Photo: British Colonial Nassau

This Historic Nassau Hotel Packages Bahamian Tradition for Modern Travelers

Epic Stays
by Jori Ayers Mar 18, 2024

Standing before the grand staircase in the lobby of the British Colonial Hotel in Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, I was transported back in time.

The British Colonial Hotel is the oldest operating resort in Nassau. It was founded and financed by American industrialist Henry Flagler in 1900 and opened for business the following year. The hotel you see today dates back to 1924 after a fire destroyed the original property roughly two decades after its doors first opened. In 1932, British entrepreneur Sir Henry Oakes bought the property and renamed it as it is today: the British Colonial.

Paintings within the hotel chronicle its 100-plus-year history while the resort debuted a new look this past December. A vibrantly tropical, lush, and bohemian-leaning property, the British Colonial Hotel embraces both past and present, creating a time capsule of Bahamian history that’s fit for the modern traveler — especially if you have rest and rejuvenation on the mind.

Rooms at the British Colonial Hotel

Double Beds Photo: British Colonial
Living room area with desk Photo: British Colonial
Suite Living Area Photo: British Colonial
British Colonial Suite Bathroom Photo: British Colonial
British Colonial Suite Office Photo: British Colonial

The British Colonial Hotel has seven floors with 288 recently refurbished and reimagined rooms, including 25 distinctive suites. The rooms are bright and airy, with the perfect amount of space for all types of travelers. Each has king, queen, or double beds; spacious bathrooms featuring a bathtub and shower; a 50-inch flatscreen TV; and a workspace for remote workers if needed. Guests can choose between rooms with garden and city or ocean views.

The hotel also has over 18,000 square feet of meeting and event spaces, comprising 13 indoor and three outdoor venues that can accommodate between eight and 400 people. The Governor’s Club is an idyllic and customizable setting for guests who want something intimate.

Amenities at the British Colonial Hotel

Lobby Area Photo: British Colonial
Photo: British Colonial
Fire Pit Area Photo: British Colonial
Bridge to pool and beach Photo: British Colonial

While centrally located, the British Colonial Hotel provides all the amenities you need to have a relaxing vacation on site. You can sunbathe by the hotel’s two freshwater oceanfront pools — one shallow pool with floating loungers and private cabanas, one deeper pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea — or put yourself in do-not-disturb mode by reserving a poolside massage with the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore in the background.

Beachgoers also have access to 300 feet of pristine white-sand beaches, complete with beach chairs where you can set yourself up to alternate between lounging in the sun and taking dips in the sea. Adventurous types will appreciate the range of activities that you can arrange via the hotel’s Sports Concierge, including snorkeling, diving, fishing, jet skiing, and boating.

Dining and drinking at the British Colonial Hotel

Woodes Rogers Tavern Photo: British Colonial
Mahogany Club Photo: British Colonial
Photo: British Colonial
Photo: British Colonial

The British Colonial Hotel provides a variety of dining experiences, with seven on-site food and beverage establishments catering to beachside casual dining and upscale fine-dining.

The Mahogany Club is the resort’s premier fine-dining restaurant. Inspired by 1920s supper clubs, it exudes a timeless aesthetic that transports diners to a bygone era. Beforehand, or after a day of adventure, you can swing by the hotel’s signature bar, Woodes Rodgers Tavern, to wind down with a nice cocktail. On weekends, the bar hosts live jazz performances that pair perfectly with a selection of handcrafted cocktails and wines by the glass.

The British Colonial Hotel also has an Asian-inspired restaurant called Sakana Noodle and Sushi Bar that serves the freshest seafood from the Bahamian waters, paired with a selection of sake. For quicker and simpler fare, head to the Red Pearle Grille for a pool snack or tropical drink, or hit up the buffet-style Tamarind Market Place for a hot breakfast with chef stations and freshly baked pastries. Another breakfast option is the British Colonial Trading Company where you can get a cup of coffee or tea and freshly baked pastries or breakfast sandwiches. Deli sandwiches, panini, and flatbreads are served throughout the day if you need a light snack.

There’s also a venue for cigar enthusiasts at the hotel: Burn Cigar Bar. The outdoor venue stocks an array of Cuban cigars and rums along with refreshing Caribbean snacks.

Things to do outside of the British Colonial Hotel

The British Colonial Hotel is centrally located on the north side of the island, making both seaside attractions and those in downtown Nassau easily accessible. Nearby attractions include the Nassau Straw Market, John Watling’s Distillery, National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, Graycliff Chocolatier and Cigar Company, Queen’s Staircase, and Nassau Botanical Gardens.

Guests can also visit the hotel’s sister properties, One Particular Harbour and Margaritaville Beach Resort, which are only a three-minute walk from the hotel. You can enjoy shopping experiences at these properties, as well as other places around the resort, such as the Milano Diamond Gallery or Festival Place.

If you prefer more active outings, options abound, from swimming with pigs, to booking a full-day beach excursion, to snorkeling on Rose Island.

Getting to the British Colonial

The closest airport to the British Colonial Hotel is Lynden Pindling International Airport, which is located roughly 22 minutes away by car. Guests can arrange airport transfers with Bahamas Experience Tours, in partnership with the hotel, for an extra fee. Booking can be done directly through the hotel’s website.

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