It’s impossible not to fall in love with the Bahamas, a string of islands and cays dominated by vibrant coral reefs, secluded beaches, world heritage sites, and historic villages each more charming than the last. While its 30 inhabited islands are rife with beach-chic hotels and impressive resorts, only a few properties edge out the rest. Read on for the 8 best hotels in the Bahamas.
One&Only Ocean Club
The One&Only Ocean Club’s appearance in the Bond flick, Casino Royale, might tip you off to its glamour and bravado. The colonial-style former estate, on 35 manicured acres on Paradise Island, is one of the best hotels in the Bahamas—and is every bit as impressive as it looks, from the 105 understatedly opulent guest rooms with private balconies or decks to the 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant, Balinese-inspired spa, and formal French garden modeled after Versailles, replete with marble statuary and a 14th-century Augustinian cloister. Villas come with infinity pools, but all rooms enjoy butler service, which just begs for breakfast on your terrace—at least, that’s how we imagine James would have liked to start each morning.
You might feel as though you’ve been marooned on Kamalame Cay, a tiny private island off the coast of Andros thick with mangrove trees—but in the best kind of way. Just 19 airy villas, kitted out with Indonesian furniture, muslin-draped windows, and sunny wraparound decks, sit on the beach, where staff bend to your every need—be it snorkeling a nearby reef, having a candlelit dinner on the three-mile beach, or being escorted to the dock for a luxurious oil massage at the overwater spa.
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Small Hope Bay Lodge
The oldest dive resort in the Bahamas is a beloved classic on Andros, and we’re not just talking about its renowned bonefish guides or wreck diving tours. Loyal visitors—mostly snorkelers, anglers, divers, and outdoorsy types—return year after year to the comfort of its 20 rustic garden cabins, kitted out with Androsia batik fabrics and pine, and sense of community felt during communal meals at the main lodge and happy hour at the beachside bar—not to mention the all-inclusive rate that keeps things simple. What else is included: rental equipment for biking, snorkeling, paddle-boarding, and kayaking, as well as a dive course for inexperienced guests looking to get their feet wet.
Atlantis Royal Towers, Autograph Collection
Atlantis sports a whopping six separate sections to stay in, but doesn’t get more iconic than the skyline-defining pink towers that stand like a beacon at the center of this Bahamian megaresort. There’s a reason this one’s most popular with families and first-timers: over 1,000 rooms, all with French balconies, look out over Paradise Island’s too-white beach, while the prime location puts it within easy walking distance to all the main attractions—pools, the spa, Dolphin Cay, the 141-acre water park extravaganza known as Aquaventure… It might not be as luxe as The Cove, but really, who’s coming here for peace and quiet? Think of it as the Disney World of the Caribbean—albeit with the area’s largest casino, a no-kids-allowed luxury spa, and 21 restaurants and 19 bars to fill in those in-between hours.
The Island House
With just 30 rooms, The Island House, Nassau’s first boutique hotel, is the antithesis of the area’s usually sprawling all-inclusives. New York design firm Champalimaud (behind properties including L.A.’s Hotel Bel-Air and the Gainsborough Bath Spa in the U.K., among others) was tapped for the interiors: expect cool, contemporary furnishings made of coral stone and cypress and views of the property's ten tropical acres and central pool. Because the hotel’s project manager holds a master’s degree from Sotheby’s, it comes as no surprise that the communal living room, the property’s showpiece, is a gallery in itself with pieces by Herman Miller and local Bahamian art. After you get past the interiors, it’s time to enjoy what you’re really here for—be it toning down at the souped-up spa (which features an anti-gravity yoga studio, squash courts, tennis court, and lap pool), catching a flick at the in-house cinema, or diving into Southeast Asian cuisine at top-floor open-air restaurant Shima.
It’s the only eco-resort in the Bahamas, but don’t think that means Tiamo compromises on romance. Sure, its wooden cottages are screened-in and set on stilts, with composting toilets and electricity that runs on solar power—but there also just 11 of them, spacious and secluded on the edge of a nature reserve that faces a sugar-white beach scattered with hammocks, and only reachable by seaplane. Some have private pools and terraces that lead directly to the sand; all have cushy king beds wrapped in reclaimed linens—though sleeping in is not an option once you’ve had a taste of the lodge breakfast. The island of Andros is famous for its bonefish, but inland hikes, led by the nature concierge team, provide possibly even more exciting encounters including vivid orchids and indigenous rock iguanas.
Grand Isle Resort
There’s lots to love about this 78-villa resort: the heated infinity pool overlooking the ocean, the addictive cocktails at Palapa Grill (considered one of the most romantic restaurants in the Bahamas), the ultra-spacious rooms that come with full kitchens and their own golf carts for taking a spin around the premises, its own private section of Emerald Bay Beach right by the pool. No wonder it was a destination of choice for The Bachelor. The story you’ll be bringing home, however, will probably revolve around Great Exuma’s resident pigs, with whom you can swim alongside during dips in the crystal-clear waters of nearby Big Major Cay.
The Cove Eleuthera
A rocky promontory hugged by two shallow coves provides perfect, blissful seclusion for this 40-acre escape in laid-back Eleuthera, a long thin island 50 miles east of Nassau. Lazy days here are defined by hours spent soaking in the infinity pool, snacking at the sushi bar, or napping beneath 500-thread-count sheets in your chic all-white room or villa. The ocean views here are expectedly spectacular, as is the snorkeling, but cocktails at the open-air Point Bar, perched on the bluff, are where you’ll find the most buzz—and best vantage point.