A colonial escape with a stunning shoreline
86 Rooms / 19 Suites
Editor's Note: One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas is closed for repairs after hurricane damage. The hotel will reopen in February 2017.
Not only is One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas a vacation hideaway for the stars, it’s also the kind of place where they go for work. When Casino Royale director Martin Campbell needed an ultra-lush backdrop for the 21st installment in the James Bond movie franchise, guess where he and actor Daniel Craig went? Some eight years later, when the ABC political drama Scandal wanted an island paradise to serve as an escape from Capitol Hill for the fall 2014 premiere, have a clue as to where it sent actress Kerry Washington? But for every A-lister and camera crew prancing about the breezy former private estate, there’s also a fitted-cap-wearing Mark Wahlberg walking about the premises in relative obscurity. It’s obviously a fitting place for celebrities, but it’s one folks without a Hollywood agent will feel at home in as well. From 1,100-square-foot suites oozing in waterfront luxury to elegant dining options and spa services with treatments from around the globe, One&Only rolls out the red carpet — okay, so it’s more like a tropical rose pink — for every guest.
As a go-to destination for vacationing celebrities, the luxury hotel has a few different styles of rooms from which guests can choose. On one side of the 36-acre property is five two-story buildings that make up the Crescent Wing, a collection of rooms that emit an air of contemporary cool through mahogany floors, intricate crown molding and sliding wood doors that open onto a patio or balcony. Bathrooms center around mosaic-tiled Roman tubs. On the other end of the 105-unit resort is the Hartford Wing, a two-story building of rooms, suites and villas. Exuding more of a colonial chicness, this side provides many of the same amenities and similarly stunning looks onto the water — in between the swaying trees and hammocks, of course. Should you need more space than the 800-plus feet that the garden and ocean-view suites allow, two-bedroom cottages and three- and four-bedroom villas offer the room and refinement (carved furnishings, plunge pool, etc.) to warrant the upgrade.
Nassau may be more than 11,000 miles from Bali, but a visit to One&Only Spa somehow transports you to a secluded spot in Seminyak thanks to graveled pathways in mood-setting outdoor gardens that lead to eight treatment rooms filled with detailed wooden cabinetry, soft natural tones and Asian art. Not just influenced by the East in its décor, the spa borrows from distant practices with services such as the Balinese massage and the Elemis Oxygen SkinCalm Facial, which uses a restoring Japanese silk mask as one of its key components. The cooling, hydrating Skin Smoothie Facial has a more Caribbean feel, but its result is the same as it is with the 50-plus other services on the menu — it sends you to a stress-free world.
With a host of dining venues just outside of the Bahamas hotel’s walls, it’s incumbent of the hotel’s culinary team to offer as many scrumptious culinary choices as possible to keep you close. A lesser chef might quiver at the challenge, but when you’re celebrity toque Jean-Georges Vongerichten, you chuckle at the task. The French-Asian menu (with a Bahamian twist) at the open-air Dune works for visitors with hunger pangs in the morning (Gruyère omelet with mixed greens and herb-roasted potatoes), lunchtime cravings by the beach (Nassau grouper sandwich) or their sights set on a romantic dinner (New York strip with gingered mushrooms and soy-caramel emulsion) under the stars. When a change of scenery is in order, One&Only gives another romantic option, Courtyard Terrace, an eatery that wows with its reflecting pool, flickering candles and palm trees, and pleases with a menu stocked with watermelon and feta salad, rack of lamb and other Mediterranean-flavored selections.
Personal butlers and champagne deliveries might give the property a buttoned-up feel, but underneath those starched polo shirts is a resort just itching to show its fun, creative side. In the lobby, for instance, you’ll find gorgeous art from Jane Waterous hanging about the area. But these eye-catchers aren’t only to be admired from afar; business cards underneath the pieces give the work’s title, its medium and artist contact information, while, at the same time, sparking further conversation.
Kids won’t much care about the colorful acrylics, but they will certainly like the family-friendly pool just next to the tennis courts. Their parents will appreciate the picturesque Versailles Garden, adults-only pool and just-opened resort wear boutique, NEO. And everyone in the group will love the fact that One&Only guests have access to many of nearby Atlantis Paradise Island’s facilities, including the impressive Aquaventure waterpark and 40 restaurants and bars.