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Reviewed 7 January 2012

Just back from four nights at Small Hope Bay Lodge where my eleven year old son learned how to scuba dive, my husband re-learned, my five year old daughter learned how to batik, I actually relaxed for the first time in months, we all made new friends and fell in love with Andros Island. I wish I were still there now. This place is not for everyone. There are few distractions- no t.v., the rooms are very rustic (low water pressure, a few mosquitoes, certainly no marble in the bathroom), and given the small size of the place, you should expect to get to know your fellow guests quite well. Given the fact that you have chosen to pay Small Hope prices for a very rustic retreat, you will probably find your fellow guests to be a compatible set of people, intellectual, well traveled, and lovers of the outdoors, which shared interests. You will also get to know the staff of the hotel, since they will introduce themselves during cocktail hour, and come sit with you at dinner. This might seem strange but is actually a real strength of the place. Getting to know the dive masters before diving made the dives so much more fun, and the staff are from interesting places (including Andros Island) and have interesting stories. It really is something like a family that you are invited into while visiting. The staff were incredibly competent as well. From my first phone call to the resort, Renauldo made planning the trip very easy. He set us up with a private flight to Andros, and booked it through the resort. All we had to do was show up at the airport in Nassau and we were taken care of. When our flight was late getting in, they saved lunch for us. Indeed, nothing we asked for seemed to be a problem. Need your laundry done? Just leave it in your room with a note- six hours later it shows up, clean and folded.

One thing that I really appreciated about Small Hope was their welcoming attitude towards children. It is rare to find a serious dive resort (and the dive staff and diving, as others have testified, are amazing), that also welcomes children, but my children not only had other children to play with (they ran around the grounds without shoes on the entire trip, happy as can be), but even got to come on the dive boat while we were diving. There were plenty of people at Small Hope who didn't dive at all. There were some serious fishermen, and some people who just borrowed books from their ample library and spent their days on hammocks or in the hot tub.

If I could improve one thing about this place it would be the food. There was always plenty to eat, but the food was somewhat monotonous, and the desserts were pretty poor quality. There should have been more fresh fruits and vegetables. Given the number of coconut palms on the property I would have hoped for some fresh coconut in some of the dishes. That said, the food will not prevent us from returning, as soon as possible, to this lovely spot.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank PSU_travel_mom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
shbmkt, Marketing Assistant at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 12 January 2012

We really loved having you and your family here and, as always, are very grateful that you took the time to write a review. It is lovely to know that you enjoyed your time with us, and all for different reasons. It was especially nice for us to watch Jackson take to the water for his first dive,and we hope to see you all back here at some point to continue his dive training! All the best for 2012!

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Reviewed 2 January 2012

It may sound not possible, but I tell you it is true. We traveled with one other couple and our 6 girls for Christmas to New Years Day. The ease with booking such a crowd was impressive. We had 2 family style cabins. Parents with queen bed on one side, bathroom in between, and children in 3 twins on the opposite end. Nicky in the office made all the arrangements for our connecting flight to Andros from Nassau. A quick taxi to the resort got us off on a serious vacation! We snuggled up to the open bar and our luggage was delivered to our cabin. The rooms are very rustic, dark wood, minimal furniture and decorations, but comfortable. They are a bit noisy with no insulation. No need for air conditioning, we kept the fans on and the doors cracked at night. You will not be able to stay up and party and you are pooped after all the activity during the day. We rose with the sun, and went to bed about 9 each night. We were not divers, but the 4 adults took the Discover Scuba class. Two enjoyed it so much to go on 2 dives the next few days, including the shark dive. Yikes! We also snorkled, took out the kayaks, napped, hiked, bone fished, and relaxed! The pros are as follows: all inclusive, no TV or phones, quiet, not rushed, excellent service, made many new friends as this is an intimate setting-group meals, happy hours, excellent management, beautiful, untouched setting, babysitting during adult dinner, great breakfasts to order, special dinners for Christmas and New Years Eve, warm staff, we loved eating outside, food is above average with many choices, Excellent diving facility with all the equipment one would need. Only cons: no see-ums (bring spray), water a little chilly this time of year (wear wet suit), one might get bored if not into water sports (we did not), somewhat primitive accomodations-like a grown up summer camp. Our children, aged 5-12, were very sad to leave and already bugging us to come again soon. I suspect we will! I was worried they would not have enough to entertain themselves for a week, but they left wishing they could have stayed longer. Great for couples, families, and even singles as it is highly social atmosphere. Very interesting, diverse guests who love being here. The staff were so impressive, helpful, and interesting. Jeff, the owner, really knows what he is doing here. You can feel his passion for this special place. I recommend staying at least 4-5 days or more, as it takes a while to settle down to this lovely pace of life.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank happydoctor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
shbmkt, Public Relations Manager at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 6 January 2012

Thank you so much for all your comments and feedback. We absolutely loved having both of your families here for the holiday period. It was so much fun to see all the girls running around (even if they did show us up with their hats for New Year!) and we very much hope to see you all back here in the near future. All the best for the upcoming year!

