The Bahamas – An island escape known for its wild beaches

The Potlatch Club, the first truly luxury boutique hotel on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas, has opened its doors after an extensive restoration. Eleuthera is an island escape known for its wild, pristine beauty and 135 empty beaches. The secluded hideaway has only 11 keys in a former private home, popular with New York socialites in the 1960s and 70s. The property fell into disrepair in the 1980s and has now been lovingly restored under its original name, The Potlatch Club. 

Potlatch is a term derived from a Northwest Native American ceremonial feast, in which possessions are destroyed or given away to display wealth or enhance prestige. This was the original modus operandi of The Potlatch Club. For years, the oceanfront retreat was a magnet for socialites as well as silver-screen legends, such as Greta Garbo, Richard Widmark, Raymond Burr, and Rita Gam, who were never charged for anything. And in 1969, Paul McCartney honeymooned at The Potlatch Club with his first wife, Linda, when he wrote several Beatles songs including ‘Bathroom Window’ on Potlatch Club notepaper. 

In 2016, new owners Bruce Loshusan and Hans Febles stumbled across the dilapidated property. Now, after a seven-year renovation designed and landscaped by Hans Febles alongside Nassau-based interior designer Amanda Lindroth, the island’s mid-century icon has been restored to its former glory.  

Fronting a seven-mile deserted stretch of pink-sand beach, The Potlatch Club is an oceanfront escape where breezy coastal elegance meets timeless Caribbean architecture at the reborn Potlatch Club. In all, four original buildings were saved and refurbished. The property’s original clubhouse retains historic details, such as checkered floors, which were crafted in Nassau in 1919, and classic whitewashed arches that hark to the property’s storied past, while striped awnings and pops of pastel add glamorous seaside flare.  White walls, pink coral stone floors, coral stone finished bathrooms, designer furniture and original art complete the relaxed yet upscale beachy look.  

Set in 12 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, the accommodations are a mix of historic and newly built whitewashed suites (3), garden cottages (3), ocean-facing cottages (3) plus one 1-bedroom and one 4-bedroom ocean-view villa, which includes butler service.  Some feature private verandas and terraces and others shoreline pavilions or gardens scented with jasmine and frangipani.   

All accommodations have easy access to The Fig Tree restaurant, which overlooks the pool and features retrospective pictures of the former resort. Sumptuous breakfasts with local fruit and fresh ingredients set the stage for seasonal farm-and-sea-to- table organic cuisine. Guests can opt for lunch at the beach where the Pavilion Bar is a laidback gathering spot.  A range of massages are available at the two-room Acqua Spa, in the guest room or even on the beach.  A day pass is available for non-guests to enjoy the spa with access to the swimming pool, lounge beds, umbrellas and watersports.

General Manager Kezang Dorji, originally from Bhutan, brings a sense of serene Himalayan hospitality to Eleuthera although he has much experience in the Caribbean as an integral member of the opening team at Parrot Cay by Como, and previously, as General Manager at La Bougainvillea and Head of F&B at The Cove on Eleuthera. 

Guests can also enjoy water sports, such as paddle-boarding, kayaking and cruises at the island’s main port, the nearby Governor’s Harbour. In addition, The Potlatch Club has curated three special itineraries for guests: 

On the Water whisks guests to remote islands and pristine sandbars via a private boat charter, with activities including swimming with turtles, snorkelling trips to glimpse colourful reefs, waterside picnics and fishing. 

The Beaches of Eleuthera is an immersion into the island’s 100+ beaches and its long, scalloped coastline, complete with a picnic lunch or visit to a local restaurant. 

A Visit to Harbour Island, the A-list resort just off the northeast coast of Eleuthera, offers charming local shops, plus buzzy bars and restaurants.