REVIEW

Staniel Cay Yacht Club

There's a small beach next door and more dramatic stretches of sand accessible by foot or golf cart.

By , Wednesday, Feb 16, 2005, 10:35 AM

Staniel Cay Yacht Club

About this Hotel

Price From $165

In the center of the 100-mile-long Exuma island chain, a half-hour flight from Nassau, is tiny Staniel Cay, a popular port for the sailing set that's home to just 80 full-time residents.

The Yacht Club is a five-minute golf-cart ride from the airstrip (there are only a handful of cars on the island).

Couples and families love the club's nine pastel-colored cottages, seven of which have private balconies that jut over the crystal-clear water.

There's a small beach next door and more dramatic stretches of sand accessible by foot or golf cart, but most people are here to play skipper.

A Boston Whaler is docked outside each cottage; guests are given a map and encouraged to explore on their own. There are so many deserted islands nearby that the unspoken rule is if a beach is occupied, move on to the next.

Thunderball Grotto, where part of the Bond film Thunderball was shot, is a favorite for snorkeling. Just north of the grotto, at Major Spot, surf-swimming pigs will circle your boat, expecting to be fed.

Four miles beyond Major there's a group of tame nurse sharks who don't mind posing for pictures.

Though you can pay for lodging and extras à la carte, a package that covers lodging, all meals, taxes and gratuities, a Whaler (with fuel), a golf cart, snorkeling gear, and round-trip transfers is often the better value.