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Oyster Hotel Review
Like a big, beige city, with an odd mix of business suits and bathing suits
Lobby has a neutral decor and sophisticated ambience
This is one of the finest Sheratons in the Caribbean, if not one of the finest in the world. Not just the rooms but the entire resort, which opened in 2006 and remodeled in 2008, is a considerable step up from even the Radisson Our Lucaya and even the Riu Paradise Island (both former Sheraton properties in the Bahamas).
The neutral décor and sophisticated ambience of the Sheraton lobby contrast starkly with the smoky, '80s-esque lobby of the adjoining Wyndham hotel. Too bad its exterior, with eight floors laid out in beige rectangles, looks like a Soviet apartment complex. An eastern and western wing are each serviced by an elevator near the center of the building, meaning that rooms on the far ends of the hotel (like mine) are a long trek from the elevators. Given the sprawling layout, the resort might not be ideal for guests with mobility challenges or with very young children.
Not surprisingly for a hotel of its size (694 rooms), the Sheraton draws a diverse crowd of guests. It's equally popular among conventioneers, weddings parties, and spring breakers. Kids seemed to love the resort's three pools, and the colorful activities shack regularly shows cartoons, like "Dora the Explorer," on its flat-screen TVs. The general vibe of the hotel seemed a cross between upscale vacation and straightforward business meeting. Half the people I saw in the elevator were in bikinis and flip-flops; the other half were in business suits. This might sound strange, but the hotel is large enough and spread out enough to make it work on both fronts.
Solid service for a large hotel, but don't expect personal attention
In a hotel this large, you're not going to find attentive, personalized service. More likely, you'll have to wait for service -- a line to check-in; a line to be seated at the restaurants; a line to get a drink from the pool bar.
- Room service available 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- The hotel charges a "bellhop fee" per room.
- Frequent service slip-ups in the restaurants -- an omelet with the wrong ingredients, tall stacks of dirty dishes (that attract pigeons), long delays for food, a serving of cereal without milk, and the like
- Prompt response to housekeeping requests, like extra towels
Well-manicured but remote locale; it's safe, but there's little of interest within walking distance.
The Sheraton is in Cable Beach, which is in the center of New Providence Island's northern coast. It's reached by a scenic trip along posh West Bay Street, a mix of mansions, luxury condos, and shopping centers -- not terribly different from driving through Palm Beach in Florida. The hotel sits on a steep hill overlooking a small park and the manicured green space that runs down the center of West Bay Street. To the rear it looks out over Cable Beach, regarded as Nassau's finest. (Its name is derived from it being the site of the first telegraph wire in the Bahamas.)
- Connected by a walkway to the Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino, which entices travelers from the road with flashing lights and big signs for its restaurants
- Safer area for strolling than in downtown Nassau
- A few not-so-noteworthy restaurants are within walking distance.
- Inexpensive public bus also stops along the road; otherwise most off-site restaurants and attractions are at least a $20 cab ride away.
- 15-minute drive from the Nassau airport
- Free self-parking
Best beach in Nassau -- just watch out for vendors
Soft sand and clear waters at the beach
With its wide swath of sand and its gentle turquoise waves, Cable Beach is considered the finest beach in Nassau.
- Warm, clean water with moderate waves for body-surfing
- Water gets deep quickly -- not ideal for young children.
- Clean sand; save the discarded drink cups and cigarette butts here and there
- Fair number of vendors selling items on the beach; a common problem a just about any large-scale resort in the Bahamas
Perfectly nice rooms -- but you might get quite a workout walking to and from them from the elevator
The Traditional Room
Rooms are immaculate, comfortable, and nicely appointed with dark wood furniture, ocean-colored fabrics, a comfy bed, a big desk, and rattan chairs.
- Excellent Sweet-sleeper beds with down pillows and high-quality sheets
- 33-inch LG flat-screen TV with HBO and Showtime
- Bright, modern bathroom; big, well-functioning shower
- Fragrant Bliss Spa bath products
- Just a sliver of a balcony in the standard rooms; just enough room for one chair and it essentially looks out over a half-dug hole and a pile of trash (and the ocean, beyond)
- No minibar; mini-fridges available for a fee
- Very long walk from the room to the elevator (upwards of seven minutes); request a room in the 50s and 60s.
Three stunning pools; one of the best gyms in the Bahamas; and plenty of convenient extras, like free Wi-Fi in the lobby and an ATM
Huge pool complex features a swim-under grotto
- Three pools: the Tower Pool, which features the Edgewater swim-up bar; the warm, zero-entry Cascade Pool, which is landscaped with multiple waterfalls and a very cool swim-under grotto; the quieter, and lushly landscaped Tropical Pool has a small bridge that passes over even more waterfalls.
- Two Jacuzzis; attached to both the Cascade and Tropical pools
- Excellent 24-hour gym, one of the best in the Bahamas; brand-new Life Cycle treadmills, ellipticals, and bikes -- each with an iPod dock, private cable TV monitor, and even a "virtual trainer" to talk you through your routine -- plus plenty of new weight machines, free weights, stability balls, fresh towels, and a water cooler.
