Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay

There are two of the luxurious adults-only all-inclusive Sandals resorts in The Bahamas: Sandals Royal Bahamian and Sandals Emerald Bay. While they have some similarities, they also have some key differences.

To help you choose the best one for you, here is our comparison of Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay.

Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay Quick Take

These are the closest Sandals resorts to the U.S., and both are beautiful and luxurious. Sandals Emerald Bay is more laidback and has golf, while Sandals Royal Bahamian is close to everything Nassau offers and has a private island. We prefer Emerald Bay, but read on to see which one you like best.

Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay Overview

Sandals Royal Bahamian is a lively, centrally located resort that features a private offshore island. It has been renovated recently and has a glamorous feel. Set on the famous Cable Beach in Nassau, it also offers 7 pools, 5 whirlpools, 8 bars, and 10 restaurants.

The private island of Barefoot Cay, which you reach via a short boat trip, has two beaches with cabanas, a pool and whirlpool, and a restaurant.

Sandals Emerald Bay has a laidback atmosphere and is a larger resort than Royal Bahamian, so it is more spread out. Situated on 500 acres in the peaceful Out Islands, it features a mile-long curve of pristine white sand and sparkling turquoise water, as well as a fantastic golf course.

There are 3 pools including the Caribbean’s largest zero-entry pool, 2 whirlpools, 6 bars, and 11 restaurants.

Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay Location

Both Sandals Royal Bahamian and Emerald Bay are located in The Bahamas, just about an hour from Florida.

Sandals Royal Bahamian is located in Nassau on the main island. Since Nassau is the capital, you can find plenty of flights there. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the resort from Lynden Pindling International Airport.

Sandals Emerald Bay is in Great Exuma in the Out Islands, and it is located about 20 minutes from Georgetown Exuma International Airport.

As at every Sandals, airport transfers are complimentary.

Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay Beaches

Sandals Royal Bahamian is set on a private stretch of the famous Cable Beach, which offers white sand and turquoise water. There are also two secluded beaches on the private island, and these feature private cabanas.

The beach at Sandals Emerald Bay is unspoiled and gorgeous, curving for a mile along calm and crystal clear water. There are vibrant coral reefs offshore, which makes for excellent snorkeling and scuba diving.

Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay Rooms and Suites

Sandals Royal Bahamian has a wide variety of rooms and suites including new beachfront butler swim-up suites. These have walkout patios with Caribbean views, direct access to the zero-entry pool, and a Tranquility Soaking Tub™ for two; a separate living room; a fully stocked bar; and a walk-in shower.

For more privacy, West Bay Honeymoon Hideaway Swim-Up Butler Suites have private furnished patios with zero-entry access to the Zen Garden swim-up pool, a separate living room with dining area and full bar, and a walk-in shower. There are also butler villas with private pools, or choose from club or luxury level rooms or suites such as swim-up, beachfront walkout, and oceanview. Certain top-tier suites get private luxury airport transfers via Rolls Royce!

Sandals Emerald Bay only has club-level and butler-level rooms and suites. They are all oversized and casually elegant, featuring partial or full ocean views. A top choice is the two-story Royal Estate Beachfront Butler Villa, with a private pool, direct beach access, full living room, full dining room, balcony in the master suite overlooking the ocean, and a marble bathroom with a soaking tub.

The Prime Minister Honeymoon One-Bedroom Beachfront Walkout Butler Suite is just steps from the sand. Both of these come with 24-hour butler service. There are also club level junior suites and rooms, which all have Caribbean views, private balconies or patios, and soaking tubs.

All the butler suites at both resorts come with the 24-hour services of a private butler, while all club-level rooms and suites give you access to dedicated concierge service, a 24-hour private lounge, and special activities.

Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay Activities and Amenities

Both Sandals Royal Bahamian and Emerald Bay have plenty of complimentary unlimited activities including water and land sports. Even scuba diving is included; certified divers can dive up to twice a day at either resort. Both resorts also have state-of-the-art fitness centers, and Sandals Royal Bahamian’s is in a penthouse so it has amazing views.

Water sports at Sandals Royal Bahamian also include snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, Hobie Cat sailing, and water trikes. Land sports include beach volleyball, day and night tennis, table tennis, shuffleboard, lawn chess, pool tables, board games.

There are 7 pools and 5 whirlpools, two beautiful beaches, and the Coconut Grove lounge area. You can also easily head into Nassau and check out markets, casinos, museums and galleries, historic sites, botanical gardens, and waterparks. Some butler suites actually come with a complimentary Mini Cooper so you can go exploring!

