Caribbean Sanctum

The Bahamas’ Cove resort offers refined style, sophisticated fare and a unique cultural experience at Atlantis on Paradise Island

WORDS Nathaniel Sandler
March/April 2019
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The pool at The Cove

When Oprah Winfrey visited the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the 1990s, her description of the newly rebranded Bahamian property was succinct if a bit glib. She called it “Vegas with fish,” a reference to the myriad marine tanks and countless table games.

Decades later, a world-renowned chef has opened a restaurant there: Fish by José Andrés. Currently the culinary centerpiece of The Cove—the on-site luxury hotel secluded within the larger resort—

Fish is one of the finest hospitality experiences on the island adjacent to Nassau.

At the restaurant’s entrance, guests encounter a statue of swarming white and gold ceramic fish evoking an underwater scene. Above are lights designed to mimic commercial netting, and there’s even a massive boat hung upside down. A great lover of the sea, Andrés has been commended for incorporating lionfish into the menu, helping to combat the invasive species that decimates local reef ecosystems. Combined with sublime hush puppies and a divine deconstructed Key lime pie, this makes for a memorable culinary-meets-maritime evening.

All 600 suites at The Cove offer ocean views. This level of luxury, as well as the adults-only pool and cabanas with personal butlers, has lured more discerning travelers to the resort.

Sip Sip—a restaurant named after the Bahamian slang for gossip—opened near the sand at the end of 2017. Owner and chef Julie Lightbourn spun off her extremely popular Harbour Island restaurant with local flair, featuring favorites such as hot artichoke and lobster dip and spicy conch chili.

Within eyesight of Sip Sip’s raised deck is a small peninsula where sand dunes lead into coral rock butting up against the blue water. On the rocks is a permanent art installation, Sacred Space by Antonius Roberts, who describes it as an “opportunity for me as a Bahamian to really put a flag down” and “celebrate what is beautiful about the Bahamas.” The piece incorporates seven sculptures of Bahamian women made of local Madeira wood. The figures reference the 700 islands of the Bahamas, and Roberts says they keep the nation running as its spiritual backbone. The artwork offers an invitation to meet them and have a friendly experience on the point of The Cove. It works. And it’s inspiring to see a Bahamian resort appreciating the history and culture of its home.

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