Bahamas blowout: Inside the £12,000-per-night Four Seasons villa fit for royalty
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If the winter season has you craving a luxurious, socially distanced beach holiday, look no further than the Caribbean, Mexico or Hawaii.
You can experience many of the best warm escapes using points and miles, but the most exclusive properties cater to deep-pocketed travellers.
Of the plethora of five-star, non-points resorts dotting the islands around North America, there’s one, in particular, that’s long caught my attention: The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons resort located on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
I finally had a chance to stay at the property (on a discounted rate provided by the hotel) in an ocean-view king room. While the “standard” room and attached terrace were spectacular, I also had the opportunity to check out two of the most luxurious ways to experience the Bahamas.
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The first is by staying in one of The Ocean Club’s three villas fit for royalty. Quite literally, though, as these £12,000-a-night remote enclaves have hosted members of various royal families, notable performers and a mix of Fortune 500 CEOs.
The Frangipani Villa is perhaps the most private, as it’s located all the way at the eastern edge of the resort’s property at the end of a small cul-de-sac.
Upon opening the gates, the welcome gardens, decked out with a covered gazebo and Jacuzzi, will immediately transport you to another region, perhaps the Amalfi Coast or the French Riviera.
As you walk seamlessly from the indoors to the outdoors, your eyes will likely turn to the miles of uninterrupted Atlantic Ocean views.
Don’t stare for too long; otherwise, you’ll miss the highlight of the villa: the heated, rectangular infinity-edged pool, surrounded by a collection of stylish outdoor furniture — a sofa, chaise loungers, ten-person dining table and more. (There’s also direct access to the beach from the outdoor deck.)
Back inside, the living room itself sports an eight-seat dining table, large sectional sofa, TV and an incredibly well-stocked
mini- mega-bar with 25 full-sized bottles of top-shelf liquor.
The 4,445-square-foot three-bedroom villa comfortably sleeps eight guests. Its two wings each feature an identical master bedroom with a plush king-sized bed and en-suite bathroom with dual vanities, a walk-in shower and a deep soaking tub.
When you’re paying the big bucks, you’ll also enjoy full-sized Molton Brown toiletries. (The regular rooms were stocked with small bottles of Hermes products.)
With its two double beds, the third bedroom is designed for children or friends travelling together. Unlike the two masters, the third bathroom only features a shower.
Each villa also features its own kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances. Though some guests might enjoy preparing a meal while on holiday, others can rely on the dedicated personal chef to whip up their desired fare.
There’s also a butler assigned to each villa to care for every last request. When I toured the Frangipani Villa, the butler was setting up a DJ system at the request of the arriving party (quite literally and figuratively).
The 24-hour service team can also drive you around the resort at your convenience in a dedicated golf cart.
Home by The Ocean Club
While renting a villa is one of the most luxurious ways to experience the Bahamas, Home by The Ocean Club takes the experience to a whole new level.
With the pandemic-related drop in demand, several hotels worldwide have introduced “work-from-vacation” packages, billed as extended stays with extra perks for those who are now working remotely.
With Home by The Ocean Club, this Four Seasons property is the latest to join the party, and its extended-stay offering is easily one of the most exclusive (and expensive) worldwide.
Billed as the ultimate work-from-home package, the resort will do anything it can to replicate your daily routine while spending multiple weeks in paradise.
Some of the services the hotel has recently arranged for its long-term guests include private chefs, daily personal training sessions and tutors for children participating in remote learning.
The resort manager, Kristen Whyly, promises that he will remove every possible barrier there might be to living at the resort. Whether it’s your preferred type of cereal or doing your laundry on a certain day, Home by The Ocean Club is designed to mimic your at-home routine while in paradise.
Your pre-arrival concierge will even deck out the villa with as many family photos as you’d like.
If you decide to splurge for an extended-stay package, you’ll receive a discount on the rack rate that varies depending on the dates and length of stay. There are no room category requirements for the long-term-stay package, but the hotel recommends selecting a suite or villa for added personal space.
The Ocean Club amenities and safety precautions
All the hotel amenities are currently open and available to those indulging in a multi-week holiday.
Perhaps the most iconic amenity is the Versailles Garden and accompanying cloisters, designed in the 1960s by the then-owner to lure Hollywood celebrities and business bigwigs to the hotel.
The resort features three pools: one perched at the oceanside, one nestled in the Versailles Gardens and one by the tennis courts designed for young children.
Both the spa and gym are open, with the latter offering a COVID-friendly outdoor workout area with a range of free weights and benches.
Ocean Club guests are invited to use the facilities and water park at the nearby Atlantis mega-resort, making a great day in the sun, especially for children and teenagers.
Though you could theoretically eat every meal in your villa, Dune by Jean Georges is located just a few steps away, offering both indoor and outdoor seating.
The restaurant is open daily from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. and serves a variety of locally inspired dishes, along with some Jean Georges classics, like the broccoli and kale salad or the crispy rice salmon roll.
The Ocean Club is taking guest safety seriously. All visitors arriving in the Bahamas must apply for an entry visa after receiving a negative PCR test within five days of arrival, a process I found particularly straightforward.
Guests staying five or more nights must also take a rapid antigen test on day five before being allowed to continue their holiday.
Like all Four Seasons properties worldwide, The Ocean Club has adopted the Lead with Care anti-coronavirus initiative. Guests are required to wear masks in all public areas, temperatures are taken upon arrival and at breakfast each morning and much more.
Additionally, the hotel is footing the bill for weekly testing for every staff member, ensuring that the property remains a safe destination for all guests.
With its industry-leading COVID precautions, The Ocean Club offers some of the most luxurious and safest beachside accommodations money can buy. Whether it’s the three-bedroom villa or an extended work-from-home package, well-heeled travellers can’t go wrong at The Ocean Club.
And for everyone else, there’s always Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts programme, offering extra perks on stays at nearly 1,100 of the world’s top hotels, including The Ocean Club.
All photos by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
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