More about Xanadu Beach Resort & Marina
A True Misadventure
During our vacation of September 2002, we had the misfortune of participating in a sales promotion for the Xanadu Beach Hotel and Marina ('Xanadu'). The old adage of 'buyer beware' has never been clearer than it is now. Having been out and out lied to in the sales presentation, we were duped into purchasing a week in their Vacation Club. After returning home, we had to pay the full balance prior to receiving the information package from RCI, with whom Xanadu is a Gold Crown Member. At this time, all of the lies which we were told became evident.Numerous emails, phone calls and certified letters to Xanadu went unanswered. Xanadu is not a place that I would recommend anyone to vacation at, or purchase a vacation club package from them. The reason being that the staff tend to be some of the rudest people in the Islands unless they are trying to con you out of your hard earned money.
Some good, Most bad - The Straight Scoop...
I have read all the reviews for Xanadu Resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama. I just finished an 8-day trip to the island and I will give you the straight scoop. Let me be clear that the glowing reviews and how Xanadu is "close to everything" or "just a short trip away" from so and so attraction are all (100%) written by Xanadu workers. Xanadu is OK and also bad for the following reasons. First, it is not near anything and I mean anything! It is in the middle of nowhere, no restaurants, no gambling, no hot tubs, no night life, no shopping, nothing. It's also a ghost hotel - Literally 15 other people staying there - weird stuff. Rooms are fine. Pay maid $10 and tell her you need extra towels every day. No workout room, no where to power walk or work out (every morning, we mooched off fitness room at Royal Oasis - 5 minute drive). The premise of the place is that you have won a trip and have gone to timeshare sale's meetings before (btw - that is how I won the trip). Two things to know when you check in: They will re-charge/scam you $12 per person, per night "room tax". The problem is you've already paid Spirit Travel or whomever- They hope you have forgot or did not bring receipt. Best to just give them your credit card and bring an itemized receipt to show them on way out. Don't argue in the beginning as poor, rude service will only get worse. As soon as you check in, you will be assulted by Brenda, a huge Jamacian-accented lady with long, weird toenails ( I still have nightmares). She tells you she wants to "Orientate" you to Xanadu but she only wants you to come to her timeshare sales meeting. Do it if you want (free breakfast) but ask quality questions loudly when they ask for your money. So you don't disturb their pitch, they will get you out with your free goodies in hand- Zoom! Rent a car from Dollar on net before you go ($50 a day). Otherwise you will spend $40-$50 a day in taxis. Beach is nice but crowded. Pool is very dirty, cold/unheated, and falling aped (Winn-Dixie is 5 minute drive). Their one restaurant is attrocious in every single way - food, service, hours. Forget it. Beach sellers are obnoxious but harmless. Have some fun at their expense ("No I speak English.." - that kind of stuff). If you can, stay at Our Lucaya East of Freeport instead of Xanadu. Much, much, much more to do, friendly people-fun restaurants, shopping, people, and no Brenda. Beach is fine at Xanadu but unbelievably perfect at Our Lucaya. You can also stay at Royal Oasis but they will bus you to Xanadu beach, or you can hang at their fake beach. We spent a lot of time eating at Royal Oasis restaurants and gambling in at the island's one casio (new casino opening in Our Lucaya- June 2002). Most important Tips: Spring for a rent a car, eat at Lexus Chicken, eat at Pier 1 and feed the sharks, eat at Pieses Pizza in Our Lucaya, gamble, snorkle.
