Those stretches of famed pink sand beaches! The swanky restaurants! The chicer-than-chic bungalows! The A-list celeb sightings! Harbour Island, Bahamas checks all the boxes when it comes the luxury travel in the Caribbean — and harkens the vibe and feel of chichi St. Bart’s (another fave of mine). But there’s still a rustic and homey feel here, which I love. My family and I recently traveled to Harbour Island by boat and stayed at Valentine’s Marina.
Flyers can take a flight to North Eleuthera Airport and then hop on a swift 10-minute water taxi to Dunmore Town, Harbour Island — home of the Brilanders (the moniker locals call themselves).
Worth noting? There are no cars on the island, so you can easily bop around this bitty fleck of earth (it’s 3.5 miles long) on golf carts to the below Wordy Girl-approved spots. So, without further ado (and the amazing help of my friend/local Kate Ingraham), here is THE definitive insider’s guide to Harbour Island:
WHERE TO STAY
Rock House: The Rock House has been a vibrant and colorful fixture on Harbour Island the 1940s. Originally a private home, it’s now a luxury 10-room boutique hotel. Designed by J. Wallace Tutt, who created Versace’s Miami mansion and Cher’s Malibu home, the property melds colonial and contemporary Caribbean design. rockhousebahamas.com
Pink Sands Resort: Mere steps away from the famed pink sand beaches (thus the name) a gander at this property’s oceanside cottages is absolutely spellbinding. pinksandsresort.com
The Dunmore: I am unequivocally obsessed with the cabana stripe motif of this particular property. If I were to choose my favorite Harbour Island hotel, it would be this one compliments of its 1960s resort glam aesthetic and oceanfront bungalows. dunmorebeach.com
The Landing: Another Harbour Island classic, this boutique-style hotel overlooks the harbour in the heart of Dunmore Town. The Landing’s 13 guest rooms are designed and inspired by India Hicks in a classic plantation style with colonial inspired Caribbean influences. harbourislandlanding.com
Shine: Scoop up silk caftans and the most beautiful handmade gold jewelry (think delicate stackable rings and bracelets for days). Owner Stephanie makes all by hand and is there daily. Also worth nothing? There’s also an adorable home design space across the street.
Dake’s Shoppe: Another island gem with pieces curated from around the world. Clothing, jewelry and home design. Can’t miss. You’ll also discover a highly Instagrammable moment compliments of the shop’s hanging rainbow basket chairs.
The Sugar Mill Trading Co.: This is local celebrity/British royalty India Hicks’ shop. Here, you’ll find an eclectic mix of treasures found from India’s travels around the world — everything from a $1,000 embellished evening caftan to a child’s bucket and spade.
Princess Street Gallery: Think unique arts and books. A purchase here is a great taste of the island to take back home with you.
Blue Rooster: This is the best place to find the perfect beach cover up. It’s a long-standing favorite with island regulars.
Arthur’s Bakery: Think yummy donuts, gooey pull-apart bread and flaky pastries — all made fresh daily. Arthur’s is yet another favorite among the regulars.
Sip Sip: After a morning lying on the pink sand beach, you will want to wander into Sip Sip for lunch. “Sip-sip” is the local term for gossip! And at Sip Sip you will indeed hear all the gossip, local and otherwise, and see anyone who’s anyone. I recommend the Lobster Quesada and a Gombay Smash drink.
The Dunmore: While also nice for dinner, it’s beautiful for a relaxing lunch and not as crazy as Sip Sip.
Culinary hotspots are aplenty here but these are the Big Three — AKA everyone’s line-up for dinner…
The Landing: This must-visit haunt is Owner Tracy Barry’s charming hotel and restaurant. Dine in the beautiful garden or inside in the historic dining room of a captain’s house from the 1800s (designed by India Hicks). Don’t forget to pick up some afro head gear. And please do note — the Landing is closed Wednesdays!
Rock House: Wallace Tutt’s hotel boasts delish eats and a stellar wine list. For dinner, request a table with sunset views across the bay or a romantic poolside setting.
Bahama House: The spot is new to the group, but stunning and quite popular with the regulars.
King Conch: We know everyone raves about Queen Conch, and their Conch salad is damn good, but it you don’t want to wait 2 hours, go to King Conch. He’s just off the ferry dock in a round wooden deck. If you are feeling adventurous, ask for the conch’s pistols. Harbour Island men say, “It puts lead in your pencil.” Ha!