Simple Pleasures: Harbour Island, Bahamas

Story: The first time I touched down at North Eleuthera Airport, I was picked up by hotelier Ben Simmons who arrived in a slick Axopar motorboat. Cutting through the turquoise blue waters, we headed for the secluded The Other Side hotel.

Calling The Other Side a resort feels like an insult. It has been referred to as “glamping”, “a luxury shack” and the like, but not one of these monikers come close to conveying the charm of this under-the-radar beach camp on Eleuthera’s northern coast.

It’s easy to recalibrate from worldly excesses here; there’s no TV, no distractions, no pointless high-tech toys, no drama. To stay at The Other Side feels like being on a private island. A handful of solar-powered beach tents and hillside shacks are interspersed among swaying palms and an organic vegetable garden. It’s just you, barefoot walks from grass to sand, and endless relaxation.

From The Other Side Ben took me across the bay to Harbour Island, known among locals as Briland, where he and his partner Charlotte Phelan own The Ocean View Club. Days here were spent embracing Harbour Island life. We enjoyed breakfast at The Landing restaurant, driving golf carts like pros, devouring lobster quesadillas at Sip Sip and spending time on Dunmore beach watching blue-and-white striped parasols dancing in the breeze.

I am not quite sure how to describe my love affair with Harbour Island. It’s a mix of gratitude, awe and a sensation as if entering a parallel universe. Somehow you fall into the life of others, and your heart beats in tandem with the slow pace of Bahamian life.

Since my first visit to Harbour Island I have been back three times – and each time I return it feels as if I never left. As I snorkel with turtles and dance the Junkanoo, I realise that this island has become both something of an addiction and a second home. Simple pleasures such as riding a golf cart by bougainvillea bushes or passing beneath coconut-laden palms satisfy the soul. Life is good in the Bahamas.

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