This place wasn't as bad
Quick summary -- Xanadu is nice considering that it's undergoing construction (5/13-5/19), people were VERY nice, hotel is a 2.5 star, but the resort itself wasn't as bad as everyone's review is.I learned about these reviews a week before we leave for Bahamas. I wanted to change our location but it was already too late. We bought this "cruise & stay" package with Dreams Vacation for $349/person plus room tax. (the cruise part of the package is a (dirty) ferry with casino -- never buy anything from Dreams Vacation -- they were rude!).The 12% per person per night tax that they charge is normal throughout the island since tourism is the main industry in the Bahamas. Believe me .. I've asked a couple of hotels and one of them is Royal Oasis. We stayed in Xanadu for 6 nights and the stay was pleasant .... we even bought a timeshare (mind you ... we already have 3 in hand). Jennifer, Ashley, Ed and Jeff (bellboy) pampered us throughout our stay. Jennifer even prepared a conch salad ('coz we loved it so much) for us at one of our native tours. They took their time giving us directions and telling us the best place to eat. She even advise us into renting a car (for $50/2-day plus mandatory insurance) and going to places on our own instead of paying for tour packages w/c helped us a lot since there are four of us -- mom, brother & husband. The hotel was okay ... I'd rate it 2.5 on a 5 scale rating, but the resort was beautiful. They had us stay at a 2-bdrm suite on the top floor overlooking the beach and the pool -- it was gorgeous!! As far as the resort is concerned ... we can't really ask much from the resort because it's undergoing renovations (should be done by 12/03), but it has the potential of a very beautiful resort .. that's why we bought the timeshare. The pool is okay .. yes, it's not heated, but the water is always warm because of the weather. We actually would go for a swim around 10 PM. It was really nice. As far as the restaurant, we didn't really eat much at the restaurantte so I can't give any advise on that plus member services gave us free breakfast/lunch every day. Catherine (our server) was really nice.Top places to go -- Pier 1 (shark feeding at 7,8 & 9 PM), Paradise Cove (snorkeling), Parasailing & Jet Skiing (it's cheaper than FL), Port Lucaya (Fri night show), native tour (a definite!), and Port Lucaya Nat'l Park (beach across the cave -- make sure you bring your swim suits).Need more input ... e-mail me.
Great For Those Who Enjoy "Bahamian Time"
The resort is absolutely gorgeous! It's truly a vacation place for those who like "Bahamian Time," that is, whenever you feel like doing it, you can. I found the staff to be extremely helpful minus some problems getting ice and coffee. The Xanadu is definitely for people who don't have to be high maintenance all of the time. Personally, I thought it was fun to kick back and drop all my beauty queen ways for awhile! People had told me that the staff at the resort was rude, but after getting to know them they are some of the sweetest people I know.
If you walk into a place with an attitude that you're better then everyone else, their response to you isn't going to be very good, but when you walk into there with an open mind, a smile on your face, and a few kind words they're VERY receptive. I think some of us need to learn what it means to treat people kind. Just because we're on vacation doesn't give us the right to be rude. So if it's your kind of thing, to chill with the locals and enjoy something slow-paced, I would really recommend the Xanadu. As for those of us who like to get a little rowdy, they have that too! Play crazy beach games to win a few shots of rum, win bahamian dance contests, and be adventeous. Karaoke? They have that too!
Go for the ocean
If you love the ocean go to Xanadu. It is a full service dive resort.
Right out your back door you can jump on a boat and go dive with sharks or dive on a wreck or just lay around on sugar white sand and swim in warm crystal clear water. Just before we left we read the bad reviews about rude people, construction, expensive taxis and food. Don't believe it. The Xanadu staff is very nice and friendly. We were on a first name basis with most by our second or third day there. The food in the resort was excellent and very well priced, (no more than you would pay here.) You are a few minutes from Freeport and Lucaya but you can usually get a free shuttle. If you want wait staff falling all over you or you want to spend all your time gambling or shopping in fine boutique's, then Xanadu is not for you, you will be dissapointed. If you want to go diving someplace different every day, then have a great lunch at good prices right on the beach, then sip cold drinks while looking over the aqua blue ocean or pool, then Xanadu is for you.
hotel OR timeshare selling racket?
We booked a 7 night stay through Priceline.com and specified a three star hotel. What we got was seven nights at a place that seems to be leaning toward selling off most of the units as timeshares. Tower refurbished rooms are for vacation club members OR people staying there through dream vacations. Shuttles and all services available were for members or potentials. Many of the people we met were there free... not as paying guests... *who get housed in the Hibiscus... overlooking the pool... where late night parties often would've kept us up... if we weren't getting our money's worth from the energy fee we were charged... the air conditioner kicked! We froze. Water in rooms was hot, stains in toilet... oh well, could've been worse.*
After getting our hotel 'assignement' from priceline, we started reading the reviews... scary. I had thoughts that we really were in for a horrible stay. All I can say is that we braced for the worst, but stuck it out.
REMOTE is the word. We went to dive - and honestly - had a great time doing that. Very reasonable rates from the dive shop just across the marina from the hotel and exciting diving. I'll give that the A+ and the main reason we stuck it out.
We started right off by tipping the maid... never had any problems with enough towels. We had to rent the darn lock cylinder for the safe in our room from the front desk... $3/day - irritating. Bought an hour of internet time for $20... nice to be in touch with the real world - fast connection.
Found out after we'd plugged in our rate we wanted to pay for the room/night about the $12. energy/tax... it added almost $200 to the overall rate.
Food at the hotel restaurant was expensive, best deal was the burger on the beach... but got tired of greasy fries. The restaurant at Xanadu is pathetic. Service is slow at best... food - just passable. Prices high.
Watched people walk out after waiting 20 minutes just for menus!
Front desk was pretty darn apathetic, but - you know - there is a difference between apathy and rudeness... if prodded they responded.
Bell boy was charming and took the lead to find us a reasonably priced rental car *A MUST*... we chose Brads - after hearing good reviews in an online forum. $45/day. Brad's father gives you the low down on the island... and we followed his lead.
Beach is beautiful, but trash caught in the rocks is sad. Policing up trash on the beach would be so easy... wonder why they don't.
My advice is that if you come to Xanadu as a paying hotel guest... and are hounded by the timeshare people (RCI - Beatrice) - let them hound you and don't go to their 'free breakfast' until you are about to leave... because if you do it any earlier - and you decide not to buy into it - then, you aren't treated like an untouchable.
If you decide to try the membership for the week, watch out - if you change your mind and decide to back out afterwards - there's like a $500 fee and you have to pay back all the services that you used...
We rented the car (Brads will come there to get you and take you to your car) - went to Winn Dixie - bought things to make some simple breakfasts and lunches... filled the ice chest from the ice machine...
and took it all for what it was.
A dining must - is the seafood buffet at the Westin in Port Lucaya - $47 per person - but - you will be amazed. Lobster, crab, shrimp buffet - tuna, grouper steak etc grilled to order - salad, dessert buffets - mexican - and more. We stayed 2.5 hours and could've stayed longer!!
slice of heaven.
Scorpios in the market was excellent - order the lobster, shrimp and conch pizza... med. $24 with beer... hard for two hungry adults to finish it - excellent.
Zorbas also very good.
We ate at the Stoned Crab - atmosphere was delightful with open to the surf seating... a bit pricey but a relaxing evening.
Save cab fare - rent a car. Dive... snorkel... dig your toes in the sand. The beach and dive shop are the golden touches at Xanadu. Albeit maybe the only ones.
Would return to Port Lucaya - would dive Xanadu ... but wouldn't stay at the hotel again.
bThis was the worst vacation experience of my life! My mother-in-law had recently bought a timeshare at the resort and she allowed us to use one of her weeks. The staff stated to her it would be no problem for us to come the beginning of August and stay in a tower suite overlooking the water. First of all, the resort is not on the water, you have to walk to get there. When she called, no one claimed to know her name and she never got a return phone call. Finally, she was told by one of the sales reps there were no rooms left, only in the hotel, so she took that. The original reps were mysteriously tied up in a meeting. We arrived to find various people in the lobby, waiting to get into their rooms. The front desk person stated they needed to locate housekeeping, and said she would give a shout when they could check in. My husband and I got our key, to find a hot smelly elevator, in addition to a musty hallway. The room had no extra pillows and remote; the TV had a bad sound quality; there was no alarm clock, nor could we make a call without giving them our credit card, which we refused to do. The bathroom was so small we had to keep the door open when occupying it; there was no fan in the shower room as well. There was also no vending machine in the hotel. Our main problem was with the staff in Sales and Customer Service; they refused to listen to our needs. We were not treated as a member of their Vacation Club (timeshare), as we should have been. We were not given free breakfast and dinners all week as had been promised by the rep who signed up my MIL. When we went to find this woman she was nowhere to be found. They told us we needed a VIP card and when I went to get it, no one had made it up. We finally went to eat, but when we returned for lunch, the Manager stated we had no benefits, very different than what we had been told by Customer Service. The CS Manager became sarcastic and stated I could keep the towel I had unecessarily bought on the beach for $15 I as a souvenir. They did not tell us we did not need to pay for towels or chairs; they charge $2 a day just to use a beach chair. On the beach, there are women daily selling their jewelry, bothering the guests; they get right in your face. When the timeshare manager had us meet with CS, he said we would have a meeting and then he never showed up; he also lied about arranging a meeting with his boss. When we made another time, his boss blew us off and he blatantly lied to us. Finally, when we went to use their free shuttle, it did not show up, so one of the reps gave us a ride to town and he was drinking alcohol and speeding. Also, everything at the resort is extra, food, water activities, drinks, etc. On the beach, they charge $1.75 for a can of soda. Cab rides are outrageous and can range from $14 to $40 roundtrip. In summary you are better off staying home than coming to the Xanadu or the Bahamas.
Xanadu...a hidden jewel
I just returned from Xanadu last week. I spent my Thanksgiving in Freeport. I could not have asked for a better time than I had at Xanadu. The hotel was beautiful, the staff was friendly, and the beach was perfect. In fact other hotels in Freeport bus their guests in to the private beach at Xanadu. Don't worry though it was never even close to crowded. I did see hints of construction/renovations, but it was never an annoyance. I did sit through a vacation package/time share presentation. Tourism is their buisness what'd you expect. After about 90 minutes I did turn the offer down and I was still treated great the rest of my stay. The cab rides did mount up in a hurry. Find another couple or a group to help share cab fares and you'll save alot. The remoteness of Xanadu is one of the finer points. You can stay and relax or head to the International Bazar or Port Lacaya and enjoy the faster pace. I had a great time and plan a return trip to Xanadu in 2004.
Grand Bahama Island aka Freeport
Freeport is a great place to see sharks while diving.
"Beaches in Freeport"
The beaches in Freeport are beautiful.
I stayed at the Xanadu Beach Hotel which is near the beach. Make sure your hotel is near the beach.
WILDEFLOWER's new Bahamas Page
Stroll the beaches, ride horses, snorkel, or party your heart out on Bahama Mama's. It's fun for everyone. I had a blast here. The snorkeling is my favorite. There are different tours to take. The Garden tour wasn't long enough to enjoy the garden we visited. If you can rent a car. Do the tours on your own. It gives you more time to play.
73 miles long, 4-8 miles wide.I wouldn't try to ride a bicycle around it, but that's me LOL ! Only 50 miles off the Florida USA coast. That's only 30 minutes if your flying ! Oh and 3 hours from New York !
Freeport is the best gambling spot in the country. And has the world famous diving school "UNEXSO" . I bought great souvenirs(T-shirts) etc.. at the International Bazar. It is located right next to The Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino. Banks, Government offices and small business are on East Mall Dr. Not much to see there. Free port is mostly the"Inland"
I'm sure many things have changed since I have been there. But I still loved it. It is very family oriented at the Princess with the minimountain in the middle of the pool and a little waterfall inside. It even had a slide. The Bahama Mamas are served all the time I think ?
N. Beachway Dr., Freeport809-373-3600
If it's still there? Pinetree Stables was $35 per person for 1 1/2 hr. Tues-Sun The trail rides go to the beach. Check prices.
Paradise Watersports, Sunken Treasure Dr., Xanadu Beach 809-352-2887
$18 per person. Check prices I'm sure they have gone up.