No slowdown in spending among the many rich on this Bahamian island

The Bahamas has greater than 700 islands and cays; distant employees and college students can reside on 16 of them, together with Eleuthera (proven right here).

Sylvain Sonnet | The Picture Financial institution | Getty Photos

Phrase that Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce had been seen on the marina of this tiny speck (5 sq. miles) of an island for a trip was met with bemusement by the vacationers who had gathered to look at the magnificent sundown on the bar, and with dismay by locals, anxious that their little speck of paradise was turning into the following Saint Barts.

“I hear she’s staying right up the street,” a lady sitting alone on the bar instructed us. She was cheerfully downing completely chilled prosecco in a champagne flute.   

The locals appeared unimpressed.

“It’s the two percenters who are coming, and the ultra-rich,” one shopkeeper instructed us, noting that enterprise had been brisk among the many wealthier Individuals, Canadians and Brits which can be the spine of the financial system right here.   

Possibly too brisk.  

“We have 20 billionaires on this island alone. The traffic is getting to be unbearable,” she mentioned, eyeing me suspiciously.  

I straightened up and tried trying like a two percenter, however I wasn’t certain what they appeared like.

Visitors? What visitors? I appeared out the window of her store. Most individuals have been driving round in golf carts. With a inhabitants of only one,800, Harbour Island and its one and solely city, Dunmore City, makes Saint Barts (inhabitants 11,000) seem like midtown Manhattan.

The girl herself, she defined, had moved to Eleuthera, a 10-minute water taxi journey away, the place the hoi polloi hardly ever come, apparently.

All of which begs the query: Why on earth would anybody, not to mention Taylor Swift and a bunch of billionaires, come to this tiny speck?  

Why are there so many enormous yachts sitting in Valentines Marina?

You possibly can’t fly right here

Harbour Island is barely an island. It is an island off an island, on this case Eleuthera, some 60 miles northeast of Nassau. You possibly can’t fly in. It’s important to fly to Eleuthera, take a taxi to a dock a couple of miles away, and take a water taxi to Harbour Island.  

This inaccessibility, apparently, is a serious promoting level for the tiny group of individuals that may match on the island, and afford to pay the steep (Saint Barts-style) costs.

The operative phrase is “tiny.” The biggest lodge has 41 rooms; the dozen or so different inns have lower than that.  Altogether, there cannot be greater than 250 lodge rooms on your complete island.  It is unlikely you will see an enormous international chain arrange store right here. I’s uncertain the infrastructure may help a big lodge.  Not surprisingly, there appears to be a brisk enterprise renting out the few homes on the island.

Stroll across the city for a couple of days, although, and you may see why a small group of vacationers preserve coming again and appear very bored with making it greater:

  • Pink Sands Seaside: This is without doubt one of the nice seashores of the Caribbean, certainly of the world. It truly is pinkish, because of the decaying shells of microscopic sea creatures. It stays white, tons of of toes offshore, no seaweed, no rocks, no something, simply blue water. It is flat, and the sand is compact so you’ll be able to stroll with out sinking in.  It is so compact that folks journey horses up and down the entire three-mile stretch.
  • The eating places: How is it doable that an island with a couple of hundred guests can help so many nice eating places? There’s native locations Queen Conch or Ma Ruby, which serves terrific Caribbean meals and is thought for its “Cheeseburger in Paradise” (It is served on a brioche-style bun, and supposedly earned the praises of Jimmy Buffett). There’s terrific Italian meals at Aquapazza, and basic Caribbean meat and fish dishes at Latitude 25 on the Coral Sands Resort, or on the stylish Dunmore Resort, or at Malcolm 51 on the swanky all-cottage Pink Sands Resort, or the Rock Home, or The Touchdown, or at Valentines. And nonetheless you’ll be able to’t a get reservation on many nights.
  • The homes: You’d suppose an island with so many rich guests and residents can be full of big McMansions and multi-acre compounds. They’re definitely right here. The boat captain we employed for a day cruise quipped that “the millionaires live on the north side, the billionaires live on the south side, and everyone else lives in the middle.”  Folks like Invoice Gates, Ron Perlman, Mickey Drexler, Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg, and Wayne Huizenga are mentioned to have houses right here. However Dunmore City is stuffed with modest, one and two-story houses which can be ablaze with coloration: blues, yellows, reds, a veritable explosion of pastels, together with purple morning glories in all places.
  • The church buildings:  Stroll round on a Sunday and you may hear singing.  It is a non secular nation:  90% belong to some non secular denomination, although it is largely Protestant (Baptists and Anglicans), with Roman Catholics and a smattering of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Greek Orthodox, and others.  We attended the Lighthouse Church of God to listen to Pastor Samuel Higgs and guitarist Rocky Sanders and a heavenly group of singers rock the home with old-school gospel music. Mick Jagger and Lenny Kravitz have additionally stopped by. Higgs and Sanders performed golf equipment in Europe earlier than coming again to the island.
  • The individuals: The Bahamian individuals are well-known for his or her heat and friendliness, and it comes out in abundance on a small island like this. Simply say “good morning” to anybody, and they’re going to cease and say, “Good morning!  How are you?”  They will smile, they usually imply it.

 The 2 percenters: Cannot reside with ’em, cannot reside with out ’em

 Whereas the locals could also be complaining about visitors and wealthy individuals, do not anticipate the federal government of the Bahamas to close the door. Tourism accounts for 50% of the GDP of the nation, and employs almost 70% of the workforce.  Due to that infusion of money, per capita revenue is the third largest within the Western Hemisphere (behind the U.S. and Canada).

Luxurious journey could also be booming, however journey to the Caribbean on the whole stays robust. Arrivals have been up 14.3% final 12 months, in response to a current report by the Caribbean Tourism Group reported by Caribbean Journal.  

And whereas the locals could complain, any small island or metropolis would kill to get the form of intense loyalty locations like this appear to engender.

The girl on the bar at Valentines mentioned she had been coming right here for 20 years, and had her honeymoon right here.  She had flown into Eleuthera on a non-public aircraft along with her husband (who owned automobile dealerships within the Midwest), her youngsters, and pals of theirs. That they had chartered a ship to spend a couple of weeks within the Bahamas, and can be going south to even smaller islands.

Why was she sitting alone on the bar?

Her household, she mentioned with a smile, was off searching for Taylor Swift.