If you’re looking for a laid back weekend (and I know you are), you should consider the Grand Lacayan the Grand Bahama Islands. I’ve just returned and can honestly say that it’s extremely relaxing and a solid, clean resort on a beautiful stretch of land. I spent my days lounging on the beach, wading in the sea, exercising and getting a facial at the resort’s spa, sipping cocktails during sunset on the beach, swimming in the three pools, munching on Caribbean cuisine and reading and writing. As a result, I came back well-rested and ready to take on whatever comes my way. That’s what travel does to you – it empowers you, it invigorates you, and my visit certainly did just that.
Having just returned, here’s a short list of what I recommend on your next trip to the Grand Lucayan.
About the hotel:
Located less than 70 miles from the coast of Florida, the hotel is nearby secluded beachfront, wildlife habitats, tropical gardens, charming neighborhoods and has plenty to see and do. Set on 7.5 acres of lush beaches and land that boasts palm tress and other local foliage, the Grand Lucayan offers 740 guest rooms and suites. The renovated rooms are comfortable and breezy with ocean views. They offer 24-hour room service, a nearby Kids Club (at Memories, a new hotel next door), a daily activities schedule, a life- sized chess board, three pools, a hammock, a jacuzzi and a swim-up bar. They also offer a full-service spa, a golf course, a tennis course and nearby shopping.
White Sand Beaches:
The beach at the Grand Lucayan offers white sands and crystal clear water. Kids will spend hours building sand castles, riding the waves and or you can choose an ocean activity, from snorkeling to sea-kayaking. Or you can hit a nearby beach. Gold Rock is secluded and especially good to visit during low tide. From the Grand Lucayan, it can be reached by tour bus or rental car and offers opportunities for picnic. North of the beach, across the road are the Lucayan Caverns, the world’s longest underground surveyed cave system, another experience for the entire family.
Swimming with the Dolphins:
Directly across the street from the Grand Lucayan is UNEXSO, the Underwater Explorers Society, which offers professionally led dolphin experiences. Children must be at least 55 inches tall to swim with the dolphins but younger kids can do the “Encounter” experience. The company takes tour goers by boat to a protected lagoon about 20 minutes away from the port to meet a group of Atlantic dolphins. There they demonstrate how the dolphins are fed, how to stroke their skin, have them swim around the group and get a kiss from the dolphins. They also do tricks that will dazzle the kids. For older kids and parents who choose to the swimming experience, they you can dive and move around the pool, playing with the well-trained dolphins. This is an experience you can’t replicate anywhere else on the island.
Cycling Around the Island:
You can rent bicycles or scooters at the Port Lucaya Marketplace. Both are very affordable. You can take a bike for $10 for two hours. It’s a wonderful way to experience local color, riding by their red leafed trees, Royal Poincianas, and natives. You will ride through local neighborhoods to see how suburban Bahamian life is and you can ride to local beaches for a swim and picnic.
Take a stroll through the Garden of the Groves, an 11-acre botanical garden full of lush vegetation, waterfalls, ponds and fountains. Kids will enjoy running through the Labyrinth, learning about 10,000 species of plants, bird watching, playing in the playground or petting zoo or wandering through the hanging garden or banana plantation. The Garden Café and Baralso is a great place to stop for lunch.
Shopping and Dining:
Port Lucaya Marketplace is a waterfront shopping centre directly across the street from the Grand Lucayan. It has over 80 boutiques, vendors and restaurants and is a good place to pick up gifts or local art (it’s important to remember that sales tax is included in all your purchases). Located on the water, it’s also good for kids to run around or you can take a boat ride from the pier. There is also a variety of restaurants from Greek to Bahamian to American to Chinese to Italian to Mexican and more, as well as a home made ice-cream parlor. Don’t leave the island without trying the local specialty, yummy conch! After a long day out, it may be easier to dine in, in which case the Grand Lucayan has several casual options, from Iries (delicious Caribbean food) to China Grill.
Have I tempted you? You can book a trip for $125 a night and kids stay and eat FREE. Plus, for stays of 3 nights or longer, receive a $250 resort credit for use during your stay.
Book by August 15, 2014 and travel through September, 2014.
Disclosure: I received complimentary airfare and daily breakfast, but paid for everything else. All opinions are my own.