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Reviewed 12 August 2011

We just wrapped up an all-too short first time stay in August of 2011 and would like to comment that there is a reason some 95% of tripadvisor reviewers have rated Small Hope Bay Lodge either “Excellent” or “Very Good”. That reason (IMHO) is the management & staff that will host you there.

Unlike many such resorts in the Bahamas, day-to-day management of the Lodge is the full-time occupation of the owner, Jeff Birch, who resides right in Fresh Creek. Jeff literally grew up at the Lodge after his father founded it in the early 1960’s and today he presides over a smoothly running operation aided by employees, many of whom have been with him for years, who mirror his dedication to giving you the best possible stay.

I won’t repeat all the details of the resort facilities, the food, etc, which are accurately covered both by other reviewers and on Small Hope’s website. I will, however, note a couple of things that I particularly enjoyed.

First among them is that immediately upon arriving we had the feeling that the staff & guests were all one big extended family of which we were now members. Within no time at all we had the “lay of the land”, so to speak, and were settled in and enjoying ourselves, mixing our own drinks & chatting at the bar.

The second item involves the “all inclusive” daily rate, which at first glance may seem high: Except for SCUBA and the optional $15/day electricity surcharge if you want air conditioning (island runs on very expensive Diesel generated electricity), your daily per-person charge truly covers everything, and in comparing the Small Hope cost with the final total at another similar resort we island-hopped to I noted there was actually very little difference. And we most definitely ate & drank better and had more fun at Small Hope!

Anyway, if you want a super-friendly, laid back and funky but comfortable resort without a hint of glitz & glamour but with great diving, and where you will get all the excellent food and drink you want without worrying about the tab you are running up, this is the place!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank SocalFlyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2011

Great All inclusive property - full bar - wonderful food - good diving - very small and rustic -
if you are looking to just dive and relax this is the place!

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank diverdudes_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2011

The people were great, diving was great, food was wonderful and plenty of it. The relaxed ,"make yourself at home" atmosphere was right there. I loved the staff joining us for meals sharing stories and information about the island and their lives. They all are very knowledgeable and helpful about things to see and do, my special thanks go to Dennis, our tour guide who showed us a great time and much history of the island as well as being extremely helpful on the dives, Melanie, who really knew about the island and just STUFF in general & Davis with a great attitude! The only thing I could ask for would be a fresh water pool and less no-seeums, which really liked me. But even Paradise has its faults. Thank you Jeff for being so much a part of your "little piece of Heaven" getting up to see us off at O-Dark Thirty and making us coffee was special, you have a great place and wonderful staff, or should I say family there, thanks to all for sharing! Sandie Barrett

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with friends
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Thank SandieBarrett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2011

This was our second trip, and the first with our two kids. There is no place like Small Hope Bay. Don't come if you want "luxury", shopping, casino gambling, lots of hand-holding and pre-arranged activites, or wild partying. _Do_ come if you want an fascinating and international group of fellow guests, a relaxed and easy-going atmosphere, lovely and charming staff, and a terrific diving experience.

The diving is the main reason to come. The sites are stunning, and the staff really knows how to lead the dives. You _will_ be invited to dive beyond what your PADI course may have described. My wife and I are relatively experienced divers and got to descend into an oceanic blue hole, swim along ancient riverbeds and waterfalls, and go over the edge down into the Tongue of the Ocean down to 185'. We were meticulously briefed for these, carefully overseen, and kept well within no-deco limits. The staff insist on safety stops and are always willing to accommodate divers who prefer less challenging dives. Our 12-year-old son had a great time finding his limits on many thrilling medium-depth dives, under the care of the resort's dive masters.

The staff was wonderfully patient and supportive of our 10-year-old as she explored snorkeling, SASI, and finally scuba in the shallow waters around the dock and on one shallow reef dive.

The food is tasty, plentiful, and varied. You will spend a lot of time interacting with other guests, which I think is a large part of the experience. We became friends with folks from around the US, from Australia, Hong Kong, England, and France during our stay.

The rooms are rustic--think "summer camp"--but perfectly comfortable.

SHB isn't a Carnival Cruise or Sandals, which is why we love it and why we are already planning our next visit.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
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Thank CWBlackwell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 August 2011

I have been going to small hope for about 20 years and there is a reason I return every summer. At the end of every trip I feel well rested and have gained so many new friendships. The diving there is phenomenal! When u go make sure to go to the backside of the blue hole dive site. It is the best dive I have ever done!

  • Stayed: July 2011
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1  Thank Worldviewer3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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