Between Florida and Cuba lies a paradise : a lost paradise, a fiscal paradise a heaven on Earth…Take your choice. Discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, the Bahamas archipelago has always attracted visitors, including 17th century pirates. These islands of “eternal springtime” have now fallen into the hands of American and European tourists, with about five million visitors a year. And for a number of reasons: storybook beaches, lush vegetation, secret caves and turquoise waters make up the treasure of the Bahamas. The adventure begins in Nassau, the capital and jumping off point for Andros, Harbor and Paradise Islands.
From prestigious establishments in the capital to the charm of those on the outer islands. Let’s look at these hotels of this fascinating archipelago.
Far from the Victorian style, we find in the south of the island, a calm, colorful retreat. Celebrities come to the Compass Point to sleep in a bungalow on stilts, to enjoy a cocktail and an ocean view, or to record a future hit record.
This property originally was just a house on the water. It was built in 1994 by Chris Blackwell, who owns Island Outpost and Island Records. It was designed originall by Barbara Hulanicki and the colourful theme here is junkanoo theme of the Bahamas.
Compass Point is a haven of peace only a few kilometers from the capital. Nassau is the heart of the archipelago. It’s from there that all the boats and planes leave for the outer islands. But before discovering the natural beauty of the Bahamas, let’s head for Paradise Island.
Welcome to the land of excess, just a short trip from the capital and on the Paradise Island peninsula. It’s a complex somewhere in between a luxury hotel and an amusement park. The Atlantis has 2,000 rooms in its four hotels, a dozen or so swimming pools, numerous water games and rides, as well as the biggest aquarium in the world with 50,000 marine animals. Like Las Vegas, which built its own pyramids and Venetian canals, the myth of the buried city of Atlantis inspired the South African entrepreneur, Sol Kerzner.
A few minutes from the Atlantis, still on Paradise Island, we find the Ocean Club, where your bathing suit is replaced by a three piece suit or an evening gown. Built before World War II, it was the house of the island’s first owner. This old colonial palace, considered to be the jewel of Bahamian hotels, has not lost any of its charm.
Andros, the archipelago’s largest island, is all mystery and natural treasures. Deep sea divers looking for adventure can dive down an 1,800 meter deep fault. On this land and sea paradise, we find the Ti-Amo, the first 100% nature hotel in the Caribbean, accessible only by boat.
Consisting of 11 bungalows in a natural tropical forest, the doors of Ti-Amo are never locked. Sun block, fishing pole, mask and scuba equipment are the only indispensable pieces of equipment for Andros.
Eleuthera is a long strip of land in the shape of a boomerang. It’s one of the first islands to have been colonized. Facing it is another small piece of land, Harbour Island. We have a perfect example of the different facets of the Bahamas. Harbour Island is a chic stop for jet setters drawn to it by their love for Creole architecture. Among those who have chosen to take up residence here are Lenny Kravitz and members of the British royal family.
Dunmoore, the first capital of the Bahamas is reminiscent of Victorian England. The Pink Sands Hotel, owned by Chris Blackwell, Bob Marley’s producer, is outside the city center. Pink Sands is an eclectic blend of Asian and art deco styles. Located in the center of lush vegetation, small, pastel colored cottages are scattered around the site.
Many celebrities have chosen to live here and use it as a peaceful retreat. The villas are all along the sea, face the famous beach of pink sand. Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, its most magnificent moment is at sunset.
1,800 people live in the little village of Dunmoore Town. The narrow streets of the former Bahaman capital is full of these small buggies, the only means of transport permitted on the island. Some hotels are in former Victorian mansions along the main street, like this charming and historical site, known as, The Landing.
The inhabitants of Harbour Island, considered to be the most pleasant in all the Bahamas, paint their houses in pink and blue pastel colors. The Landing has chosen a more sober white. The first British settlers came to Harbour Island in the 17th century. At that time, life in Nassau was a nightmare because of constant attacks by Spanish galleons and by pirates.
Harbour Island is a very special place. It’s quaint, it’s beautiful .The charm here, in spite of the beauty, is the people. People are warm and friendly, helpful; it’s a little jewel in the ground. It’s our jewel in the Bahamas.