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Reviewed 29 August 2007

My boyfriend and I just returned from our amazing stay at Cape Santa Maria, and already we want to go back! We had been looking at pictures and reading wonderful reviews for months before the trip, but nothing truly prepared us for the beauty we encountered when we arrived (though I will mention, the drive from Stella Maris airport to the resort was a bit bumpy and at times it seemed like we were on a road to nowhere!).

As soon as we pulled up, Wendy (one of the managers) was there to greet us. She took us on a tour and filled us in on everything we needed to know to make our stay as relaxing as possible. Our first stop - the crystal clear water. The soft sand, warm, shallow water and gentle tide are unlike anything I had ever experienced. The four miles of white beach and blue water were simply breathtaking.

Since we were there for the end of the season, the resort was uncrowded, and at times we were on the beach or in the water for hours without seeing any other guests. We also lucked out price wise, and got a great deal on our room, plus some goodies like a free 1/2 hour massage and a complimentary bottle of wine.

The club house was very nice, the staff super friendly, and the food quite delicious. The bungalow was well maintained and perfect for a romantic getaway. Although we were only there for a long weekend, it was the perfect amount of time to stay. I would definitely go back again and again.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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10  Thank BSC0525
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2007

My husband and I stayed at the Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort from August 1-7, 2007, to celebrate our third anniversary. We knew we wanted to go someplace relaxing with a beautiful beach, so we researched several different places and islands. After reading the glowing reviews on TripAdvisor, we decided the Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort on Long Island was just the place we were looking for. We went there expecting to find paradise, and, if possible, what we found was even better than we had imagined! The resort contains approximately 20 bungalows that are literally mere steps from the beach. Each one has a nice screened-in porch in addition to the bedroom and bathroom. The beach was the most amazing sight we had ever seen. The sand was white and felt like powder. The water was a brilliant turquoise color, and when you went in it, it felt just cool enough to cool you off, but warm enough that you could stay in it all day and not get cold. The water was also incredibly clear. While there were other guests staying at the resort, at times my husband and I were the only people on the beach. It was very private and romantic. Another wonderful feature of this resort was the food. There is only the one dining room and bar, and there aren't any other restaurants on the island that are within walking distance. However, the food at the dining room was delicious. There are plenty of choices on the menu for each meal, and everything that my husand and I ordered was amazing. My favorite choice at dinner was the coconut shrimp! A third aspect of this resort that makes it stand out is the staff. Everyone that works at the Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort is friendly, always smiling, and always willing to help you in any way. For activities, the resort has a few different options. You can borrow bicycles or sea kayaks. There are also several different fishing excursions you can sign up for. My husband and I are not into fishing, so we did not do any of those. However, the couples we met that did go fishing had wonderful experiences. One day we did rent a car and drove about an hour south to Hamilton's Caves and had a guided tour. That was an incredible sight. We also drove to Dean's Blue Hole and went snorkeling. Beyond that, there is not much else to do on the island. There are not really any areas to go shopping. However, if you are looking for a restful and relaxing vacation, then the Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort is the place to go. My husband and I plan on returning!

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
15  Thank sgrodz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2007

We had the sincere pleasure of staying three days and nights at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort from August 10-13. It was exactly what we were looking for (quiet, solitude, and relaxing) and was true perfection. The only thing that could be more perfect is to have some hammocks scattered around.

The rest of this are some details and thoughts on the resort (and getting there). It's a bit long.

Logistics (which has nothing to do with the resort, but might be of interest):
We traveled from Buffalo - Nassau with US Airways. Overnight in Nassau at Orange Hill Beach Inn (see review for that hotel) and then flew Pineapple Air to Stella Maris airport. We chose Pineapple Air because it had more early morning flights than Southern Air and we wanted an early morning Friday flight. However, booking with Pineapple Air was a bit of a challenge. Their initial response was "just show up and we should have seats so we'll give them to you". We weren't willing to bet our trip on that so managed to get help directly from Cape Santa Maria. They scanned in the Pineapple Air authorization form and sent it to us by e-mail. We filled in the authorization form and sent it by e-mail to Pineapple Air. Called Pineapple Air a few hours later and were told that the person that checks e-mail wasn't there that day but would be in later that week. After a bit of persistence, they checked e-mail and sent us back confirmation of our flights. From then on it was smooth and was a pleasure. My recommendation is to have Cape Santa Maria e-mail the form to you and then follow up with airlines. Interestingly enough, Southern Air originally told us that even though their website said they had an early Friday flight, they didn't, but when we arrived at Stella Maris, the Southern Air flight was right behind us, so I'm not sure what happened there.

