By Roger Cox, Editor
The Ocean Club dates to 1962, when Huntington Hartford II, heir to the A&P fortune and former member of the Harvard tennis squad, bought an estate perched behind five miles of white-sand beach on then sparsely developed Hog Island off Nassau in the Bahamas. Renaming it Paradise Island, he soon transformed it into a tony little resort hideaway for his A-list friends, adding a jazzy pools, formal Versailles-inspired gardens, and a terraced tennis club with a Colonial-style clubhouse and what are now six serene Har-Tru courts bordered by ficus and palms.
In the intervening years, Paradise Island has changed drastically—its Club Med came and went and Atlantis altered the skyline with its phalanx of towers—but the Ocean Club, now a Four Seasons Resort, remains an oasis of tranquility, notable both for its attentive service and its stellar amenities, among them a spa and new oceanfront swimming pool. The lodging—in lowrise buildings scattered around the 14-acre property—ranges from garden- or ocean-view rooms and suites up to four-bedroom villas, the latter with private pools. They share such appointments as tropical furnishings and louvered doors out onto balconies or terraces. Champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries arrive each afternoon. None is far from the secluded beach—indeed, many open directly on it. Guests have access to the adjacent Tom Weiskopf-designed Ocean Club golf course, a tranquil spa, those terraced gardens, a 12-century Augustinian cloister, three swimming pools—one of them directly facing the beach—and world-class dining at Dune, a restaurant operated by Michelin-starred Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Pro Shop: 242-363-2501
Tennis remains a cherished amenity, its cachet derived from the long-serving local Leo Rolle. Born in Nassau, Bahamas, he parlayed his tennis skills to secure a spot on the Bahamian Davis Cup team. He first came to work for the Ocean Club in 1967 and now oversees its tennis operations. His list of clients is a Who's Who of the last five decades: the Shah of Iran, Bill Gates, Robert De Niro, Sidney Poitier, Richard Nixon, Joan Collins. He's mostly in demand, he says, for private lessons. "It's different than it was 30 or 40 years ago," he notes. "Guests don't seem to want to be set up to play with each other anymore. Now they want to play the professional so they can be sure they're going to get exactly what they're after."Courts & Fees. 6 Har-Tru courts, 3 with lights. Court fees: Complimentary to guests.
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Travel Instructions. The is 20 miles from Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS).
General Tourist Information. For general information about travel to the Bahamas, visit the Islands of the Bahamas website.