Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We Put On Our Sandals At Royal Bahamian Resort

You've seen the commercials... the powder white sands, water glistening like turquoise gemstones and free flowing pina coladas. So is it really better in the Bahamas? I checked into Sandals Royal Bahamian All-Inclusive Resort to find out for you. Hey someone's got to do the investigative work right?!

The "Sandals experience" starts as soon as you step into their lobby. The luggage that was once in my hand immediately got whisked away to my room and I found myself holding a glass of champagne! I was then given a tour of the resort and led through a maze of pools and lush gardens to what would be my home sweet home for the next seven days.

At Royal Bahamian, you get a choice of staying at the main hotel which is basically like condo-style living with amazing room service or one of these adorable villas. Depending on how many guests and if you prefer cozy or lavish, room sizes vary from luxury studios to beachfront penthouse suites. These top-tier suites comes complete with the highest level of service or the "beck & call" which includes a dedicated butler and airport transportation in a chauffeured Rolls. Yep, now we are rolling. Either way it doesn't take long to get used to the plush bathrobes and fully stocked mini-bar that gets replenished everyday!

There are 8 bars and 10 restaurants to satisfy your tastebuds and we're not talking about your typical resort buffets or continental breakfasts. Each restaurant and bar boasts premium top shelf liquor, its own authentic menu and internationally trained chefs.

My favourites were Kimonos, teppanyaki style dining where a knife-wiedling chef displays his warrior swordsman skills and prepares dinner right before your eyes (note: the fish here is the best I have ever had). Spices Restaurant has the most forgiving hours for foodies and offers Caribbean and Mediterranean specialties. It was my go-to place to grab my mid-morning, mid-afternoon and mid-evening snack!

Bella Napoli Pizzeria makes made-to-order brick-oven pizzas right on the beach and then there is Gordon's. What else can I say except this was the ultimate dining experience - steaks are grilled to perfection and served under the stars and over the sea at the tip of the pier.

My absolute favourite though is Baccarat, an award-winning French cuisine restaurant with seating wrapped in pod-like windows overlooking the stunning pool area. The Chef is Tommy and lets say I was there so often that he got to know me pretty well and would prepare the most delicious customized dishes for us.

If you are vegan, gluten-free and/or vegetarian, there is plenty for you to eat. Just make sure you call/email Sandals in advance so they can notify the chefs of your dietary restrictions. The specialty restaurants fill up quickly (especially Baccarat) so it is wise to make reservations as soon as you arrive.

Now the idea of spending a week at a resort can sometimes come across as très boring for people who tend to be a bit hyper-active like moi. But between eating, tanning, afternoon beach volleyball, eating some more, swimming up to the bar and all the water activities and nightly entertainment, my days filled up quickly. 

I also discovered snorkeling and my gosh, I immediately fell in love with it and suddenly I was super busy! Kayaks, paddle boards, windsurfers, sailboats and aquatrikes are available to use at no extra charge. They offer scuba diving at reasonable rates and you can bet you'll find some unique underwater creatures and beautiful reefs here. And well, if you really aren't the outdoors sporty type, they have cooking classes, yoga, poker and doing nothing is totally encouraged too! 

Not fully convinced that you are totally relaxed? The Red Lane Spa at Royal Bahamian is named the "Top Caribbean Spa Resort" by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler. The indoor spa on the main resort offers various massage services, facials, manis/pedis and smells like lemongrass... 

... but if you want the real Caribbean deal, head over to Sandals Cay - their private offshore island (5 mins away by speedboat that leaves from the resort every hour) and you can enjoy your spa service in a private cabana overlooking the ocean. Seriously, it's no wonder one of their body treatments is called the Tropical Bliss!

The best part of a resort vacation is no one is keeping track of time (or calories or Bahama Mamas)! What makes Royal Bahamian really stand out from other resorts I've been to is their attention to detail, dedication to creating fond vacation memories for their guests and their off-the-top white glove service! Sandals staff are friendly, helpful, have a great sense of humour and most importantly, even though they were working, I found that they truly enjoyed being there and seemed just as relaxed and content as their guests!

While on the pricier side of island vacations (our one week stay for two in a standard room cost around $4000 and that includes taxes and flights from Toronto), I still think it was well worth it.
So is it really better in the Bahamas? It sure looks like it doesn't it?! And now I'm back with sun-kissed skin, ocean-sprayed hair, a big smile and two thumbs up!

And of course, you know I had to take this cheesy but cute sunset photo! Book your Sandals getaway HERE or gawk at more eye candy HERE!

Sandals is an all inclusive, 18+ luxury resort with properties in the Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua and St. Lucia.


  1. The Sandals team went over the top catering to my special meal requests and took the initiative to reserve all my dinners in advance so I could personally meet the chef to ensure they "got it right". Service staff called our room every morning to make sure we were happy with the meals and our stay in general. I was also impressed with the number of diverse activities on the resort; couples massage classes, yoga practice, beach volleyball, poker tournaments, live evening music and dance parties on the beach!

  2. I'm always so weary of all-inclusives, but they are great when you are travelling with a group. Glad to see you got more than what you paid for! So many other resorts water things down and have sub-par food.

  3. I have been to 2 Sandals resorts - Sandals Negril for my honeymoon 3 years ago, and Sandals Granda Ocho Rios for a vacation 1 1/2 years ago. I love both of them. The service was amazing, and the food...seriously. It was great!

    When I had gone to Mexico about 5 years ago and stayed a Riu resort, I was stuck eating mostly American style food because even the fresh fruit and veggies weren't great. But the food at Sandals was amazing.