The One & Only in Bahamas becoming a Four Seasons in 2017 was the perfect excuse and learning the 2006 remake of Casino Royale was filmed there made me even more excited.
John Kentish-Barnes from Four Seasons at Park Lane was now the hotel Manager, while John Conway is still the General Manager, and so I knew I was going to have a memorable stay. However, the genuine warmth of the Bahamian staff blew me away. The word 'paradise' is sometimes overused but I think The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort - Bahamas, and their extraordinary staff, truly deserve this description.
Arriving in The Bahamas Again & the British Colonial Hilton Nassau
I stayed at the British Colonial Hilton Nassau on my first night back in The Bahamas, having arrived late on the British Airways flight from Cayman Islands. I stayed at this hotel when I visited from Bermuda and will be stayed at the Hilton Pattaya again for a wedding in Thailand in November.
They gave me a large suite on the Executive Floor, with stunning views of Nassau Harbour, and I fell in love with Patricia, the lady who checked me in. There is something very special about the Bahamas people.
My Four Seasons Welcome
Four Seasons sent a car to collect me from the Hilton the next morning I was pleasantly surprised to find chilled Veuve Clicquot in the limo, this Brand Ambassador has not had this since last year's birthday at the Four Seasons George V in Paris.
It was an interesting time to be visiting The Bahamas with Cayman Islands' Governor having been recalled to London to answer questions and it was a fun 20 minute journey chatting to the Bahamas driver.
Meeting GM John & His Exceptional Staff
At the hotel General Manager John was waiting to greet me with his management team. It was so thrilling to meet them all and, after photos, I got to chat with John and quickly gained respect for this hotel legend.
The Ocean Club was opened in 1962 with 5 miles of white sand beach and Versailles inspired lawns & gardens. There is even a 12th/13th Century French cloister acquired by William Randolph Hearst. We also discussed Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel on the French Riviera, the Firenze Four Seasons in Florence and the Atlantis Hotel in Bahamas.
My Butler, David, & a Suite with a View to Die For
It was then a short golf cart ride to my suite. The suite was elegant & beautiful but it was the view that took my breath away. My butler David told me my suite (2052) had the best view of any suite in the resort.
Once David left me, I admired the stunning welcome gifts in my suite. These included another bottle of Veuve Clicquot for me & honey for Issy.
A The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons Resort baseball cap and been left in the bedroom, along with a new member of the www.sifrew.com 'gang' in Paradise Island pyjamas
Hermes Bath Products & A Huge Shower
I was stunned by the size of the bathroom, with a shower to match and loved the Hermes bath products.
Four Seasons Service
My butler David then arrived asking if I needed anything pressed and took my shorts away to be laundered, ready for that night.
A Day at a 'Child Free' Pool with a Saudi Prince
I then took one of the bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne to the Versailles 'adults only' pool. I met a member of staff on the way and asked directions but her answer was "I do not know". The transition to a Four Seasons is clearly still a work in progress.
At the pool the staff were excellent and I had the pool to myself for a few hours, other than a member of the Saudi Royal Family and his personal trainer.
Salt & Pepper Calamari From Heaven With Truffle Fries
I had lunch by the pool. The salt & pepper calamari was so light and the fries so delicious. A pool lunch from heaven
Meeting Manager John from Four Seasons at Park Lane
In the late afternoon John, the Manager, came in on his day off for a chat with me. Four Seasons staff are so amazing.
The Farnese Hercules, President Franklin D Roosevelt, David Livingstone & Willam Randolph Hearst
After this I went to explore the Versailles inspired lawns & gardens and the 12th/13th Century Augustine French cloister acquired by William Randolph Hearst.
I was fascinate there was a smaller copy of the Farnese Hercules that I know from The Quarry in Shrewsbury, as well as statues of President Franklin D Roosevelt and anti-slavery crusader David Livingstone.
However, it was standing in an Augustine French cloister, over looking the crystal blue water of Nassau Harbour & New Providence Island, that was so special imagining Augustinian friars in Renaissance France. The idea of William Randolph Hearst, & all he collected, captivates me.
The Martini Bar, Stirred not Shaken!
One of my Twitter Followers often draws comparisons between James Bond and me but I like my martinis rather differently prepared to the way Ian Fleming describes them.
The hotel had arranged a 'James Bond Experience' for me. I was late because I forgot to change my Cartier watches from Cayman Islands time but Keith could not have been more welcoming in the Martini Bar.
Keith first made me a Vesper martini and I liked his version better than the one I had at Dukes Hotel in London.
Then GM John joined me and we talked about how he was the first GM of Atlantis Hotel Bahamas, how impressed we both are by Mr Sharp, Christian Clerc and Simon Casson at Four Seasons etc It was a perfect Four Seasons few hours for me.
Dune by Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Having eaten in Jean-Georges in New York, the ABC Kitchen and even the restaurant when he was in the Manhattan New York Four Seasons, I was keen to see what Lester Dean (his chef in Bahamas) could produce. However, in the end I just met Lester, he gave me his book and I had a few Grey Goose martinis talking to other Four Seasons customers.
I had a Si Frew perfect evening but feel very guilty that I did not try Chef Lester Dean's food.
Only at Four Seasons
I got back to my suite to find the Casino Royale remake DVD, which put a smile on my face.
A Four Seasons Breakfast
I woke early and had an incredible creamy, rich & salty Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon breakfast, admiring the flowers in my suite.
The Ocean Club Resort
I next took an early morning walk around the resort. The Colonial style reception building is beautiful and the long family pool brought back happy memories of my stay at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay.
Ringing My Father & Wishing Mr Sharp Happy Father's Day
That day I had the Versailles pool to myself and used the time to ring my father in Shropshire and also wish Four Seasons' Mr Sharp happy Father's Day.
A Perfect Last Meal
I had a burger with truffle mayonnaise & fries for my last meal. With the onions, avocado, bacon etc it was an incredible explosion of delicious flavours and the fries were as good as the previous day. While I ate all this the Versailles Terrace staff made me sensational cocktails.
Not Very James Bond
I ended the afternoon with a chocolate martini. Not very James Bond but an exquisite last drink.
I Do Love the Weekend Financial Times
I was elated to find Executive Assistant Garrill has arranged for a pink paper copy of the Weekend Financial Times to be left in my suite for me to read on the plane back to Cayman Islands.
So Sad to Be Leaving
General Manager John, and his team, were there to wish me safe travels and I was so sad to be saying goodbye to this special team who had given me such a memorable stay. The Sunday SUV ride to the airport took 30 minutes but my female Bahamian driver meant the time flew by.
🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻🐻(7 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - the friendly Bahamas staff; Veuve Clicquot in the limo; the stunning view from my suite; and General Manager John, Manager John, Executive Assistant Garrill, Keith in the Martini Bar, the Versailles pool/Terrace staff and all the other charming Bahamian staff I met, broke the 'teddy score' again. My tips:- make sure you meet General Manager John and get Keith to make you a martini!