Set on eight kilometres (five miles) of pristine white sandy beach along the North Shore of the aptly named Paradise Island, the ultra-luxurious Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas is located within 14 hectare (35 acres) of verdant gardens and is comprised of 107 rooms, suites, plunge pool villas and villa residences. There are also five restaurants, lounges and bars including gourmet treats from the acclaimed chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Facing the Atlantic Ocean, facilities are numerous and include three pools – a lagoon style one with refreshing waterfall and aqua toys, perfect for families, an ocean pool ideal for soaking up the rays and the Versailles pool, which offers an elegant, adults-only sanctuary. There is also access to the nearby Atlantic Resort’s waterscape park which is ideal for children with a complimentary shuttle service available. For pampering and relaxation, there are eight award-winning Balinese-inspired spa villas, a Fitness Centre with Techno Gym equipment and dedicated rooms for stretching, Pilates and an outdoor free-weights platform. Other activities include yoga, jogging trails, biking and six tennis courts (three for night play). The Ocean Club Golf Course, with views of Nassau Harbour and the Atlantic, is a challenging yet scenic 18-hole, par 72 course designed by Tom Weiskopf. There is also an academy plus golf shop.
Other amenities include the Carlo Milano Boutique with designer collections from Céline, Chopard, Hublot, Prada, Tom Ford and Versace and a 12th century Augustinian Cloister and classical statuary set in beautifully maintained gardens.
From space, the Bahamas looks like one of the most beautiful places on Earth, so it is no wonder that astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin is said to have holidayed on Paradise Island on his return from the Moon in 1969.
A ribbon of white sand and azure sea defines the north shore of Paradise Island where The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, is located. One of the world’s most beautiful natural beaches, Paradise Island is connected to the main island, New Providence, and the capital, Nassau, by two bridges.
Enjoy horse-drawn carriage ride tours of the old city, visit the Pompey Museum, Junkanoo Museum and dozens of Bahamian art galleries. With duty free shopping, restaurants and casino gaming, Nassau and Paradise Island offer a wide range of holiday diversions. Downtown Nassau is around 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) away on the mainland.
The resort is around 40 minutes’ transfer ride from Lynden Pindling International Airport, a distance of around 19 kilometres (12 miles).
A warm and genuine welcome greets guests as they arrive at The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas. An intriguing mix of old school charm, glamour and modern contemporary features, the resort offers 90 guest rooms, 12 suites, three plunge pool villas and two villa residences, all set within the 14-hectares, bordered by a glorious white sand beach in low rise buildings.
The original Hartford Wing houses the Garden View and Ocean View Rooms and is built around a beautiful courtyard. The Oceanfront Rooms and Suites are housed in the Crescent Wing with the Villa Residences situated just above the beach with private infinity pools. The two-bedroom Plunge Pool Villas can be found within the gardens and feature a beach-house vibe and large private courtyards with plunge pools.
The Garden View Room in the Hartford Wing offers a bright, airy space with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors with either an outdoor terrace or a balcony overlooking lush greenery and exotic blooms. Large enough for a seating and dining area, these rooms are decorated in a fresh contemporary style with vibrant Bahamian colours with en-suite marble bathrooms, twin vanities, an oversized oval soaking tub and a separate rain shower. These rooms are the closest to the lobby, restaurants and pools, connected to the Hartford Courtyard. The Ocean View Rooms feature sea views from the room’s private terrace with interiors designed by Jeffrey Beers whilst the Ocean View one-bedroom suites are twice the size and can easily accommodate two adults and two children or three adults. The two-bedroom version can accommodate up to six adults or six adults and two children with indoor/outdoor living on two adjoining terraces.
The slightly larger Luxury Ocean Front rooms and suites in the Crescent Wing offer direct views out over the Atlantic Ocean from private terraces or balconies and are designed with a retro style that captures both the island’s spirit whilst recalling the resort’s history. There are mahogany furnishings, hardwood floors and colourful tropical flourishes with louvered doors leading outside. Walk out to one of the many hammocks for a relaxing morning overlooking that pristine beach.
The gorgeous two-bedroom Plunge Pool Villas are nestled within the tropical gardens and make for a perfect private retreat in the style of a contemporary beach house. The open plan dining and living area is light and bright with French doors opening out to lush gardens in an enclosed courtyard with a plunge pool. These villas come with a personal attendant who can be hailed via Four Seasons Chat to ensure you have everything you need.
The three-bedroom and four-bedroom beachfront Villa Residences enjoy private infinity pools, fully equipped kitchens and direct beach access, with privacy offered with a breathtaking setting overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. With vaulted ceilings, rich woods and polished marble floors, the Villa Residences enjoy the services of a 24-hour service team. The gated garden courtyards feature jetted tubs, infinity oceanfront pools and patio dining. Residence guests enjoy the services of a dedicated in villa residence team, enjoy canapés every evening, have a butler driven golf cart, enjoy Dom Pérignon Champagne, cheese and fruit on arrival and preferred seating times at the resort restaurants. They also enjoy complimentary airport transfers in a luxury SUV.
The eight kilometres of pristine pure white sandy beach along the north shore of Paradise Island with views out over the Atlantic Ocean can be totally mesmerising and offers that “James Bond” moment. For those who prefer to relax poolside however, there are three available: a lagoon style with refreshing waterfall perfect for families, the 38 metre (125-foot) ocean pool ideal for soaking up the sun and the Versailles pool offering an elegant, adults-only sanctuary set within lush, tropical gardens.
