"Destination wedding perspective" Sheraton Beach Resort Nassau Tip by iGotsGills
Sheraton Beach Resort Nassau, Nassau: 4,215 reviews and 17 photos
I'll put the brass tacks right up front: my husband and I were married at the Sheraton Nassau on October 1, 2011. We had a beautiful wedding, but it was not the wedding we were sold. (Also, if you do end up deciding to get married here between now and 2014, you may want to check to see where they are in construction phases. This was not an issue for us, but there is a GIGANTIC resort complex being built all around the Sheraton property, meant to eclipse the Atlantis and open in 2014. There's no way the construction wouldn't affect the atmosphere at some point between now and then.) Let me explain, and maybe you can get a little guidance from our process:
Initially we thought it would be great to get married on one of the family islands, as they have so many unspoiled beaches and not so much vacation culture. We ended up choosing to stay in Nassau instead (though I took a LOT of convincing) because of ease of transfer and travel time; we had quite a few older guests and some dealing with fears of flying that we knew it would keep some of them from attending to get on a puddle jumper (or to spend an extra several hours on a boat). Additionally, we had a wide variety of attention spans, so proximity to entertainment options was important if I was going to have peace of mind that everyone was having a good time (I worry about these things. A lot).
As I mentioned before, I was initially anti-resort for our wedding, but I came around to the logic eventually. Sheraton won me over for the following reasons:
1) When I asked about their event booking policy and set the stage with my concerns, my coordinator (Tekeyo) shared how he used to work at the Atlantis, and how he enjoyed the Sheraton because it was not a "factory" setting. Phew! (So I thought.)
2) Gorgeous, gorgeous, swimmable beach
3) Fresh, modern decor while still feeling island-y
4) Reasonable wedding packages
5) Doesn't feel like Las Vegas (though there is a little rinky-dink casino for people who like to gamble, which proved to be an asset for a lot of my night-owl guests)
The Sheraton seemed to be a great balance for what was going to satisfy my wants/needs, and appeal to a broad base of my guest list (I know, it is supposed to be *my* or *our* day, but part of it being *my* day is not having to worry that my guests aren't having anything less than an awesome time). The property is lovely, the food is good (yes, it is pricey. Everything is pricey in the Islands), there are lots of options for people right there in the resort if they don't feel like leaving, but it's easy to go explore if they do ($18 taxi rides to Paradise Island or downtown, generally $5 per head of you get a bunch of people in a taxi van, which we did often).
What we got: We got a lovely wedding. We really did. Everyone had a great time, the setting was beautiful, the waitstaff was super friendly and fun, the food was delicious, the flowers were lovely, the photographer was great. My guests were happy. I, unfortunately, was left feeling really uneasy and dissatisfied. Here's what happened:
Strike One and Two: My wedding was executed simultaneously with another. Recall from above: when I was first in the Bahamas researching properties and venues, the first question I asked was: how many weddings do you do at a time? My wedding coordinator (Tekeyo) told me that the Sheraton never has two weddings at once. Also recall that the big reason that I did not choose Atlantis was because I did not want to feel like a factory bride, and Tekeyo had told me he understood, that the Sheraton does not operate this way and that was one of the reasons he enjoyed the atmosphere at Sheraton as a wedding planner. Again, this really stuck out to me and was the number one reason I chose to have my wedding at the Sheraton.
When I arrived, I found out that there was to be another wedding on the day of mine. I was a little disappointed, but I also understand that a hotel is a business and it needs to make revenue. I figured the wedding would at least be at a different time of day. It was not. It was at 5:30PM, and mine was at 6:00PM. On the day of the rehearsal and walk-through, I asked my coordinator where the other wedding and ceremony were being held, and he did not give me a straight answer, only said that I would not see the other wedding, I wouldn?t even know it was happening. My mother also asked this question, as did my (now) husband and my sister, and every time the response was, ?I don?t know for sure, but I know you will not see the other wedding.? (To say "I don't know" when this question was directly asked multiple times is, frankly, a lie; he did know, everyone on the wedding/catering staff had to; how could one promise no "bridal clash" if one didn't know where the other wedding was going to be held?)
