Based on extensive research conducted by the American Society of Travel Advisors, the Bahamas is one of the top tropical destinations being booked by travel advisors for 2023. Due to its myriad of islands and cays, the destination offers plenty of pristine beaches, vibrant local culture and a range of activities for all types of travelers.
New Bespoke Tours
Jamaica-based Island Routes this summer launched its new “Private & Bespoke Collections” upgraded tour experiences for luxury travelers. Available across Island Routes’ portfolio — including the Bahamas — the new options are designed for travelers looking to explore the islands privately or in a one-of-a-kind, customizable way.
Looking to help travelers explore more than the “sun, sea and sand” that the Caribbean is known for, the team at Island Routes will help customize any tour within the destination. That said, should a guest want to explore via catamaran and enjoy some snorkeling, or if they want to go fishing for the day, the team will make it happen. And should they want to visit some of the more popular sites in a given destination, Island Routes will offer VIP access to experience it without the crowds.
Island Routes CEO Ryan Terrier says the legwork for the new tours began during the pandemic as the company saw a shift in the way luxury travelers want to experience a destination. All “Private & Bespoke Collections” tours include a private guide who has gone through additional training, offering an elevated level of service compared to the standard, pre-packaged tours. (In fact, Island Routes specifically hired a former guide for a luxury safari company in South Africa to lead the training.)
As for the Bahamas, given the nature of the destination, Terrier tells us some of the most popular excursions are all water-based, with a visit to Pig Beach in Exuma the top pick. That said, beyond just a visit to the island, the team can arrange for a private boat or seaplane to take you there. With the plane, it cuts the travel time from major hotel destinations nearly in half, allowing for you to get to the beach earlier, beating the crowds. This option also lets you enjoy some flightseeing as well as the chance to either turn a full-day excursion into a half-day or by giving you more time to explore more of the area. Picnic lunch on a private island — complete with a fully set table and live musicians — anyone?
Island Routes has created a dedicated contact for travel advisors looking to book “Private & Bespoke” tours. Ron Veno (ron.veno@islandroutes), director of sales, will be able to assist with any inquiries.
Following the success of the inaugural celebration, Baha Mar will again host the Bahamas Culinary & Arts Festival this year. Taking place October 27-29, the festival showcases “the best in culinary and artistic expression,” headlined by world-renowned chef talent, including Marcus Samuelsson of Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House, Katsuya Uechi of Katsuya and Dario Cecchini of Carna. Baha Mar’s chefs will be joined by Bahamian celebrity chef, Chef Simeon Hall Jr., Food Network stars Amanda Freitag, Carla Hall, Geoffrey Zakarian, Scott Conant and Michelle Bernstein, and social media star Chef Eitan Bernath. Also in attendance will be the country’s foremost spirits expert and author Noah Rothbaum, wine experts Ted Diamantis, Fernando Beteta and Ken Fredrickson, the team behind the award-winning Broken Shaker bar and sponsors from Antinori Wines.
The festival kicks off Friday, October 27 with the Welcome Beach Party at SLS Baha Mar. For the remainder of the weekend’s events, Baha Mar’s resident and guest chefs will host a schedule of intimate Master Classes, where festivalgoers can choose their own adventure from a variety of culinary experiences. The Bahamas Culinary & Arts Festival will also bring back the two-day Expo from October 28-29, where guests can partake in live entertainment and Bahamian hospitality with onstage chef demos from top talent, including Carla Hall, Geoffrey Zakarian, Scott Conant and more.
New for this year will be art programming partner Fuze, a showcase for Caribbean-inspired art facilitated by John Cox, executive director of Art & Culture at Baha Mar. Decentralizing the art market and creating a focus for Bahamian art and the surrounding regions, Fuze will gather pioneers to showcase a collection of artwork from seven different Caribbean nations; it will offer multi-disciplinary creative programming, including artist-led panel discussions, guided tours, live printmaking demonstrations and a specially curated film series.
Tip: Tickets are available by the day or as a weekend pass. As of press time, limited-time pricing for the weekend pass was still available. It includes a welcome gift, admission to the Welcome Beach Party & Concert, a concert After Party hosted by Samuelsson, a chef-hosted dinner and unlimited access to the Culinary Expo Tent and Fuze Arts Expo Venue.
Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau, for its part, recently launched a new “Navigator Experience,” an exclusive butler service catering to guests staying in the One Particular Harbour residences section of the resort. Offering personalized attention and care, the “Navigator Experience” ensures that guests can fully immerse themselves in the destination; the butlers will take care of every detail, allowing guests to relax and unwind. Upon booking, guests are matched with a personal Navigator, who will be their point of contact even before they arrive in the Bahamas. These butlers will be able to assist with airport transfers, securing dinner reservations, suggesting activities and excursions, or any other special request. For the adventurous, they can even assist with scuba diving excursions or sky diving.
