The first feeling you have when you reach Shanna’s Cove is a wonderful sense of isolation. At the north end of Cat Island and in a mostly undeveloped area, it is far removed from the rest of the world. We’ve stayed at a dozen or so islands in the Caribbean and we’ve never experienced as many butterflies and other wildlife as we did here. The second thing you will appreciate on the drive to the resort and once you arrive is the water's mesmerizing shades of blue. A feast for the eyes, it pairs perfectly with the flour-fine sand that comes in shades of bright white and subtle pink. The island and its sandy shores derive from limestone. Beautiful to look at, the sand is also quite comfortable to walk on. Even though our days there were sweltering, the sand remained pleasantly warm to bare feet. The water too is incredibly warm, clear and calm. The first day we arrived, we were welcomed by a harmless reef shark cruising along the shore. There is not much plant or animal life along the shoreline, but every time we entered the water, a curious school of Great Pompano would swim around us while we mutually inspected each other. There are just five villas at the resort and along with a few other nearby homes, it means you have the beach mostly to yourselves. Should you feel like an excursion, you can walk several miles to the south around Point Royal and likely not see another soul. The vacant gorgeous water and sand are simply intoxicating! The resort itself is very low-key. Breakfast is served pretty much when you want it and comes with a mixed platter of fruits, meats, cheeses and breads. You can also order eggs, pancakes, etc. and everything is $17 per person. We did not take lunch as we were usually at the beach or doing some activity. Dinner, on the other hand, is a must-not-miss affair by the Fabulous Fabian. Starting nightly at 7-7:30pm, it is a superb three to four-course event that is Michelin-star worthy. It is a set menu for everyone dining that night, but if you have a special request, some accommodation is possible. Fabian is a talented chef and truly one of the star factors for staying at Shanna’s Cove. You eat well here! Dinner is $50 per person and they have a variety of different beverages to accompany the meal. There are about 15 or so wines split between red and white that all run $39 a bottle. If you don’t finish a bottle at one seating, they mark it with your name so you can enjoy it the next night. Dining here is easily the best in the Bahamas and from our past experiences (including meals at about 30 Michelin 3-stars around the world), is one of the best experiences in the entire Caribbean. Included with the meal is owner Frank Wolff’s eclectic music collection. Nowhere else in the world will I ever again get to listen to In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida while enjoying Fruit Compote with Pina Colada foam. We stayed in the Dolphin Villa and though not the closest to the water it was very large and had a nice water view. The villas are air-conditioned and the bed was comfortable. A good night’s rest is assured. The room’s layout is functional and spacious. A must-do while you are staying here is a visit to Man-O-War Beach. The trail head starts from the villas and is a bit over a mile walk through the dense forest. The path is ensconced in endless spider webs you must clear as you proceed, but also along the path, you will be regaled by hundreds of fluttering giant black witch moths. Even if spider webs and moths do not appeal to you, once you exit out onto Man-O-War, you are treated to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. And best of all, you will likely have it entirely to yourself. Breathtaking. And lastly, I would like to add that a stay at this resort is a fantastic value. It’s a bit of leg work to get here, but once you do, you can indulge in some of the most amazing beachy bliss in the entire world.
There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said, but just to balance up the award plaques in the restaurant I thought I’d write a review, so Gabi and Frank can receive another much deserved accolade and hang it in the space between the others,,, . everything was stunning... the photos really don’t do it justice... the rooms, sea, restaurant, beach tranquillity were all much more than I was expecting... and I was expecting a lot! Can I just say to you all - please keep away... we were so lucky to get a reservation and the only guests who hadn’t visited a zillion times before. It was only because of a last minute cancellation that we managed to bag a room, so with all the interest generated by the fabulous reviews, we might not be so lucky next time!!! Desperately trying to think of a downside....... ermmm. Oh yes! Frank - forgot to mention there was a small lightbulb out in the bathroom... I’m sure you’ve changed it already!!!! Lovely!!!!!!
Our third visit to Shannas Cove- stayed in the Dolphin Villa which is slightly larger/brighter than the other four, but honestly every room here is gorgeous, well situated, private, clean, perfectly equipped. All have perfect breathtaking views.
We took long walks in either direction, minding the tide charts, seldom seeing anyone else along the way. The crystalline water was perfect for swimming & kayaking. Gorgeous nature, unspoiled.
Frank & Gabi helped arrange a boat trip with Captain Rod to see turtles and rays and a follow up snorkeling excursion. Perfect 3-4 hour diversion.
This year we flew direct from Ft Lauderdale to Cat Island on Makers Air, highly recommend that. Frank made it easy by arranging transport from the airport to the resort. “No problem!”
We loved our 7-7:30 happy hour with our fellow guests, so easy going & fun with Frank & team tending bar. We were delighted to find Tara and Antonese still on staff delivering warm and friendly hospitality each day!
New to us was experiencing Chef Fabian’s masterfully executed dinners. Gourmet, inventive, delicious & exquisitely presented. Such a great complement to the relaxing and beautiful Bahamas experience. Our favorite: the mahi dinner. Drool worthy!
We left yesterday & miss it already. We’ll return with great anticipation. This resort knows hospitality!
It is reasonable to be suspect of travel reviews for a resort where better than 98% of the reviewers rate their experience as “excellent”, but in the case of Shannas Cove Resort they are all true. We first visited Shannas Cove in February 2014. This past December was our seventh visit to the resort, and as always, we made reservations for our next visit before we left.
