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AMG tells us all about Calabash Cove and Nassau's Paradise Island

A representative from AMG came down to The Holiday Place yesterday to train The Holiday Place's team on the exclusive Calabash Cove resort in St Lucia and give us an update and refreshing overview on one of the Bahamas' most popular destinations: Nassau, and more particularly, Paradise Island, home to the amazing Atlantis resort complex. On behalf of the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, Alison Murphy took us through the many things holidaymakers could look forward to in this stunning part of the world.

AMG tells us all about Calabash Cove and Nassau's Paradise Island

Sales & Marketing Executive at AMG, Alison Murphy popped into our office yesterday afternoon to update our team of travel experts and senior advisors on a variety of Caribbean properties and attractions; drawing particular attention to the Calabash Cove Resort and Spa in St Lucia and Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Things kicked off with an overview and update on one of St Lucia’s most exclusive and charming resorts – the tranquil, serene, and seriously luxurious Calabash Cove.

Perfectly poised in St Lucia’s northern coast, that gem of a little island perfectly wrapped up in romance, and surrounded by neighbours like Martinique, St Vincent, the Calabash Cove enjoys a great location for hopping around other Caribbean islands and exploring beyond with a twin-centre break.

Its location on Bonaire Bay beach close to all the action of lively Rodney Bay (just 10 minutes away in fact) puts guests within easy accessible distance to all of the area’s vibrant nightlife buzz (including the popular Friday Fish Fry) as well as a new shopping mall that opened there a few months ago, theBayWalk Shopping Mall. Yet it’s still nicely secluded from all the noise of downtown ensuring the most intimate and tranquil experience for guests.

About an hour to an hour and twenty minutes away from the airport and also close to other beautiful beaches like Choc Bay or the even more exclusive Pigeon Island (ideal for a day trip) the area in which the resort sits is indeed very lush and pristine.

A small and luxurious five-star boutique property with only 26 suites sitting a small sandy bay, Calabash Cove continuously receives rave reviews on TripAdvisor and is currently ranked as the number one resort in St Lucia’s Gros Islet area, beating all the other 17 in the region thanks to its quiet location, the warmth and attentiveness of its staff, the individual attention to detail, the food, the overall service and the scenic backdrop.

The beach here is very small but due to the very limited number of guests that can be accommodated here it's never crowed. There are also plenty of other close-by beaches around to explore.

Facilities include an elegant restaurant with a relaxed attitude (dress code is smart casual so despite the crisp table linens and fine cutlery, customers don't need to wear jackets or bow ties, while a simple maxi dress will do for ladies), a hip bar with frequent live entertainment, a large signature Sweetwaters pool with swim-up bar, fitness centre and a small and intimate spa where they use creams and oils from the local region. A sun deck, a little pier and a wedding gazebo complete the perfect postcard picture.

Pointing to a photograph framing the resort’s ample lobby lounge, Alison said:

"This is our big hero shot that always sells the property when people first look at it. Beautiful open-air reception, guests’ shoulders just relax, they really unwind and it does have the wow factor as soon as they walk in.

"Guests sit down at the comfortable sofas, most of the check-in work is done for them while they relax and there’s rum punch and champagne provided to further smooth out the process."

When it comes to Calabash’s all-suite accommodation there are only three room categories, all very spacious and offering a separate living room area. The standard is the Sunset Ocean View Junior Suite, designed with modern bright colours and providing an assortment of five-star facilities. They are all located on the mezzanine of the manor house, sitting above the resort’s infinity pool, and there are a total of 13 of these, offering ample space that ranges from 620 to 660 square feet. The four Swim-Up Junior Suites are the next category up and as its name indicates you can be from bed to pool in four seconds flat.

They have huge four-poster beds and exquisite interiors polished to an exquisitely high finish, including private comfortable sun loungers and plush furniture all around. Lastly the 10 Water’s Edge Cottages offer the most breathtaking ocean views of all and each come with their own secluded plunge pool, outdoor rain shower, Jacuzzi and hammock. We were advised that these tend to sell up quite quickly so advance reservation was a must for customers interested in these.

All-inclusive board basis is standard and at the moment there are an array of special offers to make the most of during the off-peak seasons. A future expansion for the resort is also on the cards but no further details have been released as of yet, as the plans for extension are still in the very early planning stages.

She then moved on to speak about Nassau’s Paradise Island, home to the landmark Atlantis resort complex, comprising and including a famous waterpark.

Alison briefed us on the destination by briefly reminding us that British Airways flies directly to the Bahamas and Nassau offers great connections to other exciting destinations like Miami, New Jersey and Fort Lauderdale, making it ideal for a twin-centre holiday to be combined with Orlando, Disneyworld or New York, or as an ideal extension for cruise trips.

Dubbed the Vegas of the Bahamas, Nassau is the life and party of this nation, with all the other Bahamas islands being reliably quiet and having that Robinson Crusoe feel.

But what does Nassau, and more particularly, Paradise Island, have to offer? Well, as we learned, countless things in fact; from underwater zoos, to the gigantic Atlantis waterpark, amazing dolphin encounters, the big and bright Junkanoo Festival, a casino at Atlantis and international cuisine to tickle every taste bud.

And while many regard this as very elite and expensive destination she enlightened us about the fact that it could be done on a budget as well, with accommodation at great value hotels like Comfort Suites offering complimentary access to the Atlantis waterpark and directly connecting guests to all of Paradise Island’s attractions.

As Alison explains:

"What seems to put holidaymakers off the Bahamas is that they think it’s really expensive, and parts of it are, but it does cater to various budgets, you can go and eat out at the weekend in your shorts and a T-shirt, you can go on Cable Beach on a Friday night and wander around the beach huts, you’ve got locals mixing with the holidaymakers, you’ve got the Fish Fry where they sell cheap fish on a roll, conch salads and reasonably priced beers and shots, so you can definitely do Bahamas on a budget, or you can splurge and really pull out all the stops."

Highly recommended as the best time to head to Nassau is during the Junkanoo Festival (which rivals Brazil’s carnivals according to Alison Murphy) which takes place from Boxing Day right up to New Year’s Day and then again in May. Visitors can expect dancing on the streets, colourful costumes and everything remains open into the early hours, so a great atmosphere for all.

Of course, Paradise Island is actually most famous for its upscale resorts like the iconic Atlantis, Paradise Island (split into 6 separate hotels with accommodation for all budgets, ranging from 3-star to high-end luxury), the Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort (with its own separate offshore island), the hip and chic adults-only Cove Atlantis for party lifestyle guests and the One & Only Ocean Club Bahamas famous for having featured in James Bond’s film, Casino Royale and for having hosted a long list of celebrity guests. One & Only’s Hartford Wing which sits next to the golf course has just received a complete makeover and renovation; completed at the start of this month. This renovation is so recent we’re still waiting for official new photographs.

And for the new year? Another luxury hotel will be opening its doors in spring 2016 as the Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas is unveiled. The new ultra-modern and intimate retreat might not be open yet but it has already begun to take bookings ahead of its official launch in a few month’s time.

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