19 June 2024

Get used to having your own butler at Sandals Emerald Bay
You rang, Sir?
Relaxing in the Bahamas, cricket star Allan Lamb gets used to having his own butler
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erhaps I spend too much of my time reading the sports pages but I have to admit it came as a surprise to discover that Sandals is no longer the exclusive preserve of loved-up couples. The new Sandals resort in the Bahamas is set in the idyllic crescent- shaped Emerald Bay. It’s a sleek, classy five-star resort that embraces and caters for all ages where, happily, I was very well looked after and seriously cosseted. It boasts 183 beachfront rooms and suites and the snow-white talcum- powder beach is lapped by the Caribbean. In my humble estimation this newest gem in the Sandals portfolio is bound to be a winner.

The resort’s proud boast is that it is the world’s first ‘All Suites Butler Serviced’ hotel and it has teamed up with the Guild of Professional English Butlers who train and evaluate the butlers. All I know about butlers comes from the Jeeves and Wooster books, so I was both intrigued and excited to learn that my wife Lindsay and I had our own personal butler on call 24 hours a day to make our stay more enjoyable. On arrival, after a lovely cool towel and cocktail, we were given a mobile paging system with the butler's number and name on it. This was it, my very own manservant available at the touch of a button. No more traipsing down to an overburdened concierge.
Sandals Emerald Bay is set an an exclusive peninsula
Enjoy a couples massage at the Red Lane Spa
I had a coffee-bean scrub, which was very invigorating and certainly woke me up. Lindsay had a massage, which she declared the best she’d ever had. A game of golf followed the next morning, while Lindsay went back to the spa. Golf pro Bryan Morris, an affable chap who used to live in Kent, helped me adjust a few problems I had with my swing as we tackled the 7,001 yard Greg Norman-designed course. The back nine holes all overlook the ocean and are simply breathtaking, but pretty tight. If you don’t hit straight you will be feeding the fish, and your balls will disappear at an alarming rate.

The resort has four freshwater pools and four Jacuzzis in the extensive and stunning gardens. You’ll also find luxury poolside cabanas which you can reserve through your butler. There are five à la carte dining options and we were amused by the ‘authentic’ English pub, the Drunken Duck. We could almost have been in the middle of London had it not been for all the American accents. There were even pool tables, darts and shove ha’penny - and fish and chips and bangers and mash on the menu. Barefoot By The Sea is the fresh seafood restaurant where you sit, barefoot, with your feet snuggled in the sand.
This is perfect for lunch if you are not sailing or doing something more energetic such as playing tennis - or if you did not have enough of the very serious breakfast in the Bahama Bay restaurant. We also saw some delicious looking pizzas from Dino’s Pizzeria being devoured by people lounging around the pool.

But our favourite restaurant was the Italian Il Cielo. This is a bit more dressy with a lovely cocktail bar where we had some fine martinis. The cocktail list is something else and a mile long. There is plenty to keep you occupied should you be hyperactive and restless like me.

Besides the golf and tennis there are dance lessons, rum-tasting, windsurfing, kayaking, sailing and lots more. You could even get married again… Two excursions are a must.
"Yes, I’m hooked. In fact, I’m hooked on Sandals: all-inclusive has a lot going for it. "
A charming recreation of an English Pub, The Drunken Duck
The immaculate beach at Emerald Bay
Enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner on your porch
The first is the 007 boat trip – a full day’s cruise in and out of some 150 little islands and cays through beautiful waters from Great Exuma all the way to enchanting Compass Cay. They take snorkelling to a new level on this trip with an amazing tour of the canyons and caves of Thunderball Grotto, and include swimming with the sharks (Mrs Lamb sitting firmly in the boat) and swimming with the pigs (Mrs Lamb again not budging). I hardly believed it when they told me that we would actually be swimming with pigs… but on arrival at one of the small islands, some 15 porkers charged into the water and swam up to the boat to greet us. The other excursion is with the irrepressible Jerry Lewis.

He skippers a flat-hulled boat that can go into shallow waters where we saw huge string rays, dolphins and green-backed turtles. It was very special to step on to a sandbank and walk among the starfish and sand dollars - a flat sea urchin. We ended with a serious rum punch and very fresh conchsalad on Stocking Island at the Chat And Chill bar. It has a porker on a spit on Sundays, the equivalent of our Sunday roast, which is not to be missed. For keen anglers, bone-fishing is a must. I spent an amazing day catching up to 5lb fish on the fly. It's a real adrenaline rush when the fish takes 500ft of your line. Yes, I’m hooked. In fact, I’m hooked on Sandals: all-inclusive has a lot going for it and there is something very satisfying about not being presented with a huge bill when you check out.

Original article published in Mar 2011. All info and prices correct at time of publication.

Your case unpacked, the bath run, shirt pressed, a DVD, game of golf, taxi, a picnic on a remote island, dinner à deux on a candlelit beach? You name it, Winston or Najeep were there to do our bidding. On then to a very relaxing visit to the spa. The Red Lane spa is set in a beautiful enclosed courtyard framed by tropical plants, and includes a well-equipped gym, 17 treatment rooms, a smorgasbord of treatments and hot and cold plunge pools.
"We were amused by the ‘authentic’ English pub, the Drunken Duck."
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