On the day of my wedding, I learned that my cocktail space had been eliminated the day before because it had been double-booked by the other wedding. The reception was going on directly next to mine. The other ceremony also took place is a space directly next to mine and ended exactly one minute before mine began: I couldn?t even hear my violinist on my way out because the music from the other ceremony was drowning out mine, and I was delayed walking out to the altar while the coordinator went to ask them to turn it down. I was also taking pictures 500 feet away from the other couple, and couldn't get some of the shots I wanted. We couldn't get to our reception without walking through the entrance to their reception either, and had to wait for them to finish posing to make our own entrance.
I just want to be clear that my expectation was not that there would be no other weddings on Saturday, but that there would be no overlap. If, for instance, the other ceremony had been at 5:00PM instead of 5:30PM, I would have been able to hear my violinist instead of the music from the other ceremony, I wouldn't have been taking photos simultaneously with the other bride, and I wouldn't have had to wait for the other couple in order to enter my own reception. And if the other reception hadn't been directly adjacent to mine, I would have had my cocktails in the separate space that we originally contracted for instead of having it eliminated all together because the other wedding was booked over our space. So my concern, then, is not that there was another wedding on Saturday at all, but that I was told - several times - that there would be no overlap, that I wouldn't even know another wedding was happening, that it wouldn't affect my ceremony or reception at all, when, in fact, it did.
Strike Three: UPDATE: I originally wrote here about how I did not get credit for 20 room nights that should have given us some of the attractive concession points that are given to those holding events at Starwood properties. This actually did get remedied and the booking coordinator, Tina, corrected the problem. So, then, Strike Three recanted.
The positives: As I stated before, my guests had a great time and a great time with each other, which the atmosphere of the resort helped to foster. We didn't really plan much for everyone, we figured they could have their vacation as they wanted it and then they could come watch us get married and have some dinner and drinks with us. The very cool thing is that we had representation from lots of different little pockets of our lives, and many were melding fir the first time... and they WANTED to hang out with each other! They were getting together groups to go explore the island, eat off property (Fish Fry on Arawak Cay was an adventure, and the Poop Deck is delicious), go snorkeling (Stuart Coves is highly recommended... they do a great job), meet up in the hotel to watch the Tigers game, gamble together, go for late-night swims, etc. etc. It was really fun and heartwarming to watch. In the same vein, we did a lantern release to conclude our wedding reception, and it was enormously enjoyable to watch everyone working together and getting excited to watch the fruits of their labor. Another note: we flew our own pastor down to do the ceremony, so we did not use any of the registrar or legality services. This was important to me, and I'm glad we did it; he was awesome. The food at the reception was outstanding and the cake was very pretty (though not the one I asked for). The waitstaff at the reception was SUPER fun too! Very friendly, dancing around the tables, they were great! My flowers (in package; and here's a side note, MAKE SURE you are not getting charged enhancement fees if you don't want the upgrades!) were really unique and beautiful, and the photographer (Ronnie from Stop Motion, also in package) was really fantastic. I just saw the unprocessed images today and they are fantastic; I can't wait to see the final prints!
Wrapping it up: We did have a lovely wedding, and I married a wonderful man. I liken it to getting a really beautiful table, but when you get it home the legs aren't quite even. It still looks like the table you wanted, but you don't get the experience you expect when you use it. Really, everyone but me still had a great experience. Even I had a good one, it just wasn't the experience we were promised, and it makes me a little sad. And for the record, I did communicate my concerns to the general property manager (Glenn Sampert), who basically said, "sorry, we'll tell the staff."
Would I do it here again? I would probably look around, maybe at a few places near Freeport as it is also easily accessible. I loved the site, I really did, but nothing bothers me more than being lied to, and I was, repeatedly. The fact that they knew I was going to be unhappy, that they couldn't deliver on what they promised, and chose to let me be negatively surprised just makes me feel like I wasn't very important to them at all, and that kind of, well, sucks.
Unique Qualities: The pools and views are lovely, and the beach is just beautiful for a resort area.
Address: West Bay Street, PO Box N 4914 (frmr Radisson Cable Beach), Nassau, New Providence Island, Caribbean
Price Comparison: more expensive than average
Directions: Cable Beach
Phone: (242) 327-6000
Price: US$180 and up
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