Lavish Villas on Pristine, White-Sand Beach
An orange-hued sky hangs over crystalline waters of Emerald Bay as the Bahamian sunset paints the white-sand beaches a bright red. This idyllic scene unfolds nightly from the private terraces of Grand Isle Resort & Spa's private villas, each of which claims a private swath of the shore. Each building blends island vibes with modern touches, and the Caribbean's natural beauty and tranquility work themselves into the resort's laid-back sensibility.
All of the 78 villas couple elegant décor with homey comforts. The Caribbean Sea breeze wisps through the Arawak, where sliding french doors open up to the bedroom's private terrace. Inside the Bahia Mar's first floor, vaulted cypress ceilings hover over a spacious great room, and a wrought-iron-and-stone staircase escalates guests to sun-bathed terraces and bedrooms. Outside, children can hide unfavorable report cards in the infinity-edge pool while adults recline under umbrellas, sipping on tropical drinks ($8–$16) from the poolside Pallappa Bar & Grill. Pallappa’s chefs spin local ingredients into dishes such as the Bahamian-grilled tuna ($26) or the lobster salad ($16) for lunch and dinner daily. Starting December 1, Pallappa Bar & Grill will also serve breakfast. Across the resort, SeaStar Spa's massage technicians incorporate seawater and seashells into their soothing massages ($70–$230), and technicians round out spa manicures and pedicures ($25–$90) with stress-relieving hot lava shells and sea foam.
George Town, Great Exuma: British Naval Ruins Amid Bustling Colonial Port
Boats, kayaks, and divers float side-by-side on Emerald Bay, which sits on the eastern coast of Great Exuma—the largest island of the Exuma chain. Snorkelers can dip below to uncover a kaleidoscope of exotic fish that dart in and out of the expansive reef systems.
A one-lane bridge connects Great Exuma and Little Exuma; from this perch, sightseers can scope out pirate ruins atop the island's highest peaks. George Town once bustled as a port; today, studded amid its colonial architecture, poolside parties with live bands and nightclubs enliven the late-night hours. The golf courses of Great Exuma are positioned for spectacular views of the Caribbean paradise, as linksmen shoot for the green amid rustling tropical trees and the overhead cell-phone conversations of exotic birds. Placed on rocky peninsulas or across stretches of saltwater, the few courses on the island present a challenge to even the most seasoned golfers.