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Best Overall: See Sandals Emerald Bay Rates at TripAdvisor "A couples-only, five-star resort on the eastern shores of Great Exuma Island."
Runner-up, Best Overall: See Hotel Riu Palace Paradise Island Rates at TripAdvisor "Set on the shores of Cabbage Beach, one of the quieter and less crowded beaches in the area."
Best for Privacy: See Fowl Cay Resort Rates at TripAdvisor "Offers the intimacy and freedom of self-sufficient villas with the convenience, service, and range of activities of an all-inclusive resort."
Best Boutique: See Tiamo Resort Rates at TripAdvisor "An untouched tropical paradise for guests staying in one of the 11 private villas."
Best for Golf: See Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan Resort Rates at TripAdvisor "Provides one of the premium golfing experiences in the Bahamas."
Best for Older Guests: See Graycliff Hotel Rates at TripAdvisor "Ideal for visitors looking to understand the rich history and culture of the island."
Best for Luxury: See Sandals Royal Bahamian Rates at TripAdvisor "This property is a classy and modern hotel on the mainland and a secluded mini-resort on a private island off the coast."
Best for Activities: See The Cove Atlantis Rates at TripAdvisor "Features a massive water park, an 18-hole golf course along the waterfront, several beaches, and the Atlantis Casino. "
Best for Younger Guests: See Breezes Resort and Spa Rates at TripAdvisor "The vibe at Breezes is young, energetic, and friendly, no doubt helped by the free-flowing drinks and friendly hotel staff."
Best Overall: Sandals Emerald Bay
Sandals Emerald Bay is a couples-only, five-star resort on the eastern shores of Great Exuma Island. With a huge expanse of sand and natural dunes on both sides of the resort, it's easy to find a quiet uninhabited piece of beach here. Water sports equipment for windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, and paddleboarding are all included. Other resort activities include beach volleyball, croquet, and tennis (with floodlit courts for night games). Plus, the Greg Norman-designed golf course offers 18 scenic holes with six ocean-view links.
Guests can choose from accommodation styles including Colonial-inspired rooms with stone floors, walk-in showers, and private balconies to top-end villa suites with direct beach access, a private pool, and a personal butler. Dining options range from sophisticated French cuisine and dramatic teppanyaki-style dishes to a Caribbean jerk chicken shack and casual oceanside dining. In the evenings, live bands and DJ sets keep lively couples partying through the night at the six bars, including a popular piano bar and a traditional English pub.
Check out our other reviews of the best Sandals resorts available today.
Runner-up, Best Overall: Hotel Riu Palace Paradise Island
Surrounded by the restaurants, casinos, and attractions of the heavily-developed Paradise Island, Hotel Riu Palace Paradise Island is set on the shores of Cabbage Beach, one of the quieter and less crowded beaches in the area. The resort attracts a generally younger crowd of singles, couples, and groups, making for a lively atmosphere at most hours of the day. Both of the two pools — a large and popular pool in the center of the courtyard and a more relaxed infinity pool overlooking the ocean — have swim-up bars and various types of in-pool stools, chairs, and sun loungers.
A modern and well-equipped gym has a full set of weights and aerobic equipment, a sauna, and a whirlpool bath. Along with five restaurants, including the international cuisine of Atlantis, the Bahamas steakhouse, and Japanese dishes of Tengoku, there is also a jerk chicken station and a patisserie/ice cream parlor. With sports and games such as beach volleyball, windsurfing, and kayaking throughout the day and evenings filled with live music and shows, guests will always be entertained at this resort.
Best for Privacy: Fowl Cay Resort
With just six ocean-view villas set on a small but uncrowded private island, Fowl Cay Resort offers the intimacy and freedom of self-sufficient villas with the convenience, service, and range of activities of an all-inclusive resort. Boasting one to three bedrooms, full kitchens, bathrooms, and living areas, each of the spacious villas is fully stocked with provisions for self-catered breakfasts, including fresh pastries and fruit delivered in the mornings. Best of all, each villa provides a personal powerboat to take out on the calm turquoise waters, where guests can explore deserted beaches, hidden coves, and untouched coral reefs at their leisure. The boats come with unlimited gas and detailed operational instructions from the helpful staff, including maps and a compass.
The villas also have a private golf buggy to whisk guests over the long distances between accommodations, restaurants, and beaches. Although small, the pool is set in an elevated position with great views of surrounding islands and reefs. Lunch consists of a packed picnic prepared daily by the chefs. In the evenings, guests gather at the Hill House bar for a social cocktail hour, followed by gourmet dining at the restaurant, which has incredible 360-degree views.
Best Boutique: Tiamo Resort
Surrounded by the forests and beaches of pristine South Andros Island, the remote Tiamo Resort is only accessible by boat or seaplane, offering an untouched tropical paradise for guests staying in one of the 11 private villas. The hotel is centered around the main building, which consists of the Great Room — where all the meals are prepared and served by a Michelin-trained chef — a peaceful and well-stocked library, and the alfresco terrace, which contains an infinity pool overlooking the sea.
Transparent plastic kayaks offer crystal-clear views of coral gardens found in the waters, which can also be explored with snorkels and stand-up paddleboards. Further out in the water, there's water skiing, wakeboarding, and sailing available, as well as fishing tours. Guided nature walks offer wildlife lovers the opportunity to spot a huge diversity of bird species, including flamingos, egrets, songbirds, and shorebirds. Other animals include the iconic rock iguanas, as well as scuttling land crabs and lizards, and beautiful orchids can be found hidden in the depths of the jungle vegetation.
