Kamalame Cay is luxurious and ever-stylish, yet decidedly unpretentious. It’s small and intimate, with an alluring sense of spaciousness. You can breathe here. You have everything you need, yet you also realize what you can do without. You tune into nature here, whether it’s nestled within a grove of towering coconut palms ambling along the sandy golf cart path, strolling down the pristine 3-mile stretch of white sandy beach, finding solace at the top of the lookout hill, or listening to the waves lap beneath you at the spa situated at the end of a dock.

Once you arrive, I have every bit of faith, you won’t want to leave.

 

 

Located on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef (and yes, type in Kamalame Cay in Instagram and their address pops up as the Great Barrier Reef), this long, skinny barrier island is saddled up along mainland Andros, navigated by golf carts on soft sandy roads that wind along mangroves and through native vegetation. Guests arrive by commerical and charter flights into nearby Fresh Creek, or via seaplane, directly to their beach bungalow.

To describe an overall sense of the island — think Harbour Island’s charm and chicness, mingled with the sequestration of private island living.

Andros was first island region in my travels that I had yet to visit for the Moon Bahamas travel guidebook, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Upon arrival into Fresh Creek, I rented a car from an animated local who ran the tiny gas station in Calabash Bay. I immediately hit the road on mainland Andros, interacting with helpful folks along the way who gave me an unforgettable welcome to their island. I noticed immediately how Androsians are very much in tune with the nature that surrounds them, and are eager to share their love for their island with visitors. The weather wasn’t quite cooperating, it was dreary and overcast, making it difficult to really highlight my travels with photographs, and unfortunately, I can’t choose the weather in finicky marine environments.

After a long day of meetings and touring, I was more than ready to head to Kamalame Cay, my stop off for the evening. My well-connected dear friend Beth from Nassau has been instrumental with assisting me in all aspects of my travel writing, and prior to my arrival to Andros, she connected me with David Hew, who, along with his partner Michael King, oversee the resort’s operations, so I was looking forward to meeting them and learning more about this infamous island I’d heard so much about.

I arrived at the dock in Staniard Creek, just a short hop away from the south end of Kamalame Cay, and called guest services who immediately sent a pontoon boat to come over to meet me. I stepped aboard. The boat resembled a floating dock and chugged along its steadfast course towards the welcoming dock on the other side. One of the guest services directors was onboard to greet me, tall and slender David, with a pleasantly cadenced Jamaican accent.

He led me into the Pineapple House, the cottage that houses the front desk and boutique. It had the approachable feeling of stepping into someone’s study, rather than a sterile hotel lobby. I poked my nose into the boutique shop while I was waiting to check in. It was filled with elegant swim coverups and irresistible resort loungewear. I pulled myself away before I was overly-tempted to splurge. I took a peek around the Great House, the gathering place for visitors and homeowners. Comfortable seating highlighted the center, while chairs and tables of the dining area surrounded the perimeter. Within the Great House, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, along with a self-service cocktail bar and breakfast spread in the mornings. Guest can dine in the dining room, the outdoor verandah, or alongside the pool at the Seaside Tiki bar.

The Great House at Kamalame Cay

 

We stepped back outside and hopped onto a golf cart, which was to be my transportation for my time on the island. Just as we were leaving the Great House area, we ran into David and Michael who welcomed me warmly and invited me to meet them for coffee in the morning.

My Jamaican chaperon led the way along a sandy road through towering coconut palms, along vast expanses of mangrove and a lush and dynamic landscape, all the while pointing out notable features and points of interest. From the welcoming area on the south end, it was almost a ten-minute golf cart ride to the north end where the bungalows were located. David welcomed me to Sea Grape, my home for the evening. He showed me how to plug in my electric golf cart to recharge, and went on his way.

I let myself in and amidst my weariness from the day, I was immediately revitalized. The room was crisp and white, with beautiful French doors opening onto the ocean. A well-stocked mini-fridge and kitchen area was set up for happy hour. The ocean was in a fury, the wind blowing wildly against my cottage, so I kept the doors and windows closed. I couldn’t imagine how glorious this would be on a sunny day. It was glorious as it was.

I gave myself the tour. There was a robust wardrobe for unpacking. A sisal rug and a sturdy linen-covered love seat brought in an organic element. Pale pink coral framed art adorned the walls. I entered the bathroom. A door let out to a private screened in outdoor shower, to give an additional option from the spacious indoor shower with a rainshower head.