Cat Island is a place far removed from the glitter and hectic nightlife of the more popular Bahama tourist destinations. Cat Island is a place of unspoiled natural beauty and rich history that moves at the leisurely pace the Bahamian people are most known for. To fully explore the island you will need to rent a car, which Shannas Cove can arrange. The island boasts endless nature trails, magnificent white sand beaches, lagoons with sea turtles and sting rays, crystal clear ocean waters, coral reefs with brilliantly colored fish, diving on wrecks, and delightful local shops and restaurants. The islanders are remarkably friendly and hospitable. Cat Island has some of the best weather in all of the Bahamas. At 330 nautical miles due east of Key West, Florida, temperatures range from the mid-60s in the short winter months to the high-80s in the peak of summer. The laid-back environment provides a unique destination where you can explore everything, or do nothing at all.
Arthur's Town Airport in the north end of the island is currently closed for repairs. This means you must fly into the New Bight Airport, which entails a taxi ride to Shannas Cove. Plan on approximately $50 per person and about 45 minutes for the taxi ride.
Once you arrive you will be greeted by Frank and/or Gabi Wolff. You will instantly feel the charm of Shannas Cove as they provide you with information about the island and the resort. When you arrive at the resort you will notice the well-maintained grounds, the cleanliness of the restaurant/bar and the room, and the magnificent views of the ocean. There are five cabins, all with a magnificent views of the beach and ocean. There is also a beach house just down the beach that accommodates two couples. One of the more charming aspects of Shannas Cove is that at full capacity there are only seven couples staying at the resort. This allows you to meet and get to know the other guests, who by the end of your visit you will know as friends. Frank and Gabi’s staff have been with the resort for years and are wonderful. They will accommodate your every need. It will not take long until you find yourself mentally and physically slowing to the pace of the waves breaking on the beach.
I could easily echo all of the accolades of the hundreds of excellent reviews, but I am hard-pressed to provide new adjectives or additional tributes not previously addressed by others at length. The beach on the resort property is amazing. You can take long walks along two miles of white sand beach and calm clear/turquoise water, or just bask in the sun. You can make use of the snorkeling equipment and kayaks provided by the resort to explore the shoreline. There is an easy 30-minute walk to a spectacular beach called Man-O-War that has miles of white/rose sand and remarkably blue water. For the more adventurous, Frank can arrange a boat tour where you see sea turtles, sting rays and snorkeling on the near-shore reefs. He can also arrange diving trips to nearby shipwreck sites.
In the evenings we walked up to the restaurant/bar where we spent wonderful evenings socializing with the other guests and Frank and Gabi. Each evening begins with cocktails and then dinner at 7:30. The atmosphere is warm and friendly with people you will come to call friends by the end your stay. After dinner you have the options of revisiting the bar or retreating to the privacy of your room. With our particular group, everyone opted to stay and share in the camaraderie. Frank is the perfect neighborhood bartender. He manages the conversation and music to suit the guests. His good nature, sense of humor and sincere desire to see his guests have an enjoyable stay make him the mainstay of the evening.
As many reviewers have previously mentioned, the food is quite remarkable. The three-course evening meals are exquisite. Everything prepared fresh daily from recipes Gabi has refined over time to be truly incredible. We are not strangers to fine dining, and we can attest that Gabi’s attention to food quality, meticulous preparation and artful plating holds its own with some of the finest restaurants around the world. Breakfast and lunch are prized as well. The standard fare for breakfast includes fresh vegetables, fruit, meats and cheeses, orange juice, coffee (classic French served in a press), breads, and then eggs/omelets prepared any way you wish or pancakes and bacon. The only downside to this marvelous fare is that you are too satiated to enjoy their wonderful lunch menu, although I can highly recommend the white shrimp and pineapple pizza. Moreover, the breakfast and lunch meals are served on your schedule, whenever that might be, and not at specific times.
Frank and Gabi are truly amazing people. They are selfless people whose entire focus are on the comfort and needs of their guests. Frank and Gabi have traveled extensively in their lives and over the years have developed an acute sense of what travelers seek. This insight is displayed in all aspects of the personal service, outstanding food, comfort of the rooms, and attention to detail they provide to each guest. Their business model is elegantly simple; provide outstanding service, great food, clean comfortable accommodations and charge reasonable prices, and customers will return repeatedly and provide glowing recommendations to others.
Don’t go here if you’re a typical tourist to the Bahamas. A stark contrast between the typical tourists you see at the Nassau airport and who you will encounter at Shannas. Frank and Gabi are very gracious and accommodating hosts and the staff is equally friendly and helpful. There really is no schedule here other than dinner at night. Eat breakfast later, who cares! Do nothing, who cares! If you need to be entertained all day with glitz and glamour, all the technology comforts of home, don’t go here. If you feel compelled to watch TV, don’t go here. If you want to enjoy great food, converse with people in a relaxed atmosphere, if you just want to escape and absolutely do nothing while enjoying this unspoiled resort, go here. Our encounters with people from Maine, Cologne, New Mexico, Calgary, North Carolina, England as well as the always entertaining Frank at happy hour was always a highlight. I’m not a foodie but I’ll think you’ll read enough reviews to know that the food is outstanding. What makes it more relaxing was there is usually no more than 10 people in their restaurant each night and there is no menu, whatever you have at night will be great, trust me. And compared with the ambient noise in most restaurants, you can actually carry on a conversation. No need to go into how deserted and beautiful the beach is, just read the other reviews. The rooms are clean and a very functional spartan vibe but you don’t go here to stay in your room, although the view from all of the bungalows is spectacular. As typical, this place has the No Worries vibe of the Caribbean, but that is because Frank and Gabi take care of any concern you have. If people continue to come back year after year, you know it’s reputation. It is a total vacation from the rat race.