More about Pelican Bay at Lucaya
The Best Hotel in Grand Bahama Islands....
We stayed at Pelican Bay in early December 2003... the hotel management and employees are the nicest, most helpful and courteous we have ever experienced. The accommodations are comfortable, spacious and nicely decorated. A very nice atmosphere to say the least. The complimentary breakfast was very nicely done... a very nice selection. We will definitely be going back to Pelican Bay Hotel for our next vacation in the Bahamas.
Pelican Bay--Ok for the price
Let me start by saying, this is my third trip to Freeport and my second stay in Lucaya. Overall it was a decent trip--but there are a few areas of concern.Beware of the construction around and at the hotel. Our taxi driver was kind enought to negotiate all the construction and he dropped us off at the front of the hotel. However, others were dropped off on the street and had to carry their luggage serval hundred yards to the hotel!Upon our arrival we were given a complimentary drink and a drink comp for that evening. Staffers were courteous and helpful.The Pelican Bay Hotel appears much nicer online. The two pools are terribly small and the jacuzzi is only large enough for 2 people. The housekeeping staff left a lot to be desired. The room was musty and smelled of smoke (nonsmoking room)--thank God I brought incense and Lysol! I later discovered that my bed sheets were not fresh--I pulled the covers back to find wads of long blonde hair in my bed--mind you I sport dredlocks! Security had a nasty attitude when I asked them to bring me clean sheets (this was at 11 pm). Also, the housekeeper couldnt's seem to get it that there were 2 of us in one room--therefore we required 2 towels and washcloths daily! From the first day to the last-- our room keys did not work. Everytime we left the room we would have to go to the front desk to have our keys coded--we were there for 8 days!!Despite these things--the stay was tolerable. The daily free continental breakfast was fantastic--eggs, sausage, pastry, oatmeal, bagels, fresh fruit, juice, cereal, etc! Breakfast was located on the water in the Marina--right behind the hotel. You can feed the tropical fish while enjoying the beuatiful scenery. The food was good too!Also, the location was perfect. Right on the water--we could see all the boats passing by from our balcony. We were right next to Count Basie Square and all the resturants and shopping. The beach(Our Lucaya) is walking distance across the street (You can swim in December/January). You can use their towels and chairs for a one time $5 fee. However, there is an additional $10 per day fee to use the spa and fitness center at Our Lucaya.In the end, the staff warmed up to us- with the help of a few tips! At the end of our vacation management discounted the room because of the problems with the key and the sheets.I would reccommend this hotel to others--just call ahead and find out about construction and know that the amenities aren't as lavish as they appear online.I would stay at the Pelican Bay Hotel again because of the location and the scenery. In the end, I got a great deal. I've found during all three of my trips there that a lil patience and a smile take you a long way! If you must complain--do so with a smile--not only did I shave a few bucks off the room rate, but I got a few meals, rides, and other perks for free--just don't forget the Lysol and lots of patience!
Pelican Bay at Port Lucaya
Trip Report Pelican Bay Hotel Port Lucaya Grand Bahama Island Dec. 26 Dec 31, 2003HOTEL AND AIR - I booked the trip through Expedia. Airfare from Dallas-Ft. Worth to Miami and Miami to Freeport, 5 nights at the Pelican Bay in a standard room and airport transfers was $1695. I booked the trip in August. We left DFW at 6:15 am and arrived in Freeport at 12:00 noon. It seems to be easier to get through customs if you arrive earlier in the day. We only waited in the customs line for 10 minutes. I heard of several people who got in later waiting up to an hour. I also heard that if you come in on the ferry, the wait was even longer and getting your luggage was a huge hassle. Our taxi was waiting for us outside. We were at the hotel by 12:45. The hotel was great! I can t say enough nice things about the staff and the property. Even though check in is 3:00, they had out room ready.( I also asked for a 2:00 check out when we departed and they were happy to accommodate me with that for no extra charge.) We were given a welcome drink and a short tour of the property. The room was very nice nothing fancy. It was fairly large with 2 double beds. I was traveling with my 19-year-old daughter. You can also get a king size bed. Every room has a large covered balcony with 2 nice chairs and a table. Our room overlooked the pool and the marina. There is a TV with cable (large selection of channels, including HBO and Disney), a table with 2 chairs, a large wicker chair and a 6-drawer dresser. There is also a small refrigerator, a sink and a coffee maker. The bathroom is like an average American hotel tub with a shower. They deliver a faxed copy of highlights from the New York Times in the morning and mints and the next day s weather report at night. There