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The Lowdown | Harbour Island

Island Idylls Words by Christina Ohly Evans

Where The Bahamas

Quick Quote $900 per day

Best Season winter and spring

Thinking ofromance, relaxation, style

Why go now? For a completely relaxing vacation with no big brand hotels, golf courses or spas, look no further than this part of the Bahamas...

Located just 60 miles from Nassau and 200 miles off the coast of Florida, Harbour Island is a magical three-mile long escape full of pastel Colonial cottages and perfectly pristine, pink coral sand beaches. With a handful of stylish, bijoux hotels and restaurants offering Bahamian specialties ranging from fresh conch to grouper to the local sweet lobster, Harbour Island is the perfect place for those in search of quiet, beach-filled days and starry, laid-back nights.

Where to Stay

Set on the island’s 3-mile stretch of fine pink sand, The Dunmore features one-bedroom cottages and suites—each adjoining so that they work well for families. The rooms—with cheery names like Pink North and South—are beachy-chic with lots of rattan and the signature Dunmore color palette of white and orange. Standout amenities include a pool and sweet pavilion that look like something out of a Slim Aarons photograph circa 1960.

“Harbour Island is just small enough, just low key enough and ever so slightly hard to get to which means that the people you’ll encounter understand just how special the place is. Nothing is fancy, yet everything has a casual chic vibe - it’s an aesthete’s paradise!”

The Ocean View Club is a 12-room, midcentury-influenced enclave set on the pink sand beach. Each of the rooms features a slate plaque outside the door bearing the occupant’s name, and the feeling here is one of an intimate house party. The Landing, a 12-room boutique hotel set on a property that dates back to 1800, has a slightly Balinese/Colonial vibe with a destination-worthy restaurant. The pink sand beach is just a 5-minute walk away and the hotel has a lovely pool. The elegant rooms were designed by India Hicks. The Rock House is a white-washed, 10-room hotel with a hidden pool and cabanas that are suitable for guests 18 years and older. Each room is individually decorated and many have private adjacent cabana’s and some have private decks.

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Words by Christina Ohly Evans Harbour Island Editor

Christina Ohly Evans is a New York-based journalist and the US Correspondent for the Financial Times magazine, How to spend it where she covers travel, architecture, design and fashion. She is also a Contributor to Condé Nast Traveler and serves as Editor at Large for travel and design magazine, SURFACE.
Christina has lived between the UK and the US for the past 25 years, and currently resides with her husband and two teenagers on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Where to Eat

The Dunmore restaurant is the best bet for a leisurely lunch on the see-and-be-seen patio. Choose from farro and kale salads, grilled fish of the day, fish tacos and new twists on the classic Cobb salad.Queen Conch is an authentic, cheap spot for “cracked” fried conch as well as ceviche and conch chowder by the harbor front on Bay Street. Ask to sit by the back pool at The Rock House Restaurant and you're transported to Marrakech, complete with glass lanterns and little hidden nooks. Standouts include the seafood, conch, and the signature “hokey pokey” mochi ice cream dessert. Not for kids under 12. Davine wine store has long been the go-to for fine vintages, but this year has seen the addition of a delicious sushi restaurant by night. Choose from freshly caught tuna sashimi, black miso cod, and starters that are perfect for sharing.

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What to Do

Explore the island by golf cart; Snorkeling, diving, and deep sea fishing excursions are among the more popular offerings. An Expedition to the Glass Window, aka the nexus of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean where there's a small hole that allows some of the wash to pass through to the soft side especially at high tide also a magical nearby cave that forms a geyser whenever a particularly powerful wave crashes in. Shop at The Blue Rooster, a quaint blue and white island cottage dating from 1840, which is the place for fabulous caftans, jewelry, sandals and woven straw hats and purses and The Sugar Mill, India Hicks' emporium full of dresses, beachy beads, house presents, etc. is a study in muted chic colors.

Detour to Kamalame Cay

Just off Andros’ mainland, this 96-acre sanctuary has been owned by the Hew family for the past 23 years and is one of the best places on earth to truly relax and fully check out. This magical oasis is all about good food, a welcoming, inclusive vibe, and casual beach living—you need only pack a bathing suit and a sarong for leisurely lunches or tiki torch-lit nighttime celebrations. The 27 villas spread across the The Kamalame Cay Hotel are high-ceilinged and spacious, and all feature canopy beds with a West Indies vibe. These rooms are designed for rest and rejuvenation, so there are no televisions, but stereos, Nespresso machines, and golf carts are all complimentary amenities. Helpful staff will organize any outings from snorkeling and diving to fly fishing and sailing. 

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