For fitness fanatics, the Fitness Centre offers Technogym Kinesis machines, dedicated rooms for stretching and Pilates and an outdoor free-weights platform. There is complimentary yoga, jogging trails and biking available. For tennis fans, there are six tennis courts (three primed for the cooler night play) plus a tennis pro to put you through your paces.
For golfers, the Ocean Club Golf Course offers views of the Atlantic Ocean and Nassau Harbour and an 18-hole, par 72 course which is both challenging and scenic. Designed by Tom Weiskopf, the golf course stretches over 6,492 metres / 7,100 yards on Paradise Island’s peninsula. There is also an academy for instruction and a golf shop.
Spa aficionados will enjoy the serenity of the eight of the Balinese-inspired spa villas, each featuring teak massage tables, cascading waterfall showers, day beds and jetted tubs in private open-air gardens, reached via a pathway of lush, verdant grounds. There is a wide range of Asian-inspired spa treatments and massages and a full-service Beauty Centre too.
Many guests simply enjoy walking or sitting in the Versailles Terraced Gardens. This stunning stepped garden features a personally curated collection of stone and bronze statues and a 12th century Augustinian Cloister.
Families are welcomed with open arms with the Kids for all Seasons programme in a complimentary children’s club welcoming guests aged four to twelve. A team of fully certified counsellors stand ready to entertain and educate with a range of activities from arts and crafts and high-tech games to exploring a marine habitat.
Offsite activities are easily arranged and include diving and snorkelling the spectacular reefs of the Great Bahamas Bank, luxury yacht charters and deep-sea fishing. There is also access to the nearby Atlantic Resort’s waterscape park which is ideal for children as well as their shopping and entertainment.
When you realise that this is where Daniel Craig took his famous swim in the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale, you can’t help but look at the Resort through “007 glasses” – a martini, shaken not stirred in the bar whilst playing poker, relaxing in elegant accommodation with champagne on tap and beautiful people weaving around you at the resort.
It seems hard to believe but it started life as the private estate of a Swedish industrialist back in 1939 and its creation is down to the vision of two men.
Axel Wenner-Gren, then one of the world’s wealthiest men, was sailing his yacht through the Caribbean when he discovered this slender island of white sand which he learnt the locals called Hog Island. Captivated by its beauty, over the next two decades, he transformed this tropical paradise into a magnificent estate, featuring meticulous gardens inspired by the Palace of Versailles, France.
Huntington Hartford II, the A&P supermarket heir, arrived in 1959 and bought Hog Island from Wenner-Gren and renamed the destination as Paradise Island. He hired Palm Beach architect, John Volk to design the original Ocean Club, a luxurious 52-room hotel, along with an 18-hole. The original hotel is now known as the Hartford Wing.
It opened in 1962 and was an instant hit with celebrities and generations of A-listers. The opening party featured Zsa Zsa Gabor, Benny Goodman, Burl Ives, William Randolph Hearst and a host of dignitaries. Hartford invested significantly in the Ocean Club, embellishing the property with terraced gardens, pools, fountains and marble statuary. He also acquired and installed the Cloisters, the remains of a 12th century French Augustinian monastery originally purchased by Hearst in the 1920s and long stored in a Florida warehouse.
So, if you want to walk in James Bond’s footsteps, arrive by waterplane, book the Ocean Club sea-view Villa Residence, hire (or even win) an Aston Martin DB5 and take it from there.
There are five restaurants, lounges and bars including gourmet treats from the acclaimed chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Michelin starred chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves up an imaginative blend of French-Asian cuisine with a seafood twist and a dash of Bahamian spice in the main restaurant, Dune, set atop a white sand bluff. On Sundays, enjoy a lavish Sunday Brunch in this beach-perfect restaurant with vaulted ceilings and ocean front views. For families and friends, there is the Dune Backroom accommodating up to 40 guests in a private room whilst the Dune Terrace is perfect for intimate celebrations for up to 20 friends or family members. The adjoining Dune Bar serves Bahamian cocktails and signature drinks alongside a menu of light and casual cuisine.
The Ocean Restaurant meanwhile is open during the day for fresh grilled fare overlooking the beach in a casual poolside setting whilst the Versailles Terrace overlooks the adults-only pool in the gardens with a menu of “French meets the Mediterranean” dishes.
For James Bond aficionados, however, sip the signature Vesper Martini at the Martini Bar and Lounge or try one of the many other offerings from master mixologist Keith Cash who has been shaking it up at the property for more than three decades.
The Bahamas and indeed The Four Seasons has a plethora of sustainability initiatives. These include, non-plastic straws used in all outlets, reusable/recyclable coasters used in all outlets, working with sustainability-focused vendors, locally sourced food, food waste collected delivered to a company that uses bacteria process to generate electricity, plastic-free coffee capsules, recycled regularly, leftover soaps and shampoos donated to Clean the World organisation, 80% of the property is fitted with LED lighting, Motion Sensing Lighting is installed in all back-of-the-house areas and offices, automated energy efficient programming is in place for all guest room lighting and recycling – cardboard, paper, plastics, glass, aluminium, cooking oil, shampoo and soaps. The property ensures that its stretch of the beach is maintained and the wildlife is preserved.
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James Bond photography: UNITED ARTISTS/COLUMBIA PICTURES
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