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Surprised? I Had Thoroughly Delightful Time with R&R and Culture in Nassau, the Bahamas

Surprised? I Had Thoroughly Delightful Time with R&R and Culture in Nassau, the Bahamas

Jan 3rd, 2001, 11:23 AM
  #1  
Daniel Williams
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Surprised? I Had Thoroughly Delightful Time with R&R and Culture in Nassau, the Bahamas

Hello there.

I'll admit to everybody that I was worried as my planned first-time trip to Nassau, the Bahamas was approaching. Some people on this forum had derided the island as a tourist trap, with unfriendly locals. Certain didn't like the hotel I had booked. Yet others told me I should pick another island if I wanted culture.

Since Nassau is more within my budget than other islands and I wanted my first West Indian experience, off I trudged anyway. My hotel, the Orange Hill Beach Inn in my opinion, was an absolute delight. We had a gorgeous ocean view from our room and balcony; the beach here was quite extensive...we could walk around 20 minutes or so to the west on white sand and wade in the beautiful turquoise waters; some days walking the entire stretch of beach we would see nobody on the beach, the most we ever saw was 6 others. Out Islands without the price tag but closer to amenities, I thought to myself. My Mother, an avid birdwatcher was in bird heaven with the plethora of gorgeous birds including the yellow-bellied warbler and ruby-throated emerald-backed hummingbird that would feed on the plantain trees and trumpet flowers (respectively) right on the grounds. The proprietress Judy was incredibly warm and bent over backwards to make my parents and I feel at home. The hotel is quite popular with Europeans, who tend to prefer independent travel over all-inclusive. The hotel is not for everyone though---I would recommend this hotel for those who want to relax, get sun, walk on the beach, socialize at their homey bar; those who need to be near the casinos, nightlife, or want standard Sheraton/ Radissonesque ambience, go elsewhere. This place has wickerwork and a little library for guests to browse in.

Orange Hill is located 8 miles west of downtown. Stopping right in front of the Orange Hill property was jitney #10 which took us to Compass Point or to the grocery store, Cable Beach or downtown. I highly recommend Bahamian Kitchen downtown on Trinity Place, whose grouper fingers and peas 'n rice were incredibly tasty. Service here came with a friendly smile and although somewhat slow as we had been told, was served in perfectly satisfactory time (I hadn't even finished my beer!). The conch soup at Travellers Rest just west of Orange Hill was delicious as was their Smudder Grouper. The above dishes are distinctly Bahamian, as is Conch fritters, which although fried and rich, I quite enjoyed.

I was afraid downtown Nassau and New Providence as a whole would be so Americanized as not to be Caribbean in feel at all. Interestingly, when we went into town on Thursday during the work week, the city felt very Caribbean, with a high Bahamian-tourist (3:1) ratio. On Saturday, when 4 cruise ships were docked, Nassau felt more like a tourist trap...the difference was almost shocking to observe. It seemed that tourists outnumbered Bahamians 10:1!! One thing I recommend for those seeking Bahamian culture; FLY or ferry in, don't take a cruise ship! Downtown Nassau is definitely worth a quick visit; after the main strips (Prince George's Wharf, Bay St.) go and see some of the beautiful churches and government buildings! Beware that not all roads have sidewalks even close to Bay St. and you may need to walk on the side of the road single-file to get to some places (notably the Post Office and Queen's Staircase).

The weather ranged from low to high 70s. We lay out by the pool all days but one (Dec. 27-Jan. 2), with shirts off when the sun was not behind clouds. My father and I swam in the ocean 2 days, but some people I know would not have liked it (water temp 75, air temp 70-75). At night, sweaters were a must every night.

I had a great time.



 
Jan 3rd, 2001, 11:28 AM
  #2  
Daniel Williams
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One last word! Correction: My Father swam in the ocean 5 days out of 7, not two. And thanks to Tweedy and others who advised me to go to Orange Hill and Nassau.
 
Jan 12th, 2001, 09:26 PM
  #3  
gail
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Daniel I am so glad you had a great time. I often stay at Orange Hill on my way over to Harbour Island and have always enjoyed my stay. Judy and Danny are very warm and welcoming.

Glad I could be of help. Next trip you might want to explore one of the "Family Islands" to get more of a feel for the Bahamas.

Goombay, (Bahamian greeting)

tweedy
 
Jan 15th, 2001, 11:45 AM
  #4  
Daniel Williams
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Hi Tweedy

I have to tell you that it was your enthusiasm for Orange Hill Beach Inn that solidified my decision to choose the hotel. And I really can't thank you enough; Orange Hill particularly suited my Mom and Dad. My Mom appreciates a more homey B&B environment; she also loves to birdwatch as mentioned and take long walks on the beach, but doesn't particularly like crowds. She found she far preferred Orange Hill to the ambience we saw at Compass Point (too enclosed) and some of the Cable Beach properties (too name-and-number). She would chat with Judy most days and chopped vegetables for the New Years bash they throw.

My Dad, a former journalist and consul in England, Kenya, Ethiopia and Nigeria, enjoyed the world-travelling English/ continental European/ American/ Bahamian mix at the bar at night. As some would tell stories of diving expeditions and lobster fishing tales, my Dad would interject with some of his own stories (he loves to show off, sometimes to my embarrassment).

What we all appreciated about the inn was that people seemed to love it so much they would come back time and again. One German couple I met had been there 7 or so times, two Southern couples came every other month and had been at least 20 times they said! Guests seemed to know one another and mingle freely.

I appreciated that the jitneys came right by so I could explore the city without messing with renting a car!

What a great place to have a peaceful, relaxing vacation! Thanks again!

DAN
 
Jan 16th, 2001, 04:21 PM
  #5  
gail
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Thanks again, Dan I am glad I could help. Next vacation I would suggest going to Orange Hill and then to one of the out islands, like Harbour Island. There are several nice places to stay similar to Orange Hill. There are several good restaurants and some nite life.

Please give my best to your folks and again I am so glad you had a good time.

tweedy
 

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