This all-inclusive, couples-only property is the most upscale Sandals resort in the world. It's shockingly expensive, though you can often get special promotional rates. The property originated as a very posh hotel, the Balmoral Beach, in the 1940s. In 1996, the Jamaica-based Sandals chain poured US$20 million into updating the resort. Everywhere, you'll find trappings of Edwardian England in the tropics: manicured gardens, neoclassical/Palladian architectural themes, and hidden courtyards tastefully accented with sculptures. The resort is located on a beach a short walk west of Cable Beach's more glittery mega-hotels.
A favorite for honeymooners, Sandals offers well-furnished and often elegant rooms, all classified as suites and positioned within either the resort's core Manor House or the 1998 Windsor Building. Others, including some of the most upscale, occupy outlying villas known collectively as the Royal Village. The villas are preferable thanks to their rigorously secluded settings and easy access to nearby semiprivate plunge pools. Bedrooms, regardless of their location, have thick cove moldings and formal English furniture. The rooms that face the ocean offer small terraces with views of an offshore sand spit, Sandals Key.
In addition to spectacular buffets, dining options include white-glove service and continental dishes at Baccarat, Japanese cuisine at Kimonos, and Italian fare at Casanova. The pool here is one of Nassau's most appealing, with touches of both Vegas and ancient Rome (outdoor murals and replicas of ancient Roman columns). Complimentary shuttle service goes to the casino and nightlife options at the nearby Wyndham Crystal Palace complex.
The Art of Massage -- The Red Lane Spa, at the Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, has repeatedly made the top 10 list of spa resorts in the Condé Nast Traveler readers' choice survey. The decor features walls and floors of Italian Saturnia stone, rich mahogany doors, and a collection of pre-Raphaelite prints in gilded frames. One service offered, "In Each Other's Hands," allows couples to learn the art of massage from a professional so they can practice on each other in the comfort of their hotel room.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Very Highly Recommended 2010