As my eyes land on the high masonry wall, covered with cascading pink flowers, I spy a colorful estate standing tall behind it. I immediately realize I have arrived at someplace special. Climbing the stairs into the main lobby, I quickly feel as if I’m at someone’s home and not a hotel. Old style Nassau is seen, heard, and felt everywhere I look – old world elegance is found in the dark wood furnishings, a jazz singer playing the piano, and a cigar maker rolling the perfect cigars for those want to puff the night away.
Over the past three hundred years, pirates, world leaders, British royalty and countless world travelers have come to the majestic Graycliff Hotel, Nassau’s first and only 5-star hotel. With this trip, I join those who have discovered and enjoyed this historic and special treasure, in the heart of The Bahamas.
Escorted into their lounge, my night begins with their signature champagne cocktail as soft jazz fills the room. The hotel’s colorful three hundred year history is apparent wherever I look. The walls are filled with paintings depicting Bahamian life and portraits of people entwined with the hotel’s long story, rich in Nassau’s history.
In the hotel’s five star restaurant, dinner starts with a salmon appetizer topped with capers, lemon and onions.
Bowls of conch chowder arrive next. A garden fresh salad with beets and goat cheese make up our third course. The incredible entree of the night is the Bahamian lobster – there was a bit of heaven in every bite!
A warm and delicious chocolate soufflé finishes my dining experience. Every course was paired with the perfect wine to compliment each course. Over dinner, I learn this restaurant is where Jay Z proposed to Beyoncé – what a fabulous place to have such a special celebration!
After dinner, we are escorted to their wine cellar, where the third largest private wine collection in the world is found! Once a pirate dungeon, guests can now tour this maze of small rooms, each storing a particular type of wine or champagne. With over 275,000 bottles, my eyes glaze over with the endless racks of vino. I’m in complete awe of this collection. Our guide points out the million-dollar wall of French wines and the cellar’s most expensive, a 1727 German dessert wine worth $200,000. I hear gasps from my companions including my very own.
In the largest room of wine cellar, there is a private dining room where Sean Connery, Tom Cruise, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James have dined – oh, not all the same time though! Of course, reservations are required and I would recommend wearing a light jacket – it’s chilly down in the wine cellar.
As our car winds down West Hill Street, I feel this night will create a lasting memory of my stay in The Bahamas.