Sandals Emerald Bay

Sandals resorts are all-inclusive destinations. Once you have paid for your vacation to a Sandals resort, you will not need much money for the rest of your trip. I have stayed at many all-inclusive resorts, and some are better than others. Sandals is top tier in the all-inclusive category. They actually prefer the phrase “luxury included”.

The bars serve fine top shelf brands without an up-charge and the drinks are served in in tall glasses or sturdy plastic at the pool (for safety). And you’re not running to the bar for a refill every five minutes because the drink is large enough to last a while. The bartenders are friendly and well trained. My favorite drink is a mojito, and I sort of judge a bartender on his/her ability to make a good one. The mojitos at Sandals Emerald bay were uniformly good. Okay… so based on this admittedly subjective rating, the bars and the bartenders are excellent. (!)

The food is good, and you will find some meals that are truly excellent. Sandals Emerald Bay has seven restaurants. I ate in all of them and found them all to be good to excellent.

Il Cielo is an Italian fine dining restaurant which is open for dinner, and reservations are needed. The food is excellent. Even though I’m not a big fan of salmon, for some reason I ordered the salmon filet, and it was delicious. My husband had their signature lasagna and it was also excellent. This restaurant also serves breakfast, no reservation needed.

Barefoot by the Sea also requires a reservation for dinner. Their menu is seafood and island specialties like conch chowder. Lunch is served here from 11:30 to 3:00. This restaurant is just across the dunes from the beach, and your feet dig into the sand as you enjoy your meal. Right around the corner from Barefoot By the Sea is The Jerk Shack. This walk-up restaurant serves jerked chicken, pork and sausage and everything has some spice. The sausage is especially hot. I loved it. This is very convenient to the main pool.

La Parisienne serves French cuisine for dinner. Reservations are required to enjoy dinner in this high-end restaurant. My husband and I both had the lamb and found it excellent. He also had the escargot appetizer and the smile on his face said it all! I ordered a chocolate flourless cake and enjoyed the best dessert I’ve had in a while.

The Drunken Duck is a British Pub. The pub is open from 5:00PM to 1:30AM serving pub food and serving gastro fare from 6PM to 9PM. No reservation is required to eat here. The food is excellent. I had the shepherd’s pie (one of my favorites) and it was great. This is fine place for a casual meal.

Bahama Bay serves a breakfast and lunch buffet with table service for dinner. No reservation is required. The breakfast buffet is a standard spread and has a station for fresh eggs and omelets. The lunch buffet has a different theme each day (Mexican, Spanish, Asian, Continental). Dinner is served a-la-carte and this was one of my favorites. I had the Bahamian fried chicken and wanted seconds (but didn’t get them due to an expanding waistline).

Dino’s serves fresh baked pizza’s. No reservation is required here. The pizzas are baked to order and we got them to go and ate in our room on the balcony. The pizzas are sized for one person. We got a Hawaiian pizza with ham and pineapple and one with sausage and mushroom. It was a great meal.

Lastly, Café de Paris serves French treats as well as fancy coffee and ice cream. Drop in any time until 10:00PM and indulge yourself. We got some pastries here the morning of our departure to take to the airport. Of course, we also visited this place three or four other times during our stay at Emerald Bay!
Sandals has dozens of room categories and this blog doesn’t really give me space to outline them all. The basic room is a large room with a king-sized bed, table and sitting chair. All the rooms have an ocean view unless you have a ground floor walkout. Sandals also offers suites with sitting rooms and separate bedrooms.

Sandals also has suites that include butler service. We did not have a butler at Emerald Bay but have booked suites with butler service in the past and really enjoyed this extra level of service. Your butler will make your dinner reservations for you and will deliver meals to your suite if you prefer to eat in the privacy of your room. Butler service can take a Sandal’s vacation to another level of luxury.

The beach at Emerald Bay is framed by the unbelievably bright turquoise Caribbean waters lapping the beautiful white sand, a sight which is truly breathtaking. Paddle boards and sail boats are available (weather permitting) for exploring Emerald Bay. Snorkeling and diving equipment are provided for under sea adventures. Canoes, Kayaks, and Aqua trikes can be taken into the bay for some exercise or just for a lazy hour or so on the water.

Sandals Emerald Bay also features A Greg Norman designed 18 hole championship golf course. The course has six holes that hug the perimeter of Emerald Bay. This course will definitely challenge your golf skills. We played three rounds, and this was a highlight of our trip. Tennis is another sport offered at Emerald Bay. Six well maintained clay courts are on sight and a tennis pro gives lessons for all levels of tennis players.

After a round of golf or some tennis, a visit to the Red Lane spa might be just what you need to relax. The facility is state of the art and the ambiance is so relaxing. Individual or couple massages are offered, many with a special Caribbean flavor. You can get manicures and pedicures, facials, and body scrubs. Literally dozens of different massages and body treatments are offered to relax and renew your body and spirit. Sharing a romantic couples’ massage on the beach is an experience you will cherish with your loved one.

