Five Reasons to Visit The Bahamas Now
Island life gets a refresh in the nation’s capital.
For decades, Nassau’s white-sand beaches, crystal-blue water and air of sultry tropical decadence have lured glamorous sun-seekers to The Bahamas—including James Bond, who has appeared in several films set here. Now, thanks to the opening of Baha Mar, an ambitious new resort development, the capital is reemerging on the radar of jet-setters—but with an authentic Bahamian twist.
And it’s not all sun and sand: The buzz surrounding Baha Mar is prompting visitors to rediscover Nassau (and New Providence, the island it inhabits) and the unique local experiences it delivers. Here are five reasons we’re excited to bring Rosewood Journeys to The Bahamas, where Rosewood Baha Mar opens in June.
AN INTRICATE HISTORY
Columbus, buccaneers, Native Americans, British loyalists, Prohibition smugglers, and freed slaves: All have shaped Nassau’s deep-rooted past. Founded in 1670, the city teems with colonial architecture, limestone fortifications, and heritage rum distilleries—testaments to its role as capital of the former British crown colony. The Americans, the Spanish, even pirates—who declared their own republic here from 1706 to 1718—have all ruled the island from time to time. In 1788, the English built Fort Charlotte to protect the island from further invasions, and it still has a commanding vistas of the harbour, plus dungeons, cannons, and secret underwater passageways throughout the 100-acre stronghold. Another great photo op is the Queen’s Staircase, 66 steps carved into bedrock in 1794 and surrounded by silver-top palms and tropical vegetation.
ART OF THE PRESENT
Since independence in 1973, The Bahamas has expressed its modern identity in creative ways. The eclectic Doongalik Studios, set in a historic house set among lush gardens east of downtown Nassau, opened in the 1970s to showcase works by local artists. The studio cherishes its role as the island’s cultural hub, hosting book readings, open mic nights and a popular farmer’s market in its verdant courtyard. A more recent cultural renaissance can be attributed in part to the Bahamian mixed-media artist John Cox. The former chief curator of the country’s National Art Gallery, who has shown several times at Art Basel Miami Beach, is now spearheading The Current, Baha Mar’s own cultural center at Baha Mar. Its massive collection—more than 2,500 pieces—encompasses more than a century of Bahamian art, and a residency program invites visitors to watch artists in the midst of their creative process.
UNDER THE SEA
Some of the best sights in the archipelago are found just below the water’s surface—all you need is a mask and snorkel. The Bahamas is home to the third largest barrier reef in the world, which teems with thousands of colorful fish, including the endangered Nassau Grouper, scurrying sergeant majors, elegant eagle rays and, if you’re lucky, bashful octopi hiding between rocks. Scuba divers know Nassau as an access point for numerous top wreck sites—a ghostly reminder of the island’s historic importance to the shipping trade. And if you’re feeling brave, the infamous Shark Wall, home to numerous Caribbean Reef Sharks.
THE LOCAL FOOD
Queen conch was used as a staple by The Bahamas’ first inhabitants, the Lucayan Indians. Nowadays, the bountiful meat appears in local delicacies like conch fritters (best dipped in spicy sauce), hearty chowder, and the famous Bahamian twist on ceviche, conch salad. Sample the latter made-to-order at one of the many local haunts around the island, watching as the chefs toss the fresh-caught shellfish meat with juicy sour orange, farmer’s tomatoes and a hint of fiery scotch bonnet pepper. Pair it with a refreshing Sky Juice, an island favorite that blends fresh coconut water, a splash of condensed milk and a hefty pour of gin, topped with fresh nutmeg and served in a coconut shell.
ROSEWOOD BAHA MAR
The new Rosewood Baha Mar is the third and final resort to open at Baha Mar. Its 238 guest rooms, suites and villas deftly combine traditional Bahamian colonial architecture, like wrought-iron four post beds, with modern touches and contemporary artwork—not to mention breathtaking balcony views over the turquoise ocean. Sense Spa will promote wellness with island-inspired treatments. And at the aptly named Commonwealth restaurant, chefs blend local cuisine with flavors from across the British Empire, including the West Indies, Oceania and Canada.
Guests have unfettered access to the rest of Baha Mar as well. Stretching a half-mile along Cable Beach, the 1,000-acre complex is a destination unto itself, with dozens of bars and restaurants—including an outpost of Katsuya, a Philippe Starck-designed sushi spot from Master Chef Katsuya Uechi—luxury boutiques, nine tennis courts, a Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course, a sprawling spa, and eleven swimming pools. And fitting with the development’s commitment to preserving and promoting Bahamian culture, over 8,000 works of local artwork line the walls and dot the gardens.
Fort Charlotte: West Bay St.
Queen’s Staircase: Elisabeth Ave.
Doongalik Studios: 18 Village Rd. 242-394-1886
The Current: Baha Mar Blvd.; 242-788-8000