Most of the attention right now is focused on the other side of the island of New Providence with the opening of the mega-resort Baha Mar (the latest news: the opening is delayed again.) But tucked away on the southwest side, just past the long established gated community of Lyford Cay, is Albany, a much lower profile private community that has been opening in stages since 2010. The investors behind it are blue chip, chief among them British billionaire Joe Lewis’s private investment company Tavistock Group, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods.
Lewis and his 223 foot yacht Aviva are in full time residence here, Els designed the golf course and both golfers, who have homes here, can often be seen playing it. And you don’t have to be a homeowner to play a round as well: 75 of the large, oceanfront homes and the designer decorated condo units are available in the hotel pool to rent at $2500-$6000 per night. Els’ and Woods’ houses, not surprisingly, aren’t included.
The name Albany comes from its centerpiece Albany House, a pink beachfront Bahamian manor house with an onscreen credit as the home of the villain in the Bond film “Casino Royale.” Surrounding it on the 600 acre property are three to five bedroom homes, buildings designed by major architects such as Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman housing the condo units—some already built, some such as the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group designed Honeycomb with private pools on each of the apartments’ terraces forthcoming. (That means that guests in the Marina Residences may hear construction noise. Guests in the villas won’t.) Facilities include several restaurants including the fine dining Aviva (a typical dish: duck salad with figs and pomegranate champagne vinaigrette), a state of the art fitness center good enough for the professional athlete homeowners, a marina with 71 slips for up to 300 foot yachts, an equestrian center, a very good spa, adult and family swimming pools and a full children’s center. A financial center, hospital and recording studio for its music business residents are on the way: with the Bahamas’ offshore status and lack of a personal income tax, full time residence is encouraged.
More than the physical facilities, though, impressive as they are, the advantage of being in such a clubby place is the familiar feeling with a caretaking staff. I was only there three days and I already felt it and saw a number of residents hugging staff members and asking about their families. That’s one of the reasons that the team here doesn’t fear the Baha Mar opening, according to James Deen, head of the U.K. sales office. They see it, instead, as an advantage. “Baha Mar will increase air lift to Nassau so that’s good for us and it provides other restaurants and facilities for our members to go to,” he says. “But it’s a completely different experience staying over here.”
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