WHY NOW: The lazy, hazy days of summer are here, and it’s time to be lazy somewhere else—like the sexy, pink sand beaches surrounding the long, skinny Bahamian island of Eleuthera. It’s an easy hop from Dallas, and, if you’re smart, you’ll skip the Miami connection and change planes in Fort Lauderdale. Either way, you can reach the island within six hours. ULTIMATE ESCAPE: Eleuthera is fringed with seductive beaches, peppered with pineapple plantations and serene colonial villages, and home to a welcoming, lazy lifestyle. But we say skip the crowds in Harbour Island and melt into the spirit of Eleuthera at The Cove, where the turquoise water is as clear as gin and the only sounds you’re likely to hear are the gentle splash of a wave and the clink of ice in your Goombay Smash, a deliciously dangerous concoction that includes pineapple juice, a ridiculous amount of various rums, and apricot brandy. The tasty drink is whipped up in the hotel bar by Wallace Sands, the best bartender in the Caribbean. AWAY FROM THE CROWDS: The Cove is only a 20-minute drive from the wildly popular Harbour Island, where rich and famous folks like Elle McPherson, Billy Joel, and Jack Nicholson party in the trendy nightclubs and expensive, swanky hotels. But it’s light years away from the hustle and bustle of sputtering motorcycles, spilling drinks, and booming disco music. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. From the cozy confines of The Cove, you can sea kayak, snorkel, bone or deep sea fish, dive, play tennis, ride bikes, or swim in the pool that overlooks the sea. ROOMS WITH VIEWS: The Cove sits atop a rock outcropping that juts into the sea, affording spectacular sunrise and sunset views. Two special rooms, the Point House and Sunset Point Suite, sit on the cliff at the far end of the peninsula, and the patios of both are perfect observation stations at dawn or dusk. The remaining newly redecorated 24 rooms, located in huts along the shore, also have ocean views, 600-thread-count sheets, and—here’s the best deal—no phones or TVs. GETTING OUT AND ABOUT: If people-watching is your thing, head over to Harbour Island and gaze away. The Blue Bar at the Pink Sands Hotel offers a great Bahamian lobster salad and lovely views of the wide beach and frolicking surf. Then rent a golf cart and hit the highlights of Dunmore Town on Harbour Island, the oldest and most charming town in the Bahamas. You’ll pass pastel cottages covered in pink and purple bougainvillea, vendors selling handmade straw bags, upscale boutiques, and down-home bars. Just watch out for stray chickens.
800-552-5962 or www.thecoveeleuthera.com. Rates: from $195 per night
How To Get There
US Airways (800-622-1015; www.usairways.com) or Continental (800-231-0856; www.continental.com) fly nonstop from DFW to Miami or Fort Lauderdale airports. From there, you can connect to North Eleuthera Airport. The Cove will arrange transfer to the hotel.
Life Imitates Art
Not unlike Norman Paperman and Lester Atlas in Herman Wouk’s 1965 novel Don’t Stop the Carnival, Dallas commercial real estate developer Scott Bumpas and his wife Leslie were vacationing in Harbour Island in 2003 when they put a contract on a hotel. Then they called good friends Ann and George Hartley, former Dallasites who now live in Seagrove, Florida. After the foursome planned a celebratory trip to the new property during Easter weekend, Bumpas’ deal fell through, leaving them homeless.
The foursome ended up at the “well-worn” Cove Eleuthera Resort. After several rounds of Goombay Smashes with the Cove’s owners, Bumpas and Hartley made the deal that would turn them into real-life Wouk characters. “We asked the wives if either brought a checkbook,” George says. “We wrote up a hand-written agreement and left the next day as owners.” Five days later, the place was hit by Hurricane Frances; not long after that, Hurricane Jeanne.
“Everything that happened to Norman and Atlas has happened to us,” Scott says.
Unlike the book, The Cove is a success story. But when you visit, take it easy on the Goombay Smashes, and leave your checkbook at home.