is a complimentary continental breakfast every morning with sweet rolls, bagels, English muffins, cereal, yogurt, fruit, hard boiled eggs, coffee, juice and tea. The Yellow Fin Bar and Grill is a great option for meals. We found the prices and quality of the food very good and ate there several times. There are 2 swimming pools and a Jacuzzi. The second pool on the other side of the property was usually deserted. There is also a ferry that comes about every half hour to the Port Lucaya Marina. You can charge food and drink to your room there. There is also a ferry to Taino Beach. They are building more suites on the property and another pool with a swim up bar. There is some construction at the entrance that will be finished soon. There is a walkway to the Port Lucaya Marketplace (3 minutes) where you can eat, drink and shop. You can get towels at the reception desk for the pool and the beach. You can rent the safety deposit box in your room for $3 a day (well worth it). For a one time charge of $5 per person, you get a wrist band that allows you access to the Sheraton-Westin across the street, also well worth the money. FOOD - All of the following are in the marketplace next to the hotel. We ate at Pisces restaurant - $50 for two including drinks. The food and the service were very good. It is better to get there early they have a long wait after 7:00. We also ate at the PUB at Port Lucaya about the same price as Pisces, however the service was not very good. Most restaurants and bars add a 15% tip to your bill, so the service varies. We ate at Fat Man s Nephew. The food was excellent but the service was extremely slow. Try the Guava Duff for dessert. We found it to be a bit expensive for the amount of food you get. Go early if you can, they had an hour wait after 6:30 pm. PORT LUCAYA MARKETPLACE - I found the marketplace very clean with interesting native items for sale. You can bargain with the vendors. The native Bahamians are great people very friendly and helpful. There are many places to choose from to eat. Most have a menu outside. There are also a Dominoes and a Subway. The opportunities for shopping are numerous. There are many high end stores Versace, Cartier, etc. and many jewelry and perfume stores. I enjoyed the local vendors at both ends of the marketplace in the open-air booths. There is a drugstore and a camera store. There are also many restrooms and telephones (you need a calling card). There are also many women braiding hair. There were not really pushy Just say no. We never felt unsafe or hassled by anyone. ACTIVITES You can spend lots of money doing all the different activities that are offered. UNEXSO This is right next to the Pelican Bay. You really need to make reservations for their activities ahead of time. I did this by e-mail. They fill up very quickly. They have many different activities. We did the Swim with the Dolphins. The cost is $169 per person. It is a bit pricey but worth every penny. You go on a boat to Sanctuary Bay, about 15 minutes. You are given some basic information about the dolphins then the group of 10 is divided into 2 groups. The first group gets about 30 minutes in the water to swim with 2 dolphins. The other group watches from the dock. The dolphins are very interactive and seem to love to swim and play with the people. Then each person gets about 5 minutes alone with the dolphin while the dolphin does some tricks. Then the next group does the same. This is an awesome experience!! They also have a Dolphin Encounter that goes out with this group, but there were about 50 people and from what I could see, they most just watched the dolphins do tricks and they got in the water with the dolphins only long enough to take a picture. This activity cost $70. PINETREE STABLES We went horseback riding at Pinetree. $75 per person. My daughter really enjoyed this. Basically, you just walk the horses on a trail through the pine forest, the mangrove forest and out to the beach. The horses really didn t want to go into the ocean. It is a pretty beach next to the Island Seas Resort. It is an interesting activity. E-Mail: email@example.com EAST END CAVE EXTRAVAGANZA I booked this through Expedia when I booked my air and hotel. It was $30 a person. It is done through Forbes Charter. I have a few complaints about this tour. You call to book your day when you get to Freeport. I asked the representative about lunch, as the tour was scheduled from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. She said it was not included and there would be no opportunity to buy lunch anywhere. So I did not bring much cash . They were suppose to pick us up in the lobby of the hotel at 9:10 but did not arrive until 9:35. Then we picked up groups of people at several other hotels. The bus was an old New Jersey Transit bus. Then we stopped at a convenience store for snacks and a bathroom break. We drove out to Lucayan National Park. We visited 2 caves. Not really worth seeing really just large carved out places in the rock. However, then you walk across the mangroves to the Gold Rock Beach, which is stunning. