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“A charming pirate's house. How's that for a contradiction?” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Graycliff Hotel

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Graycliff Hotel
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   West Hill Street, Nassau 10246, New Providence Island   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 33 hotels in Nassau
CA
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“A charming pirate's house. How's that for a contradiction?”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

My wife and I spent 2 days at the Graycliff Hotel in mid-February. We came across the hotel website and felt it had an interesting history. The hotel is a little on the expensive side but little in Nassau seems to be particularly cheap anymore. Graycliff is located on a two lane one-way street without sidewalks about a block from Bay St., the main street in downtown Nassau. The Governor’s Mansion is just around the corner from the hotel entrance. The nearest beach is also a block away and owned by the Hilton, thus not free.

Our room, the Corona, was not in the main building but a short walk down the street but accessible through the gardens once you’ve checked in. On the second floor it was large and nicely decorated although not as nicely as some of the more expensive rooms and the bath with a Jacuzzi tub was supplied with high quality bath products; Bulgari. On the negative side, it fronted the street in front of the hotel which is a busy road until late in the evening and starting early in the morning; a bit noisy. Also, the shutters failed to shut out the street or the flood lights lighting the area outside our room. Due to the rambling nature of the property you will pass through two or three restaurants, the beer garden, by both pools and the cigar factory going from some rooms to the front desk if you want to avoid the street. Confusing at first.

We hadn’t read any of the reviews of the hotel until after we had returned to the States and feel that while some of the negative remarks are well deserved, the writers ignore that they are in what is at best a developing nation staying in a historic property (former pirate’s home) rather than a planned development. Nassau is full of broken down building and poor or non-existent sidewalks although I did note that the sidewalks around the Governor’s Mansion just across the side street were nicely maintained. The view from our room illustrates some of these complaints. The harbor and beach are not visible but a burned out building is (see photo). On the plus side, it is my understanding that this property has been purchased by Graycliff and is to be renovated into part of a Graycliff Village which will include the closing of the street in front to all but pedestrians. This would be very nice and make one feel safer walking along the narrow street, especially at night.

The hotel’s well-known restaurant is in the main building. The prices kept us from eating there during our stay but we returned with a group of about 50 the following night. The food was enjoyable but a little inconsistent. Our wine choices were preselected so I can’t comment on the prices in the wine list. However, I suspect that it is probably over-priced. On the other hand it should be noted that wines in the Bahamas are generally expensive. Being from California we may be spoiled but when Andre Champagne (I use the term champagne loosely) is $10-12 at downtown stores I can only imagine what the wine list prices are. A visit to the wine cellar is worth the quick tour. Their collection is the third largest wine collection in the world (270,000 bottles) with prices from $40 to $200,000. It is housed in the former prison beneath the dining room and which served the US Navy during the Revolutionary War when the US occupied Nassau. As I said, the history of the hotel is interesting. The tour of the wine cellar is only available to hotel guests although some of our dinner group obtained tours. My wife and I were almost denied entry when we showed up in shorts, Hawaiian style shirt, and sandals but after convincing Anthony, the maitre’d, we actually were hotel guests he relented.

Note that the main restaurant requires a coat at lunch and dinner and prohibits shorts. This seems a little unusual in a resort town but the hotel is attempting to maintain a certain decorum. However, our dinner group was not informed of these requirements and I was the only person who even had a coat with me at the meetings we was attending at the Atlantis Hotel. The maitre’d was somewhat miffed but he is fighting a losing battle when the requirement is not communicated to groups. Besides how can you turn away 50+ people mid-week? In fairness I should say that knowing the coat policy, I neddled the maitre’d about the overall policy failure but he took things in stride and was in my opinion a good sport about everything even chucking a little about things.

There is a great pizzeria on the property with reasonable prices and a churrascaria restaurant which we understand was very good and reasonably priced. There is also a cigar factory and chocolatier on site. The cigar factory illustrates the developing nation nature of parts of the property. The one side of the stairs leading to the factory is lushly landscaped but if one looks down on the other side, it is filled with construction debris. The same can be said for views from the cigar factory patio; shabby buildings some of which belong to Graycliff and more construction debris and seemingly abandoned equipment.

Although the hotel has free wi-fi, connections are spotty. We were only able to connect on the front porch or on the cigar factory patio and in the beer garden. The pool area and most of the landscaping are beautiful although the pool only has 8 lounges available. Then again even they were fully occupied only once. There is also a smaller pool around the corner from the main pool. The staff was meticulous about the vegetation around the pool but comments on the failure to clean the leaves from the pool are accurate, especially at this smaller pool where the skimmer seemed to be full, even blocked.

