Splurge for your Ba­hamas hon­ey­moon

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - TRAVEL - Mark Rogers

Men­tion the phrase “… so­phis­ti­cated Caribbean” and there’s a good chance the Ba­hamas will come to mind. The Ba­hamas has been wel­com­ing well-heeled vis­i­tors — from roy­alty to Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties — for decades.

More than a sin­gle is­land, the Ba­hamas is an archipelago of 700 is­lands, cays, and islets, cov­er­ing 760 miles. Most vis­i­tors set their sights on the is­lands of New Prov­i­dence, where the cap­i­tal Nas­sau is lo­cated, as well as the is­lands of Grand Ba­hama, Eluethera, Ex­uma, An­dros and Abaco.

Bud­get ho­tels and re­sorts can be found, but the Ba­hamas is not an in­ex­pen­sive des­ti­na­tion. But if you’re pre­pared to splurge, there are sev­eral ap­peal­ing op­tions for new­ly­weds.

At­lantis Par­adise Is­land

At­lantis Par­adise Is­land is a good rec­om­men­da­tion for honey­moon­ers who are look­ing for the “wow” fac­tor. The re­sort is an over-the-top Caribbean mashup of Ve­gas glitz and Dis­ney World diver­sions. It would take sev­eral hon­ey­moons to en­joy ev­ery­thing the re­sort of­fers, which in­cludes wa­ter­parks, swim­ming with dol­phins, casino ac­tion, a spa and res­tau­rants.

The last time I was at At­lantis, film­maker Ge­orge Lu­cas and his fam­ily were guests. It seemed fit­ting since the At­lantis could be a back­ground for a block­buster film. For the ul­ti­mate hon­ey­moon, con­sider a Deluxe Ocean Suite in The Cove at At­lantis, Au­to­graph Col­lec­tion, a 600-room ho­tel. Posted rates at The Cove start at $409 per night.

Gray­cliff Ho­tel

Honey­moon­ers with a bent for his­tory will love Gray­cliff Ho­tel, a prop­erty of­fer­ing overnights in a man­sion dat­ing to 1740. Gray­cliff is a good choice for those who want to be in the heart of Nas­sau.

Gray­cliff has a ro­mance pack­age that starts at $510 per per­son per night for a three-night stay in a Deluxe Room. The ho­tel also of­fers honey­moon­ers a com­pli­men­tary up­grade on a reg­u­lar twonight stay or longer.

Ocean Club, A Four Sea­sons Re­sort, Ba­hamas

In the late 1950s, Hunt­ing­ton Hartford II, heir to the A&P su­per­mar­ket for­tune, bought Par­adise Is­land and cre­ated the Ocean Club ho­tel, which hosted celebri­ties from Zsa Zsa Ga­bor to Wil­liam Ran­dolph Hearst. In 2006 the Ocean Club served as a lo­ca­tion for the James Bond film Casino Royale. Its cur­rent in­car­na­tion of­fers a mix of tra­di­tional Caribbean charm with up-to-theminute ameni­ties and re­sort fea­tures. The 107-room and suites beach­front re­sort also has three vil­las ser­viced by but­lers.

Miche­lin-starred Chef Jean-Ge­orges Von­gerichten is the cre­ative force be­hind the re­sort’s DUNE restau­rant which serves French-Asian cui­sine spiced with a taste of the Caribbean. There also is a Tom Weiskopf-de­signed 18-hole Ocean Club golf course, ten­nis courts, and a spa. Ad­ver­tised rates on­line start at $1,110 per night.

San­dals Royal Ba­hamian Spa Re­sort & Off­shore Is­land

All-in­clu­sive re­sorts of­ten bring to mind a lot of fre­netic ac­tiv­ity and noise. This isn’t so at San­dals Royal Ba­hamian, which has a more se­date and so­phis­ti­cated air. Stand­out fea­tures in­clude com­pli­men­tary scuba div­ing, and a nearby off­shore is­land, with two beaches, a restau­rant, and a beach club.

I rec­om­mend book­ing one of the se­cluded vil­las. Rates at San­dals Royal Ba­hamian start at $274 per per­son, per night based on dou­ble oc­cu­pancy.

Ho­tel Riu Palace Par­adise Is­land

Honey­moon­ers can put the brakes on the cost of a Ba­hamas hon­ey­moon by book­ing the Ho­tel Riu Palace Par­adise Is­land. The adults-only, all-in­clu­sive re­sort has a prime lo­ca­tion in New Prov­i­dence. Riu re­sorts tend to be lively, so love­birds look­ing for seclu­sion might find the am­biance a chal­lenge.

Ho­tel Riu Palace Par­adise Is­land is just up the road from At­lantis Par­adise Is­land. Rates at Ho­tel Riu Palace Par­adise Is­land hover around $400 per night dou­ble oc­cu­pancy.

Bud­get op­tions

Honey­moon­ers can get lovely ac­com­mo­da­tions for a lit­tle less at Pineap­ple Fields Re­sort in New Prov­i­dence ($249 a night) and Sun­rise Beach Clubs and Vil­las in Eleuthera, ($314 a night).

SAN­DALS RE­SORTS IN­TER­NA­TIONAL

San­dals Royal Ba­hamian once was the posh Bal­moral Club in the 1940s, a fa­vorite of the Duke and Duchess of Wind­sor.

GRAY­CLIFF HO­TEL

Honey­moon­ers who love his­tory will love Gray­cliff Ho­tel, in a man­sion dat­ing to 1740.

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