Bahamas Luxury on Paradise Island

 

The Cove’s Ocean Suites have beds that face balconies, which overlook the beach, ocean and the Atlantis water park.

 

Finishing the fifth hole at the Ocean Club Golf Course at One&Only Ocean Club in the Bahamas, a member of our foursome casually mentioned that maybe we should let the group behind us play through. “Why?” I asked. “It’s not like it’s Donald Trump.”

Any other day I’d have been right. But, not that day. Not on that course. Was it surprising to see “The Donald” in the flesh? Yes. Out of the realm of possibility? No way. One&Only Ocean Club, which won the 2009 Luxury Travel Advisor Award of Excellence for best luxury hotel in the Caribbean, has drawn celebrities since its inception: Robert De Niro, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jordan, Hilary Swank—all A-listers.

So when we goggled at The Apprentice star/real estate mogul hoofing it up to the green (he plays fast), we froze for a moment, but were never completely stupefied—this was the Ocean Club; you almost expect it.

The hotel’s top accommodations are the One&Only Villa Residences, which are perched above the beach and come in three- and four-bedroom configurations. The Villa Residences have been built in British-Colonial style with vaulted ceilings, whirling overhead fans, wood furnishings and marble floors. A gated entry opens to a garden courtyard with a dining patio. There is also a barbecue grill in the garden, and a private chef can be arranged to prepare meals. Top Service: A dedicated Villa Host ensures that guests’ needs are tended to posthaste.

Top View: The five two-story buildings of the Crescent Wing provide sweeping views of the beach and ocean from their private balconies and terraces. The wing is composed of 40 beachfront rooms and 10 beachfront suites. Luxury travel advisors should contact Reservations Manager Rosanna Clarke ([email protected]; 954-809-2000, ext. 2293).onlyoceanclub.com

While we can’t promise a celebrity-sighting on the golf course every time, we can assure that it will be one of the more memorable rounds of your life. The Tom Weiskopf-designed course is set on the eastern end of the island. Blessed with an ideal location, most of the holes play along the ocean or with the ocean in your sight line, such as the drivable 17th hole, which plays entirely along the scenic Snorkeler’s Cove. Note: The annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational tournament is played at Ocean Club. Golf outings can be arranged through the club’s General Manager Tim Yavello (242-363-6680).

Dining at One&Only Ocean Club is a treat. Dune, a restaurant by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, perched atop a white sand beach, lends itself to unfettered ocean views. Dune serves French-Asian cuisine, but with a dash of local Bahamian influence. The menu also includes signature dishes from Vongerichten’s New York restaurants.

The One&Only Spa has eight private spa villas, each with a pavilion and open-air garden so guests can have their facial and body treatments in one place. We hear that the One&Only Massage might as well be the one and only treatment you’ll need. This signature treatment involves not one but two therapists and combines five massage styles: Japanese Shiatsu, Thai, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi, Swedish and Balinese. Luxury travel advisors can call Spa Director Makieva Humes (242-363-2501).

Weddings are a huge part of One&Only Ocean Club. We can’t think of a better place to tie the knot than at the resort’s Versailles Gardens with its stone steps and columns amid lush foliage. The spa also offers pre-wedding services such as the signature Celebrating You program (think manicure, pedicure, hair styling and make-up application). A dedicated Celebration Consultant is on hand to arrange wedding details, which can include a horse-drawn carriage and a celebratory fireworks display. Contact Sales Manager Gordon O’Hare([email protected]; 954-809-2000, ext. 2103) for information.

 

 

One&Only Ocean Club’s Crescent Wing rooms boast the resort’s best views and have private balconies and terraces.

 

While One&Only Ocean Club is the most exclusive hotel on Paradise Island, The Cove Atlantis runs a close second. Both owned and operated by Kerzner International, they are quite close to each other and accessible via Atlantis’ shuttle service.

The Cove is the luxury component of the expansive Atlantis resort and perfect for those who want all the excess Atlantis has to offer (countless pools, water slides, a lazy river-raft ride), but with the exclusivity of a private beach and pool area, luxury accommodations and upscale dining choices.

The Cove makes an impression from the get-go. Its entrance, lobby area and corridors leading to the elevators are exposed to the elements. We loved the feeling of walking through the halls with the wind whipping through. Note: At times the wind kicks pretty hard, so ladies wearing dresses should stay vigilant.

We stayed in an Ocean Suite, No. 18804, whose best feature—among a host of other great amenities and touches—was the view. The entire resort lay out in front of us from our balcony. Best, the king bed is positioned facing out of the room. (John Conway, senior vice president of The Cove Atlantis, tells us this was Sol Kerzner’s idea). Luxury travel advisors can contact Atlantis’ Vice President of Leisure Sales Franz Buchhalter ([email protected]; 954-809-2056).

The room itself is outfitted with two flat-screen TVs, an expansive bathroom with a rain-head shower and double vanities and a sunken living room.

Like One&Only, The Cove features a celebrity chef restaurant in Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill (Nobu Matsuhisa’s eponymous Nobu is at Atlantis, as well).

Getting There: Fly clients into Nassau International Airport, a 40-minute drive from both One&Only and Atlantis.

 

The Fourth Hole at Ocean Club, nicknamed Lighthouse, is a par-4 that plays as the toughest hole on the course.

 

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