Four Boutique Hotels For Your Next Bahamas Getaway
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.