Activities include poker nights, trivia, weekly barbecues, and karaoke
Free in-room breakfast, Wi-Fi, and transport from George Town
Location is remote and only accessible by boat (pro for some)
Rooms have dated decor and lack TVs, alarm clocks, and safes
No umbrellas or loungers set up on the oceanside beach
Not many other eateries around
A quiet and remote getaway, the mid-range St Francis Resort is located on Stocking Island, a ten-minute boat ride from Exuma. With only
eight rooms, the property is small and intimate, and guests report they often have the beach to themselves. The spacious rooms have dated decor and lack TVs, but they do offer private balconies with stunning views of the beach. The on-site restaurant
is lively and draws plenty of boaters and daytrippers, so guests don't get too isolated. Aside from that, there are few other features, but the real draw is the lush surroundings, nature trails, blue
holes, and beaches. A free in-room breakfast, Wi-Fi, and transportation from George Town is also included in the room rate. Travelers who feel that St Francis is too remote could consider Melia Nassau Beach or Sunrise Beach Clubs and Villas.
Quiet, secluded resort with a lively restaurant filled with boaters
As a compact, eight-room resort, St Francis is small but well-structured. The heart of the resort, and its single feature, is the restaurant, a lively eatery popular with boaters and day-trippers. A terrace shaded with navy-striped fabric holds clusters of wooden tables and chairs facing the harbor, stunning views of the boats, clear turquoise water, and the main island of Exuma. Inside, simple hardwood floors and white walls are adorned with palm-tree printed curtains and sailboat prints. There’s also a bar with a flat-screen TV.
The grounds are beachy and natural with palm trees, overgrown greenery, and white sand. A paved path leads to the back of the property where a line of squat white bungalows hold the guest rooms, overlooking the ocean. The property is very quiet and secluded, and guests often report that they have the beach to themselves. A long dock extends out into the harbor where the resort’s boats are anchored, or visitors dock for the day.
On remote and rugged Stocking Island accessible by boat only
St Francis is located on Stocking Island, a five- to
10-minute boat ride across the harbor from Great Exuma. The owners pick up and
drop off guests in their boat at a dock in George Town for no extra charge.
Great Exuma is a 40-minute flight from Nassau.
Stocking Island is just about as remote as you can get -- there are no cars or
roads on the island and not many people live here. The island is only
accessible by boat. The trade-off is miles of private, secluded white sand
beaches, nature trails, and other outdoor activities. (The owners are happy to
provide guidance about the island or set up tours.)
For those who don’t like complete seclusion (or to be water locked), Grand
Isle on Exuma is a good choice, but more expensive.
Basic, bare-bones rooms with dated decor but stunning views
The eight rooms at St Francis are simple and lacking amenities -- there are no TVs, alarm clocks, iron or ironing boards, safes, or stylish furnishings. Beige-tile floors and white walls are the backdrop for the simple pine furniture, generic beach prints, and dated patterned comforters and matching curtains. But rooms do come with microwaves, mini-fridges, coffee-making facilities, and a small two-top dining area along with a hairdryer and free Wi-Fi. Six of the eight rooms have a king bed; the other two have two double beds. The sizable bathrooms are outfitted with white pedestal sinks, shower stalls, and a handful of toiletries. The highlight of the rooms is the balconies: Furnished
with plastic armchairs and small tables, they provide a scenic, private, quiet spot to gaze out over the beach.
A bustling restaurant, two beaches, but not much else
St Francis Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and
dinner and serves typical beach fare with Caribbean flavors. It has an open-air patio that overlooks the harbor and offers stunning
views of the surrounding area. There's also an indoor bar and dining room. It's a boisterous spot, attracting boaters and daytrippers in addition to the hotel guests, so both lunch and
dinner get busy. But once a week, the owners close the restaurant to the public
and cook a barbecue dinner for hotel guests only. A free breakfast, delivered to the rooms, is included in the room rate. It varies a bit each day,
but the breakfast spread can include cereal, pastries, yogurt, sausage, eggs, muffins, and juice.
St Francis Resort has two beaches. One, facing the harbor,
is small with a shallow entry. The harbor water is beautiful -- clear, calm, and
turquoise blue. This small beach has a few straw umbrellas and beach chairs,
and serves as a docking area for the resort’s kayaks and hobicats. The second,
oceanside beach, is located behind the rooms at the back of the resort. This beach is extremely spacious and stretches for miles on either side, but note that at certain times of year the water is too rough for swimming. The beach is extremely quiet and secluded, and guests
often have it all to themselves. There are no chairs or umbrellas
set up here. The resort offers beach chairs up by the rooms, but guests
have to carry them down themselves. Guest can also borrow the resort's kayaks and hobicats or simply hike around the surrounding area with the owners' directions.
There's also a small, bare-bones conference room that is
furnished with plastic chairs and tables. Guests are welcome to use it to play
board games or read. Some local social functions, such as bridge club or
bible study, take place there, too.
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