I can’t believe I’ve never heard of this place before. The topic came up during a get-together with our friend, Tanya McCartney. She spoke about the upscale restaurants and the intimate movie theater at The Island House.
"You can buy your movie tickets online," she even said. I was intrigued. After visiting The Island House's website, my interest grew even more. Alan and I were there the following weekend.
I must say, it isn't what I would normally expect to find in #Nassau. It's contemporary, sophisticated, and zen all at once. I just wanted to luxuriate in the simple but elegant surroundings. I loved everything about it.
The well thought-out details and stunning interior proudly spoke of the collaboration by global architecture firm Hart Howerton and renowned interior designer Champalimaud. Every nook could easily be a page out of Architectural Digest. I was impressed.
This 30-room boutique hotel was built with the idea of creating a gathering place for both tourists and locals. The open layout, allowing ample natural light, helps achieve a welcoming attitude.
This fully Bahamian-owned property also features:
• Six rental apartments for long-staying guests
• Three dining options:
- Mahogany House (Mediterranean) - See my previous story
- Shima (Asian fusion)
- The Coffee Bar
• 48-seat cinema
Since wellness is also an important theme here, facilities include a lap pool, movement studio (gym with yoga, Pilates, and Barre classes), squash and padel courts, and a Bamford Spa. If I stayed here, I may never want to leave.
The owners, born and raised in The Bahamas, intended to provide their guests a luxurious yet authentic local experience, quite different from what you might find on the opposite end of the island. Majority of Nassau visitors are passengers from cruise ships that dock near Paradise Island, located on the other side of town. Hence, The Island House beckons with their slogan, "Discover this side of paradise."
To promote Bahamian culture and talent, all artwork found here is created by local artists. My favorite -- a striking cardboard cut-out -- hangs on a wall facing the lobby elevator. The showpiece was crafted by Junkanoo artist John Beadle.
On Thursday evenings, a local jazz band provides live entertainment. Sometimes band members include young aspiring musicians such as the gifted 12-year old trumpeter (recently accepted in Juilliard). On other evenings, another local band plays rake-and-scrape, also known as "The Music of The Bahamas," with goombay drums, accordion, and percussion produced by bending and scraping a handsaw.
Half-hidden among a grove of trees in Mahogany Hill, The Island House seemed to be the best-kept secret in town. Not anymore. Since opening in April 2015, it has grown staunch support from the local community and celebrities the world over. It has also captured the attention of the likes of Conde Nast and Travel Luxury Magazine.
Being there reminded me of the saying, "Home is not a place. It's a feeling." And that feeling lingered with me long after that first visit, luring me to return. After only two weeks, Alan and I were back there for date night.
The Island House is located in Mahogany Hill on Western Road (found on the west side of New Providence Island, The Bahamas.) Just outside the exclusive Lyford Cay Club, it is about a 10-minute drive from Lynden Pindling International Airport.