Breakfast in the restaurant must be arranged in advance
The island's only communal swimming pool is quite small
Free Wi-Fi may be spotty and slow
Crowded beaches are unheard of on this private island resort where a maximum of 28 guests at a time have free range of 50 acres and three beaches. Personal boats for daily excursions, on-call service, spacious villas with fully stocked kitchens and wet bars, and a host of all-inclusive activities make Fowl Cay a standout gem in the Exumas. However, some of the villas feature outdated decor and worn furnishings that seem inconsistent with the resort's high nightly rates.
A 50-acre private island resort in the Exumas Islands with a 28-guest capacity, highlighted by three isolated beaches, lush and spacious grounds, and unparalleled privacy
The 10-minute boat ride to Fowl Cay from nearby Staniel Cay airstrip sets the mood for visitors, with views of stunning blue skies and crystalline turquoise water, and the sense of entering an untouched paradise. Once docked on the private island, the feeling continues with a warm seaside welcome from the entire staff and a golf cart tour of the island's lush grounds.
With just six one- to three-bedroom villas and three private beaches speckled across the 50-acre island, Fowl Cay affords absolute privacy unmatched by your standard Caribbean resort.
At the Hill House, located on the highest point of the island, cocktail hour starts at 6:30 every night in the pub. A terrace overlooking the island and surrounding cays features a small pool and copious lounging space. For dinner, guests can move into the dining room, which includes a screened-in area as well as a dimly lit indoor restaurant. A fitness room is adjacent to the pub, though it is quite small with just two cardio machines and a few dumbbells. At South Beach, kayaks, paddleboards, Zuma sailor boats, windsurfers, and a bocce court offer an assortment of activities for those in search of a more lively workout.
Exclusivity is paramount to Fowl Cay's appeal, and there's a capacity of just 28 guests on the island at any one time. As a result, nightly rates are high. However, an attentive staff -- from your personal island host, who checks in on you throughout the day and serves all of your meals in the restaurant, to the aquatic experts who help you map out your solo boat excursions -- help justify the hefty price tag, as does the fact that nearby island-resort competition such as the over-the-top Musha Cay is far more expensive.
A stunning island-resort situated amid the sparsely populated cays of Exumas Islands, just a 10-minute boat ride from the airstrip on Staniel Cay
Fowl Cay is a private retreat located among the Exumas Islands, a Bahamian chain at the apex of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Neighboring islands play host to a smattering of celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Faith Hill, and Nicholas Cage, all of whom own vacation homes on privately owned cays.
Accessible by small charter plane via Fort Lauderdale or Nassau, the islands are known for marine life-rich coral reefs, underwater caves, and exceptional yachting. Flights from Fort Lauderdale on Watermakers Air are around 90 minutes, and Nassau flights aboard Golden Wings Charter are approximately 40 minutes. Boat transfers to and from the airstrip are included in resort rates.
10-minute boat ride plus 5-minute drive to the airstrip on Staniel Cay
5-minute boat ride to Big Major, where pigs swim to boats from the shore
5-minute boat ride to Honeymoon Cay, an uninhabited island where guests can enjoy a pre-arranged picnic
10-minute boat ride to Staniel Cay for attractions like the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, an art gallery, and local craft shops
15-minute boat ride to Bitter Guana Cay, where you can feed iguanas
20-minute boat ride to Compass Cay, where visitors can feed and swim with nurse sharks
Spacious plantation-style villas with full kitchens and large living rooms enjoy ocean views, but decor is inconsistent
Only six villas, ranging from one- to three-bedrooms, comprise Fowl Cay's accommodations. Each villa includes its own fully stocked kitchen, spacious living room with massive flat-screen TV and DIRECTV, and multiple private terraces and decks. While the villas are clean and feature authentic island decor, quality varies from villa to villa -- soft renovations are currently underway, and units will get updated furnishings, bedding, and curtains. All except one villa have multiple bedrooms.
A major component of each villa is the expansive kitchen, which is fully stocked with food and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) that is replenished daily by your 24-hour island host. Hosts and other staffers are also available directly via cell phones that come with each villa.
Full kitchens stocked with food, wine, beer, and liquor, replenished daily by your personal island host
High-end Molton Brown London bath products, including a relaxing sleep mist and shaving kit in addition to the usual toiletries
Air conditioners are large (and rather unsightly) wall units operated by remote control.
Furnishings vary from room to room and villa to villa with some appearing to need updates. For instance, in the Bluemoon Villa, hinges on the window shutters were rusty and sofa cushions appeared worn.
Birdcage Villa is the island's most impressive, with opulent furnishings, as well as an expansive ocean-view veranda, a screened-in porch, a private dock, and a small soaking pool.
Starlight and Seabreeze villas are identical in layout, both with two separate bedrooms that each lead to a kitchen, living room, and dining area via an outdoor deck.
Bluemoon and Sweetwater villas are also identical in layout, and each features three bedrooms, a media room, and a large terrace.
Lindon Villa is Fowl Cay's only single bedroom villa, and includes a small dining area and spacious deck with lounge chairs, a dining table, and a hammock.
Land and water activities abound with three private beaches, personal-use boats, and a hilltop pool and terrace.
Three private beaches: the peaceful North Beach, the activity-filled South Beach, and the hidden West Beach, which can be accessed via a hiking trail
A small pool and bougainvillea-lined terrace located at the island's highest point, with impressive views of the sea and neighboring cays
An amazing assortment of free activities both water-based (kayaks, paddle boards, Zuma sailboats, personal motorboats, and snorkeling equipment), and land-based (hiking trails, a tennis court, a bocce court, cruiser bikes, and horse shoes)
A tiny fitness center with only two cardio machines and dumbbell weights
An outdoor pavilion for special events located directly on North Beach
Free use of a personal boat comes with each villa. Trips to neighboring islands and nearby sites can be planned with Fowl Cay staff, and a picnic basket and beverage cooler is supplied for each excursion.
Personal golf carts are provided to each villa for transportation around the island.
A small boutique featuring local crafts such as hand-woven baskets and purses and hand-dyed silk wraps, as well as bathing suits, jewelry, and Havaianas flip-flops
A hilltop restaurant and pub provide stunning views but slightly limited meal choices.
A popular daily feature at Fowl Cay is the 6:30 cocktail hour, which takes place in the pub at Hill House. Here guests can enjoy a rum punch at the bar, play a game of darts, chess, or pool, or simply relax on the veranda as the sun sinks below the horizon. Guests move into the dining room at their leisure where they have option of sitting in the elegant dining room or the screened-in porch near the pool.
Those hoping to pick from an elaborate menu will, unfortunately, be disappointed, as each night provides a choice of just two dishes (the fish or the meat). Nonetheless, the chef is quick to please those with pickier palettes, preparing off-the-menu items ranging from vegetarian plates to burgers and fries when requested. All meals are three courses, featuring starters such as a salad with candied walnuts and apples or fresh sea scallops with black beans and tomatoes, and desserts such as banana flambé or chilled tiramisu.
Dinner service is reserved first for resort guests, with visitors from nearby islands boating in to snatch up the remaining tables. Those wishing to have breakfast or lunch in the restaurant must request it in advance as, generally, guests make their own breakfasts in-villa, and lunches are prepared as picnics.