Golf carts are available for exploring other areas of the island
Free Wi-Fi in the cottages and lobby
This hilly property is not ideal for those with limited mobility
Cottages do not have kitchens, and the restaurants are pricey
Parts of the resort are older and might have maintenance problems
Wild roosters roaming the property can be a nuisance
Fitness center is tiny
With 25 freestanding cottages along a 20-acre bird sanctuary, this hilly resort is one of just a handful of hotels on Harbour Island. Understated sophistication is the vibe here; the grounds are peaceful (except for the roaming roosters), and most guests seem happy to spend their days simply soaking up the sun at Pink Sands Beach -- a beautiful and unspoiled three-mile stretch of sand from which the resort takes its name. Ocean view cottages offer outstanding panoramas from the patios and private walking paths to the beach, but cost almost twice as much as garden view cottages. Room decor mixes modern and tradition, with sleek wooden bed frames, romantic open-style showers, and screened-in windows that allow breezes to float in from all sides (air-conditioning is also available). There's great dining on-site, but guests can take a golf cart to other parts of this charming island for more restaurant choices.
A charmingly well-worn (but sophisticated) setting for honeymooners, wedding groups, and occasional families
Guests arriving at the open-air lobby will not need to worry about lines for check-in at this small resort. During the day, it would be hard to run into another guest, as most are on the famous stretch of beach or at the freshwater pool. The small front desk area is usually managed by one person, who will offer a welcome drink and provide a quick overview of the property. If the general manager is around, he will welcome guests personally and happily explain the history of the resort.
The property has personality, and that much is clear while traveling via golf cart up stone hills (this is the highest part of the island) through winding pathways, where colorful birds and roosters roam free. Signs made from beachwood point to key areas of the resort, as well as to the 25 cottages with names like Cole Point Cottage or Sleepy Cay Cottage. There is a 1920s cemetery next to the property, and a funky glass wall made from old wine and beer bottles.
Weddings and honeymoons are popular here, and the occasional celeb (such as Paul McCartney and his family) can be found bunkering down in the estate home. While the beachside restaurant gets a nice crowd for breakfast and lunch, dinner is usually served on the garden terrace, which becomes a romantic setting at night. Dressed-up guests usually start with a pre-dinner cocktail in the main lounge located in the lobby. After dinner, they might have a nightcap in the lobby before wandering back to their cottages for a good night’s sleep. Those wild roosters are sure to say hello in the morning, but this is part of the unspoiled Harbour Island experience.
Harbour Island is reached by boat after a flight to North Eleuthera Airport, which is on a neighboring island
Arriving at the destination is part of the fun. Harbour Island is a small island -- 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide -- and sits two miles east off the northern coast of Eleuthera Island, which is part of the “Out Islands” of the Bahamas. It is about 60 miles from Nassau and has a year-round population of approximately 2,000 people. Most guests arrive to North Eleuthera Airport from Nassau, which is a 20-minute flight (direct flights from Fort Lauderdale and Miami are also possible). From here, take a short taxi to the Harbour Island boat (a five-minute ride) and once on the island, take another taxi to Pink Sands resorts. There are only a handful of hotels on the island, so sharing a taxi or golf cart with ferry passengers is common.
Guests who prefer be accompanied by a hotel rep can request this in advance for no extra charge, and they will be met at the airport and taken to the hotel. Another option if arriving from Nassau is to take a ferry from the Nassau ferry port (about 45 minutes from the airport). But the ferry takes about 2.5 hours and can be expensive.
Understated but luxurious cottages have screened-in windows and easy access to the beach.
There are only 25 cottages, individually named, sprinkled across the 20-acre Pink Sands landscape. Most units are one bedrooms, but there are some two bedrooms for families and groups. All cottages come with California king beds, air-conditioning units, stocked minibars, flat-screen TVs, DVD players (movies available in the lobby), Bose sound systems, iPods loaded with the resort playlist, Tassimo pod coffeemakers, and modern bathrooms with open-style showers, double vanity sinks, H20 toiletries, bathrobes, and slippers.
Cottages have private patios with teak furniture, and flashlights for late-night walks to the beach. Screened windows on three sides of the cottages, as well as screened doors with slatted shutters, allow for ocean breezes. Though they cost more, the ocean view cottages have direct views of the ocean, and private walking paths that lead to the pink sand beach. The garden view cottages share a beach walking path. The two-bedroom cottages have larger living/dining rooms separating the bedrooms, and the Bimini cottage -- a deluxe cottage -- has a private hot tub on the deck.
There is also a larger unit called Banyan Tree, which is a stylish three-bedroom house with a nearby guest house, called the Mother-in-Law Suite. The units share a private outdoor courtyard, sitting area, fire pit, and outdoor plunge pool.
Cooking classes, and one of the best beaches in the world, which is pleasantly devoid of crowds
The three and a half miles of soft pink sand is Harbour Island's top attraction, and guests can spread out for romantic beach walks and leisurely swims in the calm turquoise sea. The resort offers free use of lounge chairs and palapas/umbrellas and has beachside service for food and drinks. There is a small hut for watersports with free use of snorkel gear, kayaks, and paddleboards, as well as some children's toys. There's also a small freshwater pool, two tennis courts, and a small fitness center, with a handful of cardio and weight-training machines.
Since the cottages do not have kitchens, guests can order breakfast and lunch at the Blue Bar, which overlooks the sea. While it can be pricey, breakfast offers fruit smoothies, toasted bagels, and egg white omelets, along with richer dishes like Crab Cake Benedict and cinnamon French toast. Lunch serves a selection of salads, wraps, pizzas, conch burgers, fresh fish entrees, and desserts. Weather permitting, dinner is held at either the Blue Bar or Garden Terrace (in a romantic nighttime setting), and the cuisine focuses on bistro fare with fresh fish like mahi mahi and grouper, as well as meat dishes like filet or rack of lamb. An extensive wine list and cocktails are available throughout the day.
Although there is not a spa on-site, massage services can be arranged.
Cooking classes, which are taught by the resort's executive chef and emphasize local recipes and ingredients, are a standout feature here.
Wi-Fi is free and available in the lobby and cottages.
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