Beachfront pool at The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas

The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort
Paradise Island, Bahamas


The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort has since the 1960s been a paragon of Caribbean island luxury, captivating discerning travellers drawn by its serene beauty, impeccable service and idyllic location on Paradise Island. Originally opened in 1962, this storied retreat has hosted an array of illustrious guests – from Hollywood stars to royalty – and continues to impress those looking to kick back and enjoy sterling Bahamian hospitality.

The Ocean Club, today a Four Seasons Resort, boasts a rich history that has helped cement its reputation as among the most iconic luxury getaways in the Caribbean. First envisioned by the son of grocery mogul Huntington Hartford II (following in the footsteps of the Rockefellers and Rothschilds who were also using their wealth to buy up land in the Caribbean Sea for leisure and tourism), he purchased a significant portion of Paradise Island and transformed it into an exclusive enclave for the rich and famous.

His vision for the place drew inspiration from old-world European elegance, particularly the classical architecture and manicured gardens of Versailles featuring tiered terraces, stone statues, and a striking 12th-century Augustinian cloister, which Hartford imported from France, a folly of epic proportions. He built his resort around these extraordinary gardens, attracting A-listers from all worlds and industries; and over decades it has grown further in size and infamy.

There is something indescribable about the feeling of arriving at the Ocean Club. While grand in its architecture, sprawling manicured gardens (with vibrant bougainvillaea, tranquil lily ponds, and statuesque palm trees) and breathtaking views of the azure ocean, it immediately made us feel relaxed, down-paced and wanting to disconnect from our tech. Inevitably, the Caribbean does that on its own accord, but the Ocean Club makes it all the more special.

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While you’re Out There
Spending the festive period in the sunshine of the Bahamas is a unique way to celebrate the end of the year and start the new. If you are interested in experiencing The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort at that time, plan well in advance. Beyond the typical celebrations, it also coincides with ‘Junkanoo’, a tradition that originated in the communities of African chattel slaves before emancipation. Today a festival and vibrant display of costumed dancers and musicians, Bahamians celebrate their heritage in costumes, music, dance and drumming to much fanfare. It also doubles as one of the nation’s fiercest competitions as celebrants vie to win best-in-show across categories. The apexes of the festivals are held on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

On its grounds, there are three distinct swimming pools. There’s the Family Pool (which we stayed well away from), with cascading waterfalls and shaded cabanas. The Versailles Pool, surrounded by elegant statues and lush greenery, offers a serene, adults-only sanctuary. We had the whole place to ourselves and found it the perfect, quiet place to escape with a book. Perhaps that is because it is overshadowed by the incredibly popular, infinity The Ocean Pool, positioned right up on the beach with a killer view. Naturally, all and sundry gravitated here (and its adjacent Pool Terrace Café) – with some very loud children in tow – which unfortunately broke the spell of tranquillity. Thankfully there were many other peaceful spaces to escape to, including the property’s lobby lounge, courtyard and of course, our room.

Our Ocean View Room in the Hartford Wing featured interiors by New York-based design studio Jeffrey Beers, offering a blend of mid-century elegance and island-inspired charm. Soft shades of white, cream, and beige dominate the space, creating a serene atmosphere. These muted tones are complemented by rich textures and materials, including natural wood, stone, and woven elements, as well as splashes of colour: ocean blue and coral, adding depth and a tactile quality to the space. Want to splurge? There are some spellbinding private villas and retreats, with their own plunge pools on offer as well.

We dined at Dune, the resort’s signature restaurant helmed by Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, which served up a tantalizing fusion of French-Asian cuisine with a Bahamian twist, all in a casual, romantic oceanfront setting.

Despite its many charms, the Ocean Club is not immune to wear and tear. While the resort’s historic allure remains intact, certain parts show signs of ageing. Especially in the public areas (though impeccably clean and well-maintained) we found elements that felt weathered and in need of a facelift.

You’d expect this from a resort of this age to some extent, but the juxtaposition of newly refreshed areas against those still awaiting renovation is a reminder of the resort’s ongoing evolution. The bulk of renovations were done in 2017 (and thankfully the Bahamas escaped the worst of Hurricane Irma), but we have it on good authority there are some exciting new developments to come. In the meantime, guests should be aware of its gradual refurbishment process and understand that the resort is on a promising path of renewal, reflecting a strong commitment to maintaining its legacy while meeting the evolving expectations of today’s OutThere travellers.

Photography courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

At OutThere, we believe in boundless travel. But we understand that some destinations can pose challenges to travellers that complicate visiting them. We advise all visitors to inform themselves about local legislation and customs, and to work with a trusted travel provider in order to ensure a safe and pleasant holiday.

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