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Escape to the Bahamas: Miami Living’s Worry-Free Travel Guide to Nassau Paradise Island



For anyone craving sun and dreamy beaches, the Bahamas capital island, Nassau, is the ideal getaway. Just an hour flight from Miami, Here is everything you need to know about this idyllic vacation spot, including how to travel to the Bahamas safely during the COVID-19 pandemic


Access


Non-stop daily flights to Nassau from Miami are available via American Airlines. Non-stop flights are also available in over 30 major cities, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Toronto.


Why Nassau?


Boasting some of the world’s best beaches, Nassau offers something for everyone. It can be an island destination for a family vacation, romantic getaway, a chill, rejuvenating journey or simply a fun trip with friends. It offers excellent hospitality, world-class amenities and has a rich history.


Image by Rajvinder Singh


Safe Travels


In order to enter the Bahamas, you will need to apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa. The steps below may appear complicated but I found them easy and hassle-free. After all, keeping you and others safe should be top priority. Follow these 5 steps and enjoy a smooth sailing entrance into Paradise Island.


  1. Obtain a COVID-19 RT PCR test five days prior to arrival.

  2. Visit www.travel.gov.bs and apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa. During the application process, you will be asked to upload your negative COVID-19 test result, flight details, including the duration and location of your stay. Once approved, you will be notified via email. At this stage, you’ll be required to purchase health insurance, which didn’t cost very much; I paid $40 for a 4-night stay.

  3. For the duration of your visit, you are required to complete a daily short online health questionnaire for symptom-monitoring purposes. This process only takes 2 minutes or less.

  4. Take a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test on Day 5 of your stay (unless departing on day 5). Keep in mind that if you are returning to the U.S., you will be required to show proof of a negative PCR or Antigen test (aka rapid test). Your test can be done up to 3 days prior to your return; both COVID-19 test types are acceptable.

  5. As always, wear a mask and social distance.


When to Visit


Nassau’s peak season begins mid-December and goes until mid-April. The Caribbean hurricane season (from June to November) is considered low season due to unpredictable weather but still a desirable period to visit the island, especially for those looking for discounted rates.


The majestic Versailles garden walk at The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort image by Markin Abras


History


Founded in 1670 by the British Empire, Nassau became a central location for “The Golden Age of Piracy,” which lasted for thirty years from 1690 to 1720. It also experienced a military assault by the Spanish in 1720. In 1973, The Bahamas became a free and sovereign country after 325 years of British rule. Today, it is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. Today, Nassau relies heavily on tourism and has a strong offshore financial services and trade.


Currency


The Bahamian Dollar (BSD) is the equivalent of the U.S. dollar. To distinguish the currency from others, the symbol B$ is used. Businesses in Nassau, Bahamas accept either USD or BSD. If you are given BSD, it is advised to use it before departing from the island as it is not accepted elsewhere.


Key Attractions


Beyond more than 15 crystal-clear turquoise beaches, Nassau offers some notable attractions, including Graycliff’s Wine Cellar (the third-largest in the world), Andros Barrier Reef, excursions to nearby islands and secluded beaches, and ATV tours, including historical landmarks, such as Queen’s Staircase and Fort Charlotte.


LUXURY STAY


The Ocean Club,

A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas


One Ocean Drive

Paradise Island

Nassau N.P, Bahamas

+1 (242) 363-2501

www.fourseasons.com/oceanclub


Images courtesy of The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort


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OVERVIEW


As soon as you enter the lush, tropical grounds of The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, you instantly feel that something special awaits you. The secluded oasis of luxury, set along a 5-mile stretch of natural white sand and turquoise ocean waters, offers history, world-class service, and everything you would expect from The Four Seasons. The classic Caribbean architectural property features immaculate landscaped Versailles-inspired gardens, pools, fountains and a restored 12th century Augustinian cloister. A popular hideaway for celebrities and elites, The Ocean Club served as the backdrop for the James Bond film, Casino Royale.


Stay in one of the 107 accommodations, which includes guest rooms, suites, garden cottages and villa residences. For the ultimate luxury stay, book the Royal Villa featuring your own private infinity pool, outdoor lounging and postcard-worthy ocean views. The villa accommodates up to 10 guests and comes with a full kitchen, dining and living areas, plus a private chef and 24/7 personal butler.


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Facilities


The Ocean Club offers 36-acres of green lawns and gardens, 3 pools, world-class dining, a Balinese-style Spa, fitness facility, event space, and numerous recreational activities.


