“It’s Better in The Bahamas.” The slogan of this incredible archipelago of hundreds of islands and islets rings in my ears as I am about to land in Nassau. For now I trust, at the end of the trip I will know if it delivers what it promises.
The first sensations are what I expected: light, whiteness, colors, humid but not oppressive heat, after all, there is always some wind here; the trade winds help. I did not leave unaware, and those who were there gave me information and advice.
Therefore, I decide to go immediately to explore the capital city. I find it spectacular and colorful; after all, it is, by the way, the beating and economic heart of the Bahamas. Perhaps even a bit hectic, but without the typical anxiety of European and Italian cities that I am all too used to, the feeling I get is almost disorienting. Nassau also knows how to be happily contradictory, in architecture and lifestyle, divided as it is between the splendors of a colonial past, pirate reminiscences and the thousand bewitching sirens of the American way of life.
The myriad colors, the light, the whiteness, the fulfilling feeling of being out of this world: the Bahamas is a daydream, a corner of paradise on earth
There is everything here, perhaps even what I don’t expect, starting with the
, a local delicacy cooked in a variety of ways accompanied, ça va sans dire, by fresh, excellent local beer. A shellfish that looks not particularly inviting despite its outfit, in the form of a shell, being quite elegant: I overcome my reluctance, taste it and immediately change my mind.
After lunch I continue my tour of discovery of the city: the first stop is almost a must. On Bay Street, one of the main streets, the Straw Market (the “Straw Market”) literally leaves me speechless: it is the largest in the Caribbean and here I can find anything, or almost anything, made from this material, from the kitschy to the elegant and original, just be curious and decide.
The second step, on Delancy Street, is in the spirit, in every sense, of the Bahamas: the spirit of John Watling Distillery. Everything here smells of English colonialism, starting with the building from the late 1700s, elegant, colorful and striking; unforgettable rum, with intense, lingering colors and flavors. Impossible to find them at our place.
As I make my way to the National Art Gallery, an essential piece of architectural and cultural history to learn in depth about the sparkling and creative local art community, I come across the Graycliff. And I feel like a king in this charming hotel carved out of a classy old colonial mansion, literally nestled in a lush garden. The rooms are few in number, and beautifully furnished in a timeless classic style of soft, warm colors.
Here, as in the restaurant, the first five-star restaurant in the entire Caribbean, one breathes elegance, sophistication and substance, the same sensations that one feels in the wine cellar, a precious treasure chest of more than 250,000 bottles, and in the incredible cognateque, perhaps in the company of fragrant cigars and melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. Also signed Graycliff, of course.
A true journey into charm and exclusivity, signed Italy since 1973-the owners have been Enrico and Anna Maria Garzaroli ever since. One night here is worth a thousand elsewhere.
Time passes slowly, it is a praise of slowness, an invitation to experience the breath of the sea and gentle trade winds
Atlantis Paradise Island, the jewel of the Bahamas
I set off again to explore the island to a destination with strong appeal, for refined and elite travelers: the hotel where I am staying, theAtlantis Paradise Island, is a local icon, and is located on Paradise Island, an island connected to Nassau by two bridges, one inbound and one outbound.
I find myself in the luxury, the opulence, the myriad emotions to be experienced at The Royal, one of the five buildings of which the resort is composed. But with its tall buildings and villas, themed restaurants, water slides, and sensory stimulation for young and old, the whole Atlantis is an enchanted world of modern fairy tales surrounded by an ancient and beautiful sea.
The choices are almost endless: one of 11 pools or a night at the casino? An exclusive 18-hole golf course nearby or the wonder of the huge water park with 15 lagoons and all kinds of animals and fish, as many as 250 different species, from the most colorful to the rarest and most bizarre? Or, more simply, relaxing in the sun on the beach, three kilometers of fine white sand surrounded by the blue ocean?
Everything I can’t do, but at Mandara SPA I certainly don’t give up: it is time for me, my mind, my body, a time of extreme quality and quiet, silence, to listen to myself inside and out. It’s all here: more than 30 treatment rooms where you can experience Balinese healing touches, traditional European therapies, locally sourced natural massage techniques, saunas, hot and cold tubs, steam rooms, exclusive all-wellness suites, just to name a lot, but certainly not everything this spa has to offer.
Listening to oneself, one’s mind, one’s body. Surrendering with closed eyes to ancient rituals of mental and physical well-being. Relax, invigorate, regenerate. Mandara SPA is an oasis of well-being
Body and mind pampered in the sign of exclusivity for extreme, all-encompassing sensations: this is what the SPA promises and, I later discover, delivers. My embarrassment of choice is obvious: I can only be advised by asking, however, for a different treatment than usual, perhaps related to my host country. A massage total body soothing and invigorating, with skillful manipulations and oils that I had never experienced before, accompanied by relaxing music peculiar to these seas; the sensations of well-being it gives me are total and different from what I have experienced so far, and from what I could imagine, destined to last. Strong emotions for body and mind.
My journey is over, the hours of the return flight I don’t even notice, lost as I am among the thousands of sensations and memories felt in this corner of paradise.
It’s better In the Bahamas, that’s very true.