The real Paradise Island A review of Emerald Palms by the Sea
In the time it takes for you to wait with a busload of over-loaded (in all possible ways) tourists and get to the Vegas-on-the-beach that is Paradise Island, you could be watching lizards scatter under the palm trees, sititng by pristine tiled coutyards looking out over miles of deserted (yes, actually deserted) golden beach, getting the very personal yet relaxed service that is enough to sell emerald palms on its own.
South Andos is such a best-kept secret that I'm even reluctant to write a review. Please don't go there. Don't destroy it. There are no chain stores. There are no power boats or machines along that theme in the water. There are the occasional fishermen that drift by. The hotel's conch comes directly from the sea in front of you. It is absolutely the best conch you have ever tasted.
If you don't like conch they have steak and a matching merlot.
We stayed in the cheapest room option. It had a sea view (we slept with the doors open to hear the waves crashing). Four poster super-romantic bed draped in net fabric with ribbons to pull it back during the day (they do all that for you of course after they've let you pick a time to wander off down the beach). Two separate entrances, cooling tiled floors - extreme serenity.
Everything is brand spanking new. Super clean. The hot tub is a dream in itself. Sit in it late in the evening, looking out over the ocean, watching for shooting stars, sipping whatever cocktail you like. The staff leave you alone - you are alone.
We rented a car. There are no "car rental companies" as we know it on South Andros. No lines. No bureaucracy getting inbetween you and your imminent relaxation. You rent from the Rahming family, who pick you up, with your car, which you deliver to their house down the road a bit on departure. The hotel can hook you up with all this kind of thing if you want. You don't need a car - there's only one road (more or less), but the north-south drive alone is worth is. Gorgeous little villages dot the coast. Not a tourist in sight - you're the only one and you're expected to wave back when the locals wave at you driving by.
Even if the locals had the spare cash to fill South Adros with junk like most of the US does, you come away with the feeling they wouldn't anyway. Life is family there, the beach, the sea.
The staff at emerald palms shock you into the realization that even the friendly people in the hotels in Nassau have been corrupted. THey care about your stay, not because of what you might tip them, or even because they're worried about what you'll think about the place, just because they care about you as a person! Shocking I know, but once you've been you'll remember what that feels like.
Obviously I can't recommend this place highly enough. They even take email reservations and have Internet, if you're stupid enough to want to get online whilst in paradise.