Small Caribbean Hotel of the Week: A Bucket-List Bahamas Retreat 

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If you’ve been to the waters of Exuma in The Bahamas, you know it’s about as close you can get to heaven on earth. 

There’s something otherworldly about the color of the water, a hue that’s been called everything from electric blue to Windex, an enchanting place of swimming pigs and sprawling private islands, sandbars and beach bars. 

That’s all helped make the Exuma archipelago one of the world’s greatest boating destinations for decades, a maritime Mecca: and at the far north of the Exuma chain there is a destination that has taken on an almost mythical status: the Staniel Cay Yacht Club. 

This tiny, 14-room hotel on the little island of Staniel Cay is a pilgrimage spot for boaters, travelers and beach lovers, as close as the Exuma Cays have to a town square. 

dock

There’s a terrific dining offering, anchored by the always-bustling, world-famous Captain’s Lounge, which has been serving visitors since 1956. 

But the best part is this: every bungalow at the hotel comes with a fully-fueled, 17-foot skiff tailor-made for exploring these ethereal waters. 

They all add up to a bucket-list kind of retreat in The Bahamas. 

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Staniel Cay, from above, including the island’s airport.

Where is it? The Staniel Cay Yacht Club is just under 50 miles from Exuma’s “mainland” of Great Exuma. The best way to get here though, is on Makers Air, which operates regularly-scheduled service between Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport and Staniel Cay.

boats in the marina

Dining options include the aforementioned Captain’s Lounge, the Sea View restaurant, the al-fresco Deck and a fantastic bar. (The sandwiches here are out of this world, including a Conch Po’Boy and a magnificent tempura-fried chicken sandwich, among other offerings). 

As for the bar, all Bahamian classics are on the menu (including, of course, the Goombay Smash), along with local favorites like the Staniel Cay Yacht Club Rum Punch and the popular, perilous “Roger-Rita.”

captains lounge dining table
The Captain’s Lounge.

What to Know? The 14 units are a mix of waterfront bungalows, waterfront suites, waterview suites and, for larger groups, a home called the Coral Villa (it comes with a pool and three bedrooms). The rooms are are all colorful and comfortable, all with great views of Exuma blue. 

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The Key Lime waterfront suite.

Which room to choose? Coral Villa is a great option for a larger family; while you really can’t go wrong with any of the bungalows, we’re rather fond of the waterfront suites like Key Lime and Ocean Blue and Coco Plum. 

The interiors are all beachy, bright and comfortable, and all the rooms have water views.

bahamas hotel caribbean retreat

What do we like best? It should be no surprise that the hotel’s party piece is our favorite thing: the fully-fueled boat that comes with every room on the Package Plan.

Because Exuma really is all about the water. Whether you want to visit the “original” island of swimming pigs right near Staniel Cay or take a turquoise adventure through sandbars and secluded beaches, this is just an extraordinary amenity. 

For more, visit the Staniel Cay Yacht Club.

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