When we flew to Stella Maris from Nassau I sat on the right side of the plane and had a nice view of The Exumas Islands on the way down, close enough to see that there might be other resorts on those islands. On the way back we figured it would be reversed and sat on the left side and didn't see anything.

Getting through security on the way back to US from Nassau was brutal. US Airways announced that we should leave three hours to get through the lines. It took us just over two hours and only because we were early and waited for ticket counter to open. Other people were missing their flights when they had allowed only 1.5 or 2 hours to get through. Just an FYI and, again, no reflection on the resort.

The Resort Layout
We were specifically looking for a quiet resort with nice beaches. We've actually been looking at Cape Santa Maria for 11 years (according to the resort records, that's when they first sent us out information) and it lived up to our expectations of peace and tranquility. The resort has rooms to the north of the beach house (restaurant, bar, lobby, etc) and to the south of the beach house. To the south of the beach house is where they're building the villas, one at a time. There was no construction on the villas on the weekend and I didn't hear complaints from anyone about construction noise on the Friday that we were down there.

Rooms
We were in room 4 which is on the north side, close to the end of the resort. Our room was spacious and bright. We prefer to sleep without AC whenever possible and chose to do so for a couple of nights since we had a bit of a breeze going through the room. It was a bit humid and sticky and we ended up using the AC for one night when it was too hot. AC worked well, but it adds noise though not too loud to sleep. Note that if you choose to sleep with the AC off, you'll sleep with your doors to the bedroom open and people strolling by can see in if you've got your lights on. When the lights are off it's difficult to see in and because we weren't really central to the resort, we didn't worry about it (if they wanted to see us reading in bed, they were welcome to). Most people retired by 10:00 or so. Shampoo, soap, and washcloths are in abundance. There is a blow drier attached to the wall for those whose hair cooperates in humidity. We had two beds and twelve pillows in our room. Mattresses were very comfortable. A small refrigerator was also in the room. We didn't worry about hot water in the shower and never really tested it since we showered in evening after a hot day so I can't comment on the hot water issue but water pressure was sufficient.

We had a couple share the common wall with us the last night and we didn't hear them at all.

Dining
We debated on whether to use the meal plan or not and ended up not using it. Meal prices were in line with other Bahamian restaurants (i.e., probably 50% more expensive than US or Canadian prices). I think it came out a wash for us.

Breakfasts ran $8-12 for basics such as pancakes, eggs, french toast with juice adding another $3. My husband raved about the pancakes and I had the eggs benedict twice.

Lunches were also quite reasonable and generally in the $9-$12 range per plate. We ate BLT, hamburgers, conch burger, salads, quesadillas and club sandwich. Pizzas and general munchies were also on the menu and looked good when presented. The only surprise was with the club sandwich which was the only item on the menu to use processed chicken slices and they added mustard to the sandwich.

There is a bar menu that offers lunch type items throughout the day up to 10:00 at night.

Dinners were a bit more expensive with appetizers running under $10, entrees generally between $22 - $35, and desserts running $6. A good assortment of seafood, beef, and chicken. If you like to have all three dishes, then it's probably worth getting the meal plan, particularly if you like a beverage with the meal. We stuck to water for the most part. The broiled grouper and pepper steaks were amazing. The chilled conch salad had a wonderful flavour. Salads covered a full plate and were fresh and tasty.

Unlike the other small resorts that we've been to in the out islands, the dining isn't communal and there were plenty of two-person tables to sit at. We found the service very pleasant.

The only complaint we had about the restaurant is that we couldn't order from the bar menu for one of us and the restaurant menu for the other and have it served in the restaurant. The bar is six steps down from the restaurant and they walk through the restaurant to the bar. There were a couple of times that we wanted to mix a full dinner meal for one of us with a bar menu item for the other. We didn't push it, just made some gentle inquiries, so it's possible if we had been more insistent that they could have accomodated us. It ultimately didn't impact the trip for us at all. Any other food type accomodations were met easily (such as a plain (instead of caesar) salad with chicken on it ).

Beach
It is as amazing as the photos posted by others and the resort on the site. We've never been to a resort that has clearer water and we finally understood when people say that there are places where the water is "bathwater warm". It was so easy just to get lost watching the water and we probably spent more time in the water than at any other resort we've been to. Make sure to bring an inflatable float and you can spend hours laying in the water letting the current take you oh so gently to the north end of the beach. Inflatables at the resort are $10.

When we were there you could generally see one or two other couples on the beach and one or two couples in the water. We were easily 50 feet between us and anyone else at the beach. There were a number of families at the resort but it didn't feel like the kids over-ran the place at all and it was a treat to watch them discover things on the beach. It was so very peaceful.

