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Bahaman capital and by far the country's busiest port, Nassau is busy with movement, sounds, colours and smells. Nassau has the lion's share of the Bahaman population, restaurants, shopping and this is also where you'll find some of the oldest Caribbean beach hotels. Some of these grand old dames still number on the list of the best places to stay in Nassau, but there are also a number of smaller, more stylish properties, and of course the large, modern resorts just outside of Nassau.
Founded by the British in 1650, Nassau is probably better known, historically, for its connection with piracy, and especially Blackbeard, who challenged British rule here. These days it is the visitor's hub for the Bahamas, what with the cruise port and airport, and it's known for its lively atmosphere and shopping, as much as for its stunning beaches.
Nassau is also home to a cheesy, but fun, pirate museum, the National Art Gallery, a zoo, several beautiful botanical gardens, some excellent markets, several impressive forts and the Atlantis Waterscape (on Paradise Island), a vast open-air aquarium. So there's plenty to do here. As well as every watersport you can imagine and every kind of place to eat and drink you might fancy.
If you Nassau is tempting you, you might also want to consider Cable Beach or Paradise Island, which have sort of become Nassau's glamorous, beachy suburbs.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Nassau range from charming apartments on Paradise Island to a historic five star property in the centre of town.
For a beach break
- The Compass Point Hotel is a collection of 18 funky Caribbean-style apartments with direct beach access. The Compass point also has a great beach bar and a fantastic restaurant which offers both Bahaman and international cuisine.
- The Cove Atlantis is the ultimate family resort with its own cinema, casino, beach, water park, and about every kind of watersport or resort activity you can imagine. The Cove Atlantis is also big - so there's a huge range when it comes to restaurants and bars, and several kid's clubs.
- The One & Only Ocean Club is a wonderfully family friendly luxury beach resort with plenty of opulence, but of the comfortable kind. They have all the facilities you need, plus secluded gardens and the opportunity to do a bit of sailing or swim with dolphins. There's also a superb kids club.
For a low key holiday
- The Orange Hill Beach Inn is a relaxed, friendly, 33 room inn, converted, in a very Caribbean style, from an orange plantation. There are rooms with small kitchens, but there's also a restaurant.
- The Paradise Harbour Club is a collection of apartments just behind their own marina. There are beautiful views, there's a pool, hot tub and sun terraces, and kitchens, but no restaurant.
For a taste of island life
- The Graycliff Hotel is a characterful spot, right in the centre of town. Rooms are packed with antique opulence, there are two pools, beautiful gardens and sun terrace plus a gym, spa, Bahamian restaurant, wine cellar and a cigar factory.
Still not sure which to book?
Best Hotels in Nassau
Paradise Harbour Club 23 rooms from $107Paradise Island, Bahamas
Charming apartments with marina. Rooms are colourful and bright, with tiled floors, large dining areas and full kitchens. Outdoor pool, sun terraces and hot tub. No restaurant, but groceries can be arranged by hotel. Superb views and good value for money.Beach Life - With its own marina, taking to the seas is effortless, as are watersports from nearby beaches and superb viewsSights nearby - Shopping in Bay Street in downtown NassauGreat walks - Through Bahamas National Trust gardensSailing - Hotel has its own marina
Orange Hill Beach Inn 33 rooms from $138Nassau, Bahamas
Beach front inn on former orange plantation. Rooms have pine furniture, tropical print fabrics and studios with small kitchens. Outdoor pool, sun terrace and lounge. Restaurant serves good Bahamian and continental food. Relaxed, secluded and family friendly.Families - Laid back atmosphere, large outdoor pool, beach access and small kitchens in studiosDiving - More than a dozen shipwrecks, underwater movie sites, beautiful coral reefsGreat walks - Through Nassau Botanical GardensSwimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Fodors
Compass Point Hotel 18 rooms from $220Nassau, Bahamas
Colourful beach front apartments. Rooms are in colonial style with white shutters, large verandahs and small kitchens. Outdoor pool, hot tub and beach access with pier. Fantastic Bahamian and International cuisine, oceanfront bar. Low-key, superb location and good value.Beach Life - Colourful clapperboard suites, with an idllyic beach, activities within walking distanceFishing - Hotel can organise boat charter to trawl the deep seas for a prized marlinFull of characterOn the beach - In front of the hotel.
Graycliff Hotel 20 rooms from $325Nassau, Bahamas
Characterful 5* hotel in town centre. Rooms have antiques, opulent fabrics, chandeliers and four poster beds. Two outdoor pools, gym, spa treatments, gardens and sun terrace. Excellent Bahamian cuisine, extensive wine cellars and cigar factory. Unusual, luxurious and unique.Quirky - In this 200 plus year old mansion, find antiques, a cellar filled with thousands of bottles of wine, and a working cigar factorySights nearby - Hotel overlooks the Government House in the centre of Nassau.Great walks - Around town from Rawson SquareFull of character
The Cove Atlantis 600 rooms from $580Paradise Island, Bahamas
Expansive resort on the beach. Elegant rooms are in creamy shades with sea view balconies and big bathrooms. Outdoor pool, beach access, tennis courts, gym, spa, water park, cinema and casino. Excellent International cuisine, both gourmet and light. With so much to do, perfect for families.Active Holiday - Think of the activity, and here you can probably do it: cinema, casino, tennis, yoga and all watersportsFamilies - A wide variety of activities for children, including age-relevant kids club, water park and Dolpin CayKids Club - Fully staffed.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorRecommended by - Kiwi Collection
One & Only Ocean Club 105 rooms from $725Paradise Island, Bahamas
Sublime family friendly beach resort. Decor is opulent with mahogany furniture, chic furnishings, private terraces and pools and big marble bathrooms. Outdoor pool, spa, gym, golf course and tennis courts. Gourmet cuisine in restaurant, friendly beach side eats. Luxury, chic and exclusive.Romantic Break - Private pool and terrace with secluded garden, couples spa treatments, sunset sailing trips and dolphin swimsFamilies - Superb kids club and child-appropriate watersports, larger family suites and private pools for adultsOpulentKids Club - Fully staffed.Recommended by - Fodors, Kiwi Collection