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You spend one hour at the beach and then the driver took us to the Banana Bay Restaurant for lunch. Since the Forbes rep had said there would be no opportunity to buy lunch, I really didn t have enough money to buy more then a couple of Cokes. The beach around the Banana Bay is beautiful. It would be better to rent a car for a day and go to the Gold Rock Beach on your own and spend your time there. SHERATON/WESTIN/OUR LUCAYA This is a beautiful resort area directly across the street from Pelican Bay and the marketplace. There is also a newly opened Isle of Capri Casino on this property. There are several different hotels. We went into 3 of them just to look. This is where you need the wristband. If you have a wristband, you have access to all of the facilities. There were a lot of security guards around and they seemed to be watching to make sure you had a wristband. The Sheraton seems to be mostly for families with children. We looked in a few rooms and they seemed to be very standard. The Breakers Cay is a very large multistoried hotel. This seemed to be also a lot of families. The Westin had a very elegant lobby and seemed to be more couples, as did the Lighthouse and the Lanai Suites. The Lanai Suites were beautiful and seemed to be the quietest. The beach is really nice. Again, with your wristband you can use the chairs on the beach. The beach near the Lighthouse/Lanai Suites was the quietest with the least amount of children and no wave runners or banana boat rentals. The further down the beach you go, the more active it becomes. The Infinity Pool next to the Lighthouse/Lanai Suites is beautiful. It appears to disappear into the ocean. Well worth going to look at even if you don t want to swim. Wave Runners Bar and Grill is ridiculously expensive. $2.50 for a small glass of Coke. There are two or three more pools on the property that you can use if you purchase the wristband. The Sugar Mill Pool is also beautiful as is the Serendipity Pool. They also have a water park like slide for the children. DEPARTING The airport is kind of a mess when you depart. You will need most of the two hours to get through it. You go through US customs at the Freeport airport before departing which is nice to get it over with. However, you do have to carry your luggage around with you quite a bit. Pack light. We spent most days in our bathing suits and really needed very few clothes.CONCLUSION - I did enjoy Grand Bahama Island. I have spent a lot of time in the Florida Keys and in Cancun and in Playa Del Carmen. GBI is expensive as far as food and entertainment go, but you can find good deals out there. I heard several people complain about the Viva Fortuna and the Crowne Plaza. My suggestion would be to stay near the Port Lucaya area. There is a lot to do there and no need to rent a car for more than one day. They do drive on the opposite side of the road. They also take US money. I brought most of my money in $1 and used my MasterCard. Few people take American Express and there is a charge for using traveler s checks. Email me with any questions.
The Perfect Relaxed Getaway you've been looking for.
Just got back from four nights at Pelican Bay... it was our first trip to Grand Bahama, and we were very pleased. Pelican Bay is a very nice hotel and offers a lot for the money. The only real "problem" with our stay was at check-in. We arrived earlier than anticipated at 1pm; the hotel could have made us wait since check-in is at 3pm, but the woman at the front desk assigned us to a different room instead. When we got to the new room, it was not yet made up. They assigned us to another room; this one had two double beds as opposed to a king (I'm 6'3", and believe me, a double bed is not an option.) Finally, knowing that we were tired from a long flight, they upgraded us to a suite for no extra charge. It was a nice save on their behalf... the suites are beautiful and offer many more amenities than the other rooms at the hotel. Our only other complaint was that all of the rooms have a faint musty smell. But, given the weather in the Bahamas, I'm pretty sure that most rooms at any hotel have the same problem. Pelican Bay is NOT on the beach; it's set on a peninsula that juts out into the expansive bay of Port Lucaya, so water views are everywhere at the hotel. The beach is a short walk across the street to the huge Our Lucaya Resort. You won't miss having the sand right outside your doorstep, trust me. And it's worth the walk when you find how much quieter Pelican Bay is over the much busier Our Lucaya. Pelican Bay has two nice outdoor pools, a third with a swim-up bar opening in Spring '04. Each time we used pool #2 (not the one by Yellowtails, the hotel's outdoor snack shack and bar), we had the pool entirely to ourselves. Very nice. But our favorite poolside spot was the U-shaped "infinity" pool at the eastern end of Our Lucaya. To find this pool, you have to enter the complex through either the conference center, or under the big lighthouse. It was my assumption that most people didn't even know the pool was there, considering how quiet and empty it was. The pool has an amazing view of the Atlantic; it's constructed so that the water of the pool looks as if it is stretcting out to the ocean. Simply put: it's breathtaking.
