view from above of a pool and surround stone deck with pink building and palm trees in background
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Bahama House

Bahama House, just a block from the harbor, is the first Caribbean venture from luxury adventure specialists, Eleven. Here's our review.

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Red and white lounge at Coral Sands Resort, Harbour Island, Bahamas

Coral Sands

Coral Sands, a Harbour Island mainstay since 1968, is the island’s most family friendly resort (and the largest), but travelers have to know which accommodations to book.

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Pool Lounge at House Rentals, Harbour Island, Caribbean

House Rentals

The Indagare Bookings Team has access to a range of houses on Harbour Island, including a great portfolio of beachfront properties. For example, Sandy Hill, a colonial-style home with six bedrooms and five en suite baths, offers the quintessential sophisticated vacation experience. With the house’s three levels of verandas and terraces, you can sit outside and lounge, or eat breakfast while enjoying the spectacular sea views. Many homes have a one-week minimum, though some can also be rented per night.

Lounge at Kamalame Cay, Bahamas, Caribbean

Kamalame Cay

Even though it's been open to guests for nearly twenty years, Kamalame Cay still feels like an undiscovered gem. The 96-acre cay a short ferry ride from northeastern Andros, was purchased by the Hew family in the 1990s and slowly developed into a dreamy island retreat. You can see influences of other laid-back beach havens — a bit of the barefoot-chic aesthetic of the Maldives’ Soneva Fushi, a dose of Mexican Tulum bohemia, a dash of Harbour Island flair — but Kamalame Cay is also an incredibly personal testament of one family’s love for the Bahamas.

For one, the tropical landscapes are glorious. Arriving via the short ferry across the bay, guests can barely make out a manmade structure in the lush jungle of palms, casuarina and seagrape trees, which are laced by bright pink bougainvillea and frangipani. The main guest hubs are the Pineapple House (which is also the only spot on the island with WiFi access) and the Great House, the large living room-cum-restaurant that opens onto a large al fresco dining deck.

By design, Kamalame is the type of place where you meet your fellow guests and often new-found friends choose to have lunch or dinner together. And there’s never a lot of you. Guests stay either in four Marina Suites, which are simple but comfortable rooms overlooking the bay and the mangroves, or in six Beach Villas, which are larger, cottage-style structures tucked into the palms right near the beach. The Villas range from one-bedroom, open floor plan houses to larger three-bedrooms (which can be taken over or shared). Most sumptuous are the Residences, which range from three- to six-bedrooms and were designed with a lot of tropical style with great open living rooms, outdoor showers and direct access to the beach. The most unique home is the owners' own: Kamalame Cove, a 7,500-square-foot, four-bedroom extravaganza that sits on an ultra-private islet and whose rooms have stunning 360-degree views (it also has its own pool and private beaches).

The vibe at Kamalame is decidedly laid-back and perfect for travelers who enjoy a barefoot, castaway vibe. There’s a small pool and the beautiful beach, as well as a lovely spa, with simple but memorable treatment rooms directly above the turquoise water. More active types take advantage of the area’s excellent bone fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving and deep-sea excursions (the world’s third largest barrier reef is just a mile off its pristine shore). The PADI certified dive center can organize trips for any level of diver. Those who prefer to explore above ground can plan day trips to the mainland, which remains largely undeveloped and full of stunning wildlife. And, of course, there’s fishing galore: bone and deep-sea fishing are what draws anglers to this part of the Bahamas.

Even when Kamalame is fully booked, you never see many of your fellow guests thanks to the generous layout and the fact that there are lots of beautiful corners where you can hide out with a pile of books and a cocktail. On some, the Kamalame magic works instantaneously; others may take a bit longer to adjust to the simplicity of it all. The best part of a visit is discovering the hidden corners slowly, as if by magic: a small cove with kayaks and paddle boards for exploring the mangroves. A far-flung beach at the very end of the cay for privacy seekers. A dock with two pink Adirondack chairs positioned just so for sunset watching. Fresh-baked cookies delivered to your room in the afternoon.

During a stay, most guests will meet the owners' son, David Hew, and his partner (soon-to-be husband), Michael, who live on property and run the resort. Smart warm, funny and incredibly invested in the next chapter of Kamalame, David and Michael have an easygoing way of making everyone feel like extended family. Suffice it to say that during my visit in early February, every single first-time visitor I spoke to was already making plans for a return trip — me included.

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Pool Lounge at Nandana, Bahamas, Caribbean


Nandana, the waterfront property on the coast of Grand Bahama Island, has a distinct Asian-inspired tranquility.

Bedroom at Ocean View at Harbour Island in the Bahamas

Ocean View Club

Staying at the Ocean View Club is like being a guest at a sophisticated house party for a rarefied crowd of international media execs and magazine executives and famed photographers like Bruce Weber. Travelers looking for quiet and privacy (and who do not appreciate creative spirits) should stay elsewhere.
Lounge at Rock House, Harbour Island, Caribbean - credit Perry Jospeh

Rock House

In a multimillion-dollar renovation, designer Wallace Tutt transformed this former private house on a coral bluff into a breezy boutique hotel, with nine guest rooms and an oceanfront cottage. The location, on a low bluff above the harbor, can be a detractor for some visitors, but many rooms have great views thanks to it. Meals are taken at the dining room’s massive wooden table, which seats sixteen guests and is formally laid with a candelabra and silver, or on the covered terrace offering prime vistas. For those who prefer to be on the beach, an oceanfront cottage (La Samana) can also be rented through Rock House.  There’s a small gym and a lovely swimming pool surrounded by stylish, tented cabanas that are available only to hotel guests.

