Photo by Carolina Antelo/500px
With beach-lazing for the tourist and hidden haunts for the traveler, the Bahamas is poised to be everyone’s choose-your-own-adventure destination in the Caribbean. The American economy’s recent upswing has jump-started redevelopment in this country of 700 islands as well, promising tons of new construction and beautiful renovations across the board. The small-mindedness, too, is melting away, as locals get wise to the almighty “DINK” dollar.
Put an elegant twist on Paradise Island with a stay at One and Only’s Ocean Club (Oceanclub.OneAndOnlyResorts.com), the famed backdrop to Hollywood films such as Casino Royale and The Other Woman. It wins hearts with its plantation-style decor and elaborate gardens, punctuated with stone sculptures and a medieval cloister of a French monastery, reassembled piece by piece amid the foreign foliage of the tropics. Dune, its Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, rounds out the experience with French-Asian fusion fare that feels perfectly suited to the island’s evening breeze.
Like the dot on the i of lanky Eleuthera, little Harbour Island feels like a strange mixture of New Orleans and Martha’s Vineyard where sprawling manses commingle with clapboard-shuttered shanties. Gay-owned Rock House (RockHouseBahamas.com) is the clear jet-setter favorite, offering a handful of well-appointed rooms curled around an inviting pool. In the evenings, smooth candlelight welcomes locals and repeat visitors to the bar to swig the signature Goombay Smashes before dinner overlooking the harbor. Friendly service, stacks of art books, and an array of framed photos amplify the homey vibe — you’ll never want to leave.
On the far side of the island, Coral Sands (CoralSands.com) is great for groups, with its prime slice of pink-hued beach and cache of newly built rooms. The mood is laid-back, and the rum punches runneth over at the sand-side bar.
Grab a golf cart to tool around, and try the diced conch salad at Queen Conch or the rich lobster quesadillas at Sip Sip (SipSipRestaurant.com). Then fill the cooler with two-dollar Kalik beers and zip out to a quieter spot of sand on the north side of the islet. Paradise found.
“Check out the local fish dock on Bay Street. It’s here that you’ll get a sense of the real Bahamas. The fishermen bring in their daily catch, and you can have fresh, made-as-you-watch conch salad and listen to local music. It’s where the true islanders hang out.”
Don Purdy, owner, Rock House