Tantalizingly close to Florida, The Bahamas is a vast archipelago of 750 islands with beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters. Fly into Nassau, the capital, less than three hours from most East Coast cities, and you have a wide range of choices for spa resorts. Across a bridge from Nassau is Paradise Island, with powder-white sand beaches that are among the world's most beautiful. The weather is at its finest between November and April. Here are some of your best choices for spas in Paradise Island and Nassau.
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One&Only Spa at One&Only Ocean Club
This is an absolutely gorgeous boutique property on Paradise Island, and the place to go if you have money (lots of it). It began as the private estate of A&P heir Huntington Hartford II, which explains eccentricities like the terraced hillside garden with classical statuary and a 12th-century Cloister. Eight Balinese-style spa treatment rooms, all set up for couples massage, have small outdoor gardens where couples can book a little extra time to lounge on a daybed. Enjoy the best dining on the island at Dune by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, or the 18-hole sea-side golf course designed by Tom Weiskopf. Tel. 888-865-6829 or 242-363-2501.
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This couples-only, all-inclusive resort, offers everything from a quiet dinner on the pier to a loud jerk barbecue party with Carnival dancers and entertainment, You can even dine at the elegant Art Nouveau restaurant Price Edward and Wallis Simpson used to frequent. Of the 402 rooms, more than half are suites with upgraded amenities that go all the way up to private butlers and a ride from the airport in a Rolls Royce. There are three different Red Lane Spas here, but the most wonderful is a ferry ride away, on a private island. Enjoy a massage in a thatched hut, with your own private view of the ocean. Paradise. Tel. 888-726-3257.
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Mandara at Atlantis Paradise Island, The Bahamas
The star of this super family-friendly 3,000-room resort is its over-the-top 141-acre Water Park, where you can shoot down slides, interact with dolphins, or lounge by adult-only pools with gambling. The 30,000 square-foot Mandara Spa is beautiful. If you get a massage, ask for Clarethia, who gave me a one-hour deep tissue massage in 25 minutes. I stayed at the ultra-cool Cove Atlantis, which was lovely, but there were some housekeeping issues. Service throughout could be better. Tel. 954-809-2713 or 800-285-2684.
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This intimate property used to be a vacation home for Jamaican Reggae genius Bob Marley and his wife, Rita, who still owns it. Now it's a low-key hotel with 16 individually decorated rooms and suites and a beachfront location. The spa has three treatment rooms and is named Natural Mystic after one of Marley's songs. ("There's a natural mystic flowing through the air. If you listen carefully now you will hear.") Marley fans will enjoy the gallery of rarely seen black and white photos Of Marley, and some of his gold and platinum records, upon entering the inn. Tel. 1-242-702-2800 or 866-737-1766