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Reviewed 28 March 2011

We found this place through friends who had visited it previously. It's about a 35 - 40 minute flight from Nassau, in a somewhat small plane (20 seats!). Upon arrival at the airport, a taxi had been arranged to meet us and took us directly to the resort. We were able to stop at a local general store to pick up a few items before we got to the resort.
The resort itself is gorgeous! It sits in a small bay, with sky blue water and white sand beach. I'm just over 6 feet, and I was able to go out about 200 yards into the water and it just reached my chest.
There are 24 cottages on the resort, two rooms per cottage, but unless the resort is full, you probably won't have anyone else sharing the cottage with you. There's a large enclosed porch for when you want to get out of the sun (as if), and you're only a few steps away from the beach.
The main area of the resort contains reception, the tv room, (with a large DVD library and satellite tv) the laundry, the exercise room, as well as the bar and restaurant. Wi-fi is available free of charge in the lobby. There are also windsails, and kayaks available to take out onto the water.
The bar offers free conch fritters during happy hour as well as daily drink specials. You can sit in the bar area or go out onto the large deck at the beach.
The restaurant has a great menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all the meals we had were excellent! The whole area is open so you can look out at the ocean while you eat.
There's not a lot to do on the island, a few tours and what have you. We were just looking for a place to relax and sit by the ocean for a few days, and without a doubt, this was the best place to do it.
I can't recommend this place highly enough, if you're looking just to get away from it all and hang out in the sun.
It's also unbelievably quiet at night, and one night, there was a short power outage, and we ran outside and saw the most amazing sky you've ever seen.
Go and be amazed... we'll go back, no question.

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank AlbertaActor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2011

That's what several people said to us as we passed them when strolling down the most beautiful beach in the world. You know about the places you see on-line, and when you arrive you think the pictures oversold the place? Not here - it's really the opposite, where the pictures can't do it justice. It's that beautiful. This was our second visit in two years. Initially we were in a villa with relatives, then moved into one of the bungalows. We were able to cook a lot of our own meals in the fabulous villa kitchen and when we were in the bungalow, were delighted to discover the food in the restaurant is excellent. The staff is extremely courteous and helpful. A great combination of professionalism, warmth and friendliness.Great new discovery for me this year was, in addition to the endless white sandy beach, there IS snorkelling around the one rocky area.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Calgaryduo2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrookCSM, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this reviewResponded 27 March 2011

Dear Calgaryduo2222,

Thank you for your kind words. It was great seeing you again and certainly nice to get to know you a little better.

We hope to see you next year.

Best regards,
Brook and Ewa

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Reviewed 20 March 2011

David Byrne's lyric "Same as it ever was." would well describe our return to Cape Santa Maria after ten years. This secluded (read: isolated) outpost of tranquility sits atop the tip of Long Island, one of the outer islands of the Bahamas.

After our first trip here we vowed to return, but in the intervening years we were off to other adventures. Actually, we don't like to repeat trips. We live in the Vail Valley and enjoy robust year round activity and plenty of great Rocky Mountain weather and scenery. We love adventure travel and between trips to CSM have been to the Greek Islands, US Gulf Coast, Australia, Alaska, Hawaii, St. Martin and to Abaco Island in the Bahamas. At every beach or beach resort we've visited we've compared it to CSM and invariably we say, "it's just not as good."

Ten years later we found the property to be in tip-top condition with first rate service. It's a testament to good management that CSM is as good, if not better than it was a decade ago in 2001.

We're not sun lizards and tolerate "just hanging out" in small doses, but at CSM we haven't found it hard to hit the slow button for 4-5 days. Beach walking, snorkeling and bonefishing are signature activities for us.

The biggest negative, which is also the biggest positive, is that CSM isn't easy to get to. Depending where you're coming from it can take 2 to 4 flights to get there and the planes get smaller and smaller.

One of the most common comments you read on line and hear from guests is the surprise that CSM looks just like the photos on their web site. If anything, the photos fall short of capturing it's spellbinding turquoise beauty.

The centerpiece is a five mile beach that arcs around a cove. Photos are deceptive as the beach is much longer than it appears. The sand is as fine as you could ever imagine and you can easily wade in 2-3 feet of water for hundreds of yards.

Flanking the main house (dining, reception, activities desk, TV, WI-Fi) are the duplex bungalows and larger condominium villas. But unlike resort properties in, let's say Florida or Hawaii, with around 100 guests at a time there's usually less than a dozen folks seen on the beach. That’s it. One morning I counted six people on five miles of beach. This is as close as most of us will ever come to being on a private island.

Compared to other travel destinations, there's minimal tourism adventures and dining opportunities on the island. I'd liken a CSM vacation to a cruise -- without throngs of people. Everyone congregates at the patio, bar and restaurant. It's a delightfully friendly international mashup with Canadians and Americans (CSM is owned by a Canadian company) and other families and couples from Europe and Latin America adding interest. Many are return guests and everyone you talk to invariably wants to share how wonderful Cape Santa Maria is.

It's romantic for couples, great for friends and fantastic for families. The menus for all meals are varied and tasty, but if you're a true foodie don't expect a 4 star Michelin product. The kitchen really does an excellent job at breakfast, lunch and dinner and you won't be bored or disappointed with the food.

