A luxury resort along an iconic stretch of Bahamian beachfront celebrates 70 years
By Randi Aileen Press and the Lifestyle Magazine staff
The muted pink sands along the Atlantic Ocean side of Harbour Island—a 3-mile stretch that, in some places, extends as wide as 100 feet—are notoriously cool to the touch. No matter the tropical temperature in the Bahamian resort town, some 50 miles east of Nassau, beachgoers can kick off their flip-flops without scorching their feet.
A different kind of laid-back cool hangs over the 20-acre paradise named after those sands. For nearly three-quarters of a century, Pink Sands Resort (pinksandsresort.com) has enchanted travelers with its lush gardens, winding coral trails, expansive views of the eastern Atlantic, and, of course, its storied beach. It’s an aesthetic setting that rivals French Polynesia’s Bora Bora—only it’s nine hours closer for South Florida residents.
As part of its 70th anniversary year, Pink Sands (managed by Orchestra Hotels + Resorts) recently completed a multimillion-dollar renovation of the historic property, including updates to its accommodations (think chic furnishings; and a relaxed, elegant, modern West Indies/Caribbean vibe)—along with elevated service and culinary experiences.
“After a more than $2 million investment in upgrading and reimagining the property, the resort is more beautiful than ever,” says Andreas A. Ioannou, chief executive officer at Orchestra Hotels + Resorts. “It truly represents the vision of reclusive luxury we have always strived to deliver.”
As a recent visit to Pink Sands Resort revealed, that may be an understatement.
Getting there: Travel to Harbour Island from the Tampa Bay area is seamless, especially when you fly with a private charter. Using a private charter takes the stress out of flying thanks to private terminals and VIP-level service.
The views of the ocean and islands along the way are breathtaking—and you immediately begin to unwind. After touching down, it’s a short ferry ride to the northwest—and into the crystal clear turquoise waters that front the eastern stretch of Harbour Island. Drink in hand, toes in the sand.
Accommodations: Even before the resort-wide renovation (which started in early 2021), part of the charm of an escape to Pink Sands was the exclusivity of the experience. There are only 29 places to stay, a mix of villas, private one- and two-bedroom cottages, and luxury homes spread out across the property’s nearly 100,000 square yards. The two-bedroom cottages encompass some 1,200 square feet of casual elegance, with views of either a lush garden or the ocean. The two-bedroom, two-bath villa with a private pool (and two outdoor showers)—only a stone’s throw from Pink Sands Beach—has a covered patio and nearly 1,900 square feet of living space. Then there’s the Banyan Tree, perfect for families and larger groups. The three-bedroom, 2.5-bath main house boasts 3,792 square feet, and panoramic views of the ocean and bay. In addition, there’s a 723-square-foot guest house. Whatever accommodations you choose (there’s also the stunning two-story, three-bedroom La Mer Azure), the thoughtful use of space offers guests the ultimate in convenience and ease.
Dining: Fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and attentive tableside service, are the constants at the resort’s two restaurants. Both serve creative, island-inspired continental dishes conceived by Dean Max—principal and chef of DJM Restaurants. The relaxed oceanfront setting at Blue Bar & Restaurant belies the quality of the tightly curated menu, highlighted by seafood straight from the sea (four hours from hook to plate) in dishes like native conch salad, spicy coconut conch chowder, crispy fish tacos, and catches of the day. Malcolm 51, the fine dining option tucked into the interior of the property, features indoor and outdoor seating surrounded by terraced gardens that, in the evening, glow amid warm candlelight. Menu favorites like Bahamian pepper pot, island curried fish stew, and charred reef octopus speak to the rich flavors found throughout another abbreviated menu. Both restaurants rotate in seasonal offerings. Private dining and culinary events also are offered at the resort.
Here’s to your health: Pink Sands presents soul-soothing island wellness retreats throughout the year, providing a space for the traveler to disconnect, recharge and reconnect. The three-day experience is filled with activities that include beachfront yoga, meditation workshops, chef demonstrations for mindful eating—and even time to explore the charms of the island. Each day, locally sourced vegetables and seafood grace the menu for breakfast and lunch; dinner, meanwhile, is celebrated family-style to foster a sense of community among the guests. For those who desire a little extra relaxation, in-room massages are available upon request.
Amenities: In addition to the freshwater swimming pool already located in the center of the resort, an infinity pool overlooking the beach and ocean is slated to debut later in 2021. … The resort features two tennis courts; a local pro offers private lessons to guests. … The billiard room and bar are open daily for some fun competition. … Access to snorkeling equipment, kayaks, and paddleboards is included as part of your stay. Off-site activities—island excursions, boat rentals, water sports, horseback riding in the ocean, and more—can be arranged through the front desk.
Did you know: Pink Sands is scheduled to unveil additional 70th-anniversary plans as the year goes on, including a new immersive website and a complete brand reboot. … The reputation of its powdery pink sand isn’t just a marketing ploy. In March 2005, the Travel Channel’s “World’s Best Beaches” segment named Pink Sand Beach at Harbour Island the “Best Sand Beach.” It was one of only 10 beaches worldwide to be included in the program. ♦