I may be a bit biased since I’ve been in love with the Bahamas for the last 30 years, but anyone who’s visited this island paradise will agree, the Bahamas are special. The people are warm. The beaches are soft. The water is a million shades of blue. And no matter where you go (the Bahamas are made up of 700 islands), you’ll find stunning natural beauty and a sophisticated, yet laid-back culture that is inherently relaxing.

But no introduction to the Bahamas special charms would be complete without spending some quality time in the capital on the small island of New Providence. So, here’s what makes Nassau so special.

To Stay

A marina residence at the Albany.

Albany is a members club on the western tip of the island. It is a luxury resort community on 600 coastal acres. The 18-hole championship golf course was designed by legends Ernie Els and Tiger Woods and is played by the pros every year at the Hero World Challenge. As a whole, the property is designed to be a sportsmen paradise, offering amazing fitness and wellness amenities.

The Albany marina

There is 5-star dining, great beaches and its well-known massive marina. Enjoy horseback riding through the community, on-site tennis clinics and kayaking the waters off of Albany’s coast.

The living room at The Island House is a home away from home.

The Island House: This ultra-chic 30-room hotel came to be when local Lauren Holowesko and her father Mark Holowesko wanted to create a uniquely Bahamian guest house experience that would treat guests like honored locals. The whole property merges contemporary luxury with the elegant and understated island life the locals are known for. The Island House is also a members club for locals and prides itself on supporting local artists by displaying art and various residencies.

Poolside at the Island House

The amenities include a Bamford Spa and three different restaurants and shops in The Outpost. The Mahogany House serves delicious dinners, and you can eat there nightly. The Market has fresh groceries, and Shima, a Southeast Asian restaurant. There’s also The Coffee Bar on the main floor, which has a really great breakfast. The Outpost is really a space for members, set up like a shared workspace with conference rooms and office space. A 48-seat screening room for members is available and every February, the hotel hosts an independent film festival.
For those in the Exumas, The Island House has a sister property called Highbourne Cay where they arrange local trips to visit.

Lyford Cay is an exclusive Bahamas compound located on the western tip of New Providence. It has beautiful beaches and great food while being kid friendly. Founded in 1966, it is incredibly private – only members and their guests are permitted to stay in the guest rooms. The whole property is really classic, old school, beautiful and traditional, like something out of a Slim Aarons photoshoot. Just renovated by Tom Scheerer, Lyford is all about pink, which stems from the colonial buildings downtown. Jackets are required after 7:00pm, tennis attire is white only, and its 18-hole golf course is a Rees Jones design – no cell phones allowed. Lyford Cay is most known for its understated style and being a private haven for international membership.

Kamalame Cay

Kamalame Cay in Andros (a short boat ride away) is a small private island with chicly designed beach bungalows, cottages and villas you can rent. With prices as low as $275 a night, it’s a great low key getaway. They have amazing amenities and incredible food with menus that change daily. There is an Overwater Spa with organic products, tennis courts, child care services and a seaside tiki bar.

To Eat, Sip And See

Sapodilla Estate, Pink Octopus Restaurant, Wild Thyme Restaurant and Café Matisse are all amazing restaurants. Aquafire Bar & Grill has the best fresh fish and local atmosphere.

For the best selection of cocktails and wines and wine tastings, visit 1er Cru.

A visit to the Clifton Heritage National Park is a must! So is snorkeling at Sir Nicholas Nuttall Coral Reef Sculpture Garden, shelling on Pelican Cay, buying fresh fruits from Flo Fruit Stand, and eating the best conch is at The Conch Shack or Two Brothers in Arawak Cay.

To Shop

Marcie Bond Resort Clothing

Marcie Bond Resort Clothing: This boutique is located in the Lyford Cay shopping center (on the main road) and is open to the public. The whole store emanates true island life, exclusively carrying Rebecca Whitbeck cotton kaftans. I love their earrings, straw bags and beach kaftans.

The Emporium: The Emporium is a boutique department store, is located along Albany Marina. Selling apparel for men, women and children, the Emporium also has incredible resort wear, great home accessories gifts and branded Albany gear.

Michelle Cove: Michelle Cove has two beach stores – one at Lyford and one at Albany beach. You can always find the best straw bags, beach cover ups and bathing suits here along with beyond cute stuff for kids.

Lyford Cay Tennis Shop: The best tennis whites on the island.

Bahama Hand Prints: This shop is located at The Island House and 100% Bahamian owned. Its traditional screen-printed fabrics for resort wear and bags are made for, and inspired by, the Bahamas. It sells great cotton kaftans, beach bags and kids’ clothes.

My Favorite Bahamian Fashion Designer

Jeannie McQueeny International

Jeannie was born in the Bahamas and every woman I know simply adores her designs. They are drenched in brilliant Bahamian color and light and inspired by her travels and insight from friends along the way.

The result is her one-of-a-kind kaftans. They come in a range of sizes – short, knee, long – and can be worn from everything to the beach or a formal gala.