Escape to the Bahamian Out Islands and the recently renovated Abaco Beach Resort
The pandemic has changed travel forever. Today travelers want an authentic, uncrowded, pristine experience, which is exactly what awaits in the Abaco Islands and its premier property, Abaco Beach Resort. The resort and marina are owned by two Bahamians Manny Alexiou and Andrew Sweeting who have an affinity for boating and island hopping.
The Abacos are known for their wild beauty, azure waters, sandy beaches, emerald hills, six national parks and the best boating in the Bahamas.
Located just 165-miles off the coast of Florida on Great Abaco in the 120-mile chain of islands and cays that comprise the islands of the Abacos, the Abaco Beach Resort recently completed a massive renovation and expansion.
Devastated by Hurricane Dorian, the 2019 storm that was the worst natural disaster in the Bahamas history, the Abaco Beach Resort bounced back better than ever. The resort renovated all its 94 rooms, added deluxe accommodation options, created a fine dining Bistro and a new al fresco restaurant poolside, and built the largest marina in the Bahamas.
“The new look is sleek, modern, and sizzles with a fresh energy,” said Mo Sallah, General Manager. “It’s breathed new life into this historic property.”
All accommodations at the 40-acre beachfront resort boast an ocean view and a patio or balcony to enjoy it from. In addition to rooms, the property offers one-bedroom oceanfront suites, and updated two-bedroom residences, and a three-bedroom penthouse.
“Our Residence accommodations are perfect for multi-generational family travel and offer a more private, luxurious experience for travelers,” Sallah said.
Foodies will delight at the new dining venues unveiled in the resort’s renovation. The casual Pool Bar and Terrace at Marinaville is open all day. Breakfast features classics like Eggs Benedict, while the lunch and dinner menus are packed with local fare like cracked conch and a decadent lobster burger. A variety of salads, pizzas, sandwiches and main courses like Surf & Turf with Bahamian lobster and fillet are also on offer.
Executive Chef Deja Rutherford, who served as Executive Sous Chef under Jose Andres at the Atlantis Resort brings her culinary talents to The Bistro, the new fine dining restaurant on property. The dinner-only eatery affords guests the opportunity to dine in the chic, airy dining room or on the terrace with terrific views of the ocean and gardens. The menu boasts bistro classics like warm tomato and cheese fondue and conch croquettes, and Bahamian twists on classics like a jerk prawn risotto. An extensive grill menu includes cooked to perfection seafood, chicken and premium meats with a mouth-watering list of sides for sharing and pairing
“Chef Rutherford’s impressive culinary training and skills have allowed Abaco to now offer some of the finest dining in the islands,” said Sallah.
Boating and Fishing Mecca
Perhaps the biggest undertaking in the renovation was the creation of a modern 200-slip marina in Marsh Harbour. The marina can host pleasure boats, sport fishing boats and super yachts up to 200 ft. in length. Custom and Immigration services are onsite. It’s an impressive addition to a resort that was already known for its world famous fishing tournaments.
Abaco Beach Resort will host four of the top billfish tournaments in the world in 2022. The Abaco Diamond Series includes the Blue Marlin Tournament, White Marlin Roundup, The Shootout, which pits production boats against custom craft, and the Custom Shootout, featuring 50 custom boat teams. It is the most elite collection of sport fishing boats in one location.
“We’re thrilled to host not one, but four of the top sport fishing events in The Bahamas,” said Sallah. “The tournaments bring the best in the sport to Abaco and an exciting atmosphere to the resort.”
For amateur fisherman Abaco offers a wealth of fishing charters and tours. Let Captain Justin Sands lead you on a bone fishing adventure or join Captain Rick from Abaco Flyfish Connection & Charters for light tackle reef fishing. If big game fish hooks your fancy, the Abacos are prime water for marlin, wahoo, tuna, mahi-mahi and grouper.
Guests looking to spend time enjoying water sports, snorkeling and island exploration, can take advantage of the partnerships Abaco Beach Resort has with boat rental outfitters for motor boats, sail boats and catamarans available for self-sailing or with a captain and crew.
The charm of the Abaco’s lies in the ability to easily hop between the many islands.
From the new marina set sail to photograph the nearby candy-cane striped lighthouse of Hope Town on Elbow Cay and enjoy the sandy, coconut-tree lined Tahiti Beach. On Man O War Cay you can visit with shipbuilders, and at Pelican Cays National Park drink in the beauty of the shallow coral gardens.
Nature lovers should plan to explore Great Guana Cay known for its vast Elkhorn coral reefs, sea turtles, and migrating birds. Don’t miss stopping in the local’s favorite, Nipper’s Beach Bar for a lively island party any time of day.
Stroll through the pastel-colored, clap board and gingerbread houses of New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay or snorkel its dramatic coral reefs. One of the most unique, only on Abaco activities you can do is just south of Green Turtle Cay on No Name Cay, nicknamed Piggyville. Here is where you can swim with pigs. Yes, pigs!
No one quite knows how these aquatic loving wild boar ended up here, but it’s clear they love their island paradise. If you want to join the piggies on a paddle there are several tour operators offering excursions. It’s a memorable experience that will make for some great pictures for your social media feed.
With one of the largest barrier reefs in the Western Hemisphere dive enthusiasts will find plenty to explore underwater. The calm and shallow Abaco Sea is easy for new divers, while the coral caverns and tunnels that have formed through the years give advanced divers a challenge. All divers will enjoy the pristine, colorful reefs and there are even some shipwrecks dating to the American Civil War.
If you’re looking to Hang Ten, head to Elbow Cay for the best waves in the Abacos. At about six miles long, Elbow Cay offers several great reefbreaks and one beachbreak all within walking distance of the main settlement of Hope Town. Guests can rent a golf cart and explore the beaches, restaurants and historic sites of Hope Town that mirror classic New England architecture brought over by Loyalists during the American Revolution.
While the Abacos provide plenty of outdoor adventures and cute towns to explore, no vacation to these laid-back islands would be complete without some down time to relax, rejuvenate and return home more balanced.
The Abaco Beach Resort offers a private white sand beach for guests to grab a chaise to lounge in, sunbathe, read or enjoy sipping an island cocktail. When you’re ready to jump in the water, complimentary kayaks, bogey boards and snorkeling gear are available.
For many, no vacation is complete without some spa pampering. At Abaco Beach Resort the masseuse comes to you, whether you want your massage in a beachside cabana or in the privacy of your room.
Traveling to the Abacos is easy with short, direct flights from Florida, and starting in June from Charlotte, North Carolina. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all travelers, regardless of vaccination status are required to produce proof of a negative COVID test taken no more than five days prior to arrival.
The Abaco Beach Resort was awarded the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s Clean and Pristine Award designation, meaning that the hotel follows all of the Bahamas’ government approved guidelines, which currently mirror that of the CDC in the United States. The resort offers rapid antigen tests making it easy for travelers returning to the United States.
On property social distancing continues to be in place to ensure guest comfort and safety. Masks are required indoors and the Government of the Bahamas requires masks indoors and out while off property.
During this time period, all change fees are waived if guests need to modify their dates of travel due to COVID regulations and restrictions.
“We understand that traveling these days is a bit more complicated and we’re doing everything we can to make it easier and safer for our guests,” said Sallah.
Since the 1950s travelers to the Out Islands have known to make the Abaco Beach Resort their home base for exploring all the natural beauty, outdoor adventures, small towns and stellar water activities the Abacos has to offer. With its recent renovation, the Abaco Beach Resort is ready to share the magic of the islands with a whole new generation of travelers.