FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Graycliff Hotel

Apr 1, 2011
2011 / April 2011

Arrival/Check-in: We made a few erroneous twists and turns through the maze of downtown Nassau before we finally pulled up in front of the hotel, where we were greeted like family. As the bellman took our bags from the trunk of our rental car, he called to a burly gentleman a few yards up the quiet street. The gentleman, Graycliff Hotel owner Enrico Garzaroli, turned back to welcome us with a bear claw of a handshake and warm wishes for a pleasant stay. We entered through a gate into a small garden and proceeded up a few steps to the verandah of the main house. Following a quick check-in, the bellman grabbed our bags and signaled us to follow him up a grand staircase to our second-floor room. (30/30)

Guest Quarters: The main house at Graycliff Hotel dates to the mid-18th century, with a colorful history involving pirates, gangsters and royalty. Capt. John Howard Graysmith built the house in 1740. In the intervening years, it has served as headquarters for the U.S. Navy, an officers’ mess during the Civil War, an inn and a private home. Notorious gangster Al Capone was a frequent guest in the 1920s. By the mid-20th century, it was again a private dwelling, home to Lord and Lady Dudley, Third Earl of Staffordshire, who hosted the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Lord Mountbatten and Sir Winston Churchill. The house took on a strict English accent during the Dudleys’ tenure; an ambience Enrico and his wife, Annamaria, embrace today.

The heavy wooden door to our room opened into a salon furnished with antiques. A heavy chandelier illuminated the room, and floor-to-ceiling windows adorned with floral draperies opened onto the second-floor porch of the main house. A king-sized bed was to the left, adjacent to the bathroom, which opened on the opposite side to a small office with direct access to the porch and back into the sitting area. The old-world décor, worn a bit ’round the edges, was homey and welcoming, reminiscent of a visit to grandma’s house. (27/30)

Services/Amenities: Dinner at Graycliff Restaurant is an experience not to be missed. The evening began with cocktails and canapés in the main drawing room, where a pianist tickled the ivories and softly chatted with guests. A waiter took our order then prompted us to sit back, relax and enjoy the ambience. He returned later to accompany us to our table, where wait staff were ready to serve our first course. We were seated in an atrium-like garden room, one of several unique venues. After savoring a fabulous repast, we returned to our room where we indulged in a dessert of chocolate soufflé accompanied by a snifter of Grand Marnier.

There’s a small swimming pool on site and the hotel offers transportation to and from the beach. In addition to rooms in the historic main house, Graycliff features an assortment of garden- and pool-view suites and guestrooms for a total of 20 unique accommodations. The hotel is also home to the Graycliff Cigar Company, an impressive wine cellar and Churrascaria, a Brazilian-style eatery specializing in Brazilian barbecue-grilled chicken, pork, beef and lamb. (39/40)

Total Score: 96/100

Graycliff Hotel
8–12 W. Hill St.
Nassau, Bahamas
tel 242 302 9150

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