Owning It(1)

By Mark RogersTalk about turning around on a dime. Sandals Resorts International recently announced the purchase of the Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay in the Bahamas and, in a scant five months (on Jan. 22 to be

By: By Mark Rogers

Talk about turning around on a dime. Sandals Resorts International recently announced the purchase of the Four Seasons Resort Great Exuma at Emerald Bay in the Bahamas and, in a scant five months (on Jan. 22 to be exact), the resort will reopen as Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas. The 500-acre property already has a championship Greg Norman golf course and world-class marina. When Sandals emerald Bay opens, it will showcase an expansive new pool complex and additional dining venues.

“This is a remarkable moment in the history of Sandals Resorts,” said Sandals Resorts Founder and Chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart. “We are acquiring one of the most spectacular pieces of real estate in the Caribbean, which was operated by one of the world’s most highly regarded hotel companies.”

Stewart credits receivers, the PricewaterhouseCoopers firm, and the government of the Bahamas on their efficiency in bringing this deal to a speedy conclusion. Sandals Resorts has a non-disclosure agreement and is keeping mum about the purchase price of the property. Stewart is on record as saying the original developers invested more than $300 million on the property, which first opened in 2003.

Sandals Emerald Bay will feature the company’s Luxury Included concept. Luxury Included properties are all suites offering butler service that extends to the pool and to the beach. Each of these properties —there are 14 of these resorts with locations in Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia and the Bahamas — has a beachfront location; a choice of a la carte restaurants; premium brand wine and spirits, including an exclusive partnership with California's Beringer Vineyards; luxurious accommodations in a range of categories; watersports including the Caribbean's largest PADI certification program; Preston Bailey Signature WeddingMoons and signature Red Lane Spas.

Sandals Emerald Bay is set along a one-mile stretch of white sand beach on Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas. The all-suite resort will have a selection of 190 luxury oceanfront accommodations with styles that range from beachfront villas to bay house settings. Resort amenities include a fully-equipped tennis center featuring six Har-tru courts lit for night play with professional stadium seating fit for competition and a full-service Red Lane Spa with 22 indoor treatment areas and six outdoor treatment areas. The resort will have six restaurants, including four new dining concepts from Sandals Resorts: a fine-dining seafood restaurant, an Italian brick-oven pizzeria, a French-style cafe and a traditional British pub complete with a pool and snooker room.

To complement the property’s existing two pools, the company will debut a new freshwater pool. This will encompass over half an acre and will include a Jacuzzi, swim-up pool bar and a fire-pit seating area in the center. Flanking the pool will be misting columns and cabanas equipped with wireless Internet access. The resort will have 13,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space, including three large ballrooms with a separate event entrance that can be converted into smaller rooms, all with access to a dedicated conference facility kitchen and two meetings rooms supported by 24/7 conference and technology services.

Rounding out the picture is an 18-hole Greg Norman-designed championship golf course and a 17-acre, stand-alone Emerald Bay Marina by Sandals, the first-ever marina for any Sandals Resort. This fully protected, deepwater marina offers 133 slips and is equipped to accommodate and service yachts up to 300 feet in length. Open to the public, the marina also features a welcoming clubhouse with a full-service restaurant featuring poolside al fresco dining.

Agents can already begin booking the resort, and TravelAge West has also been assured that exclusive agent offers will be announced soon.

Sandals Emerald Bay is the fourteenth Sandals Resort in the Jamaican-based company’s portfolio and the third investment the company has made in the Bahamas, already home to Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island in Nassau and Royal Plantation Island at Fowl Cay in the Exumas.