The Island House
What We Love
- A state-of-the-art fitness program, including an 82-foot lap pool and two squash courts
- The hotel houses the Bahamas’ only Bamford Spa
- A 48-seater theater, showcasing both blockbusters and indie Caribbean flicks
- The hotel’s own wine label
What To Know
- The hotel can arrange for a day trip to a private island in the Exumas
- For the best sunset views, book an Oceanview Room on the second floor
- All 30 rooms here are equipped with Apple TVs
- The artwork on display at Shima, the hotel’s Thai restaurant, is by local talents
- Free WiFi
- Handicap Accessible
- Parking On Site
When Bahamian entrepreneur Lauren Holowesko decided to channel the success of her family’s exclusive Lyford Cay restaurant, Mahogany House, into an intimate 30-room hotel, the mood she went for was “casual luxury.” That’s why guests here can wander the Champalimaud–designed property in flip-flops, the staff is clad in checked shirts and denims, and one of the cottages is tailor-made for those who prefer to shuttle directly from their bed to the pool. But this hideaway isn’t exactly for the sedentary. With a dynamic fitness program that offers everything from an anti-gravity yoga studio to ballet barre classes and a fully-stocked gym, its evident Holowesko and company want to get your endorphins going. Rest assured, there are enticing rewards. The Bamford Spa offers island-inspired treatments (like an aloe and rose quartz remedy that cools overheated skin) , a wholesome coffee bar that churns out tropical breakfasts, and a terrace restaurant, Shima, that showcases fiery Southeast Asian delicacies.
In the Area
The excursions here range from the bold, like shark diving and stingray feeding, to the beautiful: a cultural expedition with Islandz Tours will take you on a tour across several local galleries in historic downtown Nassau, in addition to stops at a few public art murals. For a bit of both, snorkel through an underwater coral reef sculpture garden, also home to “wrecks” that featured in movies like Jaws and Thunderball, in Clifton Heritage National Park, a coastal site that pays tribute to all the communities that make up the Bahamas’ diverse heritage, just a five-minute drive from the hotel.
How to Get There
The Island House is absolutely beautiful. With the lack of guests (I went late July), it made for a very relaxing and quiet trip. The pool was stunning and the rooms were gorgeous as well. There are two restaurants in the hotel itself (Shima and The Coffee House). The Coffee House serves coffee, you would hope, a delicious (but slightly pricey) breakfast, and pastries. It has a small cafe-like feel, with a couple of tables, but room to sit outside if you can take the heat. Shima is a Thai restaurant and was the best food I had ever eaten. It was absolutely delicious and the servers were very helpful. Mahogany is a very quick walk down the road, I think still apart of the hotel, which was nice as well. It was more expensive than the other two and I don't think the food really reflected that, however it was nice to have options. About a 5/10 minute walk, inside Lyford Kay, is Captain's Table, which is another great option for food. It has great specials, highly recommend Taco Tuesday, and a nice beach-like feel. It is also right on the marina, so it is nice to look at all the amazing boats. The hotel has a connection to the Old Fort Bay beach which is absolutely stunning. You have to pay $50 but you get transport there and back and the beach is AMAZING. It also has a great restaurant open from Thursdays-Sundays which is a great option for drinks and lunch/dinner. Overall my experience was incredible. The only reason I knocked off a star was because it was quite difficult to go anywhere but the hotel/beach/Captain's Table. You had to get a taxi, which was about $50.
The lunch is superb, casual and a great venue. The dinner restaurant is Asian and simply delicious. The whole hotel and location is wonderful and modern Island theme. All the staff are friendly and efficient and exude Bahamian hospitality
5 families stayed here while our children who competed in the Caribbean Amateur Golf Championships held in the Bahamas.
Positives. It is a beautiful property, tastefully designed with spacious, clean rooms and many amenities that include a spa, large swimming pool, cinema, squash courts, gym, yoga studio and games room/library. The staff, on the whole are very friendly and helpful.
There are 2 restaurants and a coffee shop for breakfast and lunch, that also serves beverages.
But here’s why it fails to makes 5 circles for me. The food was consistently slow to be brought out at all 3 locations. Yes, we were a large group but meals would be served 20 minute apart and indeed components of the same meal would arrive 20 minutes later such as vegetables to go with the protein, which was cold by then. In the morning, breakfast was made fresh (great) but you would wait over 30 minutes sometimes and again it would arrive one at a time. At dinner, our young children (sat on a separate table) were offered still or sparkling water and so chose still, not realising this was not regular still tap water and were charged $70!!
And that’s the thing. This is an incredibly expensive resort where the service doesn’t justify the price. There were many add ons to the nightly price and as alluded to if you wish to pay $50 just for protein, fine but expect to pay another $15 for a side. House red served by the glass was $25 but tasted like vinegar. When asked how long the bottle had been opened, ‘a few days’ was the response.
Ultimately I would stay here again if they could just bridge the gap between the price charged and the service delivered. It was otherwise a relaxing and enjoyable few days. And when the food did arrive it was absolutely delicious.