Sandals Royal Bahamian offers the exclusive offshore island of Barefoot Cay, which is just minutes from the resort via the Love Runner. It features a Beach Club with a pool, whirlpool, and swim-up bar; two secluded beaches great for relaxing, swimming, or snorkeling; an open-air seafood restaurant; and plenty of romantic spots to lounge like hammocks, cabanas, and a fire pit. You can even get massages by the water.

Sandals Emerald Bay is perfect for golfers, with a world-class golf course onsite which was designed by Greg Norman and has 6 oceanfront holes. As at other Sandals resorts with golf courses, green fees are complimentary.

It also has 3 pools including a huge zero-entry pool with a fire pit in the middle, 7 whirlpools, and watersports such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, Hobie Cat sailing, and windsurfing. There’s a 17-acre marina onsite as well, and it is one of the Sandals resorts with pickleball.

Land activities include day and night tennis, beach volleyball, croquet, horseshoes, bocce ball, pool tables, and board games. Besides the gorgeous beach at the resort, there are other beautiful ones nearby that you can take a taxi to.

Both resorts offer the full-service Red Lane Spa for a wide range of restorative spa services (at an extra cost). You can also book area excursions from both locations (also at an extra cost). Sandals Emerald Bay has especially unique excursions like swimming with pigs.

Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay Food and Drink

Sandals Royal Bahamian has 8 bars and 10 restaurants, offering French, steaks, seafood, Italian, Asian, seafood, Caribbean, and sushi. There’s also an English pub and an upscale overwater restaurant serving grilled meat and seafood specialties. In addition, there are two food trucks, which serve Bahamian food and sweets.

If you stay a minimum of 7 nights in certain butler-level suites, you will also get a Dine Out credit of $250 that you can use at select restaurants in Nassau.

There are 6 bars and 11 restaurants at Sandals Emerald Bay serving Italian, local Bahamian, seafood, Indian, Asian, French, and international cuisine, as well as an English Pub, a pizzeria, a Caribbean jerk shack, and a coffee and pastry café. There’s an open-air restaurant on the beach.

At both Sandals Royal Bahamian and Emerald Bay you can also get room service or request private dining options like a candlelight dinner on the beach (for an extra fee). If you are in a club level room, you can get room service between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.; butler suites get 24/7 room service.

As at all Sandals resorts, your all-inclusive rate covers unlimited meals and snacks plus all beverages including premium liquors and Robert Mondavi wines.

Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay Nightlife

Sandals Royal Bahamian has more of a “party” vibe than Sandals Emerald Bay. It also gives you access to the nightlife and casinos in Nassau. It features 8 bars including 3 swim-up bars and a variety of nightly entertainment including live shows, beach parties, and theme nights.

Sandals Emerald Bay, on the other hand, is more relaxed. It has 6 bars including a swim-up bar and a piano bar, as well as a range of entertainment options including karaoke, live music, and theme nights.

Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay Cost

The cost of these two resorts is pretty comparable. Rates at Sandals Royal Bahamian currently start at $323 per person per night, and rates at Sandals Emerald Bay currently start at $399 per person per night.

Stays at all Sandals resorts include all meals and snacks at all restaurants; unlimited non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages including unlimited premium liquors and unlimited Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wines; a minibar in your room that is refreshed daily, stocked with juice, water, soft drinks, wine and beer; a coffee maker with Jamaican Blue Mountain Blend coffee; unlimited nonmotorized watersports such as snorkeling, paddleboarding, and kayaking, including equipment and professional instruction; scuba diving (including equipment) for certified divers; unlimited land sports including golf and tennis (at most resorts), beach volleyball, etc.; a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment; daily and nightly entertainment; WiFi; roundtrip airport transfers; private airport arrival lounges at some locations; and roundtrip shuttles to other resorts and access to their facilities (at some locations).

You won’t have to worry about tips and taxes because they are all included as well. Plus, stay a minimum of 7 nights in a club or butler room and get a free wedding. The Sweetheart Package, which usually costs $1000, is good for up to 10 people and also gives you a 15% discount at the spa as well as credits toward photography and videography packages. Free ceremonies are limited to Monday through Thursday, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

If you honeymoon here within 30 days of your wedding you get a free honeymoon package.

Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay Conclusion

Sandals Royal Bahamian is close to the action in Nassau but also features a peaceful private island. Sandals Emerald Bay is completely secluded and offers a more relaxed overall vibe, plus it has a golf course. Although both resorts are great, we liked Emerald Bay best.

After reading our comparison of Sandals Royal Bahamian vs. Emerald Bay, which do you choose? Let us know in the comments! And if you’re ready to plan your trip, feel free to reach out to one of our expert travel advisors!

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