Iggy Azalea had recently been here, performing in the middle of a new venue perched over a massive beachfront pool.
And the previous day, Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages, the world’s hottest new cruise line, had just brought its “sailors” to the beach club, a sparkling destination on the sand straight out of the best beach spots of Ibiza.
And back at the hotel, travelers sipped cocktails in a wraparound pool at the edge of a marina.
This is the new Bimini, and it’s a destination that’s carefully marrying the island’s historic calm with a fresh, buzzing energy.
The centerpiece of the place is Resorts World Bimini, gaming firm Genting’s Bahamian destination, home to a 305-room hotel, a sleek casino, seven dining concepts and some stunning pools, including a rooftop, adults-only infinity pool.
The food is particularly good, from an excellent curated breakfast buffet at The Tides to the terrific Sushi Bar, where the menu was conceived by Top Chef winner Hung Huynh.
And then there’s the RW Bimini Beach, the impressive beach destination with pools, bars, cabanas and regular entertainment that’s turned into a world-class party spot just a half an hour flight from Miami.
It’s regularly hosting special events, from high-profile concerts like Iggy’s to culinary weekends with Chef Adrianne Calvo.
The beach area was developed in partnership with Virgin; twice a week, it’s reserved for Virgin Voyages guests; but the other five days a week, it’s exclusive to Resorts World guests.
That means you get the ultimate amenity — your very own beach destination set on one of the most stunning stretches of sand in The Bahamas.
The service is outstanding, with a friendly staff that’s drawn team members from all across The Bahamas; the food, particularly at the 360 eatery, is excellent — with locally-inspired favorites like curry grouper.
It all adds up to a sophisticated, full-service, fun place to stay.
And while the property at the very northern tip of North Bimini has brought new dynamism and new visitors to the island, it hasn’t changed the soul of this island in the stream, a place of fishing, adventure and pristine natural beauty.
Take a golf cart down the north-south Queen’s Highway and you’ll get a sense of this little sliver of land in the sea, passing by waterfront conch stands like Joe’s and Stuart’s and soup shacks and craft stores; turn to the other side of the island and you’ll encounter Radio Beach, the lovely little shoreline now boasting some popular beach bars. (That’s without mentioning the world-class Edith’s Pizza).
Yes, it’s the same Bimini that drew the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr years ago, a tiny archipelago just 50 miles off the coast of Miami, a place of quiet beach bars and delicious conch shacks and eclectic, fascinating attractions like the unforgettable Dolphin House.
In other words, it’s the best of both worlds. You can spend your days at the Bimini Beach or out searching for shipwrecks or big-game fish on a boat; by night, there’s the always-hopping lobby and arguably the best boutique casino in the Caribbean.
It’s also remarkably easy to get to, especially if you take one of Tropic Ocean Airways’ seaplanes from the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, a bucket-list experience whose prices tend to compare favorably with commercial flights on major carriers. (There’s also regular ferry service from Fort Lauderdale on Balearia).
The difference is, of course, that you land on the water right on the resort, the kind of golden-age, jet-set experience you just don’t really find anymore.
And the kind of Bimini that didn’t exist a few years ago — a major new stop on the region’s travel radar.
For more, visit Resorts World Bimini.