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Rosewood Baha Mar

The Rosewood Hotel collection is known for its exceptional sense of place, with resorts everywhere from Laos to Mexico embracing their surrounding cultures and landscapes in elegant, innovative ways. The Baha Mar location is no exception. Guests are welcomed by a bright, airy lobby with marble floors, cream-colored couches and glass-enclosed displays of shell sculptures. Nearby, an understated wall-to-wall mural depicts a palm tree-lined beach. In the guest rooms (of which there are 237), woven fabrics and wicker furniture are complemented by crisp white linens and minimalist furniture. And the pièce de résistance: each room at Rosewood Baha Mar has a view of the ocean (while those on lower floors see more of the resort).

Guests are pampered here in quiet seclusion from the rest of the complex, which is reachable by a 2-minute walk along the beach. And while the resort-within-a-resort benefits from all the amenities at Baha Mar (including a water park, 40+ restaurants and lounges, and the largest casino in the Caribbean), Rosewood guests could easily while away several days within its confines. The property offers three restaurants. The principal eatery is Commonwealth, an all-day café with a private rum room that serves coastal cuisine with a British flair (think Beef Wellington with prosciutto). Manor bar is a handsome space with dark wood furniture, vintage-inspired lighting fixtures and handcrafted cocktails. Though the experience not to miss is a meal at Costa, a Latin American restaurant set in overwater villas with comfy cabana seating and an impressive menu of Bahamian and Mexican cocktails.

When not relaxing poolside or exploring Baha Mar’s various attractions (like the casino, water parks, multiple pools and eateries), guests can decompress with spa treatments at the Rosewood’s signature spa. The cream-colored oasis offers therapies based on traditional and progressive healing rituals and a number of ‘sense journeys,’ which are curated spa sessions lasting up to five hours.

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Pool Lounge at Runaway Hill Club, Harbour Island, Caribbean

Runaway Hill Club

The intimate Runaway Hill Inn is a peaceful bed-and-breakfast on the beach that is owned by former Ranger hockey wonder (and Stanley Cup winner) Mark Messier. The building’s British-colonial dormers, backed up by numerous original details, dominate the architecture. In winter, a crackling fire warms the entrance.

Each of the bedrooms is different, giving the impression of lodging in a private home—which indeed it once was. The place isn’t fancy, but it’s perfectly comfortable. Each of the rooms is different (and named after Messier family members)—one has a pretty painted Cuban tile floor, there are travertine floors in the villas. At least one has a fireplace. Some have their own terraces with teak furniture. The biggest accommodation is the four- bedroom, oceanfront home with views of the famous Harbour Island pink sand from every room.

This is a good option for couples that expect tidy rooms near the beach but who don’t need much pampering. And families or groups since the villas can accommodate a large brood and the courtyard rooms can be joined to create multi-bedroom spaces.

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The Albany

The Albany is a concept like nothing else: a billionaire’s playground where residents and guests can live in the lap of luxury, with everything at their fingertips.
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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.

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Food at The Dunmore, Harbour Island, Caribbean

The Dunmore

With its 16 cottages, the Dunmore combines the soul of a longtime island property with fresh, inspired interiors. Many describe the on-site restaurant as the island’s best.
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Ambience - The Landing, Harbour Island, Caribbean

The Landing

Owned by Australian Toby Tyler and his gorgeous Bahamian wife, Tracy Barry, the hotel—with its enormous dark wood bar, hardwood floors and ceiling fans—evokes Rick’s Café Casablanca. But the place may seem familiar for another reason—it’s been featured in lots of magazine spreads. Though India Hicks (the British aristocrat and former Ralph Lauren model) is no longer a minority owner, the Landings retains the Hicks (and Ralph Lauren) influence: expect black-and-white family portraits and well-chosen books scattered about to give a lived-in feeling. Seven guest rooms overlooking the harbor and garden feature huge four-poster beds with mosquito netting and starched white linens. A pool was carved into the hill out back, and there’s a wine and liquor boutique, offering excellent wines under the house label. The restaurant has long been one of the island’s best, with tables in the house and in the garden.

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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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Pool Lounge at  Valentines Resort and Marina, Harbour Island, Caribbean

Valentines Resort and Marina

This compound of cottages on the harborside was once a popular spot for spring breakers, but after a 2015 renovation, Valentines is drawing families in search of a reasonably priced place to stay on the island. The rooms are clean and basic, and the suites feature kitchenettes and living areas in villa and townhome configurations.

The rooms center around the property’s saltwater pool, and there are chairs and umbrellas on the main beach for guests to use each day. Located just a short walk from town, the resort boasts the best diving facility on the island—with a PADI certified dive center at its marina—and the best spa, which is a Dermalogica outpost.

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