British Colonial Hilton Nassau Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Bahamas

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • Completely renovated May 2009
  • Walking distance from Nassau museums and attractions
  • Beautiful, historic lobby
  • Excellent gym
  • Quality business center
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel's common areas (fees apply for in-room access) and ethernets available
  • 24-hour room service and concierge

Cons

  • Neighborhood is crowded by day, quiet by night
  • Small beach hemmed in by cruise ships and debris
  • No in-room balconies (save for on the sixth floor)
  • Fees for in-room Wi-Fi (elsewhere throughout the hotel it is free)

Bottom Line

A fine business hotel -- pleasant staff, convenient location, a snazzy lobby, guest rooms renovated in 2009 -- but leisure travelers will find several pleasant amenities, as well. Chief among those is an attractive pool area and sports activities. The beach is small, the rooms lack balconies (save for on the sixth floor), and though the hotel is close to the sights of downtown Nassau, the area is dead at night.

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 Scene

A business hotel with a storied past

The lobby
The lobby

The British Colonial Hilton is smack dab in the middle of downtown Nassau -- steps from the U.S. Embassy and around the corner from the bustling Straw Market and the crowded cruise ship terminal. It's on the site of the old Fort Nassau, where the infamous pirate Blackbeard was hanged, and is also descended from the first hotel in the Bahamas -- originally built in 1898, reconstructed in 1922 (after the original burned), and reopened as a Hilton in 1999. The grand yellow structure is now a stately landmark along the downtown waterfront.

Though known primarily as a business hotel, the 288-room Hilton has made significant efforts to add amenities for leisure travelers since its 2009 renovation. The pool area and beach facilities were renovated in 2012, introducing more stylish loungers and comfortable cabanas to the area. The hotel also added a basketball hoop, soccer and volleyball nets, kayaks, and scuba masks to its beachside amenities. The small beach, itself, is located on Nassau Harbor, which is frequently filled with cruise ships and other large boats.

The neighborhood can be sleepy after dark, when most of the cruise ship visitors have returned to their cabins. There are some bars and cafes that stay open along Woodes Rodgers Walk, such as Senor Frogs and Via Cafe, but many close early. And while the guest rooms are functional, and were renovated in 2009 along with the lobby and restaurants, nothing about them really feels tropical.

 Service

Service to meet the needs of business travelers

  • Business center offers services like printing and faxing.
  • Executive Lounge (a private floor available with a room upgrade) provides continental breakfast, private check-in and checkout, light snacks and drinks in the afternoons and evenings
  • Poolside lunch and drink service available from the Patio Pool Bar & Grill
  • 24-hour concierge desk in the lobby gives restaurant suggestions and helps with reservations
  • 24-hour room service

 Location

Extremely convenient to all of Nassau's best sights, but the immediate vicinity becomes a ghost town at night

The hotel is smack in the middle of downtown Nassau, surrounded by the cruise ship terminal, financial institutions, historical sites and museums. By day the neighborhood teems with the foot traffic of businessmen and cruise ship passengers, and vehicles zooming down Marlborough Street. At night, however, the neighborhood largely clears out as the cruise shippers return to their cabins. Even the row of restaurants across the street -- save for a duty-free liquor store and a McDonald's -- closes down at dinnertime. Some bars and cafes stay open late along Woodes Rodgers Park, such as Senor Frogs and Via Cafe, making this a lively stretch for guests to visit after nightfall. Largely, though, the area is quiet.

  • Local attractions like the Straw Market, Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation, and Pirates of Nassau are within a block.
  • 25-minute drive from Nassau International Airport
  • 10-minute cab or ferry ride from gambling, shops, and restaurants on Paradise Island
  • Public bus also stops along the road, right outside the hotel. It is safe, reliable, and a convenient way to visit the island's major tourist hot spots.

 Beach

Not the best beach in Nassau

The beach
The beach

The Hilton is located not on the ocean, but on Nassau Harbor (shielded to the north by Paradise Island). The small beachfront has piers on either side -- the resort separates them with plain walls, and there is debris nearby. Due to the cruise ship terminal, the main view to the right is of giant cruise ships. To the left, there are shipping piers and the Paradise Island Lighthouse. Since 2009 renovations, the hotel has renovated its beach and pool areas, now providing scuba masks, kayaks, soccer and volleyball nets, and a basketball hoop for guests to enjoy. It has also received new loungers and Balinese beds that are quite comfortable for catching some rays.

