DAY ONE — No kids. Not building sand castles on the beach. Not doing cannon balls in the pool. Not crayoning on their children’s menus at breakfast.
And that’s just fine. Because when you are after an adult’s getaway, you don’t want a lot of kids around to either spoil your tranquility or make you feel guilty. If you wanted to be with kids, you would have brought your own.
And you wouldn’t have picked a decidedly adult getaway like Sandals Emerald Bay on the outer Bahamian island of Great Exuma (about an hour’s flight from Miami on a 50-passenger jet). This is a grownups’ getaway — no one under 18 admitted.
“ I like being the one to be taken care of, not doing the taking care of,” said Bill Randolph, here with his wife Ana and two other couples from New Hampshire while their two kids are being taken care of by grandparents. It is their first adults’ vacation in nearly five years. “It’s a reminder that there are two of us and after the kids are gone, it will be two of us again.”
This is a most decidedly upscale Sandals—we even have butler service! It is kind of unnerving to have someone—especially a nice young man named Logesh Ambikapathy who is from India—to cater to my every wish. Lemon for my water? Coming right up. Martini glasses and cocktail onions for my husband (the room is stocked with liquor)? No problem. He even stops by the pool to see if we need anything. A pizza would be nice, we suggest. He brings it piping hot 15 minutes later. Honestly, I feel like I’ve fallen through the Looking Glass into a Disney movie—and I’m not minding it a bit. “It’s hard to think of things for the butler to do!” Chris Gregoire, here with his wife Lorry and two other couples from New Hampshire, joked.
When we arrived last night, he met us in the lobby and escorted us to our room which not only is generously sized but has a deck overlooking the ocean. We immediately turned off the AC so we could feel that warm ocean breeze and hear the waves—a welcome change from staring at piles of snow back in Connecticut. Did I mention there were a pair of swans fashioned of towels on our bed with flower petals scattered around them. Believe me, you are never too old for romance and it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day either!
This Sandals just opened a year ago—before it was a Four Seasons—and it is on a spectacular mile-long beach. We can take our pick of beach side chaise lounges under thatched roof coverings or cabanas pool side complete with curtains we can close. There also is a “quiet” pool on the immaculately groomed grounds planted with some flowers we can’t even name.
The hardest thing to decide is how should we spend all of our well-earned idleness? We thought we’d go scuba diving but the waters were too rough. We didn’t mind, actually. After a breakfast on the terrace (first rate, complete with fresh tropical fruits and so many pastries they add inches to my hips just looking at them), we go for a long walk along the beach dotted with palms and grasses. We could play beach volleyball or join in the “name that tune” games around the pool bar but we are content to adjourn to our yellow-striped cabana and read. Our “pool butler” comes by every so often to see what we need — water, bloody marys, guacamole and chips. It is a rough life! And though the 183-room resort is about 80 per cent full, there doesn’t seem to be the jockeying for beach chairs I’ve seen at other luxe beach hotels.
Everyone here seems to have the same agenda—relax and get warm –for a few days anyway (we hear another snowstorm is headed our way back home).
We could play tennis or golf, go kayaking or take out a sail boat. We could play bocce ball at 1:30 p.m. or play Miscal Hats at 2:30 p.m. There is Afternoon Tea at 3:30.
We only move from our beach chairs for lunch at the Barefoot Restaurant—yes our toes are really in the sand while we eat conch salad and conch chowder. Truth be told, lunch isn’t terrific—not terrible but not terrific—but I don’t even care I’m so relaxed. I’m not worried about anyone else’s happiness—are my kids grumpy because they are missing a significant other? Are hungry or tired? Do I need to get groceries? Where will we eat dinner? What will we do afterward?
Sound familiar? That’s a family vacation for you and they are as wonderful as they are aggravating. But it is nice to have a few days for my husband and myself. And this is a nice place to do it. “People come to this island to get away and relax,” David Ker, who drove us the 15 minutes from the airport yesterday told us. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Time for couples massage.
Next: Kayaking through the mangroves