Beachfront cabins with porches overlooking the ocean
Numerous activities including nature walks, diving, and fishing
Free use of kayaks, windsurfers, paddleboards, and bicycles
Lounge with ping-pong tables, games, library, and TV
Kid-friendly with outdoor playground and mealtime babysitting available
Massage therapist available
Location is remote with little nearby (pro for some)
Rooms are rustic and bare-bones
Only one buffet-style restaurant for all meal
No Wi-Fi or TVs in cabins
Beaches aren't pristine and have rocks and driftwood
The mid-range Small Hope Bay Lodge is an informal, natural, all-inclusive property located on Andros Island, a short flight from Nassau. Guests looking to get lost in the secluded, quiet, rugged nature of the property can be found lounging in hammocks, Adirondack chairs, or on one of two beaches. There's also a large variety of excursions, including diving, fishing, snorkeling, and nature walks, that keep guests active and occupied. The 21 cabins are rustic, a little worn, and lack Wi-Fi or TVs, but they all have porches facing the ocean. There's a friendly and communal atmosphere as guests gather together to share meals in the restaurant, sip drinks at the bar, or linger by the outdoor grill. Small Hope has one of the best rates on the island given its features. Tiamo Resort, another Andros Island property, has nicer rooms and more manicured grounds, but a much higher rate.
Scenic, friendly property with a variety of guests
Small Hope Bay Lodge is an understated, family-owned property surrounded by scenic, quiet, natural beauty. The property is laid out in a straight line with the main lodge and all of the cabins facing the beachfront and a long dock extending into the water. The layout means guests are never far from an ocean view. Winding concrete and sandy paths lined with palm trees and tropical bushes circle the property. Numerous hammocks are strewn up near the cabins and by the water, and there are clusters of dark-stained patio furniture and palapa umbrellas providing areas to rest and take in the view.
The central lodge, a low-slung stone-and-mortar building, contains the office, restaurant, and spacious common areas. The office is little more than a vestibule with a white-washed front desk, a green-cushioned bench, and a silver bell to ding. But the lounge is ample and striking. White-tile floors and a pitched wood-beamed ceiling surround the space furnished with streamlined Danish-style lounge chairs and daybeds topped with Androsia Batik-fabric cushions and a low, kidney-bean shaped coffee table. Shelves looping the room are overstuffed with books, and a stone fireplace in the back keeps things cozy. The corner bar, constructed from an old rowboat, brings another level of maritime flair to the space.
To one side, a cheery sun room is outfitted with a chess set, checkers board, couches, and knickknacks. There's also a game room with a ping pong table and children’s play area. To the other side, separated by a fabric curtain, sits the restaurant. Long wooden tables and chairs (some folding) and colorful batik placemats decorate the space. Outside, a grill and multiple wooden tables and chairs sit on a deck by the water. Meals are served here in good weather.
The lodge's atmosphere is laid-back, informal, and friendly with staff mingling and interacting with visitors. Most guests learn each other’s names and hang out together in the lounge or by the fireplace at night. Many families are drawn to the property with its kid-friendly activities, outdoor playground, games, and child care. But couples and honeymooners looking to get off the beaten path are also attracted to the lodge's romantic, rustic vibe.
Small Hope Bay Lodge is located at the end of a dirt road in Fresh Creek, Andros Island. The largest island in the Bahamas, Andros is mostly made up of impenetrable bush, inland waterways, and mangrove marsh. There isn’t much around the hotel -- no major towns or stores -- but the all-inclusive nature of the resort means that it’s self-catering. And thanks to Andros’s natural beauty and wild, unexplored state, it’s a perfect location for nature walks or watersports. One mile away by boat is the Andros Barrier Reef, the world’s sixth largest.
Andros Island can be accessed through a twice-daily charter flight (15 minutes in duration) and twice-weekly ferry service from Nassau. There's also an international flight between Fort Lauderdale and Andros a few days a week. It's a 15-minute taxi ride from Andros Town Airport to the hotel with a cost of about $20 USD. The hotel is happy to assist guests with travel to and from Andros.
