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One of the most paradisaical places in the Caribbean, the Bahamas are an ideal spot for an R&R-centric getaway. Though many guests skip Nassau in favor of the glitzy mega-resorts on neighboring Paradise Island, the country's metropolitan capital also has much to offer, including white-sand beaches, offshore coral reefs, pastel British Colonial architecture, easy access to nearby islands and thoroughly modern hotels. Whether you're traveling with kids and grandparents or searching for a solo escape, here are a handful of the best properties in Nassau.
Best Overall: Compass Point Beach Resort
Compass Point Beach Resort is one of Nassau’s most colorful. Its iconic, brightly-hued octagonal huts — there are no rooms here — dot the shoreline in a cheerful parade of Carnival-inspired shades. The Sea Front huts are so close to the ocean, in fact, that guests can sometimes feel the spray. Inside the vibrant accommodations, rooms are painted in white and feature wooden floors, surround sound speakers, fridges and microwaves. Beds do take up most of the square footage — but it's worth it given what the resort has to offer. Compass Point truly has something to suit everyone: whether you want to go on a diving excursion, have a private dinner on the dock with your significant other or just laze on a nearly private white-sand beach. The property also has a recording studio that has been used by U2 and Bob Marley among others.
Best Budget: Courtyard Nassau Downtown/8Junkanoo Beach
Despite being a budget stay, you don't have to sacrifice much when on holiday at the 200-room Courtyard Nassau Downtown/Junkanoo Beach. First of all, its location makes exploring Nassau’s museums, tax-free shopping, restaurants and John Watling’s rum distillery easy. Of course, you can always stay in to take advantage of the resort-style pool and on-site bistro. At the end of the day, retreat to a clean room that pulls colors from the palms and sea and sets them off against tan walls and dark wooden floors. High-speed, complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the property and parking on-site is free. The downside? Breakfast isn’t included — but there are so many options outside the doors that, for some, it might not matter.
Best Boutique: Ocean West Boutique Hotel
Ocean West Boutique Hotel’s secluded but convenient location is perfect for those flying in to recharge over a long weekend. The renovated mansion is just a five-minute drive from the airport and a three- to four-mile taxi ride to the heart of Cable Beach’s nightlife. The hotel itself, however, is practically an oasis: on the veranda, gorgeous white balustrades overlook the sea, gardens and ocean below. Ocean West's 10 guestrooms are decorated in a modern-island style. Light walls and white linens are offset by beautiful dark wood hewn into clean lines. Looking to upgrade during shoulder season? A room with a fireplace is a must. Additionally, free Wi-Fi extends throughout the property and parking on site is complimentary.
Best for Families: Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
Grand Hyatt Baha Mar ticks all the boxes for adults who head to the Bahamas to play. The resort is home to the Caribbean’s largest casino, excellent ESPA spa (try the seashell massage) and 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course. That said, there's a lot for kids to do, too. There's the Explorers Club (for 3- to 12-year-olds) and The BEACH Sanctuary, which introduces kiddos to local wildlife, including sea turtles and stingrays (the hotel also boasts its own man-made reef). Six pools offer a range of vibe, from the intimate, sunshine-lit Reflections pool, to the Blue Hole which has a 10-foot cliff jump for the daring. Meanwhile, a total of 18 places to eat and drink will have at least one option that appeals to picky eaters. Chicly appointed rooms all include full or Juliet balconies that accent the subtle maritime theme.
Best for Romance: Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island
As all-inclusive and playful as the rest of the hotels in Sandals’ portfolio, the Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island also boasts an incredible location: right on a pristine white-sand beach. Throughout the hotel, 1940s glamour, with modern comforts, reigns supreme — right down to rainfall showers and king-size four-poster beds in well-appointed entry-level rooms. Seven pools, eight bars, and 10 restaurants offer plenty of options (and excellent fare), though an excursion to the property’s offshore island is at the top of many lists. Beyond that? There’s a seemingly endless list of activities, including beach volleyball, a fantastic wellness area, nightly entertainment and SNUBA — a hybrid of snorkeling and SCUBA. Those looking to splurge or up the romance factor should book a Love Nest unit or River Pool Swim-up Suite, the latter of which comes with its own butler. The Wi-Fi can be spotty, but those here to focus on their significant others might not mind.
Best Luxury: The Island House
The Island House is set among a lush estate that overlooks a marina, and it sets the bar for chic, modern-cool stays in the Bahamas. Rooms are incredibly stylish, with a relaxing palette drawn from wild grasses and the sea outside. According to reviews, the second-floor Ocean-View rooms have the best sunset. Activities onsite range from catching a movie at the 48-seat cinema to classes in the yoga studio and treatments in the incredible Bamford Spa. At a hotel of this caliber, the cocktails, of course, are top-notch. Keep in mind that breakfast isn’t usually included, but with options starting from $6, it’s a small price to pay for a stay like this.
Best for Singles: Breezes Resort & Spa Bahamas
Breezes Resort & Spa Bahamas is a playful all-inclusive resort that’s known for great entertainment as well as its incredible location. Located right on the soft white sands of Cable Beach, the stay is just a short bus or taxi ride away from the port’s nightlife. The 391 rooms—some of which allow you to step right out your door and onto the beach—are styled with mahogany furnishings and king-size beds. Five on-site restaurants, all on the casual side, offer unfussy dining and the property’s four bars include a nightclub and piano bar that both don’t close until the early hours. There are also poolside spa treatments, a rock wall, a trapeze and a full slate of activities — not to mention three pools and beach. Free Wi-Fi and parking are available.
Best Business: British Colonial Hilton Nassau
British Colonial Hilton Nassau is the only beachfront hotel downtown — making it not only convenient for work, but a great place to stay after you clock out (whether you’re racking up Hilton Honors points on the company expense account or not). Its central location means it's within walking distance of the Straw Market and inexpensive places to eat. When it comes to R&R, there’s a private powder-sand beach, a freshwater swimming pool and kayaking and paddleboards. Want to work by the pool? Wi-Fi is available in all areas. Indoors, potentially generic corporate rooms get a welcome lift with a beach-inspired color palette, Peter Thomas Roth bath products and sprawling king-size Serenity beds.
Best Hostel: BahaSea Backpackers
A hostel in the Bahamas might seem like a strange concept given the destination known for its resorts, but the BahaSea Backpackers is proof that students and nomads shouldn’t shy away from the Caribbean. Located a short cycle or taxi ride from the Nassau Botanical Gardens, as well as a few local restaurants, the BahaSea is a great base from which to explore the island on the cheap. Rooms are simply furnished, and those who aren’t into dorms can choose a private room here, which often includes a deep corner Jacuzzi — an added perk given the accommodations' budget price. Guests can use the communal kitchen or barbecue facilities. Free parking and free Wi-Fi are both available.