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
- 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
Cannot recommend Grand Isle enough. The Villas are simply spectacular and comfortable. The amenities are second to none, and the staff are kind, courteous, fun, and accommodating. Exuma is breathtaking, and Grand Isle is superb!
Hello there my husband and I went w two other couples and stayed from Saturday til Thursday... the staff was super so nice and pleasant to chat w!!!! I would of stayed longer if we could of (5 kids at home 😉) hoping to be back real soon! Such a nice place to vacation total relaxation Any time you needed something someone was right there to get it ❤️ LOVE THIS PLACE second time back
My husband and I stayed here for a week with our two small children, ages 2 and 5. Our villa overlooked the ocean and was very spacious and had everything that we needed. I cannot even begin to describe the view of Emerald Bay. We've travelled throughout the Caribbean and have never seen anything that mirrors the gorgeous waters of Exuma. This resort is comfortable and has everything that you need. It is not a 5 star resort but is very clean and you will enjoy every minute here. The reason I gave this resort 5 out of 5 is specifically due to the staff and GM. From the moment we arrived we instantly became family. Jay, the butler/bellman, remembered our names after meeting us for the first time. He engaged our daughters in conversation each time he saw us and was super accommodating to anything that we needed anytime. The reception staff went above and beyond to assist us in anything we needed. The water sports staff couldn't have been more engaging. Before we could even ask they were brining my daughters pool toys, floats, and dive toys. They made each day so special and personal. Emerson, Kevin and their fellow staff members made us feel like family every single day. The staff at Palapas Grill also went out of their way to accommodate us, our requests and personal dining preferences. Shavar remembered our names and also worked with the chef to create a special dish for me that wasn't listed on the menu. Annette at the bar also went above and beyond to include our girls and make each of us feel like a million bucks. If you are looking for a flashy, up tight, super crowded and pretentious resort then this is not the place for you. However, if you want a beautiful resort with spacious villas, million dollar views and a staff that will make you feel like family then PLEASE visit this amazing resort. We will definitely return!
This is long overdue, we took a family vacation to Grand Isle Resort back in July 2016. I never got around to writing a review. So here goes. Our villa was very nice and clean. We spent $400 on groceries through a company that delivers with GIR. That didn’t last long. It helped with breakfast mostly.
The resort is far from everything, we spent a few hundred dollars on cabs to get around and to make 2 trips to pick up some more essentials. The grocery stores there are barely stocked. The resort has one restaurant. The food is very pricey and just average. I don’t mind paying for exceptional meals. We ate at the restaurant on the resort most of the time because it was easy. The service was extremely slow, this is island time. So just a warning it’s nothing like being in the states. Our food would take 35-50 minutes to come out. This is very normal there. By the middle of the week we couldn’t take eating there one night, and took a cab to a local place for dinner.
The service there is ok nothing extraordinary for what it should be. I will say a few of the staff members were nice and we encounter some not so nice. They seemed as if they didn’t want to be there. It was very off putting for a luxury resort. The beach was beautiful, we used the pool quite a bit. By the end of the our trip we spent several thousand on our meals and drinks there. And like I mentioned the food was not worth it, and our drinks seem to barely have any alcohol in there.
The highlight of our trip was going to see the swimming pigs and the iguanas. We had a great time on the tour! As for the GIR I definitely would not be recommending it to anyone. Not a good experience at all. I wish it could have been better. We saw a family there that I found out we’re regulars. They owned a home at the resort. They were treated very well. I wish it was the same for us. At least I can say I’ve been to Exuma.
I went with several girlfriends to Grand Isle August 22-26. The 2 bedroom villa was perfect, but what really made the trip was the service. Lester, the GM, is a true gem! He greeted us warmly and took us to our villa. Every evening he was near the pool/restaurant to check to see how the day had been. Very engaging and always asking questions.
However, the best part of the trip - THE SPA!! Tamara was amazing. Her facials are the best. I would highly recommend her to anyone.