  • Clean, fine sand; plenty of space to catch some rays
  • The water in the immediate vicinity on the hotel is clear and calm
  • Popular tourist bar, Senor Frogs, is to the immediate right of the Hilton along the water, so there's a lot of noise from rowdy revelers on their deck.
  • Lifeguard on duty throughout the day
  • Plenty of free plastic lounge chairs under straw umbrellas
  • Guests must sign a release form to borrow a towel

 Rooms

Renovated in May 2009, rooms are clean and functional, but lack tropical touches like balconies.

Rooms at the British Colonial Hilton Nassau are clean and comfortable, if predictable. They live up to the Hilton brand, but lack tropical touches.

  • Some standard guest rooms include a pullout sofa bed
  • Wi-Fi and wired Internet available, but fees apply (Wi-Fi is free throughout the rest of the property)
  • Flat-screen TVs come with both HBO and Showtime, as well as pay-per-view movies
  • Bathrooms have nice tiling and brand toiletries, but are a bit on the small side
  • Rooms do not have balconies

 Features

Business travelers will appreciate modern function facilities and a great gym, while others will enjoy the pool area and sports facilities.

Ocean kayaks
Ocean kayaks

Amenities at the British Colonial Hilton Nassau tend to accomadate business travelers most easily. The fully functional business center, grand ballroom and meeting spaces, and 240hour gym make it a popular choice among the suit-and-tie set. But the hotel has made efforts since its 2009 renovations to appeal more broadly to leisure travelers as well. The pool and beach facilities were modernized in 2012, introducing more comfortable loungers, cabanas, and Balinese beds to the resort. There are also more sports facilities, including a basketball hoop, soccer, and volleyball nets, kayaks, and scuba masks, available for use.

  • Spacious, well-equipped, 24-hour gym; all cardio machines have personal video screens. Unfortunately, there's no water cooler, just a drinking fountain
  • The pool and beach areas were renovated in 2012 and now features comfortable loungers, cabanas, and Balinese beds, as well as sports equipment
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout the property, but in-room access is charged
  • Valet and self-parking are inexpensive per day
  • Grand ballroom and meeting rooms decked out with modern audiovisual equipment
  • Business Center open 24-hours
  • No spa

 Family

The neighborhood is convenient to the island's sights, and younger kids eat free, but it's primarily a place for business travelers.

The pool
The pool

Kids seem to enjoy the Hilton's pool and small beach, but most other hotels we covered in Nassau bested the Hilton on these fronts. Furthermore, the hotel's entrance is on a busy road in a congested part of town; not much space for kids to run free. The hotel does provide lots of discounts for kids, however.

  • Free cribs and rollaway beds
  • Connecting rooms available
  • Kids 4-and-under eat free; kids five to 12 receive free breakfast and half off all other meals, and Aqua has a kids' menu.
  • "Very Important Children" kids program provides babysitting on the premises, including toys, books, and games. Babysitters stay on the hotel grounds (no off-site field trips or excursions). Fees apply.

 Food

One restaurant and two bars on-site, but nothing to write home about

The breakfast buffet at Portofino
The breakfast buffet at Portofino

Because the Hilton is a business hotel and there are lots of better restaurants in the area, food doesn't seem to be a huge focus. But it's expensive, and the food, perhaps no worse than at any other hotel, is mediocre nonetheless. Try Conch Fritters across the street, or you can always splurge on gourmet cuisine over at Atlantis.

  • Aqua, the hotel's newest restaurant, offers both buffet and a la carte options and is open throughuot the day. Fresh seafood, in particular the tiger prawns, is the way to go for dinner.
  • Lighter fare is served at the Patio Bar & Grille. Standard continental fare with a few Bahamian dishes (like conch fritters) thrown in.
  • Bullion Bar, located in the lobby, is designed to look like a swank cocktail lounge.

 Bottom Line

A fine business hotel -- pleasant staff, convenient location, a snazzy lobby, guest rooms renovated in 2009 -- but leisure travelers will find several pleasant amenities, as well. Chief among those is an attractive pool area and sports activities. The beach is small, the rooms lack balconies (save for on the sixth floor), and though the hotel is close to the sights of downtown Nassau, the area is dead at night.

Things You Should Know About British Colonial Hilton Nassau Hotel

Address

  • One Bay Street P.O. Box N-7148 Nassau, Bahamas

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • British Colonial Hilton
  • British Colonial Hilton Nassau
  • Hilton Hotel Nassau
  • Hilton Nassau
  • Nassau Hilton

Room Types

  • City View Standard Room
  • City View Suite
  • Executive Harbour View Room
  • Executive Room
  • Harbour View Room
  • Harbour View Suite
  • Ocean View Suite
  • Standard Room

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 288
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi (in room): Some
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Hotel Information

Location: Bahamas
Address: One Bay Street P.O. Box N-7148 Nassau, Bahamas
(See Map)
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