Wall Street Journal

Ushering In a New Era at the Iconic, Historic Ocean Club in the Bahamas

Ushering In a New Era at the Iconic, Historic Ocean Club in the Bahamas

67 new branded Four Seasons residences will take luxury island living to the next level

The Ocean Club’s 63-year history reads like a cultural digest of some of the most influential names of the past few generations.

The property has passed through ownership including William Randolph Hearst and Merv Griffin, and has played host for everyone from Cindy Crawford to The Beatles. Even James Bond found it an appropriate setting for portions of the 2006 film “Casino Royale.”

“These walls hold so many stories,” said John Conway, the property’s general manager since 2013. In fact, the resort’s Martini Bar is decorated with black-and-white framed photos of some of the most renowned guests, displayed on the piano and bookcases.

While many boldfaced names have stayed for weeks and months at a time, the property has always been a hotel, and there’s never been an opportunity to lay down permanent roots before, though regulars have inquired about the possibility, according to Conway.

Now, the Ocean Club is preparing for its next moment in the spotlight with the opening of the Ocean Club, Four Seasons Residences, Bahamas.

The newly-introduced four-building residential enclave will stand adjacent to the main resort complex, with an array of amenities all its own. This will include an oceanfront swimming pool with private cabanas and a clubhouse, an owners’ library, as well as a lounge, private cellar and rum room, a private beachfront restaurant, a co-working space, a well-equipped children’s playroom, a multiuse media room, indoor and outdoor spa treatment rooms and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Even more importantly, residents will be able to add their homes to the hotel’s available room inventory, creating a new dimension for large families and big events.

“The Ocean Club has 107 guestrooms and suites, including three beautiful beach villas. Each villa has its own infinity pool, private terrace and beach access,” Conway said. “While they are gorgeous, they are in high demand and are frequently booked.”

The next generation of the Ocean Club will link those who have stayed only as guests to weave their own story into the fabric of the property’s history.

“For our guests who are seeking more living space, multiple bedrooms and a kitchen, yet all the connectivity of the resort—it’s going to be amazing to be able to offer this,” Conway said.

On offer are 67 Private Residences, all managed by Four Seasons. All will feature oceanfront or ocean views, floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive outdoor verandas for indoor and outdoor entertaining. Choices for layouts will range from 3,124-square-foot (290 square meters) two-bedroom and 4,073-square-foot (378 square meters) three-bedroom homes to 5,028-square-foot (467 square meters) four-bedroom offerings.

Five-bedroom beach villas will offer 7,459 square feet (693 square meters) of interior living space with 6,604 square feet (614 square meters) of outdoor terraces. Penthouses will offer an average of 5,263 square feet (489 square meters) of interior living space and 3,917 square feet (364 square meters) of outdoor space. Both layouts feature private pools.

All of the homes will be built in the classic Bahamian style that has drawn guests to the resort for decades. Expect neutral colors, subtle pastels and light-hued materials that complement the stunning natural landscapes of the island.

Prices range from $6.5 million to $23 million, and residents will have all of the rental management opportunities that one would expect from a luxury resort of this caliber.

Should a resident want to explore more beyond their own four walls, there’s the entire array of amenities available at the main resort. “I view the resort basically as an extension of their residence,” Conway said. Three swimming pools, six Har-Tru tennis courts and a shuttle service to an 18-hole Tom Weiskopf-designed championship golf course are just the beginning. There’s also Dune, the exceptional restaurant created by celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. A simple wander through the resort’s grounds uncovers the remains of a 12th-century monastery nestled within immaculate, Versailles-inspired gardens.

“The Versailles Pool was the first in-ground pool built in Paradise Island,” Conway said, “and the collection of bronze and stone statues found in the adjacent tiered Versailles Gardens are a hallmark of the property. Brought over in the 1960s by George Huntington Hartford II, heir to A&P Tea Company, the 13 European statues still here today are a truly unique feature of the Ocean Club,” he added.

For owners, the upcoming Private Residences will simply be an extension of the resort’s spirit of longevity and tenure—in fact, many hotel staff have been with the property for more than 30 years. “Our guests have come to know and love our team members,” Conway said. “Our dedicated team really sets us apart.”