If you have ever taken a cruise around the Caribbean, you’ll know that the Port of Nassau – the historic heart of the capital city of The Bahamas – already has much to offer relative to its regional peers: high end retail, souvenirs, a tasty array of dining and drinking spots, a top notch walking tour or two and a view into the civic life of the country thanks to the central location of government buildings – including the nation’s pastel-pink parliament.
But return in a few years time and you may find quite a different place – and for the better. Downtown Nassau is undergoing the biggest makeover and expansion of its offerings in its history. Some of the additions are set to include new shops, parking facilities, retail options, and public amenities. The changes are destined to make the thriving port city an even more desirable location for visitors and residents.
In With The New
Overlooking the shimmering harbour, the iconic British Colonial Hilton in the heart of downtown Nassau has a look of Cuba’s historic Hotel Nacional during its glory days about it. It’s long been a draw for vacationers and business visitors alike, but having recently been acquired by one of the world’s largest construction companies, China Construction America (CCA), the British Colonial Hilton is about to be at the centre of an impressive re-development project.
In a major vote of confidence for the Bahamian economy, CCA , the same company which is soon to wrap up the construction of the spectacular Baha Mar resort in Nassau’s Cable Beach, has touted plans for a luxury condo hotel adjoining the British Colonial, eight to nine restaurants, a movie theatre, nightclub, marina and retail village, while further proposals to revamp the downtown strip at large are currently before the government.
Food, Food, Food
If keeping your taste buds guessing is important to you, take note: Downtown Nassau’s menu is expanding, and diversifying. Satisfying the palates of tourists and locals alike, Lukka Kairi has flung open its doors to the harbour breeze on the Prince George Wharf, adjacent to the cruise ship port. The waterfront restaurant is getting top marks on review sites for its Bahamian fare, live music, and art work – including a massive mural depicting the history of The Bahamas.
Outdoor dining, share plates and culinary fusion pique your interest? Another popular recent addition to the culinary scene is Dali Modernistic Tapas, a restaurant with an open air seating area that allows you to take in the hustle and bustle of downtown Nassau. Its menu blends Bahamian delicacies with Mediterranean flavours, all in the traditional Spanish snack-sized plates that allows you to try more things in one go.
For those who find themselves yearning more for a taste of The Bahamas’ piratical past, washed down with a refreshing local beer, a tour of the oncoming Pirate Republic Brewery may excite. The local ales add to an already impressive list of locally-produced beers on the island, including Kalik and Sands.
History is on show again on West Hill Street, the site of the Graycliff hotel and restaurant, long a draw for celebrities, Cuban cigar lovers and those looking for accommodation that is more boutique than the sprawling family-fun of Atlantis. Ever looking for ways to add to the local experience, the Graycliff brand last year opened a Heritage Museum with a 14-room exhibit and guided tours that offer an insight into the history of The Bahamas from “prehistoric times to present”. Its owner intends to try to recreate the feel of visiting “Old Nassau”, and has visions of eventually creating a “Heritage Village”, including an art gallery, patisserie and microbrewery in the coming years.
Just a short walk from the cruise dock and Graycliff is Pompey Square, a newly-opened public space where visitors can take a rest from the hustle and bustle of downtown Nassau or take in some culture. Reinvented as a public place after several buildings on the site burnt down in 2011, the square has become a much-needed place for events, including live music and festivals, or just taking in the sights of the harbour. The square was recently recognised by the Downtown Association as a “shining example” of a space which enhances the “urban design, physical function, and economic viability” of the downtown area and surrounding community.
Finding The Opportunities
With all of this new investment along the waterfront and touristic hubs, from Cable Beach in the west to Nassau harbour, expect cruise lines to take note, extending their stays in the port and bringing yet more energy and economic stimulation to the island. For years cruise executives have pointed out the correlation between cruise business and the array of on-island activities available, and so it only follows that a virtuous cycle of investment, tourism and more investment is to follow, including more ways to get from place to place by water taxi.
Bahamas Waterfront properties offers sales, leasing and management of properties in the Downtown Nassau city centre and believe now is the time to buy or lease strategic locations for Downtown Nassau real estate. Stay tuned and check Bahamas Waterfront Properties array of listings or contact us for opportunities in Nassau’s downtown area.