THE BAHAMAS – Paradise Island, The One & Only Ocean Club // Casino Royale (2006)
Luxury is definitely a word that comes to mind when thinking about the Bahamas. But after a visit to the One & Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island the words delicious, overwhelming and, well, bondesque have to be added!
Why Bond was here
In Casino Royale, 007 (Daniel Craig) is on the heels of infamous financier of international terrorism Le Chiffre. Unfortunately – tough not accidentally – he kills the only guy, who might have a connection to Le Chiffre. But Bond has his cell phone! And on it is a text message, that leads to a Le Chiffre associate based on the Bahamas. Bond does, what a Bond does: rips off the guy at a poker tournament hold at the One & Only Ocean Club, gets his car and drives off with his wife.
The One & Only Ocean Club is situated on Paradise Island, a small glittering outpost north of Nassau. If you didn’t won a car gamble for yourself, there are two ways to get to Paradise Island, either by boat or by driving over Atlantis Bridge, that connects Paradise Island with Nassau.
During daytime, the ferries are the cheapest option. They operate between 9am and 6pm, leaving every 30 minutes, from Prince George Wharf to Paradise Island Ferry Terminal.
When driving, the bridge can be reached via minibus – locally known as Jitney. Take No. 1, 3, 19 or 21 – driving between Bay Street and Marathon Mall – or No. 4, 5, 6, 11A, 12 or 15 – between Bay Street to Town Center Mall – and just ask for a stop at the beginning of the bridge. No busses are allowed to drive over the bridge, only taxis or rental cars. That means, whatever the transportation in the beginning – it comes down to a cab in the end.
Opting for a cab – which is the best option in the evening – try to call the headquaters of the Cab Union in advance. Stopping a cab on the way, make sure not to pay more than eleven dollar (US-$ and Bahamian-$ have the same value) from downtown, about 15$ from Cable Beach and 30$ from Bond-famous Love Beach. Drivers normally refuse to use their taximeter, but don’t hesitate to ask anyway.
Good to know
Staying at the One & Only Ocean Club is one hell of a luxury with its private beach in all-white sand and a more-than-feel-good spa just to name a few. The only flaw: it’s a bit off the party-center in Downtown Nassau. Another option to check out the place – and a delicious one – is opting for one of the restaurants residing at the Ocean Club.
While the Library – which had been transformed into the casino area for the filming of Casino Royale – only serves in the daytime and the Clubhouse entertains the guests of the near-by Golf Course, the Courtyard Terrace offers dining under the stars with a menu featuring lobster and Wagyu Beef. Restaurant Dune serves all day. It is famous for its fusion kitchen mixing French, Italian and Bahamian delicacies cooked by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Further on, the waiters are glad to bring you a Martini mixed at the nearby bar.
However, the frugal option would be to stroll around in the flamboyant Versailles-inspired garden of the One & Only Ocean Club. To keep it real, the hotel shipped original old-century statues and an Augustinian cloister from France to built them up again piece by piece on the shores of Paradise Island – an extravaganza along the lines of a Bond villain.
What’s there else to say then: Wohooooo! We spent our last Bahamian night at the Ocean’s Club restaurant “Dune” with tasty Italian food and – of course – Martinis. They know how to shake the real Fleming-invented “Vesper”. Or as they call it: a “Casino Royale”. Booking ahead is definitely recommended – but coming a little bit ahead of time gives the opportunity to wander around the beautiful club.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3), © 2006 United Artists Corporation and Danjaq, LLC. (2)