The Sandals at Emerald Bay is a beautiful resort offering activities for all levels of fitness. Of course, if you just want to lay on the beach or at the pool, the views are amazing and I can’t really fault you for that choice. I realize most of this blog was about the food at Emerald Bay, but I think food can really make or break a vacation. The food at Emerald Bay certainly didn’t disappoint.

Why use a Travel Specialist?

We hear this question every day. Well, not every day, but we hear it often, from friends that rarely travel outside the US or from people we are having conversations with at parties or in other social settings. Everyone knows they can book hotels and airline tickets online, and if you have been on a cruise, you probably booked it yourself online. The online travel site advertisements on cheap hotel rooms and cheap travel are everywhere. You can Google trips to anywhere in the world and dozens of sites will pop up for you to browse. So why use a travel specialist?

First, you don’t pay us for our services. Just like the online sites, we are paid by the cruise lines, airlines, hotels, and tour operators. Getting a travel specialist to help plan and book your trip is free to you. On occasion, an agent may charge a fee, but then apply it to your trip if you book. This is to protect them from spending their time doing all the research and then having you book online anyway. Travel agent fees or costs to use an agent seem to be the most misunderstood facet of our business. You can spend hours searching websites and maybe making some phone calls to book a vacation. Or you can contact a travel specialist and have them spend the time researching deals and venues while you’re working or spending time with your family or doing activities you enjoy. In addition, if you have booked the trip with us, we will watch for upgrades or available discounts that may show up that affect your trip and then can offer these to you.

The reason I started this blog with a discussion of money is because cost is the first thing many of us think of when planning a trip. This is understandable and important, however the value a travel specialist brings to your vacation is not all in the dollars and cents. I booked a recent short vacation for someone in New Orleans. They knew they wanted to go to New Orleans but didn’t want to stay in a conventional hotel. I found a small boutique hotel (fewer than ten rooms) in the garden district near Bourbon Street, but a bit off the beaten path. This gave them a different experience than a conventional hotel would have and it was exactly what they were looking for when visiting this unique city. I had another client who wanted a family vacation in the Caribbean and was overwhelmed with the options available. After understanding their budget and interest, I narrowed it down to a handful of options, making it easier for my client to make a decision.

I travel to locations and hotels overseas six to eight times a year. Even my personal vacations usually include a site visit. If you are traveling to Panama, I can set up your itinerary so that the local holidays will minimally impact your trip. If you want to raft in Costa Rica, I know the best white water rafting spots to fit your level of experience. If you want to hike a desert in Chile or explore the Greek Isles, cruise the Danube or other rivers, or sail the ocean in a large ship or a small boat, I can provide you with invaluable advice. We also know the resorts because we have been there. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway with someone special, that is a completely different resort experience than if you are going with your family, and we can help you with either. If you want a trip with extreme adventure, we have ideas for that as well. We have the resources available for just about any type of travel. Now, I admit I haven’t been everywhere, but here at our Condor Tours & Travel office, the cumulative experience of our travel specialists totals over 75 years! We can give you first hand observations on nearly all resorts and hotels, and we can recommend activities or tours.

We recently had a client that booked a cruise in the Baltic Sea, visiting Norway, Denmark, and Holland. After the cruise, he took the train from Rotterdam to Berlin and enjoyed three days exploring this historic city, including a guided tour of Potsdam and a walking food tour of some of Berlin’s neighborhoods. We organized all of this for him and sent him off for two weeks to over ten destinations. His vacation included air and train travel, cruising, hotel reservations and guided tours. Because we coordinated all of this for him, he only had to deal with us. It’s our job to deal with the suppliers, hotels, cruise lines, air lines and tour operators in the various countries.

We protect your personal information and you only give it one time to us. You aren’t putting your credit card and passport information at many different sites – just to us. We then protect your information in our secure site and delete it upon the completion of your tour.

Finally, our team will help you identify any visa requirements your destinations may have by helping you to obtain this information, especially if you are traveling using documents other than a US passport. When you leave on your trip, you will know the documents you will need to enter the countries you are visiting. The rules in Latin America and the South Pacific regions are usually more complicated than in Europe, and we will help you navigate the laws of various countries.

The internet offers so much information that it can be overwhelming. Feel free to do your research on a destination, then, let your agent help with the trip details, and let them make recommendations on accommodations, tours, etc ., as they are the true experts in travel. Whether you come to us or go with a local agent – be sure to research them. How long have they been in business, do they get out to see destinations or work with well-informed suppliers? As with any industry, the experience of your agent will insure a better travel experience. Remember – the internet is for looking but your agent is for booking!