About the property: One Particular Harbour offers 100 accommodations, including studio, one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom residences, each with chic Caribbean decor. Every unit also offers an ocean view and private balcony overlooking Nassau’s harbor.
One Particular Harbour provides fully stocked chef’s kitchens, complete with Bosch appliances, allowing guests to unleash their inner gourmet. Guests can also expect spacious living areas and luxurious bathrooms.
For those traveling with a large party, the Ocean View Four Bedroom Residence is the way to go. Suitable for a family or multiple couples, the suite has a wraparound terrace, private jacuzzi, pool table, elliptical bike and more. The four bedrooms offer three king beds, with the last accommodating two queens.
The Oceanfront One Bedroom Residence is our pick for couples who want their own space but may still want company over. The separate living/dining space offers a 55-inch TV, a dining table for six and a guest bathroom.
Guests will also have full access to all services and amenities of Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau. The resort offers a variety of eateries, from signature steakhouse JWB Prime Steak and Seafood to Frank & Lola’s Pizzeria, where the culinary team serves up Caribbean and various international cuisines. While on the property, guests can also take advantage of the waterslides and lazy river at the Fins Up Water Park or sit back and relax in signature day beds.
Tip: Those traveling by boat can make use of the resort’s 40-slip marina.
The complex is also within easy walking distance to all of Nassau’s hotspots, such as the Straw Market, Arawak Cay (home to the popular “Fish Fry”), shopping and dining. The neighboring ICONS Sports Bar additionally offers karaoke, bowling, billiards, virtual reality sports and a private movie theater.
For inquiries, reach out to Cyndi Miller, trade sales representative – U.S. Market, Margaritaville Beach Resort Nassau, at [email protected].
At Jack’s Bay, a club and residential community on Eleuthera, Nicklaus Design commenced work on an 18-hole championship layout earlier this year. Once completed, it will be the first Nicklaus Heritage course in the world. (The new Nicklaus Heritage brand of original golf course designs will showcase the senior designers from Nicklaus Design who have been personally trained by Jack Nicklaus over several decades.)
Jack’s Bay is already home to the separate 10-hole Playground designed by Tiger Woods and TGR Design, which was completed in March 2020.
Completion of the Nicklaus Heritage championship course is scheduled for 2025; at that time, Jack’s Bay would be the first property in the world to offer an 18-hole golf course by Nicklaus Design coupled with a Tiger Woods and TGR Design course.
The Playground is a 10-hole short course tracing the shoreline. The course has a flexible layout, with holes that range from 71 to 163 yards, and offers a variety of shots and playing scenarios, challenging seasoned players while also being fun and welcoming for new golfers.
Good to know: Real estate offerings at Jack’s Bay will soon be available through its Founder’s Program and will include a total of 24 Beachfront and Ocean View homesites. The Beachfront sites will enjoy direct access to the pink sand beaches, while Ocean View homesites will have views from their elevated perch near beach access pathways.
Other amenities planned for Jacks’ Bay include a beach club, spa village, fitness and wellness programming, and a family-friendly Sports Pavilion complex. Among the amenities already in place are tennis courts, a marina and numerous dining venues.
The Bahamas is getting a major airlift boost with Delta Air Lines’ new route from Miami International Airport to Lynden Pindling International Airport this fall. It is the first time the Atlanta-based carrier will have direct flights from Miami into the Bahamas’ capital city of Nassau.
The direct morning flight, which begins on November 5, will operate daily with a Boeing 737-800, and is targeted to provide year-round service. With this route, Delta Air Lines will service Nassau from five U.S. airports for the winter, including Atlanta, Boston and New York’s John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia International Airports.
Launching at the same time will be JetBlue’s first-ever nonstop flight from Los Angeles to Nassau. The new service connecting the West Coast to the Bahamas debuts on November 4 with a once-weekly Saturday flight.
Tip: The Los Angeles-Nassau route will offer JetBlue’s Mint premium service.
Alaska Airlines will also launch seasonal direct flights to the Bahamas capital beginning December 14 (through April 10, 2024). Flights will be available from Los Angeles International Airport (four times weekly) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (three times weekly).
With air travel being as hectic as it is, it’s good to know that Lynden Pindling International Airport offers TSA PreCheck, U.S. Customs and Immigration Preclearance and Global Entry, making it easier for those arriving in the destination to get through security and begin their vacation and for those heading back home.
If you’re traveling to the Out Islands, Silver Airways offers two nonstop flights from Orlando International Airport to both North Eleuthera International Airport and Leonard Thompson International Airport in Abaco.