I’ve just returned from 4 days in Harbour Island, Bahamas, and I thought I’d share a bit about our trip for anyone thinking about going.
Whenever I mentioned the Bahamas to anyone, everyone thinks of Nassau. Or Atlantis. Which is like thinking of, oh I don’t know, something awful when I’m talking about something not awful. The island is small, quaint, laid back, and basically devoid of anything to do. I mean that in a good way.
We dropped our kids off with the in-laws in South Florida and flew over on Silver Airways (United Express) from Ft. Lauderdale to North Eleuthera. Tickets are $350 for the <1 hour flight, which is annoying, but there's really no other option. I used Ultimate Rewards points to pay for that because you get a 25% bonus. Many people will tell you that that's not a good use of those miles, but those people are wrong, as I saved myself $700. Also, as we've learned from the Hilton devaulation, it is always better to use miles than to sit on them and watch them become less valuable. You land at North Eleuthera airport and take a quick 10 minute ferry to the island. We stayed at the Rock House, which has 10 rooms, a nice little pool, and cabanas around said pool (which, unlike every other hotel I’ve ever stayed in, were free to use). And since it was basically empty while we were there, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. I’m not a big chain hotel guy (which begs the question of why I’ve been hoarding Hilton HHonors points if I’m never going to use them), so this was exactly what we were looking for. Our room (Palm Room) had views of the harbor (as did the Pineapple room). The other rooms are larger, but they’re out back behind the pool and have no view. I would recommend the smaller room with the view.
The island is walkable, though most people get a golf cart to tool around in. There’s not a ton to see, which made it easy to sit at the pool or at the (somewhat?) famous Pink Sand beach – which, truly, even if you’re not a beach person, is a sight to see. The sand is powdery and there was no one on the beach. Delightful.
A note about the food: there are essentially 2 types of restaurants – those that are freuqented by a mix of locals and tourists, and those that are geared solely to tourists. The latter included the restaurant in our hotel (as well as the restaurant at 2 other hotels – the Landing and the Dunmore). The food was fantastic, but entrees approached (gulp) $50. I don’t even want to talk about it. The more low-key restaurants were more our speed. We ate (if you’re keeping track at home) at a little shack on the water called the Conch Queen; at a homestyle place called Avery’s; and at a fantastic little bakery called Sugar Rush. Those places all had food that was between reasonably priced and somewhat above reasonably priced. We also loved a bar and tapas place called Blu Bungalow. Again, food not cheap but I loved the vibe, even if it was primarily empty (like most everywhere else).
On a final note, North Eleuthera Airport does not have x-ray scanners at security. They half-heartedly opened our bag and waved a wand over us. I’m quite surprised that anywhere in the world still has this level of security (or lack thereof) but it was both horrifying and refreshing. And horrifying. Yet refreshing.
Oh, and we saw Dave Matthews and his family hanging around (gratuitous celebrity spotting).
A few photos below, if you care: