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Grand Isle Resort & Spa 4.5

Great Exuma, Out Islands, Bahamas

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Located on beautiful and scenic Great Exuma
  • Long, wide beach with loungers and umbrellas
  • Heated infinity pool overlooking the ocean
  • Spacious, tastefully decorated villas with outdoor spaces
  • Washer/dryers and full kitchens in all units
  • Poolside restaurant with reasonably priced food
  • Large golf course encircling the resort
  • Free non-motorized watersports
  • On-site spa
  • Modern fitness center
  • Room service and private chef dinners available
  • Free Wi-Fi

Cons

  • Isolated location, a 20-minute drive into Georgetown
  • Reservations are required for dinner
  • Some pool loungers face the concrete wall of the infinity pool
  • Golf-cart parking is extra

Bottom Line

Located on the beautiful and natural island of Great Exuma, Grand Isle Resort & Spa is a scenic upscale property with a gorgeous infinity pool, secluded stretch of beach, large golf course, on-site spa, and pool-side restaurant. All 79 villas are spacious and outfitted with high-end contemporary furnishings, fully-equipped kitchens, washer/dryers, flat-screen TVs, soaking tubs and separate walk-in showers, and private patios or balconies. The only real downside is the location -- it’s an expensive 20-minute taxi into Georgetown, the main town in Great Exuma, and there’s not much to do around the hotel. Nearby Sandals Emerald Bay is another option for guests who want a large pool and beautiful beach, but the resort is much larger (500 acres), and it’s more expensive.

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Scene

A laid back, family-friendly resort with an upscale facade

Popular, open-air Palapa restaurant and bar

Beautifully landscaped grounds with silvertop palm trees, hibiscus, jasmine, and other tropical greenery circle the yellow-cream-colored buildings that make up this resort. The colonial furnishings in the lobby -- a gilt-framed mirror, the marble-topped front desk, and a camel back sofa give a traditional look. But don't be fooled by the resort's upscale veneer; Grand Isle doesn't have a stuffy or pretentious vibe -- guests are friendly, there are a lot of families with young kids, and the pool is lively and fun. The restaurant is always busy at mealtimes and the bar attracts lingering guests throughout the day.

The property is laid out in a circle. Villas, multi-level yellow cream buildings with blue shutters that look more like houses than hotel rooms, are on the left. Parking is available in front of each villa. The reception, fitness center, pool, restaurant, and beach are all located in a central area. It can be a long walk between these points.

Location

A secluded location on Exuma

Map of Grand Isle Resort & Spa

Grand Isle Resort is located on Great Exuma, a beautiful and natural island that's a 40-minute flight from Nassau. Exuma is not as commercialized as Nassau but there is a bit more there than some of the other Out Islands, such as Andros, Cat Island, and Long Island. The resort is located a 20-minute drive from Georgetown, the main town on Great Exuma. Taxis are quite expensive into town ($50 each way). And there’s not much to do around the resort.

Rooms

Tasteful, spacious, contemporary villas

Unique touches such as statues lend visual interest to the tasteful rooms

Each of the resort's 79 units is individually owned and decorated with similarities in the layout and style. Furnishings are lavish with framed prints; vases, statues, pillar candles; plush couches and chairs; traditional table lamps and ceiling fans; and large entertainment centers. The decor often reflects the owner, and some units are bright, airy, and modern, while others have more traditional touches such as dark wood and heavier furnishings. But all of them are free from dated or cheesy tropical adornments.

Each villa has a large living room with a generous seating area, a dining table that sits four-to-eight people, flat-screen TVs, washer/dryers, safes, irons, and free Wi-Fi. At 1,250 square feet, even the one-bedroom is huge. The two-and three-bedroom villas, at 2,315 square feet and 2,730 square feet respectively, are two stories, with the living area upstairs and the bedrooms downstairs. All villas have a furnished outdoor space to catch some ocean breezes. Each bedroom has its own bathroom; and there is usually a half-bath upstairs near the living area. 

The bedrooms are large with their own closets and a king-size bed in the master bedroom, and queen beds in the others (depending on the size of the villa). Modern white linens and decorative pillows in various serene colors top the beds. Bathrooms are large and modern as well. Master baths have soaking tubs, double vanity sinks, walk-in showers, and high-end toiletries.

Kitchens are beautifully updated with granite counters, attractive cabinetry, big sinks, stainless steel appliances, and even custom refrigerators that blend into the cabinets. They're fully stocked with small appliances (toasters, blenders, coffeemakers) as well as pots, pans, dishes, cocktail glasses and drinking glasses, and cooking and eating utensils. 

Features

A gorgeous pool and beach, a golf course, and a spa

A large golf course encircles the property

Grand Isle has a gorgeous free-form infinity pool that overlooks the ocean. The water is heated, which makes night swimming comfortable. Plenty of loungers surround either side of the pool. The most desirable spot is on the same level with the pool looking out over the ocean. These get claimed quickly. Loungers on the other side are at a lower level and face the low concrete wall of the pool, breaking the "infinity" illusion.

The resort's spacious beach has white sand and calm, clear, piercing-blue water. It's in a secluded area, so there are no vendors and few other tourists. There's a small cabana and loungers set up under umbrellas near the tree line. It's not as landscaped as other hotels in the Bahamas -- the wide expanse of sand has little greenery. The resort provides free non-motorized watersports including kayaks, snorkeling, and paddle boards.

The on-site Palapa Restaurant is incredibly scenic, with a fantastic view of the pool, palm trees, and the ocean in the distance. The open-air dining room is cool and comfortable, with shaded tables in the main room or down by the bar. Its menu is Bahamian-inspired with lots of seafood, and prices are very reasonable given the upscale nature of the hotel. There's live music some nights of the week, occasional beach barbecue, and other theme nights. Room service is available, and a private chef can make dinner at guests' villas, for an extra charge.

Grand Isle is situated around a golf course and each villa comes with a golf cart rental. However, you have to pay to park it and charge it in a garage on-site. The carts are good for exploring the immediate area, or just for carrying guests from the villas to the pool. There's also a fitness center on-site: a sunny sky-blue room fully stocked with cardio and weightlifting machines, free weights, and flat-screen TVs.

Grand Isle has one of the island’s few spas with multiple treatment rooms. A spa menu offers facials, massages, body treatments, and nail services.

Weddings

Customized packages available

Grand Isle offers customized wedding, honeymoon, family reunion, and anniversary packages.

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Address

Emerald Bay, PO Box EX-29253, Caribbean

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