As the old marketing saying goes, “It’s better in the Bahamas” even when it’s raining. Ok, I added that last bit because I arrived amidst two storms, one was the flurry of a Victoria’s Secret photo shoot (pipe down, I can see you getting all excited) and the other was an actual weather occurrence. It seems needless to say, but I shall say it anyway: the gorgeous pink sand beaches being caressed by the ebb and flow of the sandy-blue waters became muted by the storm that appeared to sit just offshore for hours, but its winds thrust gallons of water on onto the island while its menacing wall of darkness played a game of Ring Around the Rosie with the shoreline. All of this may sound like a horrible start to a perfectly planned trip to stay at Coral Sands Hotel in the heart of Harbour Island, it is not. My oceanfront cottage, Sea Breeze, gave me the perfect front row setting to watch this show. As the waves came roiling in, I could sit cozily on my verandah and sip champagne with an uninterrupted view. A slight shift of my gaze to my left and Beach Bar is playing host to the photo shoot crew because, well, what better time to meet over Bahamian cocktails like the Goombay Smash? Their Goombay Smash has an extra ingredient not found in others you may have imbibed. Not spilling that detail here, you’ll have to come visit and try one for yourself. With the three-mile long beach a little wetter than they might need for catalogue photos, they soldier on in anticipation of a break in the weather. Not many of the models are joining them as I think they must be up the hill in the newly renovated gym or poking around in the gift shop.
The “common areas” of this hotel are anything but common. The red billiard table is a solid exclamation mark amidst all the stark white walls and dark wood floors. In about ten minutes I plan on sauntering up to the main building to see if I can strike up a game with one of the guests. I haven’t played in years, but with yet another bar right behind the table, I can either swallow my pride with a great wine from the extensive list; I am leaning towards Chateauneuf-du-Pape Saint Comes, ’11 or shoot down some liquid courage before the first break with a jolt from something a little stronger and to the point. I’ll let you know how that turns out, or…Ok, ok, I went the wine route. It seemed more civilized and that’s the vibe of this hotel. Coral Sands oozes hip sophistication. I think it has no other choice than to be this juxtaposed mashup. Being over 300 years old can do that to a place. The hotel is only 60, with a total redux making it ever-so current, but Dunmore Town, where it sits, was once the capital of the Bahamas and has been described as an odd collision of New England coziness and the colorful Caribbean.The mix is intoxicating, from its colors, its people, scents and sounds. There is something very distinct about this piece of the Bahamas.
Predictable would be a word used for some other hotels, but everything about the hotel is a little better than expected and the only thing that one can predict is that planning ahead is sometimes (oftentimes) not going to work. Take for example the idea of a fresh catch of the day done daily. We are sat directly on the shores of some of the world’s best fishing. This is great in concept but when storms arise,such as the one today, there’s very little chance—if at all— that any local fisherman will go out to catch, and we all know how “predictable” the weather can be, and that’s just a smallexample and one reason the chef keeps the menu flowing. He works with what he can get the best and freshest ingredients. Coral Sands is prepared to wow every guest who walks through its black and white oversized-tile entrance in classic island style. That’s style is with a welcoming smile, genuine warmth, and Bahamian hospitality. Come see for yourself.
See you soon,