Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Family-friendly surroundings and the occasional group of adult partiers
Upon arrival, Taino Beach Resort can seem like a bit of a ghost town: The near empty road leads to a security gate and entrance with nary a person in sight. Don’t expect to check in early -– most guests are not able to get into their rooms until the normal time of 4 p.m. (that’s when the free rum punch is offered). Early guests (mostly Americans and Canadians) are free to change clothes and visit the large pool and beach area, or have lunch at the restaurant that faces the sea.
Parents as well as the occasional group of adult partiers may choose to bring their own cases of beer to the pool (this is a time-share resort), or sidle up to the Grotto Bar -- a swim-up pool bar in a cave underneath the waterside. The pool area, though tired, is maintained daily and has small bridges and pretty garden areas. Children can make use of the shallow area or float on the lazy river on an inner tube. The music further contributes to the slightly outdated vibe, as the bar and restaurants typically play 80s hits; guest might feel as if they’ve stepped back to a time when Billy Ocean was en vogue.
Because Taino Beach has only 157 units and is free of resort neighbors, the beach stays uncrowded, though there may be seaweed and the occasional vendor. Guests can rent kayaks, banana boats, and jet skis, or sit back in one of many white lounge chairs. Lunch can be enjoyed underneath a shaded area of the restaurant, or guests can take a short walk along the beach to another outdoor restaurant and bar that attracts locals and expats. It plays -- what else? -- more 80s music; it must be a Grand Bahama Island thing.
Other than happy hour at Grotto Bar (drink specials are listed on laminated menus), most guests choose to cook and eat dinner on the balconies, or take the ferry (located across the street) to Port Lucaya, which runs from morning until 11 p.m. at night.
A quiet location in Freeport, about 15 minutes from Grand Bahama Airport
The resort is located on a near empty stretch of sand called Taino Beach, outside of the main hub of Grand Bahama Island and town of Freeport. Across the road –- Jolly Roger Drive –- is the Bell Channel Bay, which has a small marina that operates an hourly ferry service to Port Lucaya Marketplace, where the assortment of shops and restaurants attracts both tourists and locals. A drive to the property from Grand Bahama International Airport takes about 15 minutes. Guests can either hire a taxi and use the resort shuttle service to get to the grocery store. Some guests choose to rent a car in order to move around freely. Grand Bahama Island is 530 square miles and has just over 40,000 full-time residents.
Time-share condos with fully equipped kitchens; some are dated, some renovated
Taino Beach Resort's 157 time-share units are situated in four-story buildings (with elevators) on the western side of the resort, next to the pool. A few units have ocean-facing views but most come with views of garden landscaping or the pool. Condo-style layouts are spacious, with full kitchens (though the smaller studio units may not a dishwasher), dining tables, seating areas, desks, and toiletries in the bathrooms. Most, if not all, of the units have a whirlpool tub and stand-up shower.
The Marlin section is the newest section and has stainless steel appliances, a neutral color scheme, and wood furnishings. The one-bedroom unit can be combined with a studio unit to make two bedrooms. In the studios, there is a private jetted whirlpool tub behind the bed, but no balcony. The one-bedroom units in this section have large living rooms with a second seating area called a Bahama room.
Two other sections (Coral and Ocean) are older and are showing wear and tear. The room layout varies, and some units have with loft sleeping areas and two bathrooms. The Ocean section opened in 1997 and was updated in January 2007, while the Coral opened in 1999.
Check-in doesn’t occur until 4 p.m. and check-out time is early (at 10 a.m. during our visit). There are laundry facilities on-site, as well as a towel/linen exchange since housekeeping service only occurs once per week. Guests can pay more for daily service.
A large pool and beach, ferry to Port Lucaya, and weekly bonfire dinner
The pool takes up a whopping 20,000 square feet –- it is one of the largest on the island and is landscaped with flowering trees and pretty white bridges. A 100-foot waterslide (there's a staff member that operates) will keep kiddos busy, as will with the winding lazy river and free inner tubes. Couples on a romantic holiday can find hidden areas in the pool or relax on one of the in-water sunbathers. The beach is extra wide and spacious with white plastic lounge chairs and a few shaded palapas. Free activities include beach volleyball, ping-pong, a kid’s playground, and tennis court.
For reasonable fees (a discount is offered for pre-booking) the water sports company based at the resort can rent equipment (such as snorkel gear and jet skis) and arrange a number of excursions, such as deep sea fishing and glass bottom boat tours. Most of the boats for these tours are located in the marina behind sister property Flamingo Bay, across the street. This is also where the gift shop is located (check out the local ice cream, like Rum Raisin) as well as the ferry for Port Lucaya –- Freeport’s main marketplace for outdoor restaurants, shops and bars.
The on-site restaurant Taino by the Sea serves a hot and cold buffet breakfast, and then switches to an a la carte lunch and dinner menu. In the morning, it is a great place to sit and enjoy coffee while enjoying the breeze. There is a small bar inside for drinks, but most people choose to drink on their balconies or visit the Grotto Bar in a cave under the waterslide.
On Sunday nights there is a bonfire barbecue dinner with fire dancers and rum punch for a per person fee.
This aging family-friendly beach property on Freeport’s southeastern coast has 157 time-share condo units in three sections. The renovated Marlin section has fresh decor and stainless steel appliances, but guests will find that the other two sections -- Coral and Ocean -- have seen better days. The restaurant serves a breakfast buffet as well as a la carte lunches and dinners alongside sea views (especially nice over morning coffee); guests can also ferry to Port Lucaya for a number of shops, restaurants and bars. For the resort's size, the pool complex is impressive with a 100 foot waterslide, lazy river, swim-up pool bar, children’s area, and hot tub. Lucaya Watersports & Tours, based on the property, can arrange a number of rentals and excursions. Given low prices for the units, guest should expect fees for everything else.
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