After a quick dash back to Nassau it was a question of overnighting before another 5am taxi pick up. The Bahamians, I have come to the conclusion, don’t like sleeping.
Rather than choose one of the large chain resorts, I stayed at ‘A stone’s throw away’ which is a delightful nine-bedroomed hotel with a fantastic view across the bay from an elevated deck. In the evenings they serve dinner on this deck in very convivial surroundings. So if you’re ever overnighting in Nassau give it a go. It is near to the airport but I think even Steve Backley would have issues throwing a stone that far.
The next island on this peregrination is Andros, the largest of the inhabited Bahamian Islands and is an ‘archipelago within an archipelago nation dissected by hundreds of creeks and waterways’. As you land at Andros International you can see what the guide books mean as the mangroves mix in with the omnipresent clear water and sandy beaches.
I was told that the Bahamas' clear water is due to two things. First, the porous nature of its limestone geology acts as a huge britas type filter - the water goes in one end, the limestone gets rid of the gunge and sparkly ocean comes out the other end. The variations of blue come from the reaction of specific Bahamian algae to sunlight. The result is a sight to behold and Andros has numerous vantage points to view and admire.
My residence is the Small Hope Bay Lodge, a 17-bedroomed establishment that specialises in activity holidays - mainly snorkelling and diving. At this abode there are no phones in the rooms, no televisions anywhere on the property, no newspapers, no clocks and internet access is limited to the main area but is switched off during dinner.
Dinner is served, as is breakfast and lunch, in a communal area to all guests buffet-style. When weather permits, which is most of the time, this is outsdie, next to the beach. Pre-dinner drinks and snacks are served to all guests at 6.30pm and at seven the chef comes out to announce the evening’s menu. Small Hope Bay is an all-inclusive resort but there is no threat to the local community here …. this is the community, living and breathing.
Now this type of set up may not be your cup of tea. It’s not afternoon Earl Grey with cucumber sandwiches but more a mug of builder’s brew. It’s totally informal, totally relaxed yet still refreshing. This is the first of three days here. "More tea vicar?"
Graham stayed at :-
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Established by the famed Sarkies Brothers in 1885, the Eastern & Oriental (E&O) Hotel in Penang is the only hotel in the heart of the George Town UNESCO World Heritage Site that possesses prime sea frontage. Today, the luxurious 228 all-suite hotel stands as the grand dame of heritage hotels, its distinctive classic elegance and grace of service enhanced with time.
For more information, visit www.eohotels.com