NASSAU, Bahamas — Mar. 27, 2006 — The Bahamas' best kept secret is "Out" and developers are looking to the untouched beach shores aligned by the most impossibly cobalt-blue and turquoise waters that make up the Out Islands. With managed growth ranging from luxury casinos to Audubon recognized developments, these unspoiled islands in The Bahamas are undergoing a hopping renaissance while still maintaining serene beauty.
Hot on the scene since opening in 2005, The Abaco Club on Winding Bay, a 520-acre, private members' golf club & retreat, now welcomes first time guests to stay in one of their twenty new luxurious cabanas. The 650-square foot, octagonal designed rooms are dotted along the club's authentic Scottish Links course and near the club's two-mile pristine powder sand cove. Nestled among tropical landscaping, each cabana affords privacy and features a thatched deck with outdoor sitting area and a hammock. Visit www.theabacoclub.com or call (888) 303-2765.
With more than six miles of unspoiled shoreline, Discovery Land Company's latest breathtaking property, Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club — located on the extreme northern end of Great Guana Cay, Abaco — will include a golf course, private deep-water marina, world-class spa, expansive beach club and various residential opportunities including beachfront home sites and marina villas. Across 585 picture-perfect acres, Baker's Bay is currently offering 244 custom home sites and 115 high-end single-family developer's residences. In 2008, the exquisite 18-hole golf course designed by Tom Fazio will premiere. Fazio and his associates, who have designed several golf courses for Discovery, are currently routing the course to maximize ocean views: eight holes play in and around the ocean; three on the Sea of Abaco side; and five on the Atlantic. Amenities and infrastructure at Baker's Bay will be in place in 2007. Visit www.discoverylandco.com or call (415) 676-5800.
The first over-water spa in The Islands Of The Bahamas opened early 2006 at Kamalame Cay, a 19-room, 96-acre private island escape just off Andros. The two-story building situated at the end of the new 200-foot Kamalame Pier allows spa-goers to float in any of the five airy treatment rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows open to the views and the soothing sounds of the lapping waves below. Custom spa packages include champagne lunches on the spa's veranda where yoga sessions are held. The range of restorative programs includes massage, body and facial treatments. Also new to Kamalame Cay, diving enthusiasts can experience a new, fully equipped PADI dive center. Visit www.kamalame.com or call (242) 368-6281.
The Conrad Bimini Bay Resort and Casino, the first luxury hotel development for the small, popular fishing island of Bimini — located 50 miles off the east coast of Florida — is also Conrad Hotels' first venture in the Caribbean. The 250-room hotel, spa and casino resort will be part of a new seaside village on North Bimini. The property will be completed in 2008 with subsequent phases of construction including: an 18-hole Robert Trent Jones, Jr. golf course, 1,590 residential units spread over 700 acres, 500 marina berths; and five miles of white sand beaches. Visit www.conradhotels.com or call (305) 774-4534.
Once a prized and private hideaway for the rich and famous, Eleuthera is attracting the most new developments to its unspoiled beaches. Pineapple Fields, formerly the site of the famous and exclusive Potlatch club, sits on a lush 80-acre property with 1,000 feet of beach front located just minutes from the town of Governor's Harbour and the international airport in central Eleuthera. In 2004, construction began on a 32-unit condo/hotel named The Club at Pineapple Field. Thus far, 12 units have been completed and are available to rent. The development will continue to grow with future plans including a spa with surrounding cottages and single family homes on select estate lots. An additional 32-unit condo/hotel will be based on a turn-of-the-century share cropper's cottage which would have been found on the thousands of acres of pineapple fields once adorning Eleuthera.
Pineapple Fields' popular restaurant Tippy's was recently joined by a second restaurant on property, a gourmet deli serving fine meats and cheeses and fresh bread. In the beginning of 2007, a cooking school will open where guests can spend two hours with Chef Massimo Bertela learning the tricks of the trade and then complete their culinary education by preparing a lunch for their families at the end of the week. Chef Bertela spent ten years working in several famous Caribbean restaurants before landing at Tippy's. In Antigua, he co-opened the successful French bakery, patisserie and deli "La Baguette" and served as executive chef for the opening of The Blue Waters Hotel, where he created wine tasting dinners for Banfi, Antinori and Rothschild wineries. Visit www.pineapplefields.com or call (877) 677-9539.
