I have been going to the Bahamas’ Harbour Island – an unspoilt slip of pink sand encircled in turquoise waters – for many years, and thought I had the place pretty well worked out. The Landing is the place to go for great dinners outdoors; the Rock House overlooking the bay is the spot for chic-people watching; and Sip-Sip is the bustling beachfront boîte where lobster quesadillas are the order of the (mid)day. But I must add to this short list of favourites The Dunmore, a boutique hotel and restaurant with a clubby vibe that calls to mind Palm Beach c1960.
The Dunmore has, in fact, been operating since 1963 – first for members, and from 2010 as a stylish bolthole for a broader clientele complete with charming bar, dining room and 15 nautical-chic guest cottages created by Nassau-based interior designer Amanda Lindroth. Vintage rattan furniture sits beside modern Lucite tables and John Robshaw textiles, while outside, bougainvillea and night jasmine line the walkways from the secluded rooms to the central clubhouse. The scene oozes old-world, ocean-hideaway glamour.
A pre-dinner cocktail beneath the slowly swirling fans and beside stacks of art books and clusters of conch shells kicks an evening off in laid-back style. The restaurant is overseen by creative chef Cindy Hutson and her partner Delius Shirley, and menus revolve around Caribbean-inspired dishes that include the delicious local seafood: daily fish ceviches (market price) with citrus juices, fresh ginger and diced red and yellow peppers with a side of plantain chips and housemade guacamole was a favourite, as were lobster cobb salads ($23) and grilled-grouper sandwiches ($19) with yucca fries. A red Thai and kaffir-lime bouillabaisse ($49) with jasmine rice and spice-marinated, roasted West Indian chicken ($33) with a Jamaican kick were also standouts. Freshly made sorbets and warm chocolate beignets made for ideal endings to a meal there on more than one occasion.
Truth be told, I was hard-pressed to eat elsewhere during my stay.