better in the bahamas

My best friend and I had been planning to take a trip together to Hawaii to celebrate our milestone birthdays. As you can tell, things didn’t go exactly as planned. But The Bahamas was a pretty good substitute: warm weather, sun, beach, palm trees… it’s all good!

Where I stayed:
The British Colonial Hilton – Not the newest or hippest but nice nonetheless. Private beach and lovely daybeds by the pool to lounge on. It’s conveniently located right in the middle of downtown Nassau. I also discovered Peter Thomas Roth products courtesy of the hotel. Love them!

Where I ate:
In general, food was pretty expensive so be sure to bring your pocketbook.
Twin Brothers at the Fish Fry – conch fritters, icee daiquiris and fried snapper. The Fish Fry   was the most affordable place to eat and I’m told it’s where the locals hang out.
Athena Cafe – really good Greek food. Definitely order the calamari
Van Breugel’s – another good resto. The owner was very friendly and attentive
Brussels Bistro – memorable mostly because I drank too much here

Shopping:
Many high-end retailers have shops in Nassau such as Cartier, Rolex, Fendi and Gucci; a stark contrast to the signs of poverty throughout the city. There’s also the Straw Market where you can try your hand at bargaining for some hand-crafted goods.

Paradise Island:
Atlantis is kind of like Disneyland for grown-ups. There’s a casino (with glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly, no less), a golf course, spa, Nobu, a nightclub, bar/lounges, etc. It also boasts one of the most expensive suites in the world: the Bridge Suite in the Royal Towers. It’s one of the most expansive resorts I’ve ever been to.

What I was most interested in seeing at Atlantis was part of the world’s largest open-air marine habitat. Luckily we were able to see the manta rays and fish at The Dig. There were guided tours but the security guard hinted that there wouldn’t be anyone watching after 5pm. Thank you! The giant manta ray was a sight to see. And by giant, I mean, this thing had to have been 10’+ across?! I’m pretty much scared of anything bigger than my head so it was terrifying but amazing to see at the same time. I would have also liked to have seen Predator Lagoon where you walk through clear acrylic tunnels but sadly that was off-limits to visitors.

You can buy day passes for access to the water parks and pools and beaches but they aren’t always available, especially if many cruise ships are in port (there were usually 3–5 in port any given day while I was there). You have limited access to the resort as a visitor but you can wander through the shops at Marina Village and the casino and can get as far as the Royal Towers. Everything else is off-limits.

I enjoyed the sun, and warm temps and everyone was very friendly and helpful as you would expect from a city that relies on tourism as its main staple. There was lots of construction; new roads and the Baha Mar Resort was well-underway. The international departures terminal at the airport was completed last year. I’m very curious to see what this new Nassau will look like when everything is built. Next time, I would love to check out The Cove Atlantis and more of the marine habitat, Cafe Matisse and maybe even the pirate museum to see ol’ Blackbeard!

I

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