Rustic oceanside cabins with basic bathrooms and porches facing the beach
Small Hope's cabins are squat, one-story wood buildings lined up in a row facing the beach. Inside, wood-beamed ceilings, white-washed walls, and somewhat dingy beige-tile floors provide the backdrop. The decor doesn't appeal to have changed since the resort was built in the 1960s: Simple platform beds, Danish-style lounge chairs, white quilted bedspreads, and woven rugs furnish the space. Local Androsia Batik fabric -- used in the wall-hangings, curtains, pillowcases, and bed runners -- gives a pop of color. Bedrooms come with a king bed or two single beds. Amenities are basic but include air-conditioning, standup fans, safes, and watercoolers. There are no TVs or Wi-Fi. Bathrooms are cramped and a bit grim with white linoleum sinks and shower stalls with plastic curtains. There are no toiletries besides pump soap dispensers. Each cottage is fronted by a small cement porch with a pair of wood chairs. Small Hope has one-bedroom and two-bedroom cabins. Both have the same amenities and decor and just differ in their number of bedrooms. Cribs and extra cots are free.
Two beaches, lots of nature activities, a restaurant, bar, and a small hot tub
Small Hope has two lovely beaches, separated by the outdoor dining area and the dock. The Deep Beach is on the rough side, but it's long and scenic with white sand and turquoise water ideal for kayaking or sailing. The hotel recently built a shaded cabana area with loungers and hammocks. To the other side, the Shallow Beach runs along the cabins separated by a low rock wall. It offers calm, placid water perfect for swimming. A scattering of loungers gives places to sunbathe, and nearby wood platforms provide overlook points. Note, however, that the beaches are not the clean, pristine stretches of sand that you might find at a large resort in Nassau. Rather, they have rugged beauty with some rocks, bits of driftwood, and plenty of bush. In addition to the beaches, there's a small hot tub on-site with temperature controls and a deck for relaxing. There is no pool.
Small Hope's knowledgeable staff conducts numerous area activities: nature walks (guided or non-guided); multiple diving trips including wall diving, cavern diving, shallow and mid-depth coral garden dives, wreck dives, blue hole dives, and shark diving; as well as snorkeling; fishing; sailing; eco-tours; and birding. The resort is located near Andros Barrier Reef, which is 142-miles-long and has a 6,000-foot drop. There's an activities board in the lounge that's updated daily as well as binders filled with tours available for booking. In addition to planned activities, the resort offers free use of windsurfers, sailboats, kayaks, paddle boards, and bicycles. For kids, there's also a small outdoor playground with swings and ladders.
The main cabin holds the restaurant and bar. All meals and drinks are included in the room rate. The food is simple but tasty with dinners usually consisting of a variety of salads, local side dishes like macaroni pie, and a meat and fish entree. There's a bartender pouring drinks in the afternoon, but guests are welcome to help themselves to drinks at other times of day. The lounge has ping-pong tables, games, a play area, a TV with DVDs, and a large library. Wi-Fi is available for two hours in the evening here (and not in guest cabins). A small on-site boutique sells T-shirts, some local art, and basic toiletries such as sunscreen and medicine. The boutique operates on the honor system -- guests pay for items at the front desk.
There's free babysitting during dinner hours for young children, and an on-site massage therapist is also available.
Recycling, composting, water conservation, and other eco-friendly practices
Small Hope practices recycling, composting, and water conservation. (Numerous signs in the rooms ask guests to conserve water and other resources.) All hot water in the cabins, kitchen, lounge, and hot tub is heated through solar power.
All meals, alcoholic drinks, and beverages provided
Small Hope is an all-inclusive property, a boon as this area of Andros Island is very secluded. The room rate includes all meals, bar drinks and beverages, and nightly conch fritter hors d’oeuvres. Staff will cater to different dietary needs and will even cook up a fresh catch from a fishing excursion. All meals are buffet-style and staff will come around to replace plates and provide beverages. The well-stocked bar is located in the main lounge. The bar is manned in the afternoons, at other times of the day, guests are welcome to prepare any drink they would like.