It seems like everyone is always singing in the Bahamas. It starts in the airport, where a steel-drum band serenades as you make your way through customs, confirming that you’re really not in New York anymore. Waiting to pick up a customer, a cab driver belts out an excellent rendition of “When a Man Loves a Woman.” And if you’re staying at the One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, you too will find there’s plenty of praises to sing. Let’s start with the scenery: pristine, white-sand beaches nestled up to crystal-clear blue water, palm trees so perfectly shaped they almost look like set dressing, even stretches of manicured green lawns—including a terraced sculpture garden, inspired by the one at Versailles, that leads up to a 12th-century Augustinian cloister that was transported from France. The original hotel building, which is still in use today, was once the private estate of A&P heir Huntington Hartford II, and the buildings that have sprung up around it maintain his elegantly unassuming Colonial plantation style, with cool, white columns and a brown-shingled roof.
What you won’t find: huge crowds, giant water slides, cheesy fish tanks, smoky casinos, blasting music, or towering high-rise hotel suites that detract from the scenery (though you can take a free shuttle over to Atlantis, two minutes down the road, if you’re looking for any of that). One&Only is a much more tranquil experience. You can take a swim at the hotel’s beach or one of its two pools, play a round of tennis or golf, or treat yourself to a service at the Balinese-inspired spa. But mostly you’re there to just relax—and eat.
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When your Champagne and strawberries—delivered daily by your butler—are gone, you’ll want to head to Dune, the on-site restaurant headed by famed restaurateur (and part-time Waccabuc resident) Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The cuisine is an inspired French/Asian blend, and no less impressive is the location: perched at the edge of a small cliff overlooking the ocean, and all the window-side tables have an unspoiled view. In addition to Dune, there’s the Courtyard Terrace, serving Mediterranean-influenced food in the courtyard of the original hotel building. You’ll dine under big beach umbrellas alongside a reflecting pool that runs almost the full length of the room. Or you could just stay in. Chances are, you’ll have a balcony or patio overlooking something fantastic—and, if you stay in the Crescent Wing, you might be able to take in the view from your deep, intricately tiled Roman tub. After a soak and a steam shower, wrapped up in a Frette robe, and sitting on a private porch looking out onto the ocean, you might find yourself so contented you could sing.
Details: Rooms rates start at $575 for a Garden View Room. Contact: www.oneandonlyresorts.com