Experiencing nature at its purest is a luxury, or even more accurately, is luxury. Given the opportunity to go anywhere in the world on a dime would you choose the oppressing, bustling frantic city or opt to get off the grid and search for a place that brings peace and calm? For me, travel is about finding that sanctuary and coming home feeling better than I left. The Bahamas is a sanctuary that is so accessible for most of the US so with that comes its fair share of big, big hotels that feel more American than they do Bahamian. Nassau, being one of the most accessible islands to fly to directly, has a really unique little vacation history. Part of the island is taken over by Atlantis and the other part of the island, the West side, has always been a haven for the well traveled and well-to-do. It's in this area near Lyford Cay that the most interesting property, The Island House, is found.
I found myself at the property not even a day after my really intense trip to Hawaii and I wasn't sure how my mind and body would respond to another work trip back-to-back across the globe. Within minutes of my arrival I was greeted by the most beautiful, welcoming tub front and center in my room and I immediately felt a giant sigh of relief. It had been years since my last trip to Nassau and I was ready to see it with fresh eyes and a healthy perspective. Tourism is of course a big driving force on Nassau but The Island House is more of a mixture of locals coming to use the amazing wellness facilities and travelers looking to have a boutique luxury experience that feels welcoming and familiar. I fell in love with it the moment I stepped on property. It's the little things: hand-whipped homemade yogurt and granola at the chicest morning breakfast spread, honey made by what I imagine to be the happiest little island bees, zen-like interiors including the most amazing Patricia Urquiola Crinoline chairs.
Highbourne Cay & The Exumas
The next morning we boarded a Cessina at a private airport right around the corner from the property and hopped over to the gorgeous, jaw-dropping Exuma islands. I don't even think I can accurately put its beauty into words. We landed in Norman's Cay (an old tropical hideaway for Medellin) and boarded a boat out to the remote sandbar of my dreams. I fell so in love with it that I decided I wanted to have my wedding here. Right here. On this slither of sand surrounded by crystal clear water.
We then continued on boat, Radler's in hand, to Iguana Island and finally to Highbourne Cay. We had the whole day to explore the island and check out the private cottages that are sprinkled throughout. It was so peaceful and quiet and had little beach nooks everywhere just waiting to be explored. My personal favorite, however, was the outdoor gym that they built for their guests. Is this not gym goals?? Talk about workout motivation!
The water in the Exumas is prime for SUP and SUP yoga. It's calm, shallow, still and completely inspiring. Just the gentle sound of the these clear baby waves barely kissing the shore sent me into a state of bliss. The properties on Highbourne are owned by the same people who own the Island House so I strongly suggest basing in Nassau and taking a day or two out in the Exumas. It's quite literally the perfect itinerary.
Yoga & Anti-Gravity Yoga
Back on property I spent a majority of my time at the Bamford Spa (a completely organic company out of England. I particularly loved their shampoo!) and sampling the fitness offerings. It's one of the most impressive and beautiful facilities I've seen at a hotel property. The aerial yoga studio is so bright in clean with the signature Bahamian white with bright orange silks.
If that's not tempting enough they even have an outdoor TRX studio. Quite literally my sweat was wicked off by the Bahamas breeze and it was heaven. I did some pull ups and plank twists to wring out the jet lag and keep up with workouts while away. That's a biggie for me when I look for hotels. They have to be wellness-minded and this place totally gets it.
Healthy travel inspires me and I have such a passion for sharing these little hidden gems. Nothing makes me more excited than connecting with people from around the world who share a similar sensibility or can teach or show me something I didn't know. That's the value of good travel. There's so much to do and see in the Bahamas and being so close to the air strip it's a good gateway to explore. I love the mystery of it all: rumors of Atlantis, old drug cartel planes peeking out of the shallow water, nurse shark & pig swimming options. It's just magic!