It may happen as you sway languidly on a crisp white hammock that’s strung between two coconut palm trees, or while a massage therapist lavishes your skin with warm scented oil during a Balinese-style body treatment.
It could happen as you bury your toes into the powder-soft Bahamian sand and sip a ginger-infused margarita, or as you glide past rows of blooming bougainvilleas on a seaside bicycle ride.
Wherever it happens, though, it’s inevitable – a blissful surrender to complete relaxation at One&Only Ocean Club Bahamas, nestled on the alluring and aptly named Paradise Island.
Set on 34 immaculate acres of meandering tropical paths, manicured gardens and expansive green lawns, One&Only Ocean Club, a member of The Leading Hotels of The World and a partner of Virtuoso, is a favorite with jet-setters and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan and Cindy Crawford, who was married there.
With only 105 guest rooms, suites and private villas, this ravishing resort still feels like the secluded private estate – fittingly dubbed Shangri-La – that it was in the mid-20th century. Even when the hotel is full, it’s remarkably quiet and serene.
The refined glamour of One&Only Ocean Club is evident from the moment your car pulls into the gated entrance and winds up the sweeping driveway towards the resort’s main Colonial manor house.
Guests are greeted with a celebratory ring of a bronze bell that hangs from the house’s plantation-style porch and welcomed with a glass of switcha, a sweet Bahamian lemonade, before being shown to their accommodations.
Guest rooms, like the ground-level rooms in the Crescent Wing, are airy and elegant, with wooden louvered doors that slide open onto private patios on the edge of a wide lawn with sigh-inducing ocean views.
If you’re too eager to explore before even unpacking, leave that task to your butler, who’s available 24 hours a day with the push of a telephone button to do everything from arrange transport, make restaurant or spa reservations, have your clothing pressed or bring you selections from the resort’s pillow menu.
The personalized butler service is just one of the offerings that make One&Only Ocean Club something of a self-contained sanctuary, a paradise within a paradise that caters to guests’ every want and need.
At the Versailles Pool, for instance, guests can swim, lounge and enjoy a leisurely lunch of seafood tacos or conch fritters from the Pool Terrace Cafe?. A selection of magazines, sunscreen, board games, popcorn, water and even reading glasses makes the experience even more comfortable.
The One&Only Ocean Club Bahamas is a sanctuary catering guests every need from poolside dining to sundowner cocktails
Those looking for more formal fine dining will find it at Dune, courtesy of acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Here, French-Asian cuisine is suffused with Bahamian touches in dishes like the delectable steamed shrimp salad or locally caught lobster with curry sauce, fried plantains and bok choy.
Dune’s patio atop a beach bluff is also a spectacular place to start the day. Get up in time for sunrise and then indulge in the delicious Dune Breakfast: eggs Benedict with potato galette, French toast, smoked salmon and a pot of strong coffee.
History, architecture and horticulture lovers will relish a stroll through the Versailles Garden, an intricately landscaped collection of tiered gardens where a lily pond, fountains and marble and bronze statues recall the grounds at the Palace de Versailles. A stunning 12th-century Augustinian cloister, originally from France and reassembled on site, crowns the garden.
Guests can stay active at the resort’s well-equipped fitness center, where they’ll not only find treadmills, elliptical machines, Pilates equipment and outdoor free weights, but also personal training services.
Complimentary bicycles – including bikes for kids and ones equipped with baby seats – are available to borrow for freewheeling around the resort and Paradise Island.
There are also six Har-Tru tennis courts and private lessons available from onsite pros, plus complimentary yoga classes offered each morning on the main beach deck overlooking the ocean.
Relaxation, of course, is a given here, thanks to Paradise Island’s beaches and beautiful weather, but One&Only Ocean Club guests can also indulge at the One&Only Spa.
Eight intricately decorated Balinese-style treatment villas – complete with outdoor day beds and spa tubs – offer guests a private and luxurious place to enjoy massages, facials and other body treatments. Massages are available en suite or outdoors overlooking the ocean.
Anything else guests might need is anticipated, too. There’s shopping, thanks to NEO, a boutique featuring designer resort wear and accessories; a salon with hair and nail services; original artwork throughout the resort by local artist Jane Waterous; and plenty for children to do, thanks to a kids’ pool, KidsOnly club and babysitting services.
Although it’s certainly possible to lose yourself within One&Only Ocean Club’s serene grounds and beach for the duration of your stay, Paradise Island is also packed with activities.
On the island’s east end is the spectacular 18-hole, par-72, Tom Weiskopf-designed Ocean Club Golf Course, which is open to One&Only Ocean Club guests. Also nearby are luxury homes at the Ocean Club Residences and Marina and the Ocean Club Estates.
At the other end of the island is the popular Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, where visitors will find a casino, water park, upscale restaurants and a marine habitat as well as snorkeling, diving and yacht charters.
One&Only Ocean Club guests enjoy access to the entire Atlantis complex and complimentary transport between the two resorts. Just over the bridge from Paradise Island is Nassau and its bustling Junkanoo Beach, popular fish fry and downtown shopping.
If there are any niggles, they are small. The Wi-Fi can be spotty at times, and occasionally odors from the island’s nearby municipal facility are evident. But these issues fade compared to the resort’s exquisite beauty and extraordinary level of service.
From the champagne and strawberries delivered to your guestroom every afternoon, to the thoughtful notes from your butler, to the long stretch of quiet beach, nothing says Bahamian luxury and relaxation quite like One&Only Ocean Club. oceanclub.oneandonlyresort.com