Off the coast of the Bahama’s North Eleuthera lies Harbour Island, a tropical utopia of pastel-painted houses framed by lush bougainvillea, roosters running wild and pink-sand beaches with truly turquoise waters. With its well-heeled crowd and stylish shops, the Bahamian destination is unequivocally chic, and its charm is steeped in history and customs—like the nightly ritual of a sunset ‘Goombay Smash’ cocktail by the beach. In a place that celebrates tradition with such easy deference, it’s big news when anything opens on the island. And it’s even more exciting when it’s the Bahama House, a stylish boutique gem from the luxury adventure specialists, Eleven Experience.
Chad Pike, an executive with Blackstone in London, founded Eleven Experience in 2011 with the aim of serving those he deems ‘adventure capitalists’: high-end travelers with an intrepid attitude and passion for the outdoors. (Fun fact: The brand’s name comes from the film Spinal Tap, which features volume amplifiers increasing to level 11, instead of 10.) Pike opened the company’s inaugural property, Scarp Ridge Lodge, in the Colorado ski town of Crested Butte, where guests enjoy 1,000 acres of back-country terrain. Two other properties in and near Crested Butte have since opened, as well as a chalet in the French Alps, a lodge in a remote pocket of northern Iceland, a canal house in Amsterdam and, most recently, this Bahama House in Harbour Island, which opened in January 2017.
Related: Harbour Island: Back to Basics
Design inspiration lies at every turn of the property, which feels like a mash-up of 1950’s Palm Beach and French Polynesia. Pike’s wife, Blake, took charge of the interior aesthetics with the help of her design firm, Number 12, and created an invincibly warm, authentic and exotic dwelling with exquisite accommodations and common spaces. Each guest room is unique, all furniture is either bespoke or vintage and artwork is sourced from the owners’ personal collection. Pineapple-printed wallpaper might serve as the backdrop to a rattan-upholstered loveseat, while in the bedroom, a floral fuchsia headboard framed by rose-colored lamps anchors an impossibly comfortable bed. Technology is seamlessly incorporated into the rooms with tablets to control the lighting and air-conditioning, and AirPlay to play anything from your phone (for those not keen on the Toots & The Maytals music playing softly in the background). Bathrooms are outfitted with hand-stamped Costa Rican concrete tiles, chic brass fixtures and full-sized MALIN+GOETZ products. There is no need to pack any toiletries, as everything from floss to sunscreen is provided.
Typically, however, this little gem in the Bahamas has been known as a haven for those looking to escape. At the beach (a quick bicycle or golf cart ride from the property), the staff has created a charming set-up with retro wooden lounge chairs and boogie boards, and Yeti tote bags stocked with icy Kalik beer. Here, facing the bright aquamarine sea, toes in the astonishingly pink sand, it’s nearly impossible not to unwind and embrace that deliciously slow Bahamian pace.
Contact Indagare for assistance planning a vacation to the Bahama House. Our specialists can book you at the hotel that is right for you and plan great meals and activities.
Related: Harbour Island Escape
Who Should Go: Design-lovers and relaxed families and couples looking for a boutique hotel on a quietly chic island with a real sense of place.
Who Should Not Go: Anyone who prefers staying at a property with direct beach access.
When to Go: February through early May draws a predominantly North American crowd with its pleasant and consistent weather. After Easter and until July, the destination becomes more popular with Europeans. The months of August, September and October are the island’s off-season and most hotels and restaurants are closed. Weather can be windy in December.
Getting There: Guests fly into North Eleuthera by way of Miami, Fort Lauderdale or Nassau and take a five-minute taxi ride to the dock, followed by a five-minute boat ride to Harbour Island. Good to Know: A golf cart is a must for getting around the island, and should be booked as soon as hotel accommodations are reserved.