The logistics to make this all work are impressive considering that Long Island got electricity just over 20 years ago. Everything (and I mean everything) comes from weekly sea transports. As guests, most of of us take simple things for granted (like a well stocked bar or wide variety of menu choices), but it’s clearly a well-managed behind the scenes effort to provide all the civilized comforts of a high quality resort in such a remote location. For instance, the property rightfully boasts that it has a first rate reverse osmosis drinking system -- and they do.

CSM is celebrating their 20th anniversary and what really impressed me is the cleanliness and care given to the property has kept it in excellent condition over the past ten years (and a few nasty hurricanes). This reflects a very high commitment to quality and investment in on-going maintenance.

A lot of visitors have commented on the excellent service. We'd agree. However, it's a bit hard to describe what's different. Maybe it's just the island vibe or maybe it's like the slight tweak of driving on the left side of the road (with left hand drive) -- just a little different. Warm, but informal. Whatever that difference you may feel in service, you're still going to be impressed and happy.

Summing up, with our extensive travel experience this is one of the very few destinations that goes on our return list (this time we’re not waiting ten years between trips). It’s a challenge to get to, but if you’re looking for comfort, quality, service and jaw dropping Caribbean beauty, you’ll figure out a way and, remembering this review, will be glad you did.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank VailValley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 March 2011

We're just back from spending three nights at this hotel. We rented one of the two-bedroom villas which was perfect for us, a family of four with two teenagers.

The villa was perfect. The master suite had a nice comfortable king bed, the second bedroom had two double beds. Everyone slept well. The villa kitchen and living area were great, and the screened-in porch was like a second sitting room.

The beach was also perfect. The sand was white and fine, very clean and very uncrowded. The water was clear and shallow with no big waves, and no critters in the water. This may be the nicest looking beach we've ever been to!

The restaurant was also wonderful: great food and friendly service. Every meal was just right.

The staff arranged a water day for us, snorkeling and touring on a boat. It was a nice afternoon.

We flew in and out of Stella Maris airport. The ride from the airport was less than 15 minutes in a taxi. We did not rent a car.

It takes a lot for us to rate a place 5 stars. This place was worth it on all dimensions!

TJTM

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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2  Thank Edward C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrookCSM, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2011

Dear EdC808a,

Thank you for taking the time to post a review. You are correct, the villas are perfect for families of all ages. In fact, often two couples join together to rent a villa instead of two bungalows.

It is also great to receive such positive reviews on our food and service since as we have worked very hard at this. Our service and kitchen staff do a wonderful job.

Look forward to seeing you again.

Cheers,
Brook

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Reviewed 17 March 2011

The resort is very reachable in a single day from the East Coast through Nassau connecting with Southern Air or Pineapple Air (a sub of Bahamas Air). Although, their equipment is not new they seem reliable and all of the locals use them regularly.

The Resort is on the lee side of the island, impeccably maintained, the staff is unbelievably accommodating and cheerful, the food is excellent at Caribbean prices and the beach is one of, if not the prettiest that we have ever been on. (On our return, we would use the meal plan since we tend to eat three meals a day when we are active fishing, walking etc.) The lagoon in front of the hotel is aquamarine and protected by a reef like the ones in Tahiti. The bungalows are located about 60 feet from the 4 mile long beach (almost deserted when we were there) and have large screened porches that make watching the sunset in front of the bungalow bug free, although there were not a lot of bugs while we were there from 3/2-3/9. The fine white sand is like corn starch. The bone fishing is quite good so it is a great destination for a couple one of whom fishes and the other of whom enjoys the beach and sun. “Docky” Smith is the guide to use if a fisherman goes.

There is not a lot on the island and the closest place to eat outside of the resort is about 6 miles away. Stella Maris Resort is on the Atlantic side of the island high on a cliff with beautiful views but no beach and is built on a hillside so lots of walking. It’s about 7 miles from CSM. The locals say the restaurant is very good but we did not eat there because we stopped at the poolside grill for lunch and had nuked mrs. paul fish sticks for grouper fingers. The meal plan at CSM might be a good deal given that you eat there most of the time.

Overall, we would highly recommend CSM as a great, quiet and beautiful beach and fishing destination. CSM does have kayaks and Hobie Cats, if you are feeling ambitious. We did not snorkel or dive but those who did said that both were good. .There is very little on the island unless you love churches, there are 44. The drive to the Blue Hole (about 40 miles one way) is worth the trip but would not go further south than Clarnencetown and only that far to have a conch burger at Rowdy Boys Rest. at Winterhaven. The people everywhere were friendly and we are told that there is virtually no crime on the island.
We will definitely be returning.
Art,
Richmond, VA

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank artgirard7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BrookCSM, General Manager at Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort & Villas, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2011

Dear artgirard7,

Thank you for taking the time to post such a detailed review.

Next time you may want to join our Snorkel Adventure Cruises or the cruise to Sandy Cay where you will visit the resident iguanas. Also, if you feel you did not see enough of the island perhaps you should try Omar's Long Island Guided Tour, where you will visit island highlights such as the ruins at Adderly Plantation, Simms Jail, the Dean's Blue Hole and lunch at Max's Conch Bar is always a blast!

Take care and look forward to seeing you next year.

Cheers,
Brook and Ewa and the great staff at Cape Santa Maria

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