Although some of the reviewers have complained about the staff and their attitudes, we found the staff to be very helpful and friendly to a person. When checking out, the receptionist without prompting gave us a pass to the Graycliff Lounge at the airport. Wi-fi was again spotty but a very relaxing space.

All in all knowing all the negatives would I stay again? Very probably. Even with the shortcomings, it was an enjoyable experience. We certainly preferred it to the Atlantis which was more expensive and much less relaxing.

Room Tip: Probably best to ask for a room in the back. The street in front is loud for long periods of the day...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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113 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 25, 2013

If you get the chance to do it - stay here!

The Baillou Suite is beautifully decorated. The main room is expansive with a lovely chandelier and it includes a large marble bathroom with a spa bath - perfect to unwind after a day walking around Nassau. There is also a separate sitting room that leads out onto the front deck of the hotel.

Breakfast in the main restaurant is rather peaceful and a beautiful way to start the day as only house guests are permitted at this time.

An afternoon relaxing by the pool is

Room Tip: Baillou is a lovely suite, however is you sleep lightly this may not be the room for you as it front...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montréal
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 17, 2013

My brother and I just spent 5 nights at the hotel. The grounds are lovely - and we enjoyed our stay. The room was quite large and the beds very comfortable. Our remote for the T-V didn't work well and the wi-fi coverage was spotty.
The staff were delightful. There were huge parties there on friday and Saturday night - which was a bit of a detraction.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirkland
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

The short version: Noise, cleanliness issues and hit-and-miss customer service left us with a bitter taste in our mouths. Overall we wanted to like the Graycliff, but we cannot ignore its major failings and we cannot recommend this hotel.

The long version: We stayed in the Graycliff at the end of November 2012 for 5 nights. We were on our honeymoon trip (got married last August) and our stay in Bahamas was part of a larger trip.

We booked a luxury room with the hotel, fully aware that we might be upgraded because of their honeymoon policy. Upon arriving our impressions were mixed as the hotel is across the street from dilapidated buildings on one side and the governor's mansion on the other side (this seems to be a general theme with Nassau). However the main hotel building and the little garden inside the hotel perimeter looked nice.

After talking to the receptionist we found out that they had indeed upgraded us to the "President's suite". Getting to the suite was rather interesting. One had to go through their main building (which also houses their primary restaurant), the hotel grounds (which have a fabulous looking pool) and eventually through their second restaurant to the rooms above it. When you arrive there you have to enter through a side entrance next to a parking lot and it almost feels like you are entering through a service entrance.

We found the President's suite very nice. There was nice antique–looking furniture and a lot of space. There were french doors and a balcony with a table and chairs. There was a very spacious bathroom and a spacious walk-in closet. Overall we were rather pleased, although it was not going to last very long.

For our first night we decided to have dinner in the hotel’s primary restaurant. Although this is a review about the hotel, here is a quick note on the restaurant. We found the food good; I would give it 4 out of 5 stars. The service however was pretentious and perhaps even snooty, which my wife and I found somewhat hilarious. And no matter what the Graycliff says, they do not have the best restaurant in town; if you want that go to Cafe Matisse (we sampled all the "good" restaurants in town).

And this is the point when things started turning for the worse. We returned to our room after a good meal (mediocre service notwithstanding) only to find that a live music band was under our balcony! Apparently every Saturday their second restaurant has live music and the musicians are situated right under the President's suite. At first we thought that the music would stop around 10pm like in most other places in the world, but of course this was not the case. The music continued and after multiple phone calls and a trek to the reception office to complain in person, they eventually stopped past 11pm. Of course at the time both my wife and I had developed a headache from the loud noise not to mention that we had to get up early in the next morning as we have a young baby who likes to get up around 5am every day.

The next morning we had determined to put this event behind us as were told that they only have live music on Saturdays. Unfortunately it was not meant to be. My wife went to shower and a few minutes later I heard screams coming from the bathroom. I rushed in and was shown the largest cockroach I have seen in my life. This thing had a body well over an inch long and meaty and although I do not consider myself squeamish, I had to think long and hard of how to kill it and dispose of it without trouble. But not before I took a picture for posterity (attached).

My wife was livid and she decided to complain to management vociferously and request a room change. We indeed did so and we were eventually met by a man who introduced himself as the manager. It was Sunday morning (around 9) and apparently he decided it was ok to greet us in sweatpants and slippers, but I digress.

We requested a clean/quiet room and were shown a couple of options. This included another “suite”, which we found dingy and unappealing. The second room he showed us was a normal hotel room, but at that time we were tired with the whole charade and decided to just take it. This last room was a most definite downgrade from the room we had earlier.

The rest of the days passed without major incident although we were now trying to stay