Before I had my introduction to these five all-inclusive resorts, I’ll admit I had lukewarm feelings for these types of accommodations. The first reason was pretty superficial: In my mind, a main draw of all-inclusives is an open bar, and since I am not a heavy drinker I always felt cheated. The second reason was crowded, overdeveloped spaces, which I have never done well with. The Bahamas is all about the outdoors: the soothing breeze that washes in with the waves and the endless horizons where the sky melds with the water. To my delight, I found these five all-inclusive resorts fully embrace the beauty of nature, and have far more to offer than endless cocktails. Fowl Cay Resort and Small Hope Bay Lodge, in particular, far exceeded my expectations. All of their services are bundled, but their facilities are very much decentralized. With their cottage-style accommodations spread across naturally lush green spaces, they deliver a level of privacy that most all-inclusive resorts simply cannot.
Fowl Cay Resort
Everything you could possibly want from a visit to the Exumas is within reach of Fowl Cay Resort—including snorkeling sites rich with sealife and lonely beaches waiting to be walked on. There are only six cottages on the 50-acre island property; each comes with a personal power boat with unlimited gas, beach toys, fishing gear, golf carts, food and drink, and privacy in an all-inclusive bundle.
Small Hope Bay Lodge
All guests at this resort—set on the island of Andros—enjoy sanctuary in the comfort of their own garden cottages, but at mealtime it’s customary for them to gather and eat together at the community dining table. This resort is rustic but modern, with a casual, breezy feel. Outdoor-adventure types can join excursions for diving and fishing, kayaking, eco-tours, and more.
Sandals Emerald Bay
This sprawling resort on Great Exuma lets you step out of your airy villa and straight onto the beach—or perch high in a balcony room and watch the sunset from your private patio. You can keep to yourself at this adults-only all-inclusive, but you might not want to; the social scene here is lively and the entertainment is culturally rich. There are seven restaurants offering a wide variety of fine-dining experiences.
Club Med Columbus Isle
There are five monuments to commemorate the landfall of Christopher Columbus on the island of San Salvador. Despite its name, this beachfront resort isn’t one of them; it is, however, a super-popular destination for couples, honeymooners and destination-wedding parties. The list of activities here is long, and includes tennis, a sailing school, and beach volleyball.
Memories Grand Bahama Beach and Casino Resort
Bring your children with you to this all-inclusive, because family fun is what Memories Grand Bahama Beach and Casino Resort is known to deliver. The resort caters to kids with organized activities at the Memories Fun Club and water slides at the Splash Pad. For the adults, there is a casino, golf course and full service spa complex.