I’ve always imagined that come my honeymoon, I will be Carrie Bradshaw. I will be Audrey. I will be Marilyn. Fate seems to know better, and I suspect it feels I need a little practice, so that I may stop tripping over myself, forgetting my visas, losing my luggage, and coming back covered in sand-fly bites, like a man who tipped a hive of honeycomb over his head and stood out in the sun. And so it sent me to Tiamo, a hidden haven on a Bahamian Island.
Transported to the island by barge, after a 15 minute jet flight to Mangrove Cay from Nassau Airport, we could be forgiven for costume-changing into our inner divas. No diva-ing needed however, once you set foot onto the white sands to be greeted by the resort’s CEO Wilfried Vincent, and manager Julien Dumont. Only silence. As we stood in stupor to take in our surroundings, my companion nudged me. I nudged her back. The managers laughed nervously at us. We pulled ourselves together. We took a step forward.
Greeted by Margaret, who has our continental & hot breakfasts ready, we take a seat and inhale the stillness and scenery. I wonder around the open air table settings and up to the breakfast counter where I see a frame-mounted picture of 5 iguanas smiling at me. I smile back. On further reading, I learn they are Tiamo’s honorary lunchtime guests and quickly take a panicked glance around me. Not doubting that they were as friendly as the poster claimed, my concern was I was too hungry to go sharing my breakfast with any iguanas. Breakfast arrived, to perfection: two poached eggs and lean organic homemade sausages. I was en route to the mental note to introduce myself to the maker of such taste-infused, light, healthy, fresh produce, when my friend exclaimed mid-sausage “I’ve always wanted to marry a chef.” Dammit, she’d got there first.
The white sand beach, sliced off from the Caribbean into its own exclusive cove stretches out ahead of you, lined with welcoming palm trees. Against this back drop, is an alignment of 11 villas. King-sized high rise beds, a walk in closet (or what I decided to define as one), a stylish stone bathroom (the size of your room itself), enchanting silk drapes leading to a wooden desk, and a first floor outdoor pool, loungers and hammocks, might all tempt you to stay up on your villa’s patio and never come down. But come down you must, as before you spreads out your very own private beach space with waters so clear and so turquoise that they dare you in and seem never to gain depth. It is my idea of heaven winking back at you. The subtle French aspects behind the thought at Tiamo captured me the most. It is, after all, the language of love, so why not speak it through the landscapes? Take for example, the egalitarian nature of the layout: sunset views for one and all! Yes, a sunset for everyone. Whilst growing up, I used to clamber upon hidden hills that only I’d found, to watch a Cairo sunset, here at Tiamo, everyone is afforded the same view. The view burns brightly and as richly outside each and every villa, as if they’d engineered the position of this land themselves.
The water-sports on the island are aplenty, spearheaded by the resort’s proactive activities-lead, Lee:
Right at its foot is the world’s third largest barrier reef, only a 10 minute ride from Tiamo. The eastern side of the reef wall spectacularly drops down 6,000 feet into the Tongue of the Ocean between Andros and Nassau, and some of the marine life that divers will encounter is simply breathtaking. As you wonder around underwater, don’t be alarmed if you encounter déjà vu, yes, like you, James Bond was here, and anything 007 can do, you can do too! So spectacular is this reef that it has featured in many a Hollywood movie scene. With fully qualified PADI dive instructors, you can also obtain and pass your PADI levels yourself.
Bone-fishing and Deep-sea fishing:
All we managed to fish during our time in the Bahamas was yellow fish (a teeny tiny fish) which I kept mistakenly referring to as “yellow snapper.” As this is a much larger and entirely different fish, people were quite impressed when I’d relay how many ‘snappers’ I’d caught, and I thought to myself I must be some sort of pro. Never mind that for the first three hours before I’d learnt how to catch these so-called snappers, I had learnt how to induce entirely new levels of silence and half expected the ocean itself to rise up and throw me a fish or two in gratis out of pity. But as Andros is the bone-fishing capital of the world, you must explore the miles of pristine flats and seagrass beds, with a guide to perfect your technique, and a beautiful boat-ride delivering you to the tranquillity of the ocean.
Tiamo’s ethos is to be as relaxed or as active as you like – be it wakeboarding, paddle-boarding, reading in the soothing swing of a hammock, or turning tanning into an Olympic sport; this Bahamian island offers itself up to however you wish to spend your day.
As we sit on the beach-set sofas in front of the tinselling infinity pool for lunch, we’re already discussing dinner. I’m reminded of how we used to laugh at my grandfather when I was younger, as he’d ask like clockwork each morning as we sat down for breakfast: “what’s for dinner this evening?” Here I was doing the same, I was even thinking about the next day’s dinner. You will find yourself doing the same as the Michelin-trained chef Keith Roll, (who my friend may want to marry, but I fully intend on moving in with) carefully crafts Caribbean and fusion cuisine, with the freshest local and organic ingredients, paired with wines from some of the world’s best vineyards. Most valuable here is the emphasis they place on the quality and freshness of their food; they care about your wellbeing as well as your waistline. You won’t find stocky, heavy meals that send you to bed straight after dinner. One week at Tiamo, whilst eating well and relaxing aplenty, you might even find that you’ve dropped a few pounds (so long as, unlike us, you don’t ask for extra sausages at breakfast time!)
The footprint Tiamo has left in our minds is permanent, and irreplaceable. You will hold onto the memory as long as you can as you return to your English climate, and it will be tough, I cannot lie. What this means, I’ve learnt, is that, no matter how long your bucket list, no matter how big this world is and how much there is to see of it, Tiamo is one little secret space you will return to over and over again, if only to lend the sanity to your imagination: that you indeed did not imagine this; you were there.
Contact: Wilfried Vincent, CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings and arrangements.
Fly to: Nassau International, followed by Mangrove Cay. Flights are operated by Flamingo Air and LeAir between Nassau to Mangrove Cay at 7am and 4pm daily.
Go: As soon as you can! For idyllic weather try a February-May, though sunshine remains all year round.