Not long after I settled in I had a knock on the door. It was a guest services attendant delivering fresh baked cookies to my door. I hadn’t eaten anything all day, and not being a huge cookie eater, I tentatively took a small bite. Perhaps it was my hunger, perhaps they were actually the best ever oatmeal raisin cookies I’ve ever eaten. We’ll never know. But I ate them all.

 

The Guest Bungalows – Photo Courtesy of Kamalame Cay

 

I set off in my golf cart to attempt to capture some photographs around the island. The weather was so dreary, that any attempt to take photos was lost, but it didn’t erase the fact that I was falling quickly in love with the overall energy of this island.

I made my way to the spa located on the far end of a dock. The rounded building allowed for each room to have expansive views of the ocean. There was a glass window in each floor, just below the massage table, allowing you to be mesmorized by the undulating ocean waves below you. The slapping of the sea almost hypnotic within the rooms. I scaled the twirling lighthouse stairs to the second floor, where a window seat stretched along half of the wall, laden with generous throw pillows, an inviting spot, I can imagine, after a luxurious spa treatment.

 

The spa at Kamalame Cay

 

Further along, I came across a short hiking trail, sizing up to sort of a mountain, given the overall general low-lying landscape of the surrounding area. I can only imagine the mound was created from dredging or excess fill, as there weren’t many elevated formations elsewhere in the area. I scaled the hill via the well-kept path through lush foliage. The views from the top were stunning, 360 panoramic views of neighboring Staniard Creek, the protected mangrove bay and Kamalame Cay stretching to the north. On a brighter day, the photos would have been spectacular.

After returning to my room, and a quick nap after the excitement of the day, I made my way to the Great House for dinner. The wind was howling, so I did my best to wrap myself in my scarf and raincoat to brave the elements. The Great House was warm and inviting, soft lighting accented art and decor from worldly travels. I studied the menu, which changes daily, and is focused on fresh caught fish and seafood, and locally sourced produce. I selected the hog snapper on green peas with avocado salad, and it was delectable.

On the drive back, my golf cart lights led the way as land crabs skitted across the road, a reminder that I was in a place where nature maintains a top tier.

Morning view from my beach bungalow

 

In the morning I went to the Great House to meet with David and Michael for coffee. They explained that the island was originally purchased in 1994 by David’s parents who set about transforming swampy mangrove and casuarina-laden land into a tropical paradise. With his parents’ background in owning a plant nursery, the island is irrevocably touched by a green thumb, and to this day maintains an organic, natural feel, with hints of exotic vegetation of the South Pacific.

The Great House was the first building, followed by additional cottages, villas and bungalows. Many of the beach villas on the island are privately owned, and also available for rent. The owners enjoy the services and amenities of the island, from meal deliveries, property management, and shopping, stocking and maid services. On property is a PADI certified dive shop in order to take advantage of accessing the Great Barrier Reef just in the backyard. As if being on a private island weren’t enough, I was told there are outer cays and sandbars off of the island, in which guests can arrange a private picnic on a secluded beach. Guests can also arrange a romantic four-course dinner for two on the beach, explore mangroves by kayak, bonefish the surrounding shallow flats, explore the area’s numerous blue holes, or visit the nearby Androsia batik printing factory.

No matter what, don’t expect to come to the island and feel as though you are lacking things to do.

Kamalame Cay is regularly featured in international travel magazines, including ranked number one in 2016 for Travel & Leisure’s best hotel in the Bahamas, Caribbean and Bermuda. And while I was sitting there at breakfast, David and Michael were able to pull up the latest cover of Conde Nast Traveler for January 2018, in which a sandbar with luminous turquoise water and contrasting bubblegum pink umbrellas shot from above was none other than the sandbar at the north end of Kamalame, stating so directly inside the cover, and featuring an article on the island resort within the magazine.

My time on the island was all too short. And before I knew it, I was bidding goodbye to my kind hosts. The island had a certain magnetism to it. I couldn’t place my finger on it, but upon departing, I vowed to myself that I would return. I have since booked a seat for their exclusive Luncheon & Cocktail Party, hosted once per month during autumn, winter and spring, and I am truly counting down the days.

For more information on Kamalame Cay, visit their website at www.kamalame.com