Photo by Graycliff Hotel, Restaurant, and Cigar Company
Graycliff Hotel, Restaurant, and Cigar Company
As its official name suggests, the 20-room Graycliff is much more than a hotel. In fact, if everything were fitted in, it would be the Graycliff Hotel, Restaurant, Cigar Company, Culinary Academy, Coffee Producer, Chocolatier, and Seller of Signature Timepieces. At its heart, though, this historic landmark is a well-cared-for former mansion whose stories go back to the days when its first owner, a pirate, flew the Skull & Crossbones. And out beyond where the classes and tastings are held, out beyond the critically acclaimed restaurant and wine cellar, are grounds as blissful as any in Nassau. Most of the rooms have an Old World, period-piece decor, but with all the modern conveniences. And while the hotel is right in town, just across from the pink-and-white residence of the Bahamian Governor General, it has arranged complimentary beach access at Blue Lagoon Island, one of Nassau’s most popular visitor attractions.
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The area around West Hill Street has seen better days. But the Graycliff’s owners are trying to change that with the creation of a revitalized pedestrian-only area known as Heritage Village, the first phase of which is the recently opened Heritage Museum of the Bahamas. For a much more modern take on Bahamian style, head across the bridge to the huge resort and waterpark known as Atlantis Paradise Island, where there’s abundant opportunity for every kind of indulgence—like gambling, taking in shows, and dining at celebrity-inspired restaurants.
Need to Know
Rooms: 20 rooms, including 8 suites. From $350 low season, $395 high season. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:For a 20-room hotel, or any hotel, the dining here is outstanding. The Graycliff Restaurant has long been recognized as one of the Bahamas’ top culinary experiences. The menu, with dishes like chilled stone crabs in a warm Dijon mustard sauce and papillote of snapper, is a fusion of Continental and Bahamian. And the wine list is the viticultural equivalent of a hardback edition of War and Peace. For something more casual, try the hotel’s Brazilian-barbecue–inspired Humidor Churrascaria restaurant, where grilled meats are piled so high on the plate it is almost hard to see over them. Spa and gym details:Graycliff has a small fitness center, but no spa. Personal trainers are available.
Who’s it for: People who like to indulge in the finer things in life. Our favorite rooms:It’s tempting to choose the Pool Cottage, because how many people can say they shared a room with Winston Churchill? (And it is by the pool.) But the 1,200-square-foot Mandarino Cottage is bigger, and overlooks the pool from its own private balcony. For wine lovers:Arrange to tour Graycliff’s wine cellar, which, with more than 275,000 bottles, is one of the world’s largest. Just don’t back into anything, as at least one bottle is purported to be worth more than $200,000.