Last December Nate and I packed a small black suitcase, a Lululemon duffle and a Flight Centre branded backpack, hopped on a 5:30am connector flight bound for Toronto and landed in Nassau shortly after lunch. We woke up in a misty cold dark place – a few coffees, corn chips (thank you WestJet), and mini bus later – hello paradise. Anyone from our great country (that puts the ‘north’ in North America) who has fled to warmer temperatures between mid-October to early May knows just how splendid this feels. Welcome to the gem of Nassau – Sandals Royal Bahamian.Proper Rolls Royce transport & red carpet welcomeEntrance to the Royal Village.Entrance to receptionEntrance to Club Sandals. Upon being welcomed and identifying your luggage, concierge “Club Level” guests are swept away, welcomed by warm towels and delicious mimosas. A variety of cookies and treats are here daily, as well as specialty coffee and concierge to make spa and restaurant reservations for you!Lounge areas everywhere – this was a great spot in the evening right beside the Piano Bar and pool room.Breakfast at Spices buffet by the pool. All of the healthy things: cream cheese, bagels and bacon with mimosas – you know, diet food.Butler suites in the Royal Village A variety of villas, with semi-private pool areas.Our top choice for whirlpools (there are six between the island and mainland). Always with a bottle of chilled champagne (re-stocked in your room daily).We stayed in the Windsor Honeymoon Oceanview Club Level Suite – JS, large sitting area, giant king four poster bed
Newly renovated washrooms with a full marble showerOcean view & pool view from our balcony – this pool was drained the morning after we arrived to have pool heaters installed and tile repairs done.The pool beside the Windsor Tower the day we arrived, before it was drained.We had an absolute blast on the Hobie Cats. The wind and rain had them closed for 2 out of the 6 days we were there, but the other four days we were on them for hours.December wind turning up lots of seaweed and waves, resort staff had it meticulously cleaned everyday.When the red flag flies, no water-sports are allowed…The pier with hourly boat rides to the private island – again weather permitting, the island was closed the first two days we were here from the wind conditions.Frutti di Mare pizza – wood fired from early lunchtime to before dinner. I was too hungry to wait…The pool beside the Balmoral Tower – sheltered from the wind, which was fantastic.Spices buffet behind the poolRoyal Grill – lunchtime self-serve nacho bar was tastyThe mainland Red Lane Spa in the Balmoral Tower.Baccarat – French CuisineBaccarat served à la carte breakfast and dinnerWIFI included…à la carte breakfast at Baccarat – eggs bennySandals offshore island in the distance, the right side is private and exclusive for Sandals guests.The Balmoral TowerA wedding ceremony and reception location at the end of a pier.Love this man!So much hammock time – one of the best places to hang out in the sun with a drink + WIFISandals Cay! Sandals private offshore island experience begins at that white fence (the left of the island is a cruise ship excursion for ships docked in Nassau).Stewfish – daytime casual fare and dinner à la carte by reservation only.Conch fritters – these are great dipped in tartar. They had these as well at Barefoot by the Sea at Beaches Turks & Caicos, so it was nice to have them again.Friend conch and friesPulled pork slidersMy love.Sandals invented the swim up bar – Sandals Royal Bahamian has three!These beds were divine – always one or two emptyWe were on the first boat departure of the morning – so we had our pick.If they had been full, there are dozens of other comfy options to lounge around in.Its true.End of the island!Red Lane Spa was closed (on the island) due to wind the last two days we were here – so our couples massage was cancelled and we decided to skip doing it inside.Paradise found!The best beach on the south side of the island – sheltered from the wind and waves and warm water.We enjoyed a few outstanding sunsets.Gordons on the Pier – included for Butler level guests or one of the few things Club Level or lower guests had to pay extra for.WIFI literally worked everywhere – these fire pits were great and there were more by the Balmoral TowerAll decorated for Christmas!Eating dinner at Baccarat – we only came here once for dinner (wanted to try all of them) but it was by far my favorite meal.Selection of Robert Mondavi house wines – included.Always champagne.Also, escargot.We couldn’t decide between filet Mignon and grilled lobster tail – so they combined both for us. Obviously we aren’t into sharing…Dinner at Stewfish at Sandals Cay by boat (weather permitting)Crab cakeStewfish is Caribbean inspired dishes – a take on jerk chicken and black bean riceGrilled meat & seafood skewers with veggies.This veal shank is from the Italian restaurant, Casanova’sLamb chops! Their best dishes were pasta (appetizers?!), I was to busy eating.The Crystal Room – dinner only, reservations required.Roasted garlic soupTagine!Our waiter brought us two extra entrees to try – stuffed to capcity here!Kimonos Japanese – starting with a self-serve sushi barThen moving on to the main event – TeppanyakiNights filled with pool (Nate mostly winning) and late night drinks and snacks at The Cricketers Pub (compared again to the same pub at Beaches Turks and Caicos, the food quality here was about half).Cats galore – chewing on Christmas lights?
Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort and Offshore Island – 18+, luxury all-inclusive resort in Nassau, Bahamas – fifteen minutes from the Lynden Pindling International airport.
I have clients who never want to go to the Bahamas in the “winter” and let me say for someone like myself who suffers in temperatures above 25 Celsius when the destination humidity is between 80-90% let me just say Bahamas is wonderful in the winter.
Yes, the wind had the island and water sports closed two out of six days and there were two very major wind and rain storms at night, but don’t let that deter you.
While we were there the temperatures ranged from a comfortable 18 – 25 Celsius and for the most part maintained those temperatures in the evening. A light windbreaker sufficed and the fire pits were so lovely to just lounge around with a glass of wine.
I love being able to wear fabrics that are more sexy than cotton and have the option to wear pants without sweating up a storm.
Even on the water sailing with the heavy wind, as long as the sun was out, I was never cold.
Going back to the Sandals experience and the resort itself, of course I was comparing this experience (food, customer service, beach) to Beaches Turks and Caicos where I had just been three months prior. The customer service, although excellent, people at the Royal Bahamian weren’t as friendly or welcoming as at Beaches Turks. The food overall at Beaches Turks had more flavor, was served at better temperatures and perfectly cooked.
If I had to choose between the two, I would prefer Beaches Turks and Caicos. That being said, Sandals Royal Bahamian is an adults only oasis, and arguably the best all-inclusive in Nassau! For the right price I would recommend it to any couple who is tired of going to Jamaica or Mexico and looking to visit a new place where all your activities and delicious Discover Dining is included, everyday. We had a blast!
As always, a huge thank you to Sandals and Flight Centre for the opportunity to experience this gorgeous property.