One&Only Ocean Club Rating: 5.0 Pearls
Bahamas

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • 24-hour butlers, assigned to every room
  • Quiet, adult-only pool and zero-entry family pool
  • Restaurant from world-famous, Jean-Georges Vongerichten
  • Five-minute shuttle to an excellent golf course
  • Excellent fitness amenities -- tennis, gym, yoga, trainers
  • Great freebies: water, Wi-Fi, sorbet, chocolate-covered strawberries

Cons

  • Smaller standard rooms than other luxury resorts
  • Only expensive food on-site
  • Shower-tub combos in standard rooms, not soaking tubs
  • No nightlife or party scene

Bottom Line

Bringing tranquility to otherwise-crowded Paradise Island, the 105-room One&Only Ocean Club's personal butlers, beautiful pools (one for adults, one for families), restaurant from Jean-Georges, and access to Atlantis' water park, casino, and other attractions make it one of the Caribbean's best resorts. But its small standard rooms, and, at times, less fawning service can be disappointing for the price.

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 Scene

One of the most sumptuous and exclusive resorts in the Caribbean, highlighted by a private beach and amazing grounds.

The grounds
The grounds

From the moment the One&Only Ocean Club's discreet roadside sign, marked "Private," comes into view, you can feel the exclusivity in the air. The feeling thickens as you drive down the lush, winding approach road and pause at the pink gatehouse (where you're required to give your name before being bade entry) and on to the plantation-style lobby house, where a coterie of staff waits to greet you.

With just 105 guest rooms spread across a series of two-story buildings and a few private villas, the One&Only Ocean Club is reminiscent of its former incarnation, a playboy's tropical estate. A wide lawn stretches out in front of the lobby with Adirondack chairs scattered along the bluff, overlooking the turquoise ocean. There's even an amazing garden that culminates in the reconstructed 13th-century Augustinian Cloisters, shipped over, piece by piece.

At both the beach and the incredible Versailles Pool, the tone is hushed, discreet. Of course, a dinner at Dune, backed by the renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, is a bit louder as it draws guests from nearby resorts, including the Atlantis mega-mega-resort, the One&Only Ocean Club's sister down the road. But the crowds and lines found at so many other resorts in the Bahamas do not exist here.

Peace, privacy, and attentive service are paramount, and guests pay dearly for all three -- like, say, a $1,000-plus-per-night suite or a $40 breakfast entree. Not surprisingly, the resort is a celebrity favorite in the Bahamas. "Brangelina" have reportedly vacationed in one of the resort's private villas with their brood, and leisure-sport royalty Greg Norman and Chris Evert were married on the grounds in July 2008. Other Caribbean resorts -- like the more stylish Tortuga Bay in the Dominican Republic or the more remote, ruggedly beautiful Caneel Bay in the Virgin Islands -- match this level of isolated ultraluxury (or top it). But the One&Only Ocean Club has one distinct advantage: easy access to an incredible water park, movie theater, ample high-profile restaurants, nightclubs, and a spectacular casino, among other attractions, at Atlantis.

But the resort, at these prices, falls a bit short when it comes to its unevenly renovated, standard guest rooms. For the same level of luxury and a better room at a much better price, consider the Half Moon, the Geejam, the Caves, or Round Hill hotels in Jamaica, or the Sivory, Agua, or Sanctuary Cap Cana hotels in the Dominican Republic.

 Service

Very attentive service -- including three butlers for every room -- but not to the level found at ultraluxury resorts in other, more service-oriented countries

Front desk clerk
Front desk clerk

In general, in the Bahamas, service is not quite as over-the-top and doting as you'll find in other Caribbean countries, like Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. As such, it's not surprising that some guests complain that the level of service here is below that of other One&Only properties in Mexico, Dubai, and Mauritius. But the service is superb by local standards, and the level of personal attention -- the large staff greeting, the champagne flute upon arrival, the attentive (if insistant) attendants at the pool and beach -- far outshines that of any large scale resort.

  • Three personal butlers (clad in windbreakers and polos, not tuxedos) for every guest room, on-call 24/7; they'll unpack luggage, bring treats, deliver a hypoallergenic pillow, and attend to any other whim.
  • Towel attendants on the beach procure chairs (don't even think about trying to grab your own), deliver bottled water, and take orders for drinks and lunch from Dune.
  • Bring lots of dollar bills; staffers expect a tip for just about everything.
  • Poolside food and drink service at the Versailles Pool available from the Pool Terrace Café
  • Nightly turndown service
  • Free chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne, delivered every afternoon
  • 24-hour room service
  • Free SUV transport to Atlantis and the resort's golf course
  • 24-hour concierges, available to check guests, make restaurant reservations, or any other arrangements

 Location

Among posh residencies on Paradise Island, a 25 minute drive from Nassau International Airport

The One&Only Ocean Club is located on the eastern half and northern shore of Paradise Island in a neighborhood that, it is said, Oprah owns a vacation home.

  • 25-minute drive from Nassau airport
  • 15-minute walk or free shuttle to the casino, pools, restaurants, and water park at the Ocean Club's sister property, the Atlantis mega-resort
  • 15-minute walk to more affordable restaurants near the Paradise Island Bridge
  • Five-minute, free shuttle to the Ocean Club Golf Course
  • 10-minute drive (or taxi) or ferry ride to downtown Nassau attractions like the Straw Market, Pompey Museum of Slavery & Emancipation, and Pirates of Nassau

 Beach

Private, well-attended beach with gorgeous turquoise water, clean white sand, and big waves -- the water is fun, but not always ideal for young swimmers

The beach
The beach

The resort's beachfront stretches the length of the property, and is accessed by a wooden stairway down from the bluff upon which the resort sits. Like everywhere else at the One&Only Ocean Club, the beach is quiet, and most guests tend to keep to themselves -- don't expect rousing games of volleyball. It's a stark contrast to the beach at the Riu Paradise Island (a few hundred yards to the left) or the main beach at Atlantis (both resorts share Cabbage Beach), where vendors mingle with crowds of sun worshippers. Here, eagled-eyed towel attendants shoo along nonguests and set up lounge chairs cushioned with fluffy terrycloth slipcovers.

  • Extreemly clean, soft stretch of white sand
  • The beach is long, but not particularly wide; as the day wears on, beach chairs must be shifted to stay out of the shadows cast by the restaurant.
  • Water is so clear you can spy schools of fish swimming around your ankles.
  • Big waves make for great body-surfing, but the surf can be too strong for small children.
  • Lifeguards on duty
  • Beach perks include a rack for flip-flops, and a cart filled with reading material and sunscreen.
  • Attendants bring complimentary bottles of water, and guests can order food and drinks from Dune, which is just up the steps.

 Rooms

Airy, plantation-style guest rooms, but the cheapest rooms are a bit small

The Garden room
The Garden room

The resort is divided into two distinct wings: the older, less-expensive Hartford Wing and the newer Crescent Wing, which is on the beach. As a result, the guest rooms in the Hartfort Wing are a bit small for a luxury resort in the Caribbean (or anywhere else, for that matter). While they're clean, modern, and certainly comfortable, they lack the exceptionally posh bathrooms found in most other luxury resorts -- Round Hill, Tortuga Bay, Half Moon, or the Sivory, just to name a few. In the Crescent Wing, the Luxury Beachfront Rooms are a considerble step up, but they also cost about twice as much as the standard guest rooms. In 2010, the Crescent Wing completed a $6 million renovation of all rooms, adding brand new furniture, wood flooring, king beds, soaking tubs and enclosed glass rain showers. The bright, contemporary decor is lovely, but also heightens the differences between the Crescent and Hartford Wings more.

  • Standard, Garden Rooms in the Hartford Wing are 350 square feet -- small, especially considering the price of the room. One-bedroom suites, however, are an enormous 830 square feet.
  • Luxury Beachfront Rooms in the Crescent Wing are a very generous 550 square feet -- almost twice the size of the standard guest rooms at Atlantis. Its one-bedroom suites are an even more impressive 1,100 square feet.
  • Private terrace or balcony in all room types: garden-view rooms overlook a thick forest of palm trees; ocean-view rooms have stunning, unobstructed views.
  • Ceiling fan and wooden window slats in all rooms
  • Wooden bar in every room, stocked with top-shelf liquor
  • Excellent beds: pillow-top mattress; sateen Frette linens
  • Fluffy Frette towels, slippers, and bathrobes in all rooms
  • 33-inch LG flat-screen TV with an Onkyo DVD player and an extensive DVD catalogue (to borrow from)
  • iHome iPod docking alarm clock on the bedside table
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • His-and-hers marble sinks and a separate toilet area (including a bidet) in all bathrooms
  • Only a shower-tub combo in standard, Garden Rooms -- for a soaking tub, you'll have to upgrade
  • Sweet-smelling toiletries from Lady Primrose; but emptying the conditioner from a heavy, hourglass-shaped plastic jar isn't easy

 Features

Two great pools, gorgeous gardens, a wonderful spa, and top-notch fitness facilities

The fitness center
The fitness center
  • Quiet, adult-only (14 and over) Versailles Pool overlooking the gorgeous Versailles gardens -- perks include "misting," free sorbet and lemonade, free sunscreen, and free newspapers or magazines
  • Large, zero-entry Family Pool, tucked behind the tennis courts (so the noise won't bother other guests).
  • Gym includes weight machines and brand new cardio machines, each with a towel, a bottle of water, and headphones for the private, built-in TV.
  • Outdoor free-weights area, which gets a nice cross-breeze
  • Workout studio, with Pilates equipment, more weights, stability balls, and a high-tech vibrating "Power Plate"; personal training also available
  • Cruiser bikes (free to borrow)
  • Free morning yoga
  • Tranquil spa, housed is in its own building, with an exhaustive menu of treatments, everything from hair styling to bathing rituals
  • Six Har-Tru tennis courts, four of which are illuminated for night play; free use of the courts and racket rental, private lessons cost $70 an hour.
  • Small fashion boutique, just off the lobby
  • Elaborate gardens, designed to replicate those at the Palace of Versailles, including reconstructed 13th-century Augustinian Cloisters
  • Ocean Club guests have full access to the amenities of Atlantis (and a courtesy car to transport them there), including its casino, movie theater, water park, and more.

