Room with an Island View: on Grand Bahama
When Zickie needed to travel to Grand Bahama island for a conference, guess who got to tag along? Yes, I was the lucky dog who had the luxury of sitting back and relaxing while my Island Runaways better half networked, attended presentations, and walked around in a suit. (Sometimes life is definitely unfair!) Before our trip, when I researched the conference hotel – the Grand Lucayan – on the internet it struck me as beautifully situated but very large.
(Island Dreaming. Photo courtesy the Grand Lucayan/Facebook)
Now, for some travelers large hotels are just the ticket, because it means more pools, more space, more restaurants, and just more, more, more. I, on the other hand, get a little antsy in crowds and just naturally gravitate toward smaller properties. Our first morning, however, the setting of the Grand Lucayan totally won me over. Talk about a gorgeous view. Truly, the beach looked like a brilliantly vivid postcard. Everyday staff cleaned and raked the beach, and that early morning vista…perfectly peaceful.
(A beautiful, beach-y morning. Photo (c) Zickie Allgrove)
We stayed in October, essentially the low season. For me this became a real plus, because while we encountered plenty of other guests, the grounds, pools, and bars never felt crowded at all. A sense of serenity pervaded the property during the day, from the green, lush walkways to the pool deck areas.
(One of the pools. Photo (c) Zickie Allgrove)
Since Zickie did actually work a lot during our stay, I explored the Grand Lucayan on my own. The gym turned out to be surprisingly large, with top quality equipment, and they offered a variety of workout classes, too. I didn’t get a massage at the spa, partially because that gorgeous Caribbean beach called my name, but the facilities seemed nice. The water felt delicious, not too warm, but not cold either.
(Overview of the property. Photo courtesy of the Grand Lucayan, Facebook)
Another thing I liked about the Grand Lucayan? It wasn’t an all-inclusive. Yes, I have plenty of friends who love nothing better than an all-inclusive resort, and I can understand its appeal. When I’m on a Caribbean getaway, though, I just get too curious about little beach shack restaurants and eclectic, tiny beach bars to want to eat and drink on one single property. (Even if the cuisine is divine! Call this a case of itchy feet.) Fortunately, we felt free to go across the street and try various spots at the Lucayan Marketplace, including a conch salad stand. One night the hotel called a taxi for Zickie and me, and the driver took us to Smith’s Point, known for its weekly Fish Fry. So, we found the hotel a good base for some easy exploring.
As for our room? Luckily, it overlooked the beach. One of my very favorite activities was sitting on the balcony with a book or my laptop and glancing up to see that gorgeous stretch of ocean and sand. My advice: pay a little bit extra for the sea view. You’ll be glad you did. We found the room itself nicely laid-out, with a comfortable bed, and pleasant furniture. The sea breeze meant that one night we slept with the sliding glass door open. What a luxury to fall asleep to the gentle sound of waves.
(Oean-front room. Photo courtesy the Grand Lucayan.)
What else can I add? The bars, both outside by the pool, and in the central building near the lobby, were a highlight. The drinks tasted great, every time. In fact, the bartenders were some of the friendliest, most professional members of staff. They even remembered our names! (No, honestly, we didn’t just hang out at the bars.) We didn’t actually eat in any of the hotel restaurants, although Zickie attended a Bahamian-themed buffet held outside, where a band played live music.
(The Bahamian-themed function. Photo (c) Zickie Allgrove.)
Staying at the Grand Lucayan made for a pleasant surprise, and I discovered that large properties don’t necessarily need to feel crowded or cramped. I’d say that the Grand Lucayan is a good choice for groups of friends, couples, or families who really want to concentrate on beach time, because the Lucaya beach is certainly the star. Although I may tend to focus on more off-the-beaten track destinations, Zickie and I both enjoyed a relaxing, easy Bahamas island runaway (even though he was working). We returned to the mainland de-stressed, and more than a little nostalgic for the Grand Lucayan’s lovely scenery.
Do you have a favorite Bahamas hotel? Hope you’ll let us know if you do! Cheers, friends.