So from Bond and Bonefish to yet another 5.30am alarm call. The thing is though; the regional airports in the Bahamas are not like checking in at the South terminal at LGW.
I had a seven o’clock departure to Nassau on my way to Harbour Island and Eleuthera so, as is the norm in these parts, I checked in at 6.58, strode out of the door, high fived the pilot, jumped on the plane and away off to the Capital, Easy Peasy.
Before you even get to Harbour Island you get a feeling of understated sophistication, elegance, privilege and probably most importantly money. I deliberately didn't research any of my destinations on this trip as I wanted to get a first and unsullied impression and I am glad here that I didn't.
The gentleman who met us on the main island of Eleuthera to guide us to our first hotel was dressed in a very smart button down collar blush pink shirt which in the circumstances was good because I was staying at Pink Sands. My luggage and balance whilst getting onto the ferry were all very well looked after and as you approach Harbour Island across the blue blue sea you get a feeling, just a feeling, that you're off somewhere special.
At the dockside we proceed up the hill to the hotel by golf buggy because you begin to realise there are very few cars on Harbour Island. Everybody but everybody drives a golf cart and the only traffic you get is when the buggy’s line up outside a beach bar or food stalls.
Harbour island traffic jam
Harbour Island is about the size of a small village in the UK but with enough land and beach access to allow for some of the most magnificent private properties in the western world. Rumour has it that Uma Thurman visits often and just hangs out in one the local bars / clubs. I was there for 72 hours and I spent 71 hours 59 minutes looking but could not find her. Maybe she saw me first.
Harbour Island is also home for hundreds of displaced North Americans throughout the winter months. I say displaced but what I really mean is that they have enough time and money to be able to live here when climatically the going gets tough at home. It’s a place where everybody but you appears to be in the know about the best places to go, drink, and socialise. If you don’t know you certainly don’t want give the impression you don’t know as that would be tantamount to social suicide. Another hot tip is to make sure you dress up to appear dressed down, if you comprendo my meaning.
But what of the hotels you stayed in I hear you ask what were they like? Well in a word - magnificent. In public I did not want to jump with joy and punch the air, but in private I was like a Liverpool FC forward scoring at home …moments like this don’t happen that often.
This to me was luxury personified. In both Pink Sands and their sister hotel Coral sands I had an Ocean View room/cottage/palace. The room type really did not do either justice as they both were bang smack adjacent to a fabulous beach, both had private walkways to that beach, both were magnificently appointed and both had private decks upon which to lounge and confirm my full status as a follower of heliolatry. The cottage at Coral Sands was designed by no less a person than Barbara Hulanicki (google her if you don’t know) and it showed. Superb.
As you would expect both hotels had small discreet pool areas, high class restaurants, beach bars and all the normal facilities one would expect of accommodation at this level.
Pinks Sands has a wider variety of accommodation available including private houses (owned by financiers who else?) that have berths for up to 10 or 12 persons, while Coral Sands makes more of the central resort area and has a distinct colonial feel to it.
So if you want to relax in total luxury, be in your own private world for your vacation, mix with understated elegance and have even a millionth of chance to meet Uma, then this is the place for you.
View from an ocean cottage
Graham stayed at
Tuesday, February 7, 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