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Reviewed 5 December 2011

My wife and I got married here this past February and have not stopped thinking about it since! This place is not only affordable; it's also incredibly welcoming and beautifully secluded. The staff proves to make the ultimate difference from any other place we have visited because they all have the perfect combination of being accommodating, friendly and chill. Where else can you go scuba diving for a day and have your dive instructor serve you appetizers (conch fritters) while another instructor plays bartender?!?! Better yet, this place lets YOU be the bartender and make anything you wish because it's all-inclusive! The outside patio bar is something out of a movie, as soft reggae music still gives way to the gentle lapping of the waves (just meters away). You just gotta love the small nuances that make this place so unique and captivating...it's a one of a kind resort that makes you feel lucky just for visiting.

Although the island is not full of modern amenities, it does offer plenty of outdoor adventure. To name just a few, you can visit/swim in the blue holes, have a secluded island-picnic, go nature walking, build a bonfire, tour the Androsia factory, go bone-fishing or anything else water-related (their diving program is incredibly safe and beautiful too!) They also have some modern conveniences like internet access and daily Scuba DVD screenings but save that for a rainy afternoon. Just don't go there expecting to visit a casino or golf course - go there to experience incredible scenery, amazing locals and stellar hospitality!

Needless to say, we had an amazing time there and would highly recommend this place for your next vacation – we are going back for our anniversary soon! Whether you're traveling solo or bringing the whole family for a wedding, you won't be disappointed with what this place has to offer. Book it now and you'll be a fan for life!

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank VTPhishFood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
shbmkt, Public Relations Manager at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 13 December 2011

Thanks for writing this Jon, but the pleasure was really all ours. We felt very privileged that you and Leah chose to have your special with us, and I know all the staff enjoyed it just as much as you did! We cannot wait to see you both back here for your anniversary in a few months time! Happy Holidays from all the family here at Small Hope!

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Reviewed 28 November 2011

Diving excellent including several deeper than you will find in most places.
Dive staff thoroughly professional, all staff charming and helpful.
The concept is top class - great diving, excellent food, family style eating with staff and guests together, many guests on return visits, all create an atmosphere that works beautifully, no doubt thanks to fine tuning over fifty years -- all credit to owner Jeff Birch, son of founder Dick Birch, for tending the flame so thoughtfully. A tip for US visitors coming via Fort Lauderdale: look at flying direct from Fort Lauderdale to Andros on Watermakers Air, leaving from their terminal. The lodge arranges handy free or discounted flights from Nassau but the uncertain on-time record of BahamasAir, the transfer at Nassau and the hassle and expensive parking at Lauderdale airport (which is bigger than a lot of countries' main airports) make Watermakers a good option. Not a paid commercial - I did not use them - but fellow guests did and said it worked really well.

  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank Jeremy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
shbmkt, Public Relations Manager at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 13 December 2011

Jeremy, thank you very much for taking the time to write us a review. As always, we are very grateful for any feedback and it's lovely to know that you enjoyed your time here so much, especially the diving! The guests are what continue to make Small Hope so special, so being 'charming' is really no trouble at all. Guests like yourself make it easy and so rewarding for all of us! Happy Holidays from everyone here a Small Hope and we hope to see you again in the near future!

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Reviewed 25 November 2011

Once again, we were treated like royalty. Staff arranged to take us on an early morning wall dive to 185 feet on each of our five days there. We typically depart at 7:00 AM; in the water at 7:15 AM; and back to the dock at 8:00 AM for breakfast. This is the closest thing you'll ever get to do like flying.

I can't get enough of this dive.

They bend the menu for me and I was served spaghetti every evening (my choice) with no hassles from the kitchen crew.

I recommend it above all other destinations in the Bahamas...and even the world.

Room Tip: Limited AC in the rooms, so pre-book an AC room if traveling in the hot season.
  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with friends
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3  Thank donahueelectric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
shbmkt, Public Relations Manager at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 13 December 2011

As always Peter, it was lovely to see you here, and we are very grateful that you took the time to write a review. We feel much the same about our 'Over The Wall' dive, so doing it every morning never feels like work for our dive staff! And the spaghetti is no trouble at all......in fact, I think you may have set a new tradition! Best wishes for the Holidays and hope to see you back here soon!

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