Note that Pelican Bay has instituted a policy of charging $5 per guest for use of Our Lucaya's pools and chairs. It's worth it. October and September are hurricane season in the Carribean, and considered to be the "off-season" on Grand Bahama. This means that a few businesses will be closed, and you'll see a lot of maintenance work going on as the hotels are not at capacity. The trade-off is that there are far fewer people... no crowds, fewer noisy scenes and much more relaxing. We took advantage of UNEXSO (the Underwater Explorers Society) being right nextdoor to the hotel to book their "Swim with Dolphins" program. Their various programs are not inexpensive, but they do a superb job and make it worth every penny. We opted to go swimming with their trained dolphins in a closed in sea-water lagoon that is a boatride away from their main facility. If you've ever thought of doing this, I HIGHLY recommend it. The animals are gentle, good-natured and fun. It was very much a high-point of our trip. There are many "pay-to-play" options within a walk from the hotel... booze cruises, banana boat rides, jetskiing, parasailing, etc. I say, pick a few and have ablast, or just enjoy soaking up the rays. You'll find that Pelican Bay is right next-door to the Port Lucaya Marketplace. This is essentially a big outdoor mall, Carribean-style. Lots of t-shirt and knick-knack shops, a bunch of open bars and many small restaurants. For the most part the market is slightly run-down and a little bit tacky, but it's also pretty clean and (I felt) very safe. Likewise, a bus-ride away is the International Bazaar, which is a larger, even more slightly run-down version of the Lucayan market. To get there, walk to the end of the Our Lucaya resort and take a public "bus" (one of many small vans.) The fee is $1 each way. At the International Bazaar is also a small casino if you're in the mood for some slots or blackjack. Foodwise, you'll find that most places are mediocre-to-good, but that the prices are on the high side. Fortunately, there is no meal tax. But be warned that most places include a 15% gratuity automatically on your bill. This is perfectly acceptable considering that service is friendly and informal across the board. Good meals near the hotel in the Lucayan Market are The Caribbean Cafe (excellent ribs, amazing bahamian rice & beans) and Giovanni's (very good tiramisu.) But if you're in the mood for a truly fantastic meal, the Ferryhouse Restaurant right next door to the hotel is a must. This was by far the priciest of our meals on the island, but again worth every penny. Excellent (if more formal) service, stellar food. The made-to-order hot chocolate cake dessert is a piece of heaven. There are many, many more amenities and highlights to the areas. If you have any specific questions, e-mail me. I'd be glad to share them.
My husband, teenage son & I just returned from a long weekend at Pelican Bay. We took advantage of a special that upgraded us to a suite for the price of the standard room. The suites were great. Very uniquely furnished. Hotel was small and quiet. People were helpful and friendly. Spent one afternoon at Our Lucaya. Best spot in my opinion was in Lighthouse Point area by the infinity pool. Well worth the $5.00 fee. to use their facilities. Spa at Our Lucaya was excellent. We all had great massages there. Food at the Markeplace was average, with the exception of La Dolce Vita where we had a very good dinner. Would definitely return and stay at the same hotel.
Best by Comparison
We spent four nights in one of the suites at Pelican Bay. Although it's doubtful we would return to the Bahamas, if we did we would definitely stay at this hotel. The hotel employees were the most pleasant and most helpful of anywhere else we visited on the Island. The facilities were extremely clean and well-maintained. Our suite's balcony overlooked the bay so we could sit out there and watch boats return to the marinas.
Great sunrise view, too. Even though it's not on a beach, Tanio Beach and Our Lucaya's beaches are only moments away. Tanio Beach (5-minute boat ride from the hotel) was the most private, but you sacrifice service by going there. There is one restaurant/bar on the beach and the service made me think I was back in Atlanta (meaning it was poor).
