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Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:44

The Islands of the Bahamas Selling Barefoot on the Beach

Written by  Melanie Reffes

It’s called a “Shaky Leg” and with generous amounts of rum (two kinds) and Kahlua, shaky legs are all about a grand time in the Bahamas. With a delicious history of potent cocktails, from the Goombay Smash and Bahama Mama to the Shaky Leg poured at a popular beach bar on Grand Bahama Island, the islands of the Bahamas are the hip and happening vacay destination for couples, families and everyone else looking for a tropical getaway, not too far from home. 

“With daily scheduled flights, a variety of charter flights and a healthy cruising industry, cruise passengers and stopover visitors will continue to find The Bahamas an easily accessible getaway, just next door,” said Obie Wilchcombe, minister of tourism. “Last year we welcomed five million visitors and anticipate that we have another strong year for tourism ahead of us.” From new resorts on Cable Beach, to swimming with the pigs in Exuma, the island chain is all gussied up for high season. “Our relationship with travel agents is an invaluable asset in driving tourism. We have a longstanding relationship with agents, and are in constant communication to ensure that they are aware of new developments like the Baha Mar resort development and our new Lynden Pindling International Airport,” added Obie Wilchcombe.

 

Capital Cool 

Not only the capital of the island chain, Nassau is also action-central for shopping, fine dining, accommodations from luxury to chic casual, and a building bonanza. Slated to open in 2014, the $3.5 billion Baha Mar Resort and entertainment complex will include upscale hotel brands like Rosewood Resorts, Mondrian, Hyatt and the Baha Mar Hotel (www.bahamar.com) with a casino that will be the largest in the Caribbean. When complete, the gigantic complex will also house two spas, a water park, nightclub and 18-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course. At the Lynden Pindling International Airport, a revamped international arrivals terminal and international departures pier is expected to open this month. 

 

Show and Sell

Revered for its wine cellar, elegant decor, cigar factory and artsy hand-painted pool, Graycliff (www.graycliff.com) is developing the surrounding buildings into a Heritage Village with an artisan’s gallery, coffee-roasting facility, chocolate factory and a new 75-room hotel. To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, the iconic hotel is selling a three-night package for travel through December 15 that includes a chauffeur-driven limo from the airport, a bottle of champagne; a chef’s tasting dinner and a beach day at Blue Lagoon Island. “Throughout its history, Graycliff has been a retreat for nobility, from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Princess Caroline of Monaco to more contemporary royalty like Jay-Z and Beyonce,” says Enrico Garzaroli, president. “We’ve created the Royal Treat package to celebrate our guests who we believe should always be made to feel
like royalty.” 

Celebrating its five-year anniversary, Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort  (www.sheratonnassau.com) is offering a four-night ‘Sunsational Savings’ package through December 31 that includes a $100 food and beverage credit for stays up to five nights and a $200 credit for longer stays. “We want to thank consumers for their loyalty and continued support,” said Manny Corral, director, sales and marketing.

Ringing in its fiftieth year on the island, One & Only (www.oceanclub.oneandonlyresorts.com) was once the private hideaway of A&P heir Huntington Hartford and has hosted a mix of hot shots over nearly five decades. The Courtyard Terrace is serving dishes from the original 1962 menu, while bartenders are shaking things up with old-school cocktails like a Mint Julep and Brandy Alexander.   

 

Pleasure Isles 

On Grand Bahama Island, Sunrise Resort (www.sunriseresortandma
rina.com
) is offering a two-for-one room night deal for travel through December 31. Just seventy miles west of Palm Beach, Florida, the charming thirty-one room hotel received the 2012 Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. “While the world economy is still recovering, people still need to get away and relax on a vacation. The 2-for-1 offer is our best possible value for guests to do just that,” said Ta’Shar Cuccurullo, general manager. In addition to gratis Wi-Fi, on-site restaurant and sport bar, the charming hotel also offers a full-service boat yard with seventy floating docks for travelers who sail in from another island. 

Plans to revive Walker’s Cay Resort (www.walkerscay.com) in The Abaco Islands have been approved by The Bahamas Investment Authority. Shuttered in 2004, renovations at the resort now include the development of two hotels, spa, twenty-eight condominiums and an airport runway for twin-engine planes. Eleuthera Urgo Hotels and Bahamas Ferries started a $15 million expansion project for the Cocodimama Hotel in Governor’s Harbour (http://cocodimama.com). Plans include thirty new rooms and four condos. Colorado-based RockResorts will develop a 100-room branded boutique hotel at the Bimini Bay Resort (www.biminibayresort.com) slated to open in 2014. A spa, additional restaurants and beach club are expected to open later this year. 

One of the Bahamas’ best kept secrets, Stocking Island, is popular with celebs. Although tourists will not likely run into them, they will see untouched reefs coveted by divers worldwide. A unique tour offered by Island Routes (www.islandroutes.com), ‘Stocking Island Snorkel and Starfish’ includes a trek to Salt Beacon for breathtaking views of the neighboring islands. More fun from Island Routes is the ‘007 Thunderball Luxury‘ tour, which offers swimmers the distinctive experience of swimming with the famous pigs that live in Big Major Cay in the Exumas. Aboard a speedboat, the tour also makes stops at the Thunderball Grotto where the James Bond movies Never Say Never Again and Thunderball were filmed.

For more information, call 800-Ba
hamas
or visit www.Bahamas.com

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