There is enough shade at the resort to find shade to sit in. The gazebos on our end got snapped up quickly though one family offered to trade days with us so that we could get some gazebo time. It's not necessary and I found it quite nice to sit in the shade of a palm tree and play with the soft sand with my fingers while reading a book.

We didn't have the energy or the time to go snorkelling. Someone said that there is amazing snorkelling around the far points, but they're a three hour round trip swim (there was one couple that we talked to that did it) or a $60 boat ride. There were a few fish close in the shallows and some of them would come nibble at your toes if you were patient enough. Apparently there are some rays that hang out in knee deep water near the buoy at the north end of the beach though we only found out about them after we'd been out in the sun too long. In that same area there are some upside down jellyfish that look like plants on the bottom, but not many, and very visible.

One other couple walked the entire length of the beach. They said it was wonderful, but wished that they had thought to bring water with them since the point looked so much closer than it was.

Other stuff
Sailing isn't included in the price, but the hobie cat that they've got is in great shape and the sailing is good.

There is a decent library at the resort where you can swap out books to read. The books are basically placed in two large baskets so it's a bit of a hunt and peck system, but if I had known how much they had I wouldn't have loaded my bag with as many books as I did since I easily found books there that I could have read. A broad range of English and non-English languages. A good selection of kids videos to watch in the TV room. Free use of washer and dryer as long as you provide the detergent (also available in gift shop).

Sand flies became an issue on the last day when it had been raining all night and most of the day. The hotel provides at least three different types of bug repellant in each room so there's something for everyone. We generally try not to use it though I wish we had when we tried to have dinner at the bar one night. It's what drove us upstairs to the restaurant. We don't begrudge the hotel the sandflies, they're an issue at every resort we've been to and we give kudos to the resort for having the bug repellant. They're also big at the airport and we finally put repellant on at the airport.

We had two days of very warm sunny weather and one day where it rained most of the night and into the next morning. Weather was hot and humid, just slightly warmer than Toronto in the summer. We stopped going to the out islands in the winter because they were too cool (temps in the high teens in C, or 60s-70s in F) but the manager said that the resort is far enough south that their temperatures are warmer so maybe we'll come back in February some day.

Summary
This resort really is only for people that like to get away and whose definition of luxury is privacy, tranquilty, and beautiful beaches. This is our fourth out island that we've visited and this one met our needs perfectly. We'll be looking for opportunities to come back.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
19  Thank sw123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2007

If you are looking for paradise- look no further! Cape Santa Maria is the destination for you! We just came back from our second visit to the Cape and cannot express how truly amazing this gem of the Bahamas really is. The Cape provides miles of untouched beaches, ice blue water, amazing sea life & superior service and accommodations. As you walk in the door, you are welcomed like a family member --Wendy & Frank set the tone of the resort and provide staff with impeccible concern for your every need.

We enjoyed one of the new Villas at the resort as my family includes two children ages 5 and 3. The Villa has all the comforts of home --The Resort restaurant menu provides a wide range of delicious choices for all tastes.

We enjoyed snorkeling off the Cape beaches, exploring areas of Long Island with Delbert--who is a wealth of island knowledge and secret "finds" for all interests. The Cape arranged for a day of reef fishing as well for our family with the outstanding assistance of Bert and Carson--they managed to ensure that our family and our friends who traveled with us as well all caught more fish than we could ever eat!

The Cape provides the perfect island accommodations for couples or families who are looking to do as much or as little as they are inclined to do in paradise. Our family has shared the best of times together at the Cape--from my 5 year old snorkeling with schools of fish- to my 3 year old finding starfish off the shore as large as a basketball--We have found our island oasis & cannot wait to return next year!

Many thanks to Wendy, Frank, Starlene, Delbert, Bert & Carlson & all the other great friends at the resort who have again given our family the perfect vacation!

6  Thank adh4994
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2007

My wife and I flew to Long Island for the third leg of the Air Journey Bahamas Fall Treasure Hunt. Not convinced that a "theme" vacation was what we were up for initially, by the third resort we were totally into it! By far the most secluded and perfect beach we've seen in the Bahamas. You can venture out over 100 yards and be in bathtub temp water up to your neck. We shared the double right bext to the bar/restaurant with my brother and his wife. The accomodations were excellent, cwith large screened porches complete with a can of bug spray. Hey, it's the tropics. The food, the service, the atmosphere, I don't think there's anything to improve on. We'd definetely go back.

  • Stayed: November 2006
    • Value
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6  Thank Dan-Carol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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