Food & Drink


Offering dramatic ocean views, DUNE by Jean-Georges Vongerichte, serves French-Asian cuisine with a Caribbean twist. The casual yet elegant restaurant features a full bar, live entertainment, outdoor dining, a private room and is wheelchair accessible. OCEAN servers poolside light bites and an array of sophisticated cocktails. Versailles Terrace restaurant serves French-Mediterranean food with magnificent views of the pool and gardens.


Family-Friendly


Kids can enjoy a waterfall, lagoon-style pool and the “Kids Club House” offering fun games and a host of other kid-friendly activities. The Four Seasons also offers a “Kids for All Seasons” program for children aged 4-12. The fully-supervised, complimentary program offers a variety of activities, services and amenities geared toward younger guests. Professional babysitting services are also available for ages six weeks to 12 years old.



Event Spaces


The classical Versailles-inspired gardens offer an ideal setting for romantic weddings and special events. Boasting just under 21,000-square-feet of space, The Ocean Club offers indoor banquet facilities for up to 50 individuals and outdoor banquet for up to 250 individuals. Host your event either at the beach deck, Versailles pool and gardens, The Cloisters, or Wedding Gazebo – all offer a memorable, dramatic backdrop.


Fun & Activities


There is something for everyone at The Ocean Club. Guests have access to the Tom Weiskopf-designed 18-hole golf course located adjacent to the property, 6 hard-tru tennis courts with lessons, 3 pools, a fitness center, free yoga classes, on-site jogging and biking trails, paddle boarding, diving, snorkeling, luxury yacht charter, deep sea fishing, shopping and entertainment activities at nearby Atlantis.


For total relaxation and rejuvenation, head to The Ocean Club’s Balinese-style Spa. Featuring 8 treatment villas with private gardens and outdoor baths, there are numerous wellness treatments to choose from, including Ocean Rituals, customized massages, revitalizing body-nourishing therapies and relaxing experiences. There is also a hair and nail salon onsite.



Baha Mar


1 Baha Mar Blvd.

Nassau, Bahamas

+1 (242) 788-1234

www.bahamar.com


Images courtesy of Grand Hyatt Baha Mar


Overview


Offering spectacular views of one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Cable Beach, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is a luxury resort 20 minutes and 7 miles from the airport and 5 miles from Downtown Nassau. Designed by Mike Hong Architects, the property configuration features numerous vibrant and modern spaces – providing a sense of intimacy despite its grand size. The property offers a total of 1,800 rooms, including 230 suites and residences, each offering an array of amenities and contemporary decor. All rooms either have a step-out or full balcony.


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Facilities


Grand Hyatt Baha Mar offers numerous facilities, including several culinary options, a lavish casino, an exquisite spa and fitness facility, meeting and event spaces and numerous recreational facilities.


Food & Drink


Notable culinary destinations include Carna by Dario Cecchini, a contemporary steakhouse that brings Tuscan culinary traditions right into Nassau. For classic Japanese cuisine, head to Katsuya Baha Mar and enjoy Master Sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi’s delights. The property also features a Pan-Asian Noodle bar, several open-air eating options, plus several bars and lounges serving cocktails and light bites. If you are feeling jazzy, head out to Blue Note Jazz Bar for cocktails and live jazz performances.


Family-Friendly


Grand Hyatt Baha Mar offers a range of family-friendly services, including kids club, babysitting services and Dean’s Blue Hole pool, featuring waterfalls, rock walls and a stunning aquarium full of tropical fish. Flamingos are also on the property, guests can interact with the native exotic pink birds.


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Event Spaces


For events and special meetings, the property has an impressive 82,000 square feet of space --3 ballrooms and 200,000 square feet of flexible outdoor and indoor space. The Baha Mar Convention, Arts & Entertainment Center is one of the Caribbean’s largest facilities.


Fun & Activities


Dive into one of Grand Hyatt Baha Mar’s six heated pools or head to the 3,000-foot pristine beach for a variety of water sports. An impressive Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and a Class-A tennis facility, featuring a grass court, clay and hard courts, is available for guests. Enjoy total relaxation at Destination Spa managed by ESPA; Hobby Horse Nature Preserve; and a large fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment.


For gaming excitement, stop by the casino located on the main floor. The impressive gaming area includes 1,500 modern video slots, 150 live tables featuring blackjack variations, roulette, craps, baccarat variations, card Poker and more. Open daily from 10 am-4 am.



Travel and explore the world with Miami Living at www.miamilivingmagazine.com/travel


Words by Markin Abras. First image by Zidhan Ibrahim