 Golf

Free shuttle to the 18-hole, par-72 One&Only Ocean Club golf course, just five minutes down the road

The golf course
The golf course

The Tom Weiskopf-designed One&Only Ocean Club Golf Course fills up the eastern chunk of Paradise Island. The course previously played host to the annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, which now takes place at Nevada's Shadow Creek golf course and the Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas.

  • Fantastic ocean vistas
  • Rental clubs: Callaway Fusion and Odyssey putters
  • Footjoy cleats also available for rental
  • Green fees start at about $86 -- not bad, compared to the rates at other championship-quality courses
  • Clubhouse Grill serves breakfast and lunch daily, and dinner on the weekends (and also has a nice bar).

 Family

A hushed property, but one that accommodates kids; plus access to the Atlantis water park, just down the road

Even with all its peace and exclusivity, the One&Only Ocean Club can be a fine place to bring a young family, given its ideal pool, and theme park’s worth of attractions down the road at Atlantis.

  • Enormous suites as well as multiroom residencies and cottages available
  • Shallow, zero-entry pool for kids
  • Free car service to incredible pools, an aquarium, and 14 excellent restaurants (many with kids’ menus) at the Atlantis Resort -- no dragging a stroller needed, just call for a driver
  • Some aggressive waves at the beach, but nearby Cabbage Beach at the Atlantis resort is great for young swimmers
  • Babysitting services by CPR-certified child care providers
  • Supervised "Kids Only" camp (ages four to 12, but a three-year-old is welcome if a parent or nanny comes along with him or her); activities include water sports, arts & crafts, video games, and even cooking lessons with the resort's chefs or golf or tennis lessons from the resort's pros.
  • Plenty of kid-friendly dining options at Atlantis
  • Teen activities also abound at Atlantis -- everything from an under-18 nightclub to the 50-foot slides at the water park.

 Cleanliness

As clean as a tropical resort can get

The resort is nothing short of immaculate; at one point I spotted man in a wetsuit with a toothbrush cleaning the Versailles Pool. I never saw a housekeeping cart, but each time I walked down the hall I bumped into staff who seemed alertly on the lookout for something to clean.

 Food

World-famous chef Jean Georges Vongerichten headlines the resort's four restaurants; dozens more places to eat at Atlantis.

Jean-Georges' Dune restaurant
Jean-Georges' Dune restaurant

Helmed by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten -- the man who basically invented fusion cuisine and is, arguably, one of the most respected chefs in the world -- Dune is the One&Only Ocean Club's main restaurant. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all at well-inflated prices (like $12 for a bowl of rasin bran and $40 for a dinner entree).

  • French-Asian cuisine with Bahamian influences from Jean-Georges' Dune restaurant (open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Pool Terrace Café is an elegant covered space adjacent to the Versailles Pool that serves light lunch fare daily.
  • Hartford Courtyard Terrace serves dinner alfresco (Thursday to Monday).
  • Clubhouse Grill, at the golf course down the road, serves breakfast and lunch (and dinner on the weekends).
  • Library Bar, in the lobby building, offers light snacks and afternoon tea.
  • Guests at the One&Only Ocean Club can charge meals at any restaurant at Atlantis to their room, so light breakfast eaters might prefer to venture to one of the mega-resort's to-go options.
  • To give your wallet a rest, you can also walk five minutes to the Quiznos sub shop.

 Bottom Line

Bringing tranquility to otherwise-crowded Paradise Island, the 105-room One&Only Ocean Club's personal butlers, beautiful pools (one for adults, one for families), restaurant from Jean-Georges, and access to Atlantis' water park, casino, and other attractions make it one of the Caribbean's best resorts. But its small standard rooms, and, at times, less fawning service can be disappointing for the price.

Things You Should Know About One&Only Ocean Club

Address

  • PO Box N-4777, Paradise Island, Nassau, BS

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Ocean Club
  • Ocean Club Bahamas
  • Ocean Club Paradise Island
  • One Only Bahamas
  • One Only Ocean Club
  • One Only Ocean Club Bahamas
  • One Only Ocean Hotel
  • One Only Ocean Resort

Room Types

  • Four Bedroom Villa
  • Garden Cottage
  • Garden Room
  • Garden Suite
  • Luxury Beachfront Room
  • Luxury Beachfront Suite
  • Ocean Room
  • Ocean Suite
  • Three Bedroom Villa

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Nearby Hotels to Consider

Riu Palace Paradise Island All-Inclusive
Atlantis Paradise Island Resort
Wyndham Nassau Resort  & Crystal Palace Casino
Melia Nassau Beach Resort

Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 105
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet Access: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Casino: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Bahamas
Address: PO Box N-4777, Paradise Island, Nassau, BS
(See Map)
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