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17 May

Is The Bahamas The New Montauk?

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By 3:30 p.m. last Friday I was bikini-clad, snacking on guacamole and plantain chips while sipping a Pina Colada on a reclined lounge chair, looking out at the crystal clear water of Paradise Island. I had left New York at midday.

This is what One&Only Ocean Club, a luxury hotel resting on 35 secluded acres across a stretch of white sandy beaches, hopes you will remember the next time you’re stuck in traffic trying to get to Montauk this summer.

Olivia Fleming
Olivia Fleming

With an enticing tagline (Welcome to Paradise, reads the website), I was genuinely curious: could the glamour of the Bahamas overtake Montauk—with its hip A-list-frequented staples like The Surf Lodge and Gurneys—as the favorite beach destination for stylish New Yorkers—those tired of Long Island’s traffic and the seaside hotel rooms that all seem to be booked out by April? Not to mention the Jitney, and the less-than-appealing Atlantic Ocean.

Some of New York’s most prominent models and fashion designers certainly think so. Jonathan Simkhai launched his new swimwear collection in the Bahamas, with guests including Julia Restoin Roitfeld and Caroline Vreeland; and we all saw Bella Hadid’s extravagant Bahamas vacation with Elsa Hosk and Emily Ratajkowski.

Olivia Fleming
Olivia Fleming
Olivia Fleming
Olivia Fleming

So I packed my favorite Lonely Label swimsuits and set off for the three-hour direct flight from JFK. My compatriots and I (a mix of models, creatives and writers) were picked up from Nassau Island’s Lynden Pindling International Airport by an SUV (already better than the Jitney), and arrived at the hotel 30 minutes later for a Wellness Weekend with Bandier’s Studio B trainer, Amanda Kloots. Good-looking couples ate lunch poolside and fashionable kids hung out on hammocks dotted around the property while I perused the menu at Dune, the hotel’s onsite Jean Georges restaurant.

The weekend’s itinerary included a pedicure and massage at the hotel’s dreamy outdoor Balinese-inspired spa, a paddle board session, and daily workouts with Kloots.

Olivia Fleming
Olivia Fleming
Olivia Fleming
Olivia Fleming

Most mornings I asked my personal butler (yes, each room has an on-call butler) to bring a green superfood smoothie to my room before walking the 200 feet to the beach, before ordering fish tacos and coconut sorbet to my ocean-side lounge chair for lunch. After sunset we relaxed over cocktails at the famed Martini Bar. (James Bond’s film Casino Royale was filmed at the hotel, as was The Other Woman.)

I flew out on Monday morning arriving at my desk with salty beach-waved hair and a few more freckles, just in time for my first meeting.

One&Only Ocean Club’s all inclusive Summer Friday Wellness Weekends run from June 16-19, July 7-10, and August 11-14. Prices start at $1,265 a night, email partner@oneandonlyoceanclub.com.

Hannah Kim
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