This Harbour Island Hideaway Merges Laidback Island Living With Old-World Bahamian Glamour

If your knowledge of The Bahamas and its 700 islands and cays has been previously limited to Nassau, Grand Bahama, and The Exumas, it’s time to add one more picturesque destination to your bucket list: Harbour Island. As with many hard-to-reach (yet completely worth it) locales, getting there does require a few connections and a bit of patience, but once you arrive, you’ll never want to leave this tranquil haven.

A 5-minute ferry ride from Eleuthera, Harbour Island—or “Briland” as the locals call it—is only three miles in length with Pink Sands Beach spanning one side and Dunmore Town situated on the other. Colorful colonials line the small streets. Golf carts are the main form of transportation, and the laidback vibe of this lovable place will turn you into an instant fan—just like entering Eleven Bahama House will. Behind a code-activated gate, with a cascade of palm trees towering overhead, lies the island’s best-kept secret garden, which also happens to be one of their chicest hotels.

When it comes to Bahama House’s well-appointed, plantation-style rooms, No. 12 Interiors was tapped to create inviting spaces that artfully merge Bahamian, Caribbean, and Palm Beach pieces. Think grass cloth walls, rattan furniture, pencil post mahogany beds, local artwork, and lacquered conch shells at every turn.

With only 11 keys, each cottage and suite feels remote and meticulously preserved, while modern at the same time, thanks to one-touch lighting, a central sound system, and dreamy bathrooms equipped with rainfall shower heads.

Private and semi-private verandas also allow for sunset sips overlooking the courtyard before dinner, or a curling up with one of the hotel’s antiquarian wildlife books for a leisurely read and a nap during golden hour. 

Since Harbour Island living is all about being on the water, outdoor adventure leader Eleven created a roster of guided activities specifically for Bahama House guests. Take a ride on their captained Scorpion RIB boat to explore the nearby saltwater flats, feed sea turtles, and snorkel around Spanish Wells, or opt for horseback riding along Pink Sands Beach and cliff jumping into sapphire blue cenotes.

Afterward, it’s time for a dip in the hotel’s freshwater pool or a Goombay Smash whipped up by Robert at the tiki bar. Eleven experienced managers Giorgia and June are lovely, always armed with island recommendations, and will feel like family by the end of your stay.

While there’s no public restaurant at Bahama House (it’s a private property only open to in-house guests), they do have a chef onsite to ensure you and your crew never go hungry. Breakfast consists of locally-sourced fruit, pastries, and made-to-order omelets while après features Bahamian bites and craft cocktails. Artisan picnic baskets for boating excursions can also be arranged, in addition to a customized lunch or dinner for a relaxed meal on the terrace.

Top Takeaways

Location: Harbour Island, Bahamas

Star-Rating: Four-star

The Vibe: The chicest beach house you’ve ever encountered, designed with worldly treasures on what feels like a hidden Caribbean island. 

Our Favorite Thing About the hotel? A tiki bar enveloped by flowering bougainvillea and the tucked-away rum library featuring over 40 aged selections. 

Food + Drink: Daily breakfast is included, as well as afternoon après, and private dinners and additional meals can be arranged by request.

Any Neighborhood Recs? One of the best restaurants on the island, Rock House, is tops for stone crab crabs and Bahamian lobster tails by the pool. The Ocean View Club is a must for a delicious lunch surrounded by coconut trees, and Malcolm 51 and Blue Bar & Kitchen at Pink Sands Resort are unparalleled for garden side and oceanfront dining. Also, if you don’t visit Queen Conch while on the island—you missed the assignment. You can’t beat their conch fritters, ceviche, and blackened grouper wraps.

Amenities: Rooms with balconies, Wi-Fi, Supergoop SPF essentials, plus an outdoor pool and a dedicated area at Pink Sands Beach with complimentary games, beer, and wine.

Whats Nearby? The ferry, Pink Sands Beach, the Lone Tree, and Harbour Island haunt the Elbow Room and Daddy D’s for popular nightlife options.

Rooms: There are 11 bedrooms in total, spread across the 1800 building, the Annex building, and two cottages. 

Pricing: Rates start at around $550/night in the off-season and around $850+ during peak season. 

Closest Airport: North Eleuthera Airport. From there, it’s a 5-minute taxi ride to the ferry and a 5-minute ferry ride to Harbour Island.

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