Given the fashion set’s penchant for sniffing out quietly hip destinations, no matter how far flung, it’s unsurprising that The Ocean View Club boutique hotel in Harbour Island has hosted practically back-to-back weddings for the oft-featured Vogue crowd.
Combine one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean with unique decor and delicious food, then infuse it with the youthful energy of a couple who seem to genuinely love what they do, and it’s easy to see why.
For more than 50 years, Harbour Island—a tiny, far-flung speck in the Bahamian archipelago situated off the tip of North Eleuthera— has been a destination for the laid-back society set. The island’s pink sand beaches, elegant restaurants, and family-owned hotels and marinas were among the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets. Thanks to Wi-Fi and the Instagram geo-tag, few places are kept under wraps anymore, but the recently renovated Ocean View is as close as it gets to an insider’s Harbour Island haunt.
Starting in the 1970s, local legend Pip Simmons ran the property as a “hotel” (read: only when she felt like it, and only for whomever she felt like hosting). The elegantly disheveled property, located steps from Harbour Island’s Pink Sands beach, became synonymous with irreverent cool. It played host to sun-kissed French models and sandy-footed rock stars who mixed their own rum drinks at a bar where the honor system ruled.
In 2013, her son, Ben, and his wife, Charlie, took over operations and renovated the hotel, adding two new cottages and modernizing certain aspects, without diminishing its bohemian allure. From the quirky antiques that dot the bar to the 13 guest rooms and cheeky pops of color visible inside closet doors, on bed frames, and bathtubs, the entire property feels like you’re a guest in the home of a very cool—and very dear—old friend.
The cuisine, too, epitomizes easygoing elegance, with Bahamian local fare such as fresh lobster prepared in a coconut fever-grass curry, served alongside jasmine peas ‘n rice, as does the smiling staff, who are always on hand to bring an extra towel or mix another drink. Meals are served outside, either on an intimate terrace that flanks the lounge area or on a larger, lower-level patio where guests can dine at any hour with a view of the turquoise Atlantic.