My arrival at Marsh Harbour Airport in the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas is a typical Caribbean experience: short runways, small buildings and friendly islander greetings. The 30-minute drive to The Abaco Club on Winding Bay is anything but.
Fields and trees stretch out on either side – no shops, no roadside stands, no bicycles, cars or even people – and I’m starting to think I’m in the wrong place. Where are the aquamarine waters, powder-soft beaches and bristling palm trees of my Bahamian dreams?
As if out of nowhere, the gates of The Abaco Club appear, and suddenly I’m exactly where I want to be: in a private, secluded and luxurious sanctuary, perched on a crescent of chalk-white sand and fronting a calm-water bay in vibrant shades of turquoise.
I immediately bolt barefoot to the beach (memo to self: reserve a paddleboard this afternoon); then head for an alfresco lunch at the breezy Buster’s Beach Bar, followed by a snooze in a beachside hammock. The unpacking can wait.
About two years ago, the owners of Southworth Development, specializing in residential resort and hospitality branded real estate communities, had much the same experience when they first visited The Abaco Club on Winding Bay.
Not only did they vow to return, but they had such a passion for this Bahamian beauty that they ultimately partnered with a consortium of club members and residents to acquire the property.
Today, The Abaco Club offers a unique island lifestyle – where privacy, seclusion, luxury and relaxation abound – featuring fractional ownership and whole ownership real estate options.
Residences range from compact cabanas to spacious ocean-view cottages and grand beachfront estate homes. In addition to owning and building opportunities, many of The Abaco Club’s private estates and cottage homes are available for vacation rentals.
I opt for a cozy one-bedroom cabana home, nestled amid lush tropical foliage. The freestanding octagonal cabana has an airy living space, king-size four-poster bed, beautifully tiled bathroom and a large screened-in porch.
Beachfront dining, golf and watersports are all within strolling distance, although a handy golf cart for my personal use stands idle outside my front door.
For more spacious accommodations, the three- and four-bedroom island cottages are magnificent. The turnkey homes, inspired by traditional Bahamian architecture, offer floor plans ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 square feet and expansive outdoor spaces.
If your dream is to build, there are a limited number of beachfront, coastal and golf course lots available for sale, some with up to 200 feet of beach or ocean frontage.
Most of these spectacular private lots are over an acre in size, providing ample room for your architectural vision to be realized.
The Abaco Club’s charming beach village vibe is decidedly laidback, encouraging all of its residents and guests to relax and unwind in the alluring beauty of Winding Bay, but there’s no shortage of luxurious pampering or active pursuits in and out of the water.
The club’s excellent spa offers body-soothing treatments like the Royal Hibiscus Signature Facial, Bahamian Rhythmic Touch Therapy and popular sugar and salt scrubs using Eminence products and other locally sourced natural elements.
The challenging Scottish-style links golf course is ranked as one of the finest in the Bahamas and a new world-class golf practice facility was added recently.
Watersports run the gamut from kayaking, sailing and snorkeling to bonefishing and deep-sea fishing; tennis courts and a fitness center are also on hand for when you’re done with chilling on the two-mile white sand beach.
Dining is an essential element of The Abaco Club experience, especially at The Cliff House, with its Neo-British Colonial décor and artworks by more than a dozen talented Bahamian artists.
Sundowner cocktails roll seamlessly to gourmet dishes featuring fresh lobster, blackened grouper and the ever-popular conch chowder, among other ocean-fresh seafood.
The Southworth Development owners continue to devote time and financial resources to The Abaco Club because it’s more than just an investment for its residents; it’s home.
“The Abaco Club might be the most unpretentious place on the planet,” says founder David Southworth. “You’d never know the guy in flip-flops and a T-shirt next to you is the CEO of a major international company. Like everyone else, he’s just here to relax and enjoy the incredible beauty of the place.”
Long-time friend and business partner Joe Deitch refers to The Abaco Club as a literal safe haven. “It’s a secluded paradise where you have the best of everything, and everyone is genuinely lovely and friendly,” he says. “People, both guests and staff, welcome you like family.”
For more information, visit theabacoclub.com.