- Somewhat swanky Telegraph Bar, just off the lobby
- There's free Wi-Fi in the lobby, but no Internet in the rooms. Working in the lobby, however, can be difficult as it's directly under the grand ballroom and the wedding receptions can create a lot of noise.
- Large gift shop
- ScotiaBank ATM in the lobby; ScotiaBank has partnerships with a number of worldwide banks, including Bank of America, so there are no extra ATM fees.
- Daily activities, life fireside storytelling
- Limited evening entertainment; but the Crystal Palace casino at the Wyndham is right next door.
Solid choice for families
Great beach activities and watersports
- Moderate waves at the beach; good for body-surfing but not ideal for very young swimmers
- Three excellent pools, including a warm, shallow, "zero-entry" pool and staffed lifeguards
- Babysitting services available
- Kids' menus at the Dolphin Grill and other picky-eater fare at the buffet and at the Caribe Cafe; though these aren't too different from the adult's offerings
- Kids ages four to 12 can participate in the Sheraton Adventure Club; programs include arts and crafts, video games, junior chef cooking classes, field trips to the Straw Market in Nassau and more.
In the lobby and hallways, as well as the guest rooms, are spotless. Unlike other resorts, like the Riu Paradise Island, the resort is smoke-free, so there are no unfortunate odors in the rooms or common areas.
Cable Beach is public, so I can appreciate the immense challenge of keeping the sand clean. Nonetheless, in addition to the occasional cigarette butt or stray piece of paper, I also found lots of twigs and small pebbles in parts of the sand.
At the restaurants, like the Bimini Market, you might encounter many of the tables covered in dirty dishes by the end of meal times (there doesn't seem to be a sufficient clean-up staff). In general, this isn't a major problem -- that is, until the pigeons begin eating off the plates.
Limited options -- just a few mediocre restaurants at the resort; little else nearby
Carving station at Bimini Market
For a hotel of its size, the dining options are a bit limited -- for dinner, there's just one Italian restaurant (which could close down in the low-season) or the buffet. Outside the hotel, there's little else to eat; just a few similar overpriced restaurants at the Wyndham next door. By comparison, if you were to stay in Paradise Island, you have access to the many stunning restaurants at the Atlantis mega-resort or if you were to stay at the Radisson Our Lucaya there are many quality (and affordable) restaurants at the marketplace across the street or on the beach.
- The main restaurant for dinner, Amici's, serves traditional Italian fare (open for dinner only, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.).
- Bimini Market serves a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- For lunch, Dolphin Grill, adjacent to the Edgewater swim-up bar at the pool, gets a nice breeze off the water and serves Caribbean-influenced fare, like a jerk chicken sandwich spicy enough to make your eyes water.
- Light fare, like sandwiches and salads, are available all day at the Caribe Cafe.
- Room service available.
A massive, top-quality resort with a wide range of wedding options and the capacity for a very large reception
- Wedding Size: Up to 800 people (depending on location)
- Wedding Packages: The resort has four different wedding packages -- the cheapest package, Simple and Elegant, includes a wedding consultant, a bouquet and a boutonniere, and a ceremony site; the most expensive, Creating Memories, also includes photography, a two-tier wedding cake, and a decorated gazebo.
- Ceremony Location: Including the ballrooms, there are 18 different locations to choose from, but the most popular are the Tropical Pool, the West Gazebo Patio, and the Goombay Terrace.
- Photography: Basic package comes with 24 3-by-5 prints and a small wedding album
- Videography: Can be arranged for just the ceremony or for the ceremony and reception; each extra DVD is an additional charge
- Music: Either a DJ to or a four-piece steel band can be arranged per hour
- Food: An assortment of themed buffets, plated dinners, and cocktail receptions (with hot and cold hors d'oeuvres); kids', kosher, vegetarian, and gluten-free menus available upon request
- Drinks: An open bar availble per hour, or for a five-hour reduced-priced time block
- Cake: Included in most packages, though prices vary according to size and decoration
- Spa Treatments: The on-site salon and spa offers a full menu of massages, facials, mani/pedis, and hair and nail treatments.
- Honeymoon Suite: There is no special honeymoon suite, but most newlyweds upgrade to an Ocean View Room or an Executive Junior Suite.
- Airport Transportation: The resort can arrange for transportation from the airport; prices vary depending on the number of people.
The Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort has great rooms, a gorgeous beachfront, three great pools, a top-notch gym, and a friendly and cheerful staff. But it's a massive property -- 694 rooms -- with little to eat nearby. This means that guests are stuck with the Sheraton's own overpriced, mediocre fare. Still, it's a great value.
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Things You Should Know About Melia Nassau Beach Resort
- P.O. Box N - 4914, West Bay Street, Nassau, BS
Hotel Is Also Known As...
- Cable Beach
- Nassau Sheraton
- Radisson Cable Beach
- Radisson Cable Beach Resort
- Sheraton Cable Beach
- Sheraton Cable Beach Resort
- Sheraton Nassau
- Sheraton Nassau Beach Hotel
- 1 King Suite
- Deluxe Room
- Deluxe Room Direct Pool Access
- Ocean View Room
- Pool View Room
- Traditional Room
- Water View Room