Grand Isle Resort and Spa
What We Love
- A stunning location on powder-white Emerald Bay Beach
- Smallest villa is is 1,250 square feet; all have separate living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms and private balconies
- Free-form infinity pool with direct beach access
- Greg Norman–designed 18-hole golf course adjoins the resort
- Delicious Caribbean jerk-style dinners at The Palapa Grill
- Swimming with pigs has become one of the island's most popular activities
What To Know
- Free WiFi
- Emerald Bay is 14 miles north of George Town along the Queen’s Highway
- Non-motorized water sports (including kayaking, snorkeling and paddle boarding) are available
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
A quick flight from Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Atlanta—or an easy connection through Nassau from a range of East Coast hubs—the Exuma Cays are the crown jewel of the Bahamas, an island chain defined by ribbons of white and pink sand and impossibly turquoise water. Along the east coast of Great Exuma, a few miles north of George Town, the 78-villa Grand Isle Resort & Spa occupies one of the island’s most spectacular crescent beaches, at Emerald Bay. The 78 villas are homey and spacious (the smallest is 1,250 square feet), with separate living rooms, kitchens, dining rooms and private balconies overlooking the manicured gardens or across Emerald Bay and out to sea. Interiors show off a Bahamian fondness for bold tropical colors, but they have a modern vibe thanks to dark wood furniture, cool tile floors and island artwork. Fitness fanatics can get their fix in the 24-hour gym or by trying out a slew of non-motorized water sports, including kayaking, snorkeling and paddle boarding. Or tee off nearby at the Greg Norman-designed Emerald Reef Golf Club, adjacent to the hotel, a par 72 championship course that plays to 7,200 yards and features six signature holes along the water. For everyone else there’s pampered relaxation to be had at the full-service spa or beside the infinity pool, which overlooks Emerald Bay. Evenings at Grand Isle Resort are low-key affairs enjoyed with a rum cocktail, a cracked conch appetizer and a Caribbean jerk-style dinner at The Palapa Grill. For couples and honeymooners, the staff can set up private dinners for two (with a prearranged menu of classic Caribbean fare) on your villa’s breezy balconies.
In the Area
The beaches of the Bahamas are chockablock with bars, and foremost among them is Chat ’n’ Chill, on Stocking Island, a ramshackle beach pub nestled on the shore across from George Town. Hop a water taxi or rent your own skiff for the one-mile jaunt across the harbor — and don’t skip the signature Goombay Smash cocktail. When hunger strikes, tie up at the colorful Staniel Cay Yacht Club and have a bite at the restaurant, a can’t-miss place for fresh seafood, cold Bahamian beer and, of course, the Out Islands’ famous cracked conch. The best way to experience the natural beauty of the Exumas is from the sea. Charter a full- or half-day sail with a local adventure outfitter and get lost exploring the deserted cays and coves that comprise this exquisite island chain. There are myriad natural attractions in the Exumas, but be sure to drop anchor and snorkel through Thunderball Grotto, a sea cave once featured in the James Bond film of the same name. And shore up at Big Majors Cay, home to wild pigs that are eager to greet your boat. Feed them scraps from the boat, or jump in and swim with the famed pigs yourself.
How to Get There
We just returned from an amazing, relaxing week at Grand Isle. It was our first time visiting Great Exuma and we couldn’t have chosen a better destination or a better resort. The staff at Grand Isle was absolutely amazing and we seriously couldn’t find a thing to complain about. While we don’t consider ourselves hard to please, there was a level of friendly service at Grand Isle that we have not found many other places in the Caribbean. Everyone from the front desk staff to the pool and beach staff, restaurant staff and housekeeping was so friendly and welcoming and there was not a single request unmet. We had no issues with slow service at Palapa Grill or 23 North. Our food was good, especially at 23 North - we had an amazing meal there outside with Valentino as our server. We also had room service several times, which was always delivered in less than 30 minutes. On July 4, we attended a beach bbq one evening. (The bbq prices may have been my only minor complaint - we felt it was a bit overpriced for what was available and the only other choice for dinner that night was an abbreviated carry out menu at Palapa. However, we did enjoy the setting on the beach and the bonfire and festivities after.) On a side note, we had groceries delivered by Sunrise Allure so we could eat breakfast in our room most days. We found the service to be convenient and felt the prices were reasonable. We skipped the golf cart rental - our amazing oceanfront villa was walkable to everything except the golf course and the bell service was happy to drive my husband and son over to Sandals and back for golf. We rented a car one day to drive the island and visit other beaches, but otherwise found a car unnecessary. We reached out to the concierge before arrival and they arranged pickups and returns to the airport for us. We spent one day on an Exuma Water Sports tour as well and were picked up and dropped off at Grand Isle, so having a car for a week seemed unnecessary. Other than the boat tour, golfing, and our day spent driving the island, we enjoyed relaxing days by the pool and on the gorgeous beach, both of which were never busy. We enjoyed not having to hurry out of our villa in the morning to secure palapas at the beach! Many days we were the only ones in the pool or ocean, even though we were told the resort was full. We’d like to give a special thank you to Edwin who kept the drinks (both adult and kid) flowing and Emerson, who kept our kids entertained multiple days at the pool with fun contests and games. There are so many other employees who made our stay so wonderful too and I feel bad I don’t remember everyone’s names. But we did not encounter an unfriendly face in our entire stay, so thank you to every member of the staff!
A couple tips: use bug spray in the evenings, it really does help. Book oceanfront - the villas and views are worth every penny. Arrange as much in advance as possible - grocery delivery, airport transfers, dinner reservations, etc. so you don’t have to worry about a thing when you step foot in this beautiful, friendly resort.
Thank you for a fantastic stay Grand Isle Resort! We can’t wait to come back!!
Just got back from 5 nights in a 2 bedroom oceanfront villa. This resort is amazing. The villas are beautiful and comfortable, the staff is friendly, the golf carts are so convenient and the ocean is beyond words. We really didn’t have any bad experiences...we ate in the restaurant and also ordered room service and both were great. We pre-ordered water and groceries and everything was perfect. The kitchen is fully stocked so it would be easy to make meals in if you wanted to. The only small thing that I was a little disappointed by was the gift shop...I would’ve bought some shirts and hats for my family if there had been more of a selection. Overall this is the best beach trip I’ve been on and I will definitely be going back. I miss it already!
*Be sure to use bug spray...if the wind isn’t blowing, the no see ums are definitely biting. I didn’t put any on for the one day that the wind was calm and got a lot of bites!
Grand Isle is beautiful, we felt home and safe right the way (the island is pretty safe). The resort has a beautiful infinity pool and is located on a long white sand beach. The staff is great, we really enjoy our time there and relax, it was the main raison of our vacation.
We did one excursion by boat with Exuma Sunrise Tour. They picked up us at the marina and the day was fabulous, we swim with the pigs, the sharks and the sea turtles. Came back home with a lot of memories but also tired because it was a busy day but totally worthy.
We went to the George Town Marina in Exumas. We didn't access to Sandals Hotel because it was very expensive to go for a day, and since we have our boat, it didn't worth it.
But we do go to the resort and got massage and manicure with Latravia. she was amazing and our hands got ready to go to the beach.
Love the resort, beautiful and clean.
I recommend it.
We are planning to arrive end of July. We booked directly with the hotel as they made it seem it was the best option. At that time our flights were uncertain so we just booked hotel. Now we've had a terrible experience working with their reservations person and now are reconsidering even going. If you are planning to go here use a travel agent for all your travel and you can avoid working directly with the reservation person. If we decide to still go I'll post about the property. Working with their reservation person though has given me a bad vibe about the property.