Insider's Look at Sandals Royal Bahamian's Barefoot Cay

Sandals Royal Bahamian's Barefoot Cay (Photo via Sandals)
Holly Johnson
by Holly Johnson
Last updated: 8:00 PM ET, Fri March 3, 2023

Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas

While Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau, Bahamas first opened its doors to guests back in 1981, the luxe adults-only property is hardly recognizable today. That's because, as of January 2022, the property had completed a $55 million renovation that updated and transformed the resort, including both accommodations and amenities.

Set upon 15 stunning acres of expertly manicured grounds, Sandals Royal Bahamian offers 404 rooms, including private and romantic suites for honeymooners, swim-up rooms with butler service and its famous one-bedroom butler suites with private pools or tranquility soaking tubs. Travelers who choose this resort will also find 10 exclusive restaurants with unique culinary styles, several swim-up bars and lounges and an updated "private island" the resort chose to brand as "Barefoot Cay."

If you're curious what a resort-style private island in the Bahamas might look like, or what kind of amenities you could find there, you're in for a treat. That's because the island features a lot more than you would expect for its size and location, including an expansive pool with a swim-up bar, a breezy outdoor location for its Red Lane Spa, romantic spots in the shade galore and incredibly clear blue waters that are ideal for snorkeling.

Read on to get an insider's look at Sandals Royal Bahamian's Barefoot Cay and everything it has to offer after the brand's top-to-bottom renovation.

Marvel at Barefoot Cay from the Mainland

First off, you should know Barefoot Cay is located just one mile off shore and easily viewable from the resort's mainland beach. This makes the private island not only accessible, but also a beautiful part of the hotel's scenery and allure.

You can even stand on the shore at Sandals Royal Bahamian and watch the cruise ships roll just past Barefoot Cay on their way into port every morning.

Snorkel Right from the Shore

If you love getting out in the ocean to see fish and other marine wildlife, you'll be happy to know Sandals properties include scuba diving as part of the all-inclusive rate. However, the Barefoot Cay private island has several natural barriers that keep crashing waves at bay, so you can also snorkel right off the shore in strikingly clear water that never moves.

What you'll see when you duck your head into the water can vary from day to day, but you'll have the chance to encounter tropical fish, sting rays, crabs and more.

Cool Off in the Exclusive Pool (Complete with Swim-up Bar)

While Sandals Royal Bahamian offers several impressive freshwater pools on the mainland, Barefoot Cay has its own roomy pool. The pool is even flanked with shaded seating that's perfect for relaxation, including tables and chairs, chaise lounges with umbrellas and benches.

The Barefoot Cay pool is an excellent place to enjoy the ocean air with your favorite drink in hand, especially since it has its own swim-up bar.

Have Lunch at Aralia House

Sandals Royal Bahamian's Barefoot Cay also has its own offshore grill known as the Aralia House. This restaurant serves lunch only since it is open during daytime hours when you can visit the island, and it offers outdoor shaded seating so you can enjoy the beautiful Caribbean weather while you dine.

Popular dishes on offer at Aralia House include BBQ baby back ribs, seafood risotto and island jerk chicken. Like other restaurants at Sandals Royal Bahamian, Aralia House also offers a vegan option in its premium vegan burger.

Throw Back a Cocktail (or Three)

Barefoot Cay offers a second bar in addition to its swim-up bar, which is fully enclosed by seating on every side. The main bar is located in front of you as you enter the island from the boarding dock, so it offers amazing water views and a view of the mainland and other hotels that sit along the shores of Nassau.

While Sandals bartenders will whip up practically any cocktail you request, the Barefoot Cay bar is an excellent spot to order one of the drinks this resort brand is known for. Examples include their famous Dirty Banana, a Miami Vice Cocktail or a Frozen Bob Marley.

Take Your Pick of Cozy Spots to Relax

One aspect of Barefoot Cay you'll notice right away is just how much seating you can find dotted throughout the island. There are private, shaded cabanas you can use if you arrive early enough, yet you'll also find a range of hammocks, benches and cozy padded jungle beds.

The endless seating and lounging options make Barefoot Cay one of the best places to truly unwind and relax throughout all of Nassau.

Try Out a Private Island Hot Tub

Barefoot Cay wouldn't be complete without its own hot tub, and the private island doesn't disappoint in this category, either. Visitors will find a large rectangular hot tub near the back of the island past the pool and nearby the beach and several seating areas.

The hot tub sits on a perch along the water's edge, making it ideal for people watching, letting your mind wander or doing nothing at all.

Book a Spa Treatment

Barefoot Cay offers an outdoor version of its famous Red Lane Spa, which offers similar treatments to what you can find at the mainland location. This means you can book treatments ahead of time or when you arrive, then enjoy a relaxing massage in an outdoor cabana during your visit.

Soothing spa treatments Sandals is known for include the Night Blooming Jasmine Massage and an exclusive Himalayan Salt Stone Massage.

Ferry Rides Back Are a Breeze

Getting to Barefoot Cay is easy thanks to the resort ferry that takes couples to the island throughout the day, yet getting back is just as seamless and fun. You'll board a small boat to get back to the mainland in Nassau, and the ride only lasts five minutes.

The best part? You can do it all over again the next day. Weather permitting, Sandals Royal Bahamian guests enjoy Barefoot Cay and all its amenities with no extra charge required.

The property completed a $55 million renovation last year.

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Helping leisure selling travel agents successfully manage their at-home business.

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Laurence Pinckney

CEO of Zenbiz Travel, LLC

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