When a natural disaster rocks a region like Hurricane Irma did to the Caribbean, the aftermath isn't just felt by those whose hometowns were left almost unrecognizable—it also affects neighboring countries. While images of Bahaman beaches sucked dry from the hurricane went viral, it shouldn't deter you from visiting many of the now-recovered idyllic islands, who gain 50% of GDP from tourism. In fact, it's now more important than ever to support them. Surprisingly, Nassau Tourism Board points out that the country's capital wasn't impacted by the hurricane, and for hotels and locals alike, it's business as usual.
So if you've been thinking about escaping the impending cold and taking one last beach vacation, we've got just the place. A string of renovations and the much-anticipated opening of Baha Mar, a multibillion-dollar development that's been 10 years in the making, means the Bahamas has probably changed a lot since you last visited. Good news: The newest suites boast incredible standalone tubs, the family options are surprisingly varied and high-end, and the beaches are still second-to-none. Here's to a never ending summer.
If You're Planning a Bachelorette Party…
Forget Vegas—Nassau's newest luxury development, Baha Mar, will be a mecca for bachelorette parties. The multibillion-dollar development launched in April and is home to three major hotels, including Grand Hyatt, which is the first to open.
Thanks to its size (the development spans over 1000 acres in total), the list of bachelorette party activities are endless: There are 11 swimming pools surrounded by swaying palm trees, a world-class Espa brand spa, 30 luxury retailers, including Tiffany & Co. and MAC, and the largest casino in the Carribean. What's more is that the standard suites are outfitted with stand-alone tubs akin with luxury rooms and are priced in the mid-$300 range.
Despite its scale, many of Baha Mar's offerings feel surprisingly quaint and boutique. Standouts include Cafe Madeline (pictured), a French patisserie with incredible pastries, and Churchill's, an expertly decorated cigar bar, offering hand-rolled cigars and over 40 different types of rum.
If you're planning a girls' trip to the spa, allow at least 30 minutes to enjoy the facilities before your treatment starts. The mirrored mosaic showers are enchanting.
SOAK UP SOME RAYS:
If You're Splashing Out With Your S.O.…
There's certainly no shortage of luxury lodgings in the Bahamas, but the One&Only Ocean Club takes the top spot for those looking for a refined retreat with plenty of privacy. When you enter the lounge, it's clear that the hotel has a long list of celebrity guests: Photos of Oprah Winfrey and the Beatles sit atop the piano, and the bar was where Casino Royale was filmed.
The One&Only attracts a different type of traveler than its neighboring resorts. The property has an air of tranquility and activities are understated but restorative: Guests can wander the Versailles-style tiered garden, practice morning yoga with ocean views, relax in the Balinese-inspired spa, or try their hand at stand-up paddleboarding at the resorts quiet white-sand beach.
Whatever you do, don't miss dining at One&Only Ocean Club's restaurant, Dune. Legendary restaurateur Jean-Georges Vongerichten heads up the menu, which consists of French-Asian cuisine with a touch of local Bahamian flavors. Our pick: Start with the yellowfin tuna tartare with ginger marinade, and opt for the local lobster with a light curry sauce—you won't be disappointed.
If You're on a Family Trip (But Still Want "Me" Time)…
Enter via The Cove, Atlantis's high-end accommodation offering, and you'd have no idea you were near the iconic fantasy water park. Designed by architect Jeffrey Beers, the suites have a residential feel and are a serene option if you'd like to use the hotel's famed facilities without waterslide views.
Traveling as a family? Book two adjoining rooms, which can be configured with a central door to feel like a larger, communal space.
The number of restaurants and attractions at Atlantis are exhaustive, but make sure Sun & Ice is at the top of your list. The recently opened ice cream parlor is the brainchild of Bahamian chef Wayne Moncur. Each scoop has a story, and flavors are expertly infused with local Bahamian ingredients like sea grapes and sapodilla.
If You Want to Feel Like a Celebrity…
Forget what you think you know about all-inclusive resorts—Sandals Royal Bahaman is among the best options in Nassau. Guests who book the top-tier option will be treated like royalty. The service includes a private butler trained by the esteemed Guild of Professional English Butlers.
Even if you opt for one of the entry-level packages, the options abound: Start by venturing to the resort's private island, an idyllic stretch of sand accessible by a short boat ride. Make use of the sauna and steam room, which is included in your booking, lounge by the swim-up bar, or take a complimentary scuba diving trip. Oh, and pack your yoga pants—the gym's ocean views are motivation to work out.
Have you been to the Bahamas? Tell us where you stayed and if you'd recommend it to other travelers.