Voyage to the Bahamas, and just east of Nassau you’ll discover a gem floating in the diamond-bright Caribbean Sea: the island of Eleuthera. A haven of pink sand beaches, rocky cliffs, protected reefs, and pineapple fields, this sand-swept hideaway is one of the Bahamas’ best-kept secrets. The lesser-known neighbour of Harbour Island, Eleuthera is sparsely dotted with boutique hotels, family-owned restaurants, and locals who just love to tell you about their island. Named for the Greek word eleutheros which means “free”, this is where you go for a true escape, where the simple luxuries—time, rest, and the majesty of Mother Nature—are more than enough.
Eleuthera is so quiet, it’s no wonder jet-setters, celebrities, and the world’s elite come here to hideout when they need a break. On this island, the presence of luxury is palpable, but unexpected. Devoid of any major nightclubs, 24-hour grocery stores, famous restaurants, or even a major airport, the island of Eleuthera is, at its core, a sleepy town. That’s far from a negative trait—in fact, it’s the island’s biggest draw.
“Guests escape to Eleuthera so they can really just get away and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life,” said Jahmed Mills, general manager of French Leave Resort, one of Eleuthera’s two luxury hotels. “They often are looking for a relaxing, peaceful, and quiet atmosphere and we definitely have a location that fits the bill.”
Nestled amid pineapple fields, both The Cove, Eleuthera and French Leave Resort give elite travellers everything they’re looking for. The first of the two is a $33-million U.S. ($42-million Canadian) gated oasis with 57 seafront suites, cottages, and villas. Known for its beauty and privacy, it has a hilltop infinity pool, an open-air cliffside bar, two private beaches, a spa, the elegant and sustainable Freedom Restaurant & Sushi Bar, and endless views of the sparkling Caribbean Sea. Part of the Enchantment Group, this hidden treasure has hosted Justin Bieber, and to keep up with its roster of elite clientele, has a list of amenities that never stops growing. Most recently, it’s added a Hammock Happy Hour, where guests can call a butler and order appetizers and tropical cocktails right to—yes—their hammock.
The island of Eleuthera is, at its core, a sleepy town. That’s far from a negative trait—in fact, it’s the island’s biggest draw.
The French Leave Resort, the only Marriott Autograph Collection hotel on Eleuthera and one of only three in the whole Caribbean, boasts the only true seafront cottages in Governor’s Harbour, the capital of Eleuthera, since the late 1940s. Spread across 270 acres of unspoiled Cupid’s Cay, this Shaner Hotels resort opened offering 12 cottages, one of the highest-rated restaurants on Eleuthera—1648 An Island Restaurant—an oceanfront infinity pool, any watersport you could crave, and a mega-yacht marina. The resort’s private, pink sand French Leave Beach has a dedicated beach concierge to facilitate food and drink service. Every guest is assigned their own golf cart for transport, and the property will add eight more cottages and a spa by early 2018.
“Guests are very comfortable in our high-end, chic cottages with luxe amenities, bedding, and design, and spacious relaxation areas. Our oceanfront one- and two-bedroom villas are even equipped with full kitchens and washer/dryers, great for longer stays,” says Mills. “A nice luxurious feature we include in each villa is an iPad that can arrange everything, like in-room dining, pillows, poolside and beachside dining and drinks, wake-up calls, picnic lunches packed in a golf cart, and even reservations for recreational equipment. ”
Leave the hotel properties, and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the simple luxuries of the island life. With warm weather all year round, Eleuthera is filled with beaches. It is one of the top Caribbean destinations for offshore sport fishing, bonefishing, diving, windsurfing, kayaking, surfing, and sailing. Want something on land? Take a historic tour of its pastel-hued New England architecture dating back to the 1700s, go horseback riding, or hop on a 15-minute ferry to Eleuthera’s neighboring Harbour Island, where colourful spa hotels, restaurants, and more beaches abound. Of course, Eleuthera, itself, is a natural phenomenon. It’s bordered by the deep-blue Atlantic Ocean on one side and the sparkling teal Caribbean Sea on the other, and under the rock formations of Glass Window Bridge, the two intersect. Local outfit Fishbone Tours will take guests on personal fishing and snorkeling tours, and every Friday night, there’s an island-wide fish fry with live music, dancing, bonfires—even the locals will come out to have a good time. When you’re hungry, go to a restaurant like Sip Sip, the Landing, or even the Garden Terrace at Pink Sands, all of which serve fresh sea-to-table fare.
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