When you think of the Bahamas, images of swaying palms, blissful beaches and all-inclusive resorts come to mind. These popular Caribbean islands are known for their convenience, with all-inclusive resorts, vacation packages and unlimited amenities, however, the boutique and family-owned hotels here are hidden gems not to be missed.
Skip the all-inclusive resorts and check-in at one of these unique and locally-owned hotels for a more authentic experience in the Bahamas.
1. Marley Resort and Spa
Head to the Marley Resort and Spa in the Bahamas where the sun is shining, and the weather is sweet. Here you’ll enjoy positive vibrations in the former vacation home of Bob Marley and his family. Instead of remodeling the house for their growing family Rita Marley, Bob’s wife, decided the property should be a “home away from home for everyone.” Escape the concrete jungle as you enter rooms with mahogany furniture, rainfall showers and Moroccan rugs. Let three little birds guide you to the Natural Mystic Spa for holistic treatments and an Easy Rock Steady Hot Stone Body Massage. After a day on the beach with your one love, head to Stir It Up Bar for a Buffalo Soldier cocktail before dinner at Simmer Down Restaurant. Turn your lights down low as you drift to sleep on luxurious beds in music-inspired rooms. Could you be loved here? Most definitely. Beachfront weddings at Marley Resort and Spa are more than a nice time, they’re downright mystical.
2. Rock House
Rock House on Harbour Island offers a luxurious boutique-hotel experience to adults only right on Pink Sand Beach. This charming 10-room property started as a private home in the 1940s and was redesigned by J. Wallace Tutt, III, a renowned South Florida builder. All Rock House rooms are equipped with amenities, like king beds, a safe and bathrobes. Enjoy your complimentary poolside breakfast before heading to Pink Sand Beach for private service including umbrellas, picnic baskets and a cooler of delicious drinks. Or, if privacy is more your style, relax underneath your personal, poolside cabana. Explore Harbour Island’s New England-style architecture for a day on the town, or head to neighboring Eleuthera to admire the pineapple plantations. Scuba lovers get a special treat in the Bahamas as the Current Cut and its famous drift dive are a short boat ride from Harbour Island. Finish your evening off as the sun sets over Rock House Restaurant—guests say it has some of the best food on the island.
3. The Ocean View Club
This family-run Eleuthera hotel is something out of a tropical fairytale. If you see palm-tree-lined paths, outdoor clawfoot bathtubs and beachy pastels, you’ve arrived at The Ocean View Club. The bright and airy beachfront hotel has a cleverly-named accommodation option for everyone. The assortment of tent cottages, beach shacks and rooms vary in size and view, but all will make you feel as though you are staying in a well-loved home. The on-site restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with Caribbean flavors made by its in-house trained chef. In addition, this dreamy hotel doubles as a destination wedding venue for those wanting a wedding that is truly unique.
4. The Other Side
This sister property to The Ocean View Club takes “glamour camping” or glamping, to the next level. The Other Side offers beachside sleeping tents and hilltop shacks, right off the Queen’s Highway on Eleuthera. Don’t be fooled by the conservative names of the accommodations, every room is air-conditioned and equipped with Wi-Fi and a plush four-poster bed. This solar-powered glamping property provides both seclusion along the beach, and company when you want it in its four communal tents designated for reading, eating, drinking and playing. Head to The Other Side for a beach vacation experience that is distinct from all others, and don’t forget to plant a few seeds in the salad garden while you’re there. See you on the other side!
5. The Landing
Book your beach vacation at The Landing for a stay in this plantation-style property dating back to 1800. It’s 13 guest rooms have hardwood floors, private bathrooms, air conditioning and a select few even have a verandah, swoon. Walk five minutes down to pink sand where beach chairs and umbrellas await you. Or, walk out the hotel’s front door and explore Dunmore Town, where colorful cottages, boutiques and art galleries line the streets. Evenings are a real treat when dining at the Landing Restaurant, especially when you handpick a fine wine from its award-winning cellar. The locally sourced and always fresh modern menu is loved by both guests and Brilanders—locals of Harbour Island—alike. Sea lovers, ask the front desk about snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing on one of the outlying reefs.
6. Pink Sands Resort
Pink Sands Resort is located on—you guessed it—Pink Sand Beach. Tropical flowers and fruit trees dot this delightful Harbour Island resort. Its cottages and villas open to ocean or garden views and all rooms are furnished with welcoming beds and island-style decor. The property is home to a fruit and vegetable garden that frequently stars in the meals at the Blue Bar & Grill, a Harbour Island favorite, and Malcolm 51, the formal, dinner-only restaurant. Pink Sands’ attention to detail carries into more than just the rooms and food; two private tennis courts, a classic library and oceanfront cabanas with personal service make this Caribbean gem sparkle above the rest. Venture away from this slice of paradise on a rented bicycle or off-site excursion, both can be arranged at the Pink Sands’ front desk.
7. Tiamo Resort
Tucked away on South Andros Island lies Tiamo Resort, only accessible by boat or seaplane. Each of Tiamo’s 11 beach villas are surrounded by tropical greenery and are only footsteps from the ocean. This eco-resort has a variety of vacation packages, but the one that stands out is the Exclusive Package, which allows you to reserve the entire resort for a wedding, family reunion, company trip or group event. The package gives you access to a three-bedroom villa, each with its own private bath, with space inside and outside for any type of gathering. Hunger has no place here as meals are included in the price of your stay and the Michelin-trained chef serves up only the freshest Caribbean fusion. The on-site spa, gym and pool are go-to amenities for health-conscious guests. In addition, off-site activities like bonefishing, diving, snorkeling and nature tours can also be booked through the Tiamo resort.
8. Orange Hill Beach Inn
Orange Hill Beach Inn is perched on a hilltop facing the ocean on New Providence Island. While it has accommodations ranging from studios to cottages and standard amenities, plus some, it’s the dive packages that make this colorful inn stand out. Guests have access to world-class diving with Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas. Book a tour to scuba or snorkel and see reef sharks, shipwrecks or the famous Tongue of the Ocean, a deep trench separating New Providence and Andros Island. The Honor Bar and Orange Hill Restaurant make sure guests are always satisfied with the offerings and prices. Mixed drinks cost just $4 and meals range from $7-$25. Make a cocktail at the self-serve bar and kick back poolside or on the beach—which is just across the street.
9. Coral Sands Hotel
Pink sand and sparkling waters welcome you to Coral Sands Hotel. Somehow, this Harbour Island hotel has mastered balance—it’s luxurious but laidback, spacious yet quaint. The colorfully decorated rooms have views and amenities that rival any five-star resort. This large beachfront property gives guests room to unwind with a turquoise swimming pool, in-room massages, tennis court and, of course, coral-colored sand. When guests are looking to get off the beach, they use the hotel’s complimentary equipment like kayaks, paddleboards and bicycles, or, they head to Beach Bar for food and drinks. However, be sure to save room for dinner at the fancy Latitude 25 restaurant. Gourmet meals bursting with color, and an ocean backdrop are enough to make anyone throw in the towel and move to the Bahamas.
We’ll see you there!