Graycliff: The Jewel of the Bahamas

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - October 24, 2016

Graycliff, the Caribbean epicenter of luxury 

By Alexander Britell
CJ Editor in Chief

In the middle of a room in an old pirate mansion in Nassau there is a piano.

Every night, the sound of this piano weaves through cigar smoke and robust laughs, the soundtrack for an instantly memorable dinner.

There’s a story that Billy Joel, dining here, was once asked to play this piano, and a single song turned into an hour and a half set. The Piano Man simply could not leave the bench.


That’s not a surprise. Because here at Graycliff, the Garzaroli family has cultivated a unique kind of energy, one that draws guests back again and keeps the old mansion permanently, wonderfully sealed away from the mundanity of the world.


No matter if it is your second or 20th visit, when you climb the steps from West Hill street and enter the Lounge, you’ve returned to the instant you left, the room a memory you can come back to and relive, an elixir for nostalgia.

As the rest of the world gets newer and loses something of itself, Graycliff remains a fixed point in time and space.


While it began life as a pirate mansion, then a retreat of British nobles, the Garzarolis have turned it into something far more – first, the Caribbean’s first five star restaurant- then a boutique hotel, then, a world class cigar factory (Avelino Lara, once Fidel Castro’s personal roller, developed the brand).

Next was a chocolate factory, and now the family is restoring and reinventing West Hill Street into a historical village, replete with an artists’ colony, a cafe, shops and, soon, even a winery. (In the old dungeon of the manor sits the world’s third largest private wine collection).

The artists' colony on Via Enrico in the Graycliff Historical Village.

The artists’ colony on Via Enrico in the Graycliff Historical Village.

They are always tinkering, always looking for new avenues of delight, cleverly building a luxury empire.

Yes, you can stay here in the hotel’s charming rooms and spend an afternoon at the stunning pool puffing on a Chateau Grand Cru, or take a chocolate lesson and then eat a full fledged Neapolitan pizza. You can spend a weekend or a week on a getaway from the artificial, surrounded by the authentic.


It is an understatement to say there is nowhere like this in the Caribbean – it is a removal from modern, more synthetic concepts of luxury that is instead a loving tribute to the fundaments of luxury – all the things we already know to be great – fine wines; aged spirits (including a broad selection of cognacs); cigars; classic continental gastronomy with a Bahamian accent; and, most importantly, overwhelmingly good service, the kind meant to make you feel not just like royalty but royalty staying in a fellow royal’s home.


Because luxury is not about bar programs and wellness concierges — it is about changing the way you feel, making you feel grand.

There is a pull here, something magnetic. It brings you back, and if it’s your first time here, it makes you a regular. There is a soul here, floating in the cigar smoke and the robust laughs.


Just be careful about sitting at that piano. Because you may never leave.

Popular Posts

The 10 Best Overwater Bungalows in the Caribbean, From Aruba to Belize

Overwater villas at Caribbean resorts aren’t just a novelty — they’re also among the most luxurious and beautiful accommodations you can stay in. And while all of the bungalows perched above the waves have their charms, some stand out among […]

United Airlines Is Launching New Nonstop Flights to Belize

river in belize

The river lodges. The blue hole. The Maya history. The reefs. If you haven’t been to Belize, you’re missing one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful, adventure-filled destinations.  And now with another new flight, it’s easier to get there than ever […]

The Bahamas’ Atlantis Paradise Island Just Completed a $150M Renovation

walking on the beach in nassau

A new eatery by Michelin-star Chef Michael White. A new-look casino. State-of-the-art guest rooms and the Caribbean’s first Shake Shack.  The Bahamas’ Atlantis Paradise Island resort has officially completed a $150 million resort-wide renovation, a significant project that included a […]

Related Posts caribbean tiny real estate

Tradewind Aviation Just Launched Sales for Its New Bahamas Flights 

Luxury airline Tradewind Aviation has launched sales for its highly-anticipated new routes to The Bahamas, Caribbean Journal has learned.  Beginning Dec. 19, Tradewind will launch nonstop flights from Palm Beach to both Marsh Harbour and North Eleuthera in The Bahamas.  […]

The Next Big Destination? 9,000-Acre Beachfront Site Hits the Market in The Bahamas

bahamian site

It’s the next big resort destination in the Caribbean. Think Baker’s Bay or Barbuda Ocean Club. Or at least it could be.  It’s not often that a beachfront property of this size comes on the market anywhere in the wider […]

At Atlantis Paradise Island, A Barbie Beach Vacation in The Bahamas

atlantis barbie

It’s right on the beach, with sparkling views of the sea, copious aquatic creatures, infinite bathing suits and even its own special shade of pink.  Atlantis Paradise Island isn’t a Malibu dream house, but the legendary Bahamian resort has temporarily […]


Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.

No. Thank You