Graycliff Hotel, Restaurant & Cigar Company has been recognised as the Bahamas’ Leading Hotel by the prestigious World Travel Awards for the second year in succession. Taking the 2011 title, the Nassau, Bahamas-based estate fought off competition from across the Caribbean island to emerge victorious.
But it is not hard to see why the hotel impressed the global tourism community; over 200,000 of whom voted in the annual poll.
Situated next door to Government House, just a few minutes away from white sand beaches, Graycliff offers an enticing world tucked away from the casinos of Nassau. The hotel boasts twenty elegant guest chambers and spacious pool cottage suites, with an ambience designed to ensure each guest feels as if they have retuned home.
Upon arrival, holidaymakers are invited to sit and relax in the comfort of the lounge while checking in. All rooms are individually decorated in various styles with names that evoke all the charm and romance of the tropics. To experience the old, there is the Pool Cottage where Winston Churchill used to stay or the Baillou, the original master bedroom in the main house. To experience the new, there is the Mandarino Cottage with its extra large bathroom with whirlpool.
Dining is also a singular pleasure. Graycliff Restaurant is the first five-star restaurant in the Caribbean and offers gourmet dining at its best. It offers a mix of Bahamian specialties and European cuisine, with a menu also offered for private dining in the wine cellar. Slightly less formal, the Churrascaria Humidor is a Brazilian Rodizio barbecue and a meat lovers delight. Graycliff also boasts one of the world’s largest wine cellars - with over 250,000 bottles, from more than 400 vintners in 15 countries.
Home Away From Home
Graycliff, the elegant mansion, was built by Captain John Howard Graysmith, a notorious 18th century pirate. In the centuries following, it passed through several hands, ending up as the property of Lord Dudley, the Third Earl of Staffordshire. During its Royal period, Graycliff hosted noble personages such as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Britain’s former King Edward VIII), while Lady Grace Dudley added a strong English accent to the décor.
Away from the luxurious property, Graycliff also runs a perhaps surprising sideline in cigars. Founded in 1997, the Graycliff Cigar Company was the creation of Enrico Garzaroli, who fell in love with cigars but was unable to find that ‘perfect’ cigar to complement the Graycliff menu. The company started production in January 1997 in Nassau. What then began as a single roller in the restaurant entrance has now expanded to an award winning boutique Cigar Company with 16 master rollers, each an expert in their various format.
Graycliff Cigar Company’s original blend – The Graycliff – was created by the late Master Torcedore Avelino Lara. Once Fidel Castro’s personal roller, Lara is famous for his creations at the El Laguito Factory outside of Havana, where he created blends for Cohiba and Davidoff among others. Since his retirement in 2000, Enrico Garzaroli and Paolo Garzaroli have collaborated on creating all of the new blends manufactured at the award-winning Graycliff Cigar Company.
The company presently produces four brands of cigars: Graycliff, G2, Bahiba and the newly introduced Cabinet Selection by Graycliff. Visitors to the hotel can witness first hand the torcedores at work and also take a cigar rolling lesson with the expert craftsmen.