfish, which serves lunch and dinner. Also, is a Red Lane spa, where you can enjoy outdoor massages. There is a swim up pool bar and nice lounge chairs all around the island. Stewfish opens in the evening for dinner and they send special boats back and forth for the diners. Tip: There is great snorkeling on the far side of this island. Also, if you go over on the last boat, be aware that all of the services are closed up by then.
Entertainment: There is nightly entertainment in the Royal Theater. It might be a band, a karaoke night, a magician, talent night, dancers or singers. It’s always lively in the evening, but can easily be overlooked, as it’s somewhat hidden, even though it’s in the center of the resort. During the summer, there are weekly themed beach parties. My buddy, Sharmond Smith, who’s the best sax player in the Bahamas, plays sax, flute and soprano sax at Sandals Royal Bahamian twice a week on Sunday and Thursday. He also plays at Sandals Great Exuma on Monday and Tuesday. If you see Sharmond, please tell him Sheila Cannon said hi.
Watersports: There are tons of water activities available to you at Sandals Royal Bahamian and all are included. There are Hobie Cats (personal sized catamarans), aqua trikes (tricycles with huge wheels that you can take out in the ocean), kayaks and stand up paddle boards. There is an independent Jet Ski operator that sets up right next to the watersports hut. Because of the unlimited alcohol that’s served at Sandals, they don’t rent motorized equipment. But, it’s easily accessible here, so have fun.
Dive Program: Sandals Royal Bahamian has a great dive program. There are a great group of guys in the dive/watersports shop; Wenzel, Damian, Ramon and Claudy. They’re there to make your dives and watersports enjoyable and safe. They do a 2 tank dive every morning and a specialty dive every afternoon. The morning dive leaves at 9 and returns between 12:30 and 1 PM. The specialty dives are shark, blue hole and night dives. There are many dive sites around the island and the dive boat docks right at the pier on property, so it’s very convenient. Tips: Check in at the dive shop as soon as you arrive, making sure to have your certification card and your dive log with you. They’ll let you know if you need to do a pool check, depending on when you dove last. While you’re there, reserve your spot on the dives for the entire time you’re there. I recommend you do the shark dive with the dive team, instead of Island Routes. The dive team shark dive is $105 and the equipment is included, except for a wetsuit. Island Routes charges $167 plus $51 for equipment. The difference between the dives is during the dive team shark dive, they don’t feed the sharks and it’s only a one tank dive. But you will see 20 or 30 sharks during the dive team shark dive. It’s pretty amazing.
Spa: The Red Lane spa offers Caribbean inspired spa treatments, both in the spa and on the private island. It also offers a complimentary hydrotherapy circuit. Tip: Get your massage done on the private island. Talk about secluded and relaxing!
Fitness center: There is a penthouse fitness center here that offers a great ocean view. Last time I was here, I saw several sting rays from here.
Romance: there are many romantic spots at this resort; hammocks, cozy hanging chairs, secluded Jacuzzis, a quiet corner in the pub, one of the romantic restaurants and fire pits. Romance is only limited by your imagination.
To wrap it up, this is a romantic resort with a lot to offer; such as the Private Island and locations to visit off property. It’s also the closest and most convenient to get to from the US and it’s easy to clear customs on your return. I highly recommend it!
If you would like to experience a Sandals resort and have someone who knows the resort very well help you, then make a complimentary appointment at www.AppointmentWithSheila.com.
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