Is this one of the Caribbean's most exciting hotel destinations?

By Hannah Walhout
February 05, 2020
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Kamalame Cay.
| Credit: Courtesy of Kamalame Cay

September’s Hurricane Dorian was the worst to ever hit this archipelago, but what many people might not know: while Grand Bahama and the Abacos face years of rebuilding, the storm left most of the archipelago's 700 islands untouched. Tourist dollars go a long way toward the northern islands’ recovery — and it's an exciting time to visit the Bahamas, thanks to a group of recently arrived and renovated indie hotels that channel the pride of their owners.

North Andros

After Dorian, the team behind family-run Kamalame Cay raised more than $30,000 for the affected communities, gathering food and supplies and offering employment opportunities to those who were displaced. And the storm didn’t stop owners David and Michael King-Hew from moving forward with regular improvements: they opened two new villas in 2019, with 10 more in the works for later this year.

Island House.
| Credit: Jessica Antola/Courtesy of Island House

New Providence

With a Zen temple aesthetic, an in-house wine label, and an art-house cinema, the 30-room Island House provides a more intimate atmosphere than Nassau’s larger beach resorts. Guests have exclusive access to a private beach club nearby, but if that feels too crowded, have the staff arrange an overnight to Highbourne Cay, their private island in the Exumas.

Caerula Mar.
| Credit: Courtesy of Caerula Mar

South Andros

In 2016, HGTV Canada stars Bryan and Sarah Baeumler purchased a 1960s-era resort and began transforming it into the 24-key Caerula Mar, which opened last month. Spread across ten beachfront acres, it’s the island’s first new hotel in nearly 20 years — and the owners have already seen it bringing new life to this once-sleepy area, with infrastructure updates and new local businesses like conch shacks and bone-fishing charters.

The Other Side.
| Credit: Zorn Photography/Courtesy of The Other Side

Eleuthera

“Solar-powered safari camp” might not be your first thought when planning an island vacay — but the Other Side, on one of the country’s least developed “out islands,” is not your usual beach hotel. A stay here is barefoot luxury incarnate, with outdoor bathtubs, in-room massages, and access to the property’s 30-foot Hinckley yacht. The three tented suites and and three hilltop cottages (they call them “shacks”) will soon be joined by three new villas, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing the sea.

A version of this story first appeared in the February 2020 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline Boutique Bahamas.