Discover why these six swank hotels — the most luxurious places to stay in the Bahamas’ New Providence Island — have attracted legendary guests ranging from Al Capone to Zsa Zsa Gabor.
The One&Only is hands-down the most luxurious hotel on Paradise Island. The 106 rooms and suites, split into two sections, are all tasteful, though those in the newer Crescent Wing are a bit more modern and stylish. Guests have access to the amenities at the Atlantis but the advantage of being removed from the crowds. Expansive manicured grounds have two outdoor pools, a romantic garden and statuary modeled after Versailles (a dream for weddings), and the endless stretch of white-sand beach and turquoise waves. Health and wellness nuts are spoilt for choice with daily yoga, an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, an indoor/outdoor fitness center, and a Balinese-style spa with private villas. After a day in the sun, guests return to the room to find champagne and strawberries waiting, and many choose to begin their evening with sunset drinks at Jean-Georges' Dune restaurant.
The 600-suite tower is the best, and therefore the most expensive, address at Atlantis. Chic open-air surroundings, oceanfront suites, and an air of exclusivity attracts families and couples who prefer to be slightly removed from the crowds. Modern, sophisticated suites (many with views) have modern technology, balconies, and extra large bathrooms. The property shares a separate beach and large family pool with neighboring Reef Tower, but only Cove guests have access to the party pool called Cain at the Cove -- for adults only -- with private cabanas, outdoor gambling, and a live DJ. Like all Atlantis pools, the Cain closes early, so dressed-up guests can then spend their cash at upscale restaurants on-site, such as Mesa Grill, or take a shuttle to Royal Towers and Marina Village for more selection.
The famous 1940s Balmoral Club is now the 408-room Sandals Resort in 1995, which impress upon arrival, with Roman columns, statues, fountains, three levels of elegant accommodations, 10 distinct restaurants, and eight bars. Guests receive a slew of information at onset, including a schedule of both land and water activities and daily events, but many choose to relax at the beach or make use of one of two main pool bars to drink and mingle. Head to the offshore island for an easy excursion -– a boat leaves every hour and there’s a Jamaican restaurant (included) and cabanas for napping. It’s not all romance though; the resort does attract its fair share of partiers -– hence the rowdy Piano Bar and English Cricketeer Pub which are both open till the wee hours.
When most people think of Atlantis, they immediately envision Royal Towers -- the massive, pink, now-iconic structure that opened in 1998 and houses over 1,000 spacious rooms. It sits along a near-perfect (if it weren't for the vendors) stretch of beach in Paradise Island. Atlantis has six separate sections, and Royal Towers is the mega-resort nerve center; guests staying here will find themselves within easy walking distance of the best pools, a luxury spa and fitness center, the 141-acre Aquaventure for incredible waterslides and river rides, and activities at Dolphin Cay. Other notable features of the complex include the largest outdoor marine habitat in the world, a hopping casino, and a total of 19 bars and 21 restaurants -- all with a hefty price tag. Contemporary rooms are larger (and pricier) than rooms at the Beach and Coral Towers, but most have French balconies with standing room only.
Listed as a landmark on the national register of historic places, the Graycliff occupies a 1740 mansion that in 1844 became Nassau’s first inn. Over the years, the hotel has hosted a number of famous guests including Al Capone, Sir Winston Churchill, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Today, the beautiful and upscale property retains its historic charm, with frequent live jazz music in the lounge, and a chocolatier, cigar factory, and museum on-site. There are also two pools (one with stunning hand-painted tiles), three restaurants (including the five-star Graycliff Restaurant), and a world-class wine cellar. The 20 spacious rooms are stuffed with antiques but still include modern amenities like flat-screen TVs, minibars, and Wi-Fi. However, some rooms can be noisy at night, the Wi-Fi is spotty, and the hotel is not on the beach.
This modern, luxurious condo-hotel with nearly 500 residential-style units is located on the far edge of the enormous Atlantis complex. The big studios, one-, and two-bedrooms units (many with views) are well-suited to families, and have pull-out sofas and fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. It's one of the priciest Atlantis options (though not quite as expensive as Cove), but families will likely appreciate being able to cook to save money, as Atlantis' 19 bars and 21 restaurants are notoriously expensive. The property has a nice stretch of beach and a large family pool that is exclusive to Reef and Cove guests, and major Atlantic highlights such as Aquaventure are within walking distance. A Starbucks and a convenience store are available in the lobby, or guests can walk or take a shuttle to the resort hub for more selection.