Mary and Lucy Firestone are passionate travelers, documenting their journeys on their blog. They have also contributed to Travel & Leisure, the Huffington Post and Louis Vuitton’s City Guide Los Angeles. Covering everything from hotels and shops to restaurants and bars, they search high and low to find where to go, what to do and what to wear. Here they report from a recent trip to the Bahamas’ Harbour Island.Harbour Island
is a place full of turquoise sea–drenched memories for us—from childhood vacations and festive New Year’s celebrations in our college years to Mary’s wedding. An island steeped in a glamorous beach history, this tiny little Bahamian refuge has retained much of its charm and allure that made it feel like a Robinson Crusoe-meets-Vogue getaway in the first place. Getting to Harbour Island is a commitment, undoubtedly part of the reason it has remained as it always was, with only a handful of boutique hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops set amidst candy-colored clapboard houses. After a two-year hiatus, we returned this last July for a visit that has left us more in love with the island and its people than ever before.
Our mission: a sister bonding trip to check out the newly renovated Dunmore Beach Club, now under new ownership and a shorter name, The Dunmore. The Dunmore was the scene of Mary’s wedding four years ago and has always been our favorite hotel on the island thanks to its plum location on the pink sand beach Harbour Island is famous for, as well as for its old-school, preppy vibe. Dunmore Beach Club in its former incarnation was rather like an aging New England prepster, with his faded Nantucket Reds, docksiders that have seen better days and a well-worn linen shirt. Prepsters do get facelifts and last holiday season, The Dunmore was unveiled. The property has undergone a massive renovation and upgrade. Interior design darling Amanda Lindroth infused a sleek, clean sophistication while maintaining the nostalgic island feel. In the guest cottages, sea fans adorn Lucite coffee tables, John Robshaw ikat prints are used throughout and Molton Brown products perfume the sea air, all culminating in the epitome of breezy chic barefoot elegance.
The pool and open-air pool pavilion are the two biggest and most dramatic changes. It almost feels decadent to have a pool Slim Aarons would have loved so close to the breathtaking, three-mile beach with sublime, sandy bottomed swimming. Black-and-white-striped lounge chairs await poolside while sea-green umbrellas compete for your attention steps below on the sand—tough decisions at The Dunmore. We loved bookending our sun-filled days with a complimentary breakfast on the beachfront patio, and then chose to have our sunset Goombay Smash rum drinks at the hotel bar chattering with the staff who feel more like old family friends.
Dinner at The Dunmore was certainly an experience, but for a change of scenery and for the show-stopping food, The Landing is our favorite spot for dinner. Located “in town,” The Landing, is on the harbor side of the island. We love sitting out on their charming porch watching all of the island whiz past on their golf carts, the main mode of transport. There’s something almost European about the intimacy and style of The Landing that harkens back to 1800 when the property was built. If it’s too warm to sit on the plantation-style patio, the red-walled dining room and bar are incredibly sexy and cozy all at once. Standouts from the menu are the spicy crab capellini with romaine lime ginger garlic; the goat cheese ravioli and shrimp; and the local lobster. For dessert, don’t miss the chocolate hazelnut banana cake. We love owner Toby Tyler’s private label house wines called Afro Head. He also makes a rum by the same name that is not only delicious but special as it is only made in a very limited quantity.
After dinner one night we stopped in at Blu Bungalow, a new wine and tapas bar in the heart of town. Owner Jeanine Sabatino has created a warm space with a maritime ambiance highlighted by capiz chandeliers, driftwood art and an open-air deck. Blu Bungalow is one of the cutest bars we have literally ever been to.
To look the part, we hit the shops to update our boho-glam island looks. India Hicks, former model and role model for us, runs her Sugar Mill boutique a few doors down from The Landing. It’s stocked with beaded caftans, vibrantly colored bikinis, gold Grecian sandals, jewelry at all price points, as well as cool gifts and housewares, and we had trouble not buying up the entire shop. Luckily, she has just launched her online store so we can maintain our island style.
We also checked out newcomers to the Harbour Island shopping scene, Shine and Ruby. Shine is a jewel-box-sized boutique that appropriately sells handcrafted jewels, as well as some expensive clothing. Be sure to visit Ruby, a well-edited children’s clothing shop if you are parents or grandparents. Tracey Berry, co-owner of The Landing, opened Ruby for all of the stylish little people in your life.
Harbour Island keeps getting better and better. We were already planning our next visit on the water taxi home. This little island embodies everything we want from a beach vacation: relaxation, natural beauty, laid-back sophistication and all with a celebratory feel. Til we meet again, Harbour Island!
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