A Proper Introduction ... To ParadiseJune 07, 2016
With Atlanta’s progressively chilly winters, January was opportune to duck away to Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. My maiden visit to the Lucayan Archipelago island group in the Atlantic Ocean was just 50 miles east of Nassau. If you know anything about Eleuthera, you know it is quite possibly the most proper introduction to the Bahamas’ 700 islands, cays and islets. Direct flights from Atlanta to Eleuthera began on Delta Airlines in December 2015; it felt just in time.
An island of casual refinement, celebrity escapes, well-considered resorts, rocky bluffs and massive coral reefs, Eleuthera is long and slender, possessing the best of two ocean worlds; on one side, the tranquil Caribbean Sea shore known as the Exuma Sound and on the other, the pulsating Atlantic Ocean shore. I was headed to The Cove Eleuthera, a breathtaking property in Gregory Town, secluded but imbued with the life and culture of the island.
The mastermind behind its development, Sidney Torres IV – an entrepreneur and venture capitalist – purchased the property in 2012, unable to ignore its copious potential as an “outer island experience that was high end, but affordable.” In just under a year, the family destination with a five-star feel was born. Its grounds were landscaped and tonnes of sand were shipped in to create a second beach, which ensures that every guest is only steps away from the ocean. More than 200,000 square feet of Cashmere Zoysia grass was laid, so that guests could walk the property barefoot. The tide of change was pronounced and the vision was precise: an intimate enclave nestled into a sheltered powdery sand cove – a gathering of stylish guestrooms, seaside cottages and villas, embraced by endless turquoise waters. The Cove features private white sand beaches, hammocks strewn throughout, a fitness center, spa, open-air sunset bar and a gourmet restaurant inspired by the island's tropical latitude and aquatic bounty. From snorkeling, paddle boarding, and kayaking to more relaxed pursuits such as lounging by the scenic, hilltop infinity pool, this is relaxation redefined.
And so general manager Chorten Wangyel is confident his guests have everything they need to discover themselves while escaping the noise of the outside world – even down to what their eyes behold. “We wanted minimal décor because your home can be so cluttered. When you go on vacation, you don’t want all that.”
In the Ocean Front Cove Suite, cool travertine flooring, warm wood accents, welcoming loungers and king sized beds join with a sweeping and spectacular sea view.
If you should choose to venture out, there is plenty to explore. A 20-minute drive north to Three Island Dock is where you can take a water taxi to Harbor Island or you can drive or bike four miles north up Queen’s Highway to explore one of Eleuthera's most popular attractions – often referred to as the "narrowest place on Earth." I passed Lenny Kravitz’s gated compound while cycling to the Glass Window Bridge. His mother actress Roxie Roker grew up nearby inspiring him to spend substantial time on the island. From the man-made bridge you can see an extraordinary contrast between the dark blue Atlantic Ocean and the calm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. The views are stunning.
You may be far away from your everyday world, but at The Cove you are fully connected. The resort’s attention to detail … its staff’s evident mental note-taking of your preferences and the very nuances of you as a guest ensure it.
Gregory Town Grill and The Point Bar draw sun seekers in for savory fare like Bahamian Conch Fritters, Lime Spiced Fish Tacos and Spiny Lobster. So often, though, I ordered meals right on the beach just as other guests also opted when the sun was high in the sky. We didn’t have a moment of the balmy 80-degree breeze to waste. The evenings were another story. Freedom Restaurant & Sushi Bar beckons you as the sun begins to set; its menu inspired by the island's tropical latitude and aquatic bounty. To start, creamy asparagus soup with crunchy shallots, a difficult but rewarding choice. The rest, one delicious flavor memory after the next from Pan Fried Salmon Lemon Risotto and Asparagus to Lobster Fettuccini and, of course, sushi. The point of understated elegance is well made.
And I was reminded of departures from destinations that left me wanting more; here, quite the opposite.
“It’s important to get things right … in the smallest of details,” Wangyel says. “That’s what make The Cove different.”