Great Getaway A review of Emerald Palms by the Sea
Our usual vacation is a cruise or stay at a mega resort. However, my wife wanted to get away from that for her birthday this year, and she chose Andros Island after much web research. We chose the Emerald Palms on South Andros for our six day stay in February, 2005 because we had two small children in our party, it was on the beach, and the cottages looked great. We weren't disappointed one bit.
As the other reviewers note, the staff is excellent. The managers Donna and Cecee are eager to accommodate any request. Each of the dining room staff was friendly and helpful, especially Delores, who decorated the dining room for my wife's birthday dinner! Even the night watchmen go out of their way to assist - Kendall was very helpful and informative about the local history, food, and places to see. He even got drinks from the closed bar very late one night when my brother insisted on pulling an allnighter, almost, on the beach.
The cottage accommodations are first class. Marble floors, luxurious bedding, separate shower and jacuzzi, mini kitchen with microwave and convection oven and two burner stove - all newly constructed and well maintained. We cooked dinner in the room twice. Central A/C and ceiling fans, although we didn't have to use the A/C when we were there, as the February temparture was perfect. Maid service was friendly and whenever you wanted it. Our cottage was ON the beach. All the cottages are positioned to give varying views of the ocean. The kids couldn't resist the pool, and we ended up in the jacuzzi right on the beach nearly every evening for an hour or so.
South Andros is special - but it isn't for those who need a resort to force feed them distractions. Emerald Palms doesn't have watercraft or snorkeling gear - Donna and the staff will arrange fishing (bone fishing included), diving, snorkling, and rental cars for you. We brought snorkling gear, and went snorkling/exploring with Jolly Boy, diving off small reefs and in two blue holes just offshore. We (well just me) ate raw conch and then brought conch back to the hotel, where the chef made it into conch salad and fritters. We toured the island, finding incredible, deserted beaches that stretched for miles and quaint little "settlements". Don't miss taking a nature walk to the interior to see the landlocked blue holes and learn about the Island. There are wonderful places to explore. If you ask any of the locals, they will help you. There are no retail stores, but there are small craft stores. There are no "supermarkets", but there are small grocery stores. I look forward to returning to the Emerald Palm and South Andros Island, next time for some deep water diving.