Located a stones throw away from the Rock Sound International Airport, Cotton Bay Estates and Villas will consist of two and three bedroom villas, 114 estate lots, and a breathtaking 26,000 square foot clubhouse. Completion of the 73 guestroom resort is scheduled for December 2007. Future phases of development include an 18-hole championship golf course, wellness center/spa, additional real estate offerings and expansion of the marina. Currently part of the Audubon International Signature program, which acknowledges environmentally-friendly developments, Cotton Bay Villas will be home to a plant nursery and an on-site horticulturist dedicated to nurturing the property, as well as saving trees and other foliage from cleared land for replanting throughout the development. Cotton Bay Estates and Villas is a member of Starwood's exclusive Luxury Collection. Visit www.cottonbayeleuthera.com or call (242) 334-2826.
Construction begins this month on French Leave Resort, which will includes a luxury resort, condos, villas, and marina and spa facilities. Located at the former Club Med site, the exclusive resort community blends distinctive architecture and breathtaking landscape, stretching from the world-class pink sand beach on the Atlantic side of the island to the rolling hills and spectacular vistas of Governor's Harbour. Visit www.frenchleaveresort.com or call (305) 444-2165.
Additional island buzz talks of the world's first luxury sea floor resort complex in Eleuthera, the Poseidon Undersea Resort. Architecture plans call for transparent acrylic on 60 percent of the exterior surface of each suite, allowing for brilliant, panoramic sea life views. Visit www.poseidonresorts.com or call (208) 687-9057.
The opening of The Club and Marina at Emerald Bay, an exclusive member only club, creates a new drop-off and pick-up for Bahamas charters providing the modern conveniences essential to the yachting community and a gathering place for yachtsman, sports fisherman and social members. Only 10 miles from the international airport, this state-of-the-art, deep water facility boasts 150 yacht slips with accommodations for vessels up to 175 feet, a dry storage area, provisions store, crew area and high speed fueling dock. While The Marina at Emerald Bay welcomes the public for charter yachts, dining and transient dockage; the ultimate experience is exclusively for those with a Club membership. The Club at Emerald Bay plans to be the social center for member events, lobster fests, yacht festivals, regattas and special occasions. For a private escape, The Cabana Spa and Fitness Center provides a tropical oasis to rejuvenate the soul. The grand opening of the casino is scheduled for May 2006. Visit www.theclubatemeraldbay.com or call (561) 393-7181.
New Airport News
Continental Connection now offers new nonstop daily service from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Bimini. Last year, Continental Connection added nonstop service (four times a week) from Fort Lauderdale to Andros Town, Andros (ASD).
Bahamasair, the national flag carrier of The Bahamas, is offering new direct service to Marsh Harbour, Abaco (MHH) from Fort Lauderdale two days a week. Travelers take advantage of connecting service to the Out Islands at one low fare through a new agreement between US Airways and Bahamasair.
South Andros Island now has non-stop scheduled service from Fort Lauderdale to Congotown (TZN) via Lynx Air International. Twice weekly service launched on February 2006 with a 2:30 p.m. departure on Wednesdays and an 11:30 a.m. departure on Saturdays. Lynx Air International also commenced flights to North Eleuthera (ELH) and Treasure Cay, Abaco (TCB) in February. The service to ELH operates four times per week with Thursday and Sunday departures from FLL at 1:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday departures at 12:30 p.m. Service to TCB from FLL offers departures at 3 p.m., returning at 4:40 p.m. Fridays through Sundays and a 1:30 p.m. departure, returning at 3:10 p.m. Saturdays.
The 700 islands and 2500 cays of The Islands Of The Bahamas lie just off the coast of familiar. Declared one of the hottest destinations in the world by CondÃ© Nast Traveler, The Bahamas attract visitors with world-class diving and fishing, impossibly beautiful water, miles of picture perfect beaches and the island life from the non-stop excitement and entertainment of Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island to the laid-back lifestyle of the Out Islands. For more information on, travel packages, activities and accommodations throughout The Islands Of The Bahamas visit www.bahamas.com.