Service at the restaurants and bars (and beach) can be lethargic
Those looking for true peace and quiet should expect to hear jet skis, and often
There’s nothing quite like The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, on Paradise Island, or anywhere in the Bahamas for that matter. The 105 rooms and suites are incredibly luxurious, with features like flat-screen satellite TVs, iHomes, free beach accessories, private balconies or patios, and massive modern bathrooms with separate walk-in steam showers and soaking tubs. Expansive manicured grounds have three outdoor pools (including a beachfront infinity pool), a romantic garden and statuary modeled after Versailles, and the pristine white-sand beach. Health and wellness nuts are spoilt for choice with free yoga classes led on an oceanfront deck, an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, an indoor/outdoor fitness center, a Balinese-style spa with private villas, a running trail, and free bike rentals. After a day in the sun, guests return to free Champagne and strawberries, and many begin their evening with sunset drinks at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Dune restaurant (the celebrity chef's first Caribbean venue). Guests have access to the amenities at the Atlantis, but the advantage of being removed from the crowds.
This sophisticated resort became One&Only Ocean Club in 2002, followed by The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort in 2017, but its history goes further back. Huntington Hartford II (the late A&P heir, and the man responsible for changing the island's name from Hog Island to Paradise Island) bought the property in 1962 to create a 52-room hotel and golf course -- Ocean Club. The swanky property attracted members of royalty, and notable names like Zsa Zsa Gabor and William Randolph Hearst. Mr. Huntington is also the man behind the extraordinary Versailles-inspired garden; he even imported marble statues from Europe, including a 12th-century cloister, which had to be taken apart and shipped from France.
It has evolved into modern-day luxury oasis, though certain areas of the property retain a traditional style -- a quiet reminder of days past and the old money that came with it. The hotel successfully blends these classic influences with modern, sophisticated decor; it's not surprising that the opening scenes of Casino Royale where shot here (James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, stayed here for a romantic interlude). This fun movie fact is a point of pride for Paradise Island.
Upon arrival, guests will pass through a well-guarded security gate before reaching a circular driveway for valet parking. Porters welcome guests and lead them towards the doors of the plantation-style home that serves as the lobby. Check-in takes place while sitting down with one of the receptionists. Modern art adds to a cheerful ambiance, and a seating area with books and a grand piano overlooks the ocean. The Library Lounge serves free coffee and tea in the mornings, and in the afternoons, guests stop in for wine, cocktails, and snacks.
From here, guests will walk to their room in either direction -- the Crescent and Hartford wings sit on either side of this hub (the Crescent Wing in five two-story buildings, and the Hartford Wing in a single building with an interior courtyard). With only 105 rooms, the property never feels crowded, and guests will find plenty of space at the beach, the three pools, and the golf course. There's definitely an elegant, moneyed air, but it's not a super-exclusive environment -- partly because the ocean-facing Dune restaurant and bar is open to the public and Atlantis guests.
Close to, but hidden away from, the Atlantis on Paradise Island
Paradise Island's Ocean Club is accessed via gated driveway. To get here, guests arrive from the airport either by private car hire, rental car, or taxi. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes depending on time of day (traffic can get bad through downtown Nassau) and it costs a $1 to cross the bridge to this side. The Atlantis is in clear view while crossing this bridge, but The Ocean Club is hidden away on the less crowded area of beach, though jet skis can still be heard in the distance. Cabbage Beach is open to the public, but rarely does anyone not staying at the resort make it down this far, which means it is easy to find seclusion on the white sand.
Golfers have quick access to the 18-hole golf course next to the property. There's also a free and regular shuttle service that delivers guests to the main areas of Atlantis for the casino, Aquaventure, and dining options. It's also not that far of a walk to get to Marina Village.
Super-luxe, colonial-inspired rooms in a range of sizes with modern amenities
The resort's current inventory of 105 rooms and suites are spread out over expansive grounds. The Crescent Wing Rooms are housed in five two-story buildings, and each has a balcony that faces the ocean. They have contemporary decor and spacious marble bathrooms with big jetted tubs and walk-in steam showers. Beachfront Suites have a separate living/dining room.
The Hartford Wing is a single two-story, plantation-style building with an interior courtyard, located right next to the lobby. This is the original Ocean Club from 1962, but after a 2015 renovation, Hartford Wing Rooms are even more modern than their Crescent Wing counterparts, even though the Crescent Wing buildings are newer. Hartford Wing offers Ocean and Garden View Rooms, as well as two- and three-bedroom ocean-facing suites.
All rooms have flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, iHomes, and gourmet minibars. Upon arrival, guests receive a welcome drink and fruit selection, and every afternoon, there's a daily turndown service with Champagne and strawberries. Other amenities included in the price are hotel-branded beach bags, caps, and golf shirts; newspaper delivery; and transportation to Atlantis and the golf course.
For those with serious cash to spend, the hotel also offers two-bedroom garden cottages with private courtyards and plunge pools, as well as spectacular three- and four-bedroom villas, freestanding homes overlooking the ocean.
Many included activities help balance the pricey dining options
There are three outdoor pools: one within the beautiful Versailles-inspired gardens (ages 14 and older), a family-friendly pool with a small snack bar, and an infinity pool, built in 2015, overlooking the ocean. The seemingly endless stretch of Cabbage Beach is easy to access from the resort. It is open to the public, but only guests are allowed to use the cushioned lounge chairs. Drinks and lunch service is available, though there are reports of long wait times. The Balinese-style spa has eight treatment villas with teak massage tables. Each villa has a private garden area with outdoor jetted tubs and day beds where guests can sip Japanese tea and relax.
Active people will find plenty to do here. There are six Har-Tru tennis courts available for day and night use (with floodlights). The courts are free to use, and the hotel provides racquets for no charge. Private tennis lessons are available for a fee. The fitness center is next to the main pool, and has and indoor and outdoor sections and rooms for stretching and Pilates, cardio, and circuit training. Free yoga classes are held on a yoga deck that overlooks the ocean; private sessions are available for a fee. Free bicycle rentals are available, as well.
Golfers do not have to travel far to get to the adjacent 18-hole championship golf course (the hotel provides free SUV rides to and from the course). Designed by Tom Weiskopf, the course is located on a peninsula with great views of the ocean. There's a pro shop on-site. A free and regular shuttle to Atlantis delivers guests to key areas of the resort for use of the casino, shops, restaurants, and bars. Families with kids can take advantage of Aquaventure highlights and the marine habitats, as well.
Dune, from celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, serves a French-Asian menu in a space with an open kitchen
Free bottled water, coffee, arrival fruit, and Champagne and strawberries delivered to the rooms daily may help assuage the high prices of The Ocean Club's quality food and beverage options. The most notable restaurant is Dune by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten (his first restaurant venture in the Caribbean) which has an open kitchen, an exquisite French-Asian menu that incorporates Caribbean ingredients and herbs from the resort's organic garden, and sensational views of the ocean. There is a bright and spacious sunset-facing bar, and indoor and outdoor dining areas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ocean Grill opened alongside the oceanfront infinity pool in 2015. Ocean Grill offers light bites, like guacamole and conch ceviche, as well as tacos, grilled mains, and sweet treats. The Pool Terrace Cafe is next to the main pool. It opens for drinks during the day (expect a large rum selection) into the early evening, and there are tables for lunch service. The Library Lounge is in the lobby and offers afternoon tea, cocktails and views of the sea. The Clubhouse is a part of the golf course and serves breakfast, lunch and drinks both indoors and outdoors.
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