This Island's Pastel Cottages, Pink Sand Beaches, and Turquoise Waters Are a Cotton Candy Dreamscape
A well-designed hotel can definitely create vacation envy on Instagram, but once in a while, you land on an entire picture-perfect island.
Harbour Island, in The Bahamas, is known for its candy-colored cottages, historic architecture, pink sand beaches, and flocks of celebrity fans including Elle Macpherson, Cameron Diaz, Diane von Furstenberg, and India Hicks.
We hit the streets (in golf carts, the only transportation on the island) to find the perfect spots to get the shot and boost your likes like a celeb.
Where to Stay
Forget the typical seahorse-and-sand-dollar beach hotel aesthetic — Coral Sands just got a face lift from famed designer Eddie Lee. Complete with a colorful preppy-chic vibe, this exclusive yet casual resort is the perfect home base to take the island by storm. Upon arrival, you know you’re in for a treat. A whimsical entryway with welcoming bright pink benches and palms set on a black and white tile floor make it hard to pass without getting an “I’ve Arrived” shot for your followers and set the tone for what's to come on this colorful island.
Beyond that, your eyes are quickly drawn to another bright design element and crown gem of the of the newly reopened Latitude 25 restaurant: a bright pink velvet couch that's just begging to be photographed. (Pro tip: The staff are happy to snap shots of you while you work through your poses.) From the couch, you'll spot coral umbrellas dotting the infinity pool that appears to almost float directly through to the ocean just on the other side. It’s time to clear some phone storage.
The hotel's 38 luxurious but low-key rooms range from shaded bungalows to beachfront cottages. Amenities include access to a private beach, the island’s largest luxury gym and yoga studio, tennis courts, and in-suite massage services. Also be sure to grab a cute cocktail at the lobby bar.
Where to Eat
The Restaurant at the Dunmore offers a quiet escape tucked into the beach with warm, inviting lights leading you up the stairs to the charming heart of the hotel, decorated with historical photos and an elevated old-time-island feel. Take this opportunity to pull out your island finest outfits. Also stop by for an Aperol Spritz on the deck, which matches their orangey-pink striped chairs.
Just follow the golf cart-lined roads to the end and you’ll find Sip Sip (local slang for gossip). An island favorite offering a laid-back vibe with an inventive menu, this is way more than just a beach bar and restaurant. Sip Sip is owned by local Julie Lightbourn, who oversees every aspect of the menu. From their legendary lobster quesadilla to daily specials such as tuna tartare with watermelon, it’s both inventive and delicious.
Sights to See (and Snap)
Pink Sand Beaches
Harbour Island is most renowned for its beautiful Pink Sand Beach, located along its eastern coast along the Atlantic Ocean. Stretching three-plus miles, it’s considered one of the very best beaches in The Bahamas. The pale pink color of the sand comes from microscopic coral insects, known as Foraminifera, which have bright pink or red shells. After the insects die, the waves crush their bodies and wash the remains ashore, mixing them with the sand and bits of coral. It might sound morbid, but it is beautiful. The pink color stands out even more in the wet sand at the water's edge. Also, you’ll find that the sand here is always cool, so you can walk about freely with bare feet and not a care in the world.
Welsley Methodist Church
Churches dot the island, but Welsley Methodist Church can’t be missed due to its bright, inviting yellow exterior with bright green shutters and colorful stained glass accents. Situated on the corner in Dunmore town, you can easily pull off in your golf cart and check it out.
Dunmore Town Wall of License Plates
A quirky roadside installation of old license plates make for a fun backdrop.
Perhaps one of the most iconic spots for a photo on Harbour island, the Lone Tree is a large piece of driftwood that stands alone on the sand like a beautiful art sculpture. There’s much speculaton about the origins of the tree (some say it was once an almond tree, while others say it's a species of pine), but everyone seems to agree that it arrived at its present position, Girls Bank on Bay Street, during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. It has since become a famous landmark and distinctive remnant of the island's history, and a prominent feature in many photo shoots for weddings and magazines, and definitely will make for an Instagram highlight. Go when the tide is out to get the best shot.