The bars/restaurants at Our Lucaya were a bit pricier, but the service was excellent. If you like snorkeling, definitely take the trip to Deadman's Reef at Paradise Cove. The hotel will arrange for a bus to pick you up free of charge, and for $35 you can snorkel all day, snorkeling equipment and lunch included. We did not take the time for the Dolphin Experience at UNEXO, but heard that it was outstanding.
Went on long weekend to Pelican Bay (11/08/03)- (11/11/03) and had a wonderfull time. Hotel was all that your reviews said and more. Staff was attentive and place was immaculate. Welcoming drink, coupons for drinks at Yellowtails and late checkout were offered upon arrival. We stayed in the hotel section in a 2nd floor corner room with a fantastic view of the channel, pool, and marina. Very laidback and quiet-great for unwinding from city life. If you want action the Lucaya Market is a three minute walk with all the bars, restaurants, and Basie Square.
Also, all the tour boats leave from there. You have use of the Westin/Sheraton pools and beach for 5.00-well worth it. If you want quiet and a beautiful beach go to Lighthouse Point on the far left side of the resort. The other pools are pretty busy with a lot of kids. Ate at the Ferry House on site and it was fantastic-presentation and service first rate. Also; Luciano's in the market was great. Some reviewers complain about the high cost of food but we found it not that bad. If you are used to paying for New York or Boston meals these were quite reasonable. Good food at good prices can be found at the Pub, Shenanigans,and Pisces. I found the people there very pleasant and most service was above average. Drinks there were also quite resonable-Kalik beers 2 for 5.00-tropical drinks 4.00-6.00 happy hours at most bars and wine in restaurants 25.00-45.00 range. All in all a very beautiful hotel and area-although there is construction being done on a new wing which will open Jan 04.
The decor is the highlight
My husband and I, and some foreign friends, thought the suites were very confortable, friendly service, but most of all, the decor is so interesting and fascinating that you feel like staying longer as it feels like a home, not a hotel. Each detail has been carefully selected, many pieces are work of art (i.e. the very creative lights, the handpainted rugs, the handmade textiles), it was all put together in style and charm. Thank you, and hope to come back, for a longer stay.
Stay at Pelican Bay
We stayed at Pelican Bay for New Years, from 12/29-1/2. It was absolutely wonderful. Stan, the bellman, is the best. My husband, myself and our 3-year old son traveled together and stayed in one of the suites. They provided a roll-out for my son at no additional cost.
The room was very clean. We enjoyed the complimentary espresso and pastries. The breakfast was great, perfect for my son, and in the most beautiful spot, a floating dock in the bay. As for arrival, we did not have any problems in customs. Our bags arrived quickly and we were out the door in no time. I had arranged for a car before leaving the states and our driver was waiting for us. We arrived at Pelican Bay at 11:30 AM. They had our room ready and the bellman, Stan, took us to our room.
We changed and the manager came up to check us in and handle the paperwork...no lines and great service. We will return the same time next year, but for a long time!
Great Bargain Excellent for a weekend getaway.
excellent if you are want to save money by staying in a smaller, less built-up hotel on the marina.
location is on the water, opposite the beach. best thing--for 5.00 you get access to the Westin at Our Lucaya (which costs more than twice as much) and their the beach and you can use all their amenities including towel/pool and spa (spa is 10.00 more).
everything at Pelican Bay including hot tub, pool, room and floating breakfast buffet are right on the boat-filled marina. A regular ferry service will take you to private taino beach or the pelican bay yacht club for free. Pelican Bay is less than a 5 min walk to casino/marketplace/bars/restraunts.
Girlfriend and I stayed in a regular room. it was nice. very ordinary room, but view faced marina and sunset which was great. suites are decorated to the t and very cool--try to make a deal.
Favorite meals were the Ferry House (on location) and Stone Crab (right on taino beach). in the count basie square (4 min walk) Pices was way american, but fat man's nephew was actually way good and authentico.
Rumrunners serves pours their drinks right in a fresh coconuts--very good to say the least.
went to garden of the groves--it gave us some good pics, but was actually kinda run down. still very pretty though-i would go on a cloudy day.
horseback riding i heard was fun--we didnt book early and couldnt get a reservation.