The Exumas are an archipelago of over 365 cays and islands, just a short 45-minute scenic flight from Nassau in the Bahamas.
Sandals Emerald Bay is set on a breathtaking mile-long stretch of white-sand beach, nestled along the sun-kissed shores of an exclusive peninsula on Great Exuma.
This extraordinary resort is a privileged secluded enclave of romantic tropical elegance, where a Greg Norman-designed championship golf course, award-winning spa and contemporary oceanfront accommodations harmonise with sea, sun and serenity.
On arrival, one of the first things you will notice is the lush greenery and the incredibly calming ambience. Like I did, you may even feel like you have the resort to yourself.
Sandals are renowned for their numerous different room categories and Emerald Bay has no less than 21 types from which to choose.
Rooms and suites all come with either a patio or balcony and are tastefully decorated with a colonial theme, featuring rich soft furnishings and classic elegant natural stone floors, reflecting Bahamian architecture, combined with views of either the tropical gardens or the glittering azure ocean.
For a truly sensational experience and the epitome of island living, you can opt for one of the Butler suites or exclusive seaside villas and take in the magnificent vistas from your very own private pool area.
The Club Sandals rooms are the entry-level rooms and upon arrival, you will be served cold towels, checked in and escorted to your room by the concierge. 24-hour access to the club lounge is provided, which serves refreshments and provides various other amenities, such as board games, books and daily newspapers.
Club Sandals also offers weekly activities, including snorkelling trips, cocktail parties, exclusive wine tasting and a Martini evening.
If electing to stay in a Butler suite, you will be greeted with scented hand towels, a welcome cocktail and culinary treats before being escorted to your suite.
Your butler will supply a mobile phone with direct access for when requiring their services. If you would like a cool box of drinks brought to the beach or lunch served by the pool, they will be on hand to see to your every need, along with ensuring your restaurant of choice for dinner or even arranging a romantic dinner in the privacy of your suite or on your patio.
There is a choice of 11 restaurants in which to dine, each serving exquisite gastronomy from the many corners of the world ensuring every taste is provided for.
Favourites of mine include the glorious fresh seafood at Barefoot by the Sea, authentic Jamaican specialities at the Jerk Shack, exotic sushi creations at Soy and grilled delights from the entertaining chefs at Kimonos.
In between meals, delectable pastries and mouth-watering ice creams will keep you going.
Three freshwater pools, including the Caribbean’s largest zero-entry pool with a central fire pit, seven whirlpools and a scuba dive pool at the offsite Dive Centre will ensure keeping water babes satisfied.
If the idea of idly whiling away the hours is not for you, there are an assortment of activities to participate in.
Sandals Emerald Bay offers a comprehensive array of water sports, including kayaks, paddleboards, windsurfing, Hobie cat sailing, guided snorkelling tours and scuba diving with up to two dives a day if you are PADI certified.
You can obtain your PADI certificate on resort but make sure you do the required homework prior to arrival.
An abundance of land sports, including day and night tennis at the six court complex, volleyball, lawn chess and croquet are available or try improving your handicap on Sandals sumptuous Greg Norman-designed golf course, which also features as part of the 2.6-mile scenic jogging trail that incorporates magnificent views along the Emerald Bay Peninsula.
A state-of-the-art gym provides access to multiple classes and the magnificent Red Lane Spa has 17 relaxing rooms offering a broad range of treatments using natural regional products.
When the sun goes down, guests are treated to an array of entertainment, including live music, jazz performances, pianists and shows in a state-of-the-art amphitheatre or along the beach lined by chic fire features and the best of local entertainment with dancers, steel drummers and Goombay parades that ensure an authentic island experience.
Six different bars, offering unlimited premium liquors, colourful cocktails and soft drinks provide a relaxed environment to enjoy balmy evenings under the stars.
The one thing I highly recommend leaving the resort for is the famous ‘Swimming with pigs’ excursion. Yes, pigs! They live on a completely uninhabited island and they will swim out to meet you in search of titbits. It is a unique, surreal experience and something that I will never forget.
I loved Emerald Bay as it felt so secluded and cut-off from the rest of the world. I left feeling totally rejuvenated and cannot wait to go back.