There are over 700 islands in the Bahamas but if low-key “barefoot luxury” is your thing, get Kamalame Cay on your radar.
By Michael M. Clements
Heard of Andros Island? You’re not alone if you haven’t. It’s the largest inhabited island in the Bahamas yet it passes the days lazily in the shadows of Freeport to the North and Nassua to the East. Why? There’s just not much here, save for acres of twisting mangroves, pine forest and beautiful beaches. There are no large water parks, shopping malls or mega couple resorts; but there is luxury – tucked away on the island’s Eastern shore is slice of Caribbean heaven called Kamalame Cay Resort.
Before it was named to Conde Nast Traveller’s “The Gold List 2008” Kamalame Cay Resort was known as a mecca for bonefish anglers. Each day, the tide rumbles into the bay behind the cay where, in the crystal clear hip-high waters, the large silvery trophy fish hunts before the tide recedes leaving a surreal desert-like landscape. You can experience this daily dance first-hand in one of the resort’s complementary kayaks – just don’t get caught high and dry.
Kamalame Cay owners Brian and Jennifer Hew have infused the resort with their laid back yet savvy and sophisticated vibe. It’s private and luxe enough to attract the jet set, wealthy and famous alike, but its shabby chic charm forces guests to leave their pretense at home.
A typical day at Kamalame doesn’t involve watching TV – there aren’t any. There’s no WiFi or internet access either. Phones in
the room? Nope. Cell phone service? Maybe if the wind blows in the right direction. Face it, the only way busy urbanites can unplug is if all the plugs are ripped from us. Conquering digital withdrawal merely takes waking up early, throwing your snorkel gear into a sea kayak and paddling to a small island for a swim. When you return, you’ll find a breakfast basket at your door step filled with hot gourmet coffee, fresh fruit, croissants and juices. After eating, grab a magazine and read in hammock for awhile. Still missing email?
With the afternoon comes the heat; but there’s still plenty to do. Hop on a bicycle or into a golf cart – every cottage comes equipped with one – and go for a ride up the three-mile cay. Too much effort? Book a spa session at the Overwater Spa. Located in a pavilion at the far end of a picturesque pier, you can listen to waves lap lazily below you while you indulge in body and hand and foot therapies, massages, or facials. The spa uses Eco-certified Naturopathica product and the attentive service is on par with any you’d find in high-end name brand luxury resort.
Craving more adventure? There are several dive spots 10 to 15 minutes away, most notably “King Kong’s Cave.” Picture the steep and narrow desert canyons of Moab 100 feet below the ocean’s surface. The Andros Barrier Reef is the world’s third longest and lies adjacent to the “Tongue of the Ocean,” a close-ended stretch of the Bahamian trench, so the deep sea fishing is excellent as well. You can visit the dive shop on property to book same day snorkeling, scuba diving, bone fishing, or deep sea fishing excursions. Day trips to Nassau, eco tours, and seaplane safaris can also be arranged.
Speaking of fresh fish – The Great House does a stellar job of serving them. Three meals a day are offered within its rustic coral walls. It also serves as resort’s de facto social hub. The menu features the catch of the day, mainly yellow tail snapper, as well as Bahamian conch fritters and lobster. All-inclusive or pay as you go options are available. Also notable (and highly poplar) are the fully stocked honor-system bars located in The Great House and Tiki Bar adjacent to the palm-tree shaded swimming pool.
After a day of relaxation and aquatic pursuits, come back to the privacy of your own secluded cottage or villa. There are 19 individual properties on site ranging from 600-square foot Anglers Nests to one-room seaside octagon cottages wrapped in French doors, and larger three to four bedroom villas for groups and families. Each consists of multiple doors and windows you can keep open to maximize the soothing Caribbean breeze. The quaint Cottages are perfect for couples looking for a private romantic oasis.
On our last night, as my wife and I strolled along the empty moonlit beach, I looked down from the stars to across the sea where I noticed the faint lights of Nassau glowing in the distance. It felt great not being in a huge resort, or far worse, in a plane traveling back from some far-off destination. Sometimes you just don’t need that much jet in your set.
We recommend the Continental Connection which flies directly from Ft. Lauderdale / Port Everglades Saturdays and Tuesdays to Andros Town. You can also fly direct to Nassau and use Le Air daily service to Andros Town. Charter flights are also available.