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Reviewed 22 January 2012

The title says it all. This place is the exact opposite of the huge, modern resorts that we habitually avoid. Fantastic hosts/staff know how to make sure you get the most out of your time there, whether you spend all day moving from hammock to hammock (chasing the sun or the shade) or whether you spend all day SCUBA diving, or even anything in between.

Spending the last week of December wearing shorts, t-shirts and no shoes was just blissful. Hanging out with other guests and staff at the bar and sharing tables with other folks during meals meant that we soon got to know everyone and there was always something to talk or laugh about.

Some of the dives here are stunning. The shark dive is super cool - my wife and I snorkelled 20 feet above the sharks while they ate and while our daughter sat with the other divers (another reviewer, happydoctor, among them) on the sea bed 20 feet below them. The owner, Jeff, leads a small group on a special deep dive that involves free-falling into the blue (which is a truly amazing experience), then landing on a prehistoric beach 135 feet below the surface to sit still for a couple of minutes and feel what it's like to be "narced" (useful to be able to recognise this feeling so that you know in the future when you are too deep), before Jeff drags you all back to finish the dive off at 90 feet.

We had booked to be there for NYE 2012/2013 by the time we left.

Room Tip: Lower numbered rooms are nearer the lodge. We were in 12 and 14 (there is no 13) which have superb sea views and are quiet.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Thank Rob P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
shbmkt, Marketing Team at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 1 February 2012

We are so happy that you guys enjoyed your time here with us, and even happier that we get to see you all for New Year 2012/2013. Over the Wall still remains a favorite dive for all of us here.......there is nothing quite like it! Look forward to seeing you in 11 months time!

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Reviewed 21 January 2012

We have been searching for a family diving vacation spot where we could return year after year, and we have found it at Small Hope Bay, Andros Island, Bahamas. It has all the benefits of an all-inclusive resort without all the crowds. The diving was amazing-each day we went to a different spot and each dive was so varied. We all had our favorite spots! I had never been to a Blue Hole before and that was unbelievable! Our kids are all different ages (21, 18, 14) and they enjoyed the vacation as much as my husband and I. There is a lot of opportunity for fun and games in the lodge and a chance to mingle with other guests from all over the world. Every night we would play cards or games or ping pong with anyone from other guests, to staff, to the owners 6 year old son. Or, some of us would quietly read books from the extensive lodge library. One of our favorite times was the 6:30 pm cocktail hour complete with freshly made conch fritters each evening. Because it is a small resort, you really get to know everyone around you which makes for such a comfortable experience. We will be going back next Christmas!!

Room Tip: All of the cabins are on the beach. The staff will put you in the right one when you book, depending on if you need a cabin with a connecting room, or not.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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Thank wavesfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
shbmkt, Marketing Team at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 25 January 2012

Thank you for taking the time to post a review on here.......I can't tell you enough how much we all appreciate them and what a difference they make. Christmas is always a fantastic time here, and that really is thanks to the amazing guests we have! Small Hope is loving the new addition to our family in the form of the Perkins family, and we very much look forward to seeing the rest of you back here in 2012!

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Reviewed 18 January 2012

In Nov of 2011, my husband and I visited SHB and are we ever glad that we did! Loved, loved, loved the welcoming feelings we were given with our first steps on to the property. Jeff escorted us to our cabin, and told us to stop by the office "whenever" to officially check in. "No need to rush relax, take it easy and just enjoy." What you don't want my first born in exchange for the key to my cabin! We found our cabin clean, comfy, spacious and in good repair. The view from our cabin was like a Caribbean commercial, white sands, blue water, palm trees, and a hammock. ALL of the staff members are top notch, very friendly and more than willing to do whatever whenever to insure that your stay is the best ever. We really enjoyed taking our meals as members of the SHB family. Allowing us to get to know them and them us. The most disappointing thing about SHB...is LEAVING. We didn't want to, and started planning our return trip back to the lodge on our flight home.

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank KrisandJerry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
shbmkt, Marketing Team at Small Hope Bay Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 21 January 2012

Like you, we are already counting down the days till you and Jerry return! It was honestly such a pleasure to meet you both and we missed you guys as soon as you walked out the door! Hurry back!

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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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