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A Yacht Charter Vacation in the Bahamas

A long-time favorite destination for the sun and beach-starved weary traveler

The place is being developed faster than you can say “conch fritter”, though, and the assortment of inns, resorts, hotels and other places to hang hat and anchor can be a challenge to negotiate.  Here we profile four hotels of disparate flavors, each catering to a particular type of traveler.



Atlantis:  The Place to Drop Anchor

Atlantis is ideal for vacationers whose tastes run to the colossal, the bustling, the all-inclusive, those with impatient children, or all of the above.  It’s a city unto itself, a Times Square in the middle of sunny paradise, and it’s growing, too; construction was going on during our trip for a new wing of suites which will probably need their own zip code. 

We’d need a dictionary-sized tome to touch on every last amenity it offers, but suffice it to say the Atlantis has 2,300 guest accommodations in its Royal Towers, Coral Towers and Beach Tower; over 35 restaurants, bars and lounges, a 10,000 square-foot Casino, the largest ballroom in the Bahamas/Caribbean region, and a marina capable of handling the largest of private luxury vessels.  Eleven million gallons of fresh and salt water pools, waterfalls aplenty, a long, long beach, exhibits of lagoons and underwater formations displaying over 200 species of marine life and 50,000 live animals ranging from schools of sharks to rainbows of tropical fish make the Atlantis a fascinating, days-long source of wonder and amazement.  

There’s more, much more, but the main focus of yachtspeople ought to be the 63-slip marina; there, yachts from all over the world can drop anchor, have passports checked, disembark and join the fun of Atlantis and the rest of the island for as long as you wish with full support of the on-site office.   Visit Marina Village, a 65,000 square-foot marketplace with world-class shopping and fine dining including the excellent Seafire with its first-class wine selection and specialties like abaco grouper, ahi tuna, steaks, poultry and other fine dishes. 

Expect crowds no matter the time of year, and keep eyes open while traveling from here to there within the grounds, as the general population is quite happy to bowl you over should you neglect to get out of the way. Front-desk people are efficient as one can be when dealing with a massive, wealthy horde of thousands seven days a week.  Also, service is on island time; accept it sooner than later and you can better take advantage of the various fun and non-stop entertainment.

Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant:  Peace, Quiet and 5-Diamond Dining
Graycliff is an utterly charming, twenty-room, 250-year-old inn carrying a Bahamian magic all its own.  Parked on a nondescript side street across from the two cannons in the driveway of the Governor’s mansion, Graycliff is as unassuming as other resorts are ostentatious; when pulling up to Graycliff’s steps, our taxi driver missed the entrance on his first try because he didn’t know where it was despite his eight years on the job.  But walk up to the homey front porch via the stately stone steps, enter the lobby with its high ceilings and natural wood beams hovering over you, go to your comfortable, extra large suite and have a chair on the second-floor porch.  Listen to the songs of the birds and feel the wind rustling through the trees and your pulse begins to relax.   Stroll the grounds with their dense trees and elegantly manicured fauna, dip into one of three pools surrounded by acres of foliage, write a postcard, flirt with your other half, or do nothing at all.  You’ll leave relaxed, refreshed, fed and satisfied.  A small gym, some of whose equipment needed some maintenance, is available, as well as a variety of spa packages.  

Graycliff gets high marks for the staff’s ability to answer questions and hold a pleasant conversation rather than giving you the feeling there are a dozen trains to catch in the next five minutes.  After a short while, you start knowing the names of the taxi drivers on call in front of the lobby at night, the concierge and various relaxed staff about the place, and imagine it’s your house rather than a vessel for so much travelin’ cattle.  

When hunger strikes, the prefixe Humidor Churrascaria is one of two restaurants owned by Graycliff you should visit both to dine in and to sample its world-class cigars, rolled and sold right there in front of you.  The star of the hotel, however, is the Graycliff restaurant in the dining room just off the hotel lobby.  Enjoy the white glove service and relish a warm salad with shrimp and smoked duck breast, grapefruit and garlic vinaigrette appetizer, a boneless full breast of free range chicken stuffed with Italian Parma prosciutto, spinach and aged parmesan or an oven slow-roasted crisp Long Island duckling in Bahamian naval orange sauce escoffer.  Exquisite caviar for the most discerning connoisseur is available, as are some of the world’s most exclusive wines.

And speaking of wines, a word must be said about Graycliff’s cellars.  With over 275,000 bottles, some of which date back to the 1700s, it is an exquisitely exclusive collection, and if you can’t find a bottle to suit your taste, your only solution would be to obtain a bunch of grapes on your own and have at it.   A wine cellar tour is a must, and can be arranged through guest services.  

Once you’re suitably fed, enjoy one of the aforementioned aromatic and homemade cigars.  A steward will offer you a choice of fat or thin, long or short, mild or industrial strength.

The hotel is in need of a paint job and some minor fixits, but for us, this added to the charm. 

Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort and Off Shore Island
The finest in service, and a couples’ paradise. It usually takes a couple of days to unwind from your crazy home life even in the plushest of vacation locales, but being picked up in a Rolls-Royce and having your own personal butler during your stay as we did is a great way to start off.  Sandals strives and mostly succeeds in providing the ultimate in pampering, the finest in dining and the most romantic settings in Nassau, almost daring you not to fall in love with whoever you bring with you.  And make sure you do bring someone – Sandals is a couples-only resort, no kids allowed.  Prices are all-inclusive – no tipping permitted, so leave your wallet in your room safe; you won’t need it the whole time you visit.

More Stories By Josh Max

Josh Max is a freelance writer and automotive enthusiast.

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SYS-CON Belgium News Desk 08/12/06 02:33:41 PM EDT

The place is being developed faster than you can say 'conch fritter', though, and the assortment of inns, resorts, hotels and other places to hang hat and anchor can be a challenge to negotiate. Here we profile four hotels of disparate flavors, each catering to a particular type of traveler.

SYS-CON Italy News Desk 08/12/06 01:35:54 PM EDT

The place is being developed faster than you can say 'conch fritter', though, and the assortment of inns, resorts, hotels and other places to hang hat and anchor can be a challenge to negotiate. Here we profile four hotels of disparate flavors, each catering to a particular type of traveler.

YV&C News Desk 08/12/06 12:42:30 PM EDT

The place is being developed faster than you can say 'conch fritter', though, and the assortment of inns, resorts, hotels and other places to hang hat and anchor can be a challenge to negotiate. Here we profile four hotels of disparate flavors, each catering to a particular type of traveler.