Friday, July 1, 2011

Lucky in Love - Wyndham Nassau Resort

Soaring past the past five million mark, arrivals to the Bahamas hit a high note in 2010 with this year looking just as rosy.  Whether it’s Nassau and Paradise Island, Abaco Islands, Exuma Islands or Harbour Island, a holiday is, indeed, better in the Bahamas. A quick forty-five minute flight from Miami or three hours from New York City, the Bahamas are the perennial favourite of vacationers who covet an evening under the stars or an active day on the water. US pre-clearance at the airport makes the return trip a breeze with no further inspection upon landing back in the United States.   From Blackbeard and white beaches to glorious sunsets and spirited casinos, there is something for everyone on more than 700 islands and 2,000 cays.
                                            Abaco Beach  (credit: Bahamas Tourism )
Sitting pretty in the heart of Cable Beach, Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino is one-stop shopping for an amorous getaway.  With the tallest tower on Cable Beach, the 559 rooms including thirty six penthouse suites marry island ambience with modern amenities. Wall-to-wall sliding glass doors welcome the ocean breeze while private balconies overlooking the Atlantic Ocean are ideal for a sunrise breakfast or an après dinner nightcap. “Weddings are an important niche market for us “says Joe Eustice, general manager, “our team of planners organize everything from the music, food and photos to a bonfire on the beach.”
                                          GM Joe Eustice takes five at the Wyndham Nassau Resort
                                             (Credit: M. Reffes)

Nine restaurants and lounges, a pool with humongous rock formations, seawater swimming lagoon, snorkelling, parasailing and kayaking tempt during the day while the Crystal Palace Casino with four hundred slot machines, forty table games and the area’s only sports book is inviting when the sun sets. “Lovebirds like to tempt Lady Luck with a pull at a slot machine or a good hand at a table, “smiles Arnold Cargill, casino shift manager as he teaches the fine art of blackjack to tourists from Miami.
Wyndham Nassau has a pool to suit every water baby !
(credit: Wyndham Resorts)

                                          Penthouse suites ooze luxury at the Wyndham Nassau
                                                (credit: M. Reffes)
Chew Love                  
Hovering over the kitchen like he’s cooking for royalty, executive Chef Stephen Quigg has more than a quarter century of experience under his white apron.  Fresh from a stint at Sandals Whitehouse in Jamaica, this gastronomic whirling dervish creates unique menus that blend Asian, Italian, French, Caribbean and American flavors. A graduate of Toronto’s George Brown College; Chef Stephen honed his culinary skills in Bermuda at The Reefs Resort and Wyndham Bermuda Resort.

Chef Stephen Quigg is a culinary whiz in the kitchen
(Credit: M. Reffes)

Not for the faint of appetite, Black Angus Grille with its signature selection of steaks, prime rib and delectable sides are worth the splurge.  A treasure trove for the taste buds, blackened conch is big enough to share and too good to miss. Caesar salad made fresh at the table is not to be missed and for special occasions, ask for Chef Tiffany to whip up one of her sinfully sweet chocolate soufflés. “For the garlic in the salad, a bowl of strawberries and whipped cream is the perfect remedy, “ advises Chef Tiffany who recommends “honeymooners book a private dinner table right on the beach . “
Fresh fruit galore at the Wyndham Nassau
(credit: M. Reffes )

Blackened conch at the Black Angus Grille
(Credit: M. Reffes)

