Destination Guide


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Made up of more than 2,000 islands, the Bahamas are easy to get to and boast perfect tropical weather year-round (except during hurricane season in late August to mid October). The islands are as enviable for their sunny skies as for their pristine waters, befitting the lazy beach reader as well as the water-sport enthusiast.


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The Cove Atlantis

From a marketing perspective, Atlantis, the mega-resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, has pulled off a brilliant campaign; in existence since 1994, it has become as mandatory a childhood rite of passage as a pilgrimage to Disney World. Its mile-long river of a pool that you ride in inflated inner tubes, choosing wild rapids along the way if you like, and 60-foot-high, see-through waterslides that shoot you through a tank of sharks, are the stuff of playground legend. When the company unveiled Aquaventure, a 63-acre water space, it made the resort the largest water-theme park in the world. An entire Mary-Kate and Ashley movie was even filmed there. And college kids from around the country flock here every spring to celebrate Spring Break where drinking is legal at 18.

The company opened the Cove, on the grounds, to appeal to high-end families, so that parents could get Ocean Club service and stylish comfort but with the proximity to pools and facilities that the kids crave. Cove guests are promised a private beach and pool areas (including an adults-only one); gourmet dining options, including a Mesa Grill outpost from Bobby Flay; super service; and even an exclusive boutique for luxury fashions. A recently added draw is Sip Sip, the famed Harbour Island restaurant where the lobster quesadilla is the stuff of legends.

While these may be the best rooms on the Atlantis property and are perfectly comfortable, they could use a refresh. Another caveat is that the service is three-star at best. However, in terms of the Cove's views and proximity to the action, this property cannot be beat.

looking from water towards beach hotel in bahamas

The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort

This storied property, managed by Four Seasons since 2017, was once the home of A&P Tea Company heir Huntington Hartford II, and more recently, appeared in the 2006 James Bond remake of Casino Royale. The 107-room hotel is therefore extremely popular with high-maintenance New Yorkers who want to escape for a few days of serenity without losing the heat. Perhaps surprisingly, the mastermind behind the Ocean Club is the same man who created Atlantis, the mass tourist attraction that sits on the other side of the island but feels miles away (though there are a fair amount of jet skis zipping back and forth along the beach here). South African Sol Kerzner made one of his fortunes building the gargantuan gambling oasis Sun City, and his Atlantis also manages to pack in a seemingly unending stream of gamblers and families with its casino and water amusements.

The Ocean Club, however, is where Sol finished an Ocean Club Residence for himself. In addition to the eighteen-hole golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf, the 35-acre property includes a restaurant overseen by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, as well as a pretty white sand beach, six tennis courts, three pools and a spa. The main building has a wonderful great room where guests can sit surrounded by books and game tables with a view down the lawn to the sea. When I was last there, a family with three teenagers whiled away an afternoon playing gin as golfers and couples wandered in and out to get drinks from the bar. Couples and families can exist in their own spheres, because the beach is so large and one pool by the gardens is reserved for adults and children over the age of fourteen. The kids’ club runs activities throughout the day, from Ping-Pong and checkers to nature hunts. The best rooms are in the Crescent wing, renovated in 2023. Those in the Hartford wing are considerably smaller. The three beachfront three- and four-bedroom villas are among the hardest accommodations to reserve but are a great option for families.

Considering the Four Seasons's friendly, white-glove service, we can only hope other hotels will recognize that if guests are treated with such hospitality, they will generate the kind of waiting-list-only popularity that the Ocean Club often enjoys. It sells out months in advance; so if you want to go this winter, book now.

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