At first sight from a few thousand feet up in the air, it’s hard to believe that a Bahamian beach waits below at Nandana. The resort, which comprises a cluster of pavilions built from teak And copper, looks more like a place plucked from the beaches of Bali Thailand. But make no mistake: the resort’s surrounding white-sand beaches and crystalline waters, rife with native fishsh and flora. are distinctly Bahamian, as is the hospitality guests enjoy once they arrive here.
Opened in 2009, Nandana occupies a serene stretch of oceanfront within a private gated community on the quiet West End of Grand Bahama Island. The resort accommodates up to 12 guests in three types of accommodations: Bangala, or Bungalow, Suites; master Pavilion Suites; and a tented Canopy Suite. The Bangala and Pavilion suites cluster around a large main pavilion and 120-foot infinity-edge pool Large bath- rooms with soaring ceilings are complete with indoor and outdoor showers (Pavilion Suites also have Jacuzzi tubs), and generously sized closets provide ample storage space for a vacation’s worth of wardrobe.
Making the most of its beachfront set- ting and offering guests what arguably is the best ocean view around, one of Nandana’s two master suites features floor-to-ceiling glass walls on two sides that retract fully, dissolving any type of barrier between inside and out. Across the length of the infinity-edge pool, another Pavilion Suite has a patio that has its own private plunge pool.
For what some might consider an even more romantic stay, guests can choose Nandana’s 2,000-square-foot tented Canopy Suite. The suite is outfitted with the same furnishings and amenities found in the guest pavilions, but its safari-like ambiance offers an altogether different exotic experience.
Although the architecture and ambience alone are worth a visit to Nandana-the property is a veritable treasure trove of Asian antiques and artifacts-wha t stands out most are the amenities and extras that come with it, starting with a private staff. Nandana, an exclusive-rental resort, employs a complete, full-time staff, who
are at guests’ beck and call most hours of the day. For us, that meant a steady supply of sophisticated snacks and homemade cocktails by the pool, as well as instant tips when it came time to explore the island.
Another amenity guests should take special care not to miss is Nandana’s 50- foot deep-sea-fishing yacht. We spent a sun-drenched morning aboard the boat under the expert tutelage of Nandana’s own boat captain. who helped us reel barracuda and other native fish aboard. Upon exceeding our quota of freshly caught fish, we set out for a nearby deserted island. where we were greeted by Nandana staff and treated to
a picnic on the beach. Here. like true pioneers. guests can snorkel and explore the uninhabited island. or simply laze in tepid. shallow surf-cocktails in hand, if they please. While visitors to the island can easily spot colorful starlight in its waters, it’s also a hotbed for harvesting conch; the mountains of discarded conch shells on its shores make for great photo ops.
Back on Grand Bahama, there are plenty of options for guests who prefer to explore on land, as well. Visitors can take the re- sort’s bicycles for a spin, or traverse more rugged terrain on a pair of ATVs. For more involved exploring, however, the best option is a drive in Nandana’s SUV. Nandana’s soft~spoken house manager, Vinay, played tour guide to our group for a day that included stops at various points around the island. Although guests can sample Grand Bahama’s more commercial offerings in touristy Port Lucaya, our favorite stop was the less-trafficked Port Lu cayan National Park. One of three national parks on the island, and purportedly the most popular, Lucayan national Park is also the only place on Grand Bahama where visitors can see all six of the island’s ecosystems in the same location. There, on a self-guided tour, we wound our way along a system of pathways, stopping along the way to spot mangroves, orchids, and other rare species. The highlight of our visit, however, was emerging from the park’s tree-shaded trails onto the vast and silent Gold Rock Beach. The beach is a truly beautiful sight to behold, particularly during low tide, when a bare and rippled sea Hoar is in full view.
Such adventures are sure to ignite an appetite. At Bishop’s Restaurant & Lounge on the island’s East End, patrons can sidle up to a sleepy beachfront bar for local beer and fried conch and fish dishes, not to mention conversation with friendly locals. But it’s back at Nandana where cuisine is at its best, thanks to its duo of chefs, who present carefully crafted menus using fresh, local ingredients. During our stay, we feasted on ceviches, tartars, and entrees made with lobster and the fish we caught earlier.
Upon departing from Nandana, after several days spent savoring the best of what Grand Bahama has to offer, the only thing we saw when looking back was paradise. $4,700-$12,000/night, nandanaresort.com.