Patrick Drake, General Manager of Sandals Royal Bahamian in the Bahamas, is a down to earth, lovable guy. Although he’s new to the resort, he is no stranger to leading the World’s Best. Formerly the hotel manager at Sandals Emerald Bay, Drake thrives on staff development and planning, and gets a kick out of turning staff members into “superstars.” Sandals Lifestyle caught up with Mr. Drake to learn more about a few of his favorite things, some amazing guest stories, and why people just can’t get enough of Sandals Royal Bahamian.
SL: There are a lot of new and exciting things going on at Sandals Royal Bahamian, including the reopening of the Balmoral Tower, tell us about some of the amazing features of this tower.
PD: One of the amazing features of the Balmoral Tower is the view of Sandals Cay from the fifth and six floors. In the evenings when you see the sunset from these vantage points, it is absolutely amazing! The artwork in the corridors and the finishing on the building is spectacular. In addition, the look and feel of the rooms is modern, yet very elegant and classy. The walk out rooms’ landscaping leading to the fire pits is excellent. I see people spending more time on their patios.
SL: Do you have any memorable guest stories?
PD: There are two particular guest stories that stick with me to this day. There was a lady who was less than seven months pregnant that went into labor and had to be airlifted back home. She gave birth on the tarmac! When the couple returned home the letter of thanks that my team and I received really touched me. Another time, one morning during my property inspection, there was a large fin seen in the water close to shore. Guests gathered around as our watersports team member went into the water and discovered that this fin was a whale and he guided the whale out to sea.
SL: Do you have a favorite island cocktail or beverage?
PD: My favorite island cocktail is Sky Juice (for those of you who don’t know, Sky Juice is a very potent, Bahamian drink, with no official recipe. But in a nutshell it’s coconut water and alcohol, usually gin. A modern twist to the recipe is coconut water, gin, condensed milk, sweet milk, and sometimes coconut flavored rum).
SL: What’s your favorite menu item from Gordon’s?
PD: I always start with the fish chowder and end with a Gordon’s Combo (Surf & Turf).
SL: What is one special thing your staff does to ensure that guests will return again to Sandals Royal Bahamian?
PD: The one special thing that my staff shows our guests so they will return is affection. Our guests truly feel like family and many of them get to know the staff by name and come back looking for that particular housekeeper, butler or dive team member.
SL: Are there any special traditions or rituals done as guests arrive or leave the resort?
PD: A special tradition that we do at Sandals Royal Bahamian is the Royal Wave. Team members from different areas of the resort will wave to the guests who are leaving the resort either in the bus transportation or one of our luxury vehicles.
SL: What is one thing all guests of Sandals Royal Bahamian must do before leaving the resort?
PD: You can’t leave Sandals Royal Bahamian without experiencing our offshore island “Sandals Cay,” whether you get a treatment at our Zen Spa or enjoy our Café Goombay restaurant—it’s a must see…and do!
SL: If there was a song out there that could define the Sandals Royal Bahamian experience, what would it be and why?
PD: One song that defines Sandals Royal Bahamian is “Once Is Not Enough” written by Bahamian artist, Eric Minns. This song stands out for Sandals Royal Bahamian because you can’t experience all of the resort on one trip. Sandals Royal Bahamian has a lot to offer when it comes down to the resort, staff, food and culture—our whole vibe leaves guests yearning for more!