Best for Golf: Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan Resort
With the Reef and the Lucayan (two 18-hole championship golf courses) just a short distance away, Lighthouse Pointe at Grand Lucayan Resort provides a premium golfing experience in the Bahamas. With the all-inclusive package, guests enjoy unlimited access to the Reef course, which is recognized as one of the top golf resorts in the world and features enough sand traps and water hazards to challenge the best players. Although not part of the all-inclusive package, the Lucayan, slightly further away, offers a very different landscape, swapping the wide, open fairways of the Reef for lush tropical vegetation.
The resort is set on a peninsula, a short distance from the center of Freetown, with beautiful beaches in front and a marina behind. Gracing the hotel beachfront is one of the most spectacular pools in the area, which is shaped like a crescent and extends gracefully onto the long stretch of sands. Restaurant options at the Grand Lucayan complex include Italian poolside dining at Portobello’s, classic grill fare at Waves, and the Capri pizzeria.
Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best golf courses and resorts in the Bahamas.
Best for Older Guests: Graycliff Hotel
Close to museums, the National Art Gallery, and numerous historic landmarks, the Graycliff Hotel is set in the British Colonial heart of Nassau, making it ideal for visitors looking to understand the rich history and culture of the island. Far away from the glitz and glamour of Paradise Island and other tourist hotspots, the immaculately-preserved furnishings and decor of the colonial mansion building reflect the quiet and aged character of the neighborhood. The property is filled with stunning antique pieces, from crystal chandeliers and candleholders to delicate china vases and wall tapestries.
Guest rooms are equally grand, with thick rugs, hardwood four-poster beds, and embroidered quilts. At the heart of the experience is the five-star restaurant, where guests are welcomed in the parlor with a cocktail before being escorted to one of four dining rooms or the garden terrace. The Bahamian-influenced cuisine is complemented by a selection of vintages from the award-winning wine cellar and is often followed by a glass of cognac and one of their renowned, signature Graycliff cigars. The hotel also has a sauna and Jacuzzi, a gym, and a flagstone courtyard with a small but beautifully-tiled pool.
Take a look at other accommodations in the area with our selection of the best Nassau hotels.
Best for Luxury: Sandals Royal Bahamian
For a truly luxurious experience, guests of the Sandals Royal Bahamian are driven in a Rolls Royce or Mercedes-Benz from the airport directly to the resort. Set on the north coast of Nassau, this couples-only property is two resorts in one: a classy and modern hotel on the mainland and a secluded mini-resort on a private island off the coast. Tiny and tranquil, this small stretch of sand has two beaches — one for relaxing on sunbeds and in the overwater hammocks and the other for water activities. A beachside pool contains a swim-up bar, and the nearby Zen garden has a fire pit ringed by comfy seating.
At the Red Lane Spa, treatments including heart rock massages and sea salt scrubs are applied in alfresco treatment huts on the beach and on floating, gently bobbing rafts. The most desirable accommodations at the resort are the swim-up suites, which offer in-pool sun loungers and zero-entry access to the river pool and come complete with a butler service to attend to guests’ needs. The large main pool also has a swim-up bar, and on the immaculate private beach, the attentive staff keeps guests relaxed on the cushioned sun loungers refreshed with cool drinks and tasty snacks.
Best for Activities: The Cove Atlantis
Enormous, exuberant, and extravagant, Atlantis Bahamas is an iconic landmark on Paradise Island. Modeled on the lost city of Atlantis, the area encompasses the world’s largest marine habitat, a massive water park, an 18-hole golf course along the waterfront, several beaches, and the Atlantis Casino. And for guests wanting to enjoy an adults-only atmosphere, the Cove provides plenty of kid-free amenities, including a beautifully designed pool, beachfront cabanas, and the exclusive Cove Club.
The water park is home to 11 pools, a mile-long river ride with rapids and rolling waves, and high-speed water slides housed in soaring stone towers. At Dolphin Cay, guests can swim with dolphins and sea lions in a well-managed sanctuary that rehabilitates injured marine mammals and donates a large part of its proceeds to local marine conservation efforts. The marine habitat is even more impressive, with 14 lagoons home to over 250 species of sea life and artificial ruins that complement the Atlantean theme. Dozens of swimming areas offer a variety of settings, from the lively main pool to relaxing pools surrounded by palm trees and waterfalls. With 21 restaurants, there is fine dining, casual beach grills, and more, as well as numerous bars, lounges, casinos, and nightclubs for endless night-time revelry.
Best for Younger Guests: Breezes Resort and Spa
Although not a true adults-only resort, only children 14 years and over may accompany their families here. The vibe at Breezes Resort and Spa is young, energetic, and friendly, no doubt helped by the free-flowing drinks and friendly hotel staff. While the décor at the resort is a bit dated, the location is excellent, set directly on a lovely stretch of Cable Beach with guests in the beachfront accommodations having direct beach access.
The hotel provides more than the usual activities, with sports such as kayaking, snorkeling, sailing, and beach volleyball. There are also tennis courts complemented by a rock-climbing wall and a circus school with flying trapeze. Five restaurants range from the buffet-dining Banana Boat and Reggae Café beach grill to a la carte dining at the elegant Matino’s, the garden setting of Eden, and Asian fusion at Munasan. In the evening, an ever-changing roster of live music and entertainment play at the bars around the property. Drinking venues include the swim-up bar in the main pool, the casual lobby bar with several pool tables, a lively piano bar, and the disco bar, which keeps guests partying into the early hours.
Still can't find what you're looking for? Our round-up of the best Bahamas hotels can help you find accommodation.