For breakfast, the SeaSide buffet is flip-flop friendly and chock-a-block with American specialities and Bahamian dishes like Souse and Johnny cakes. For a light snack, Eat, Live Refresh is ideal for lighter appetites and the best coffee this side of Manhattan.
Conch in every shape and size is delectable at the sea view Tiki Hut and with a menu guaranteed to please; lunch is a fine affair with a burger to a grouper salad. For a fruity daiquiri, Da Daq Shaq is the must-try on the beach. Ask bartender Keith Farrington to shake (or stir) an extra potent daiquiri par excellence. At ‘’22 Above ‘’ ,aptly named for its locale high above the casino, a watermelon martini is heavenly while for those wanting to put a spring in their groovy gait, a local band entertains weekend nights at 9:30.
                                              Bartender Keith Farrington mixes one mean martini !
                                                   (Credit: M. Reffes)
“We’re giving the resort a new look with upgrades to be complete by October, “adds Joe Eustice, general manager, “ our check-in desk will be moved to the casino entrance of the resort and the rooms will get refreshed with modern bathrooms and amenities.” Originally built by Carnival Cruise lines in the 1980’s, the hotel oozes history at every turn. “We have some of the original staff working here, “added Joe Eustice, general manager, “and repeat business is big with families returning generation after generation. “
                                            Dinner at the Black Angus Grille is a must-ry at the Wyndham Nassau
                                               (credit: Wyndham Resorts)
The Big Blue
For a day on the open water, Stuart Cove’s is the go-to-spot for snorkelling tours, diving and waters skiing.  Experienced guides take guests on sunny excursions departing from the movie-famous dock that was built for the film Flipper which was filmed there in 1996. “Exploring the ocean is my passion, “instructor Ida Stjernstrom tells an eager boatload of tourists, “once you see the tropical fish and the sharks, you’ll be hooked just like I am. “
Sailing to the picturesque cays with stops to dive overboard, a day on the boat is what morphs a great vacation into a grand vacation. “: My favorite reef is Little Elvis, “explains Ullin Saunders, instructor, “an amazing array of parrot fish, blue tangs  and  even fire coral are waiting for us to join them.” Sailing past swanky Lyford Cay where Sean Connery has a home, instructor Ida says she has seen romance bloom on the boats. “We’ve had couples who marry underwater; they wear a mask with a microphone so they can say their vows or they sit fifty feet down on the ocean floor on a wreck called the Ray of Hope.”  Stuart Cove’s has an office at the Wyndham Nassau to make booking weddings a breeze.

Ullin Saunders loves his job teaching diving at Stuart Cove's. ( credit: M. Reffes)

Lyford Cay (credit: M. Reffes)

Underwater Weddings
(credit: Stuart Cove`s Dive Bahamas)


The Great Outdoors
An inexpensive jitney bus ($1.25 per person) can be flagged down right outside the resorts front door.  A fifteen minute ride to downtown Nassau is a great way to see the non-resort side of the island.  Although not in their new location yet, the Straw Market, close to the cruise pier,  invites with Bahama Mamas selling everything from t-shirts and shot glasses to handcrafted jewellery from conch shells and those iconic straw baskets.  Parallel to the market, Bay Street is stroll-worthy with many shops, boutiques, cafes, restaurants and the popular Pirate Ships of Nassau Museum that has a unique gift shop for the pirate fans in the crowd.  For history buffs, Christ Church Cathedral dates back to 1841, Fort Charlotte guards the entrance to the Harbour, Fort Fincastle was built in 1793 and Government House is the official residence of the Governor General.  Other sights worth a look-see include The National Art Gallery and the Caves on the western side of the island .
Straw Market in downtown Nassau
(credit: M. Reffes)

The Cruise Pier does a brisk business every day.
(credit: M. Reffes)

Saying I do
Bridal butlers make sure the bride and groom see each other only on the special day; a frosty cooler of local Kalik beer awaits the guys in the party while brides calm their nerves sipping daiquiris at Da Daq Shaq and lounging poolside. A four night package includes an ocean view room , breakfast pour deux, a bottle of bubbly, $100.00 food and drink credit, photo album  and resort fee and taxes.

Take the Wedding Plunge
(Credit: Wyndham Resorts)

For underwater weddings, Stuart Coves can arrange a ceremony presided over by the Island Preacha - – who is also a PADI-certified diver. With Caribbean reef sharks and a cornucopia of colourful fish as witnesses, couples can exchange vows in a magical underwater fantasyland.   Ceremonies include photos taken underwater with a high resolution camera.
The Nitty Gritty
Couples planning to marry in The Bahamas must present passports and additional photo ID. The groom must know his father’s full name and the couple must be residents of The Bahamas for 24 hours. The wedding planners at the Wyndham Nassau will take care of all the paperwork once the couple arrives.

The Bahamian sunset is postcard-perfect
(credit: Wyndham Resorts)

Stay in Touch  

-          30 -

1 comment: