This article was written by Blake Miller and was featured in our June issue of Home By Design magazine. To visit the original Home By Design article and view more photos, click here.
NEW PROVIDENCE, BAHAMAS
There are few places in the Caribbean that are just a short flight from the US. But a 60-minute flight from Miami makes New Providence a fantastic island destination in the Bahamas for a quick weekend getaway or longer stay, too. While you’ve likely heard of smaller yet oft-visited islands such as Andros, Abaco, and Exuma, among others, the most popular (and home to the capital city Nassau) is New Providence.
While New Providence is heavily populated, it also provides a wealth of activities, fine-dining options, and nightlife along with gorgeous beaches and turquoise-blue ocean access. On New Providence, you can have the best of both worlds: a secluded, private resort experience and access to island amenities.
Just over the bridge from Nassau Harbor is tiny Paradise Island. There you’ll find The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort, which was conceived by businessman and heir George Huntington Hartford II. William Randolph Hearst, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Benny Goodman, and the likes flocked to the resort, which opened in 1962. The Ocean Club, which just celebrated its sixtieth anniversary, is quiet and private. Located on thirty-five acres of Bermuda grass– and palm tree–lined pathways and pristine gardens, including its famous Versailles Garden, visitors can wander the property without ever seeing another guest. That’s part of The Ocean Club’s beauty: it feels like your own personal oasis.
While on Paradise Island, get a true taste of Bahamian culture and cuisine at nearby Arawak Cay (locally known as the Fish Fry) on West Bay Street. This popular place is home to a variety of authentic Bahamian restaurants, featuring traditional dishes from the Islands and ice-cold beverages with a local twist. Named after the original West Indian inhabitants of the island, Arawak Cay dates back to 1969 when Nassau Harbor was dredged.
But for those who crave nightlife and luxury accommodations, Baha Mar is a fantastic option. One of the newest resorts in the Bahamas, New Providence’s Baha Mar, recently celebrated its five-year anniversary. With three unique properties within the resort—Grand Hyatt, SLS, and Rosewood—there’s no shortage of accommodations. For those who love the exclusivity of The Ocean Club but long for nightlife, a stay at the ultra-private Rosewood is a must. The 230-room property epitomizes Bahamian refinement and sophistication with a private beach and respite from the casino floor, when needed.
The Bahamas are chock-full of impressive artists, and one of the best places to see many of them is at the Baha Mar’s ECCHO (Expressive Collaboration and Creative House of Opportunities). This brand-new 13,000-square-foot multifunctional space is a creative platform for local and international artists. It’s within the fold of the already popular The Current Gallery & Art Center, which aims to forge relevant and meaningful connections with creative communities. ECCHO supports Bahamian artists by displaying local installations, paintings, sculptures and more. It’s the perfect spot to experience artwork while taking a break from the hot afternoon sun or enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail.
Beyond the luxury resorts, there are plenty of places to stay and dine while on New Providence. One would be remiss not to visit the historic Graycliff Hotel. The circa-1740 mansion (rumored to have been built by a pirate) is surrounded by lush, tropical gardens and is home to a world-renowned wine collection of more than 250,000 bottles. Ask to tour the wine cellar after dinner, where you’ll find a private wine dining room where they’ll tell you Jay-Z and Beyonce, Pink, and Michael Jordan have all dined.
No matter where you check in, there is so much to choose from that will elevate any New Providence vacation from ordinary to extraordinary.
|When to Go:|
Consider visiting outside hurricane season, which runs June through mid-November. Spring is a great time to visit; the temps are mid-80s and sunny.
How to Get There:
Most major airlines have direct flights to Nassau. The smaller surrounding islands are often accessible by smaller airlines or boats.
What to Do:
Look beyond the beach and luxury accommodations and book an excursion. Choose from a ghost tour, cooking class, shark dive, fort exploration, rum distillery tour, or a trip to the cultural center, among other activities.