Before I get started on this blog about the Compass Point Beach Resort and Nassau, Bahamas, I want to give you a little background. I grew up in St.Paul, Minnesota. The Scandinavia of North America. We drank milk, ate meat, potatoes and maybe some vegetables (you know, the good ones — corn, green beans and peas). Catsup added just enough spiciness to anything. Nothing too weird. I’ve gotten brave in my old age and now, for example, enjoy all types of wine and beer, I eat spinach salad, squash parts (at least I think it was squash, hmm), asparagus and broccoli. I know, I know, we’re supposed to try everything, but my innerds are somewhat tender to various textures and I hate making a scene in a restaurant. So, when the guy who recommended this resort also recommended the conch fritters at the Fish Fry in Nassau, I knew I was destined to try at least one. I won’t tell you the guy’s name but his initials are AJK, who I think has only 26 species remaining of the animal kingdom he hasn’t tried. Eeew!
Enough about me, let’s talk about a Thanksgiving weekend getaway with my wife, Sue. Compass Point Beach Resort on New Providence Island, Bahamas, is about a 20-minute drive west of Nassau, or five-miles from the airport. We arrived Thanksgiving morning and waited a couple minutes for a cab. I think our driver was having a bad day because he said all of four words to us. He started with, “Where to?” and ended with “Fifteen dollars.” That was it. Luckily the ride from the airport to the resort took only six minutes. I gave him $18 to cheer him up. Let’s see, that makes it either $3 per minute, $3.60 per mile, or $4.50 per word.
The Compass Point Beach Resort is relatively young. It opened in 1995 by Chris Blackwell who had a vision of the intimacy of a small property with a simple, traditional home of his native country of Jamaica (he was actually born in London but grew up in Jamaica). The resort has 18, brightly-colored cottages, each with its own balcony, strung out along the ocean and makes you happy just being there. The colors are inspired by the Bahamian carnival “Junkanoo.” Each cottage has a flat screen TV, DVD/CD player with surround sound, iPod connectors, wi-fi and refrigerator.
A little note about the resort creator: Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, is considered the single person most responsible for turning the world on to reggae music. You probably have heard of some of these acts signed by Island Records: Bob Marley, U2, Jethro Tull, Robert Palmer, The Cranberries, Cat Stevens, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. He also was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. His music background is the reason for the stereo surround sound and a collection of ethnic CDs in each cottage.
It must have been the off-season because the resort seemed a bit quiet. There were maybe only four or five units occupied while we were there. The cottage we were in was the farthest from the lobby/restaurant, elevated and right on the ocean. I think the only thing this resort needed is a coral reef to make the snorkeling a little bit more interesting. If the sound of the sea pounding the rocky shore bothers you, this probably isn’t the resort for you. At night, with all our shutters closed, I found the slighly-muffled ocean sounds made for a perfect lullaby.
Since breakfast was included in the rate, we ate in the restaurant each morning on the patio overlooking the turquoise water (for us artsy-type people I’m thinking Pantone 319). They served a variety of standard breakfast dishes such as omelets, pancakes, French toast, eggs benedict, bacon and such. We also had a few good lunches at the bar. We did enjoy a couple delicious evening meals on the dining patio as well. Sorry, nothing weird, just good eatin’.
One evening we took a ten-minute walk to the Travellers’ Rest restaurant. To enter was kind of strange, we had to press a button to get the bartender to buzz you in. We were welcomed with a typical nice greeting. The bench that I sat on wasn’t too comfortable, but the food was very tasty. It’s too bad we were a little early for the live music.
On Saturday we took a 20-minute ride on the jitney bus into Nassau — $1.50 per person. What a deal. With four cruise ships in port, there were plenty of people to keep the shop vendors hopping. We decided to make the hike up Bennet’s Hill to see the Queen’s Staircase that leads to Fort Fincastle. This very small fort was built around 1793 by Lord Dunmore, a Royal Governor (1787 to 1796). It was built in the shape of an old paddle-wheel steamer (I’m not sure why) to protect the city from invasion but saw little action because Nassau was never attacked. We paid the dollar to go inside and see, well, not much. There were a couple of empty rooms where the ammunition was kept and a few cannons at the wall. It definitely needs some more artifacts or something. There is a pretty nice view of the island from the top.
The Queen’s Staircase, Nassau’s most visited attraction, is worth seeing. It has 65 steps that were carved out of solid limestone by slaves between 1793 and 1794. The staircase is named in honor of the 65 years of Queen Victoria’s reign as well as her role in helping bring about the abolition of slavery in the Bahamas.
Back in Nassau, since the new Straw Market had not opened for shoppers yet, we walked over to the Fish Fry area — a row of about ten seafood restaurants for bite to eat. We decided to eat at “Oh Andros” and try my first conch fritter. Yikes! Sue ordered ten. I expected a deep-fried big chewy ball of slime but, well, it wasn’t and was actually pretty good. There were just a couple of pieces of conch in my fritter. Chewy and fishy, but not bad. I didn’t even have to use my at-the-ready-Kalik-beer-power-flush. I may have to try another one next year.
I guess I would label the Compass Point Beach Resort: relaxed, cozy, upscale casual — everything is top-notch and well-cared-for with the friendliest of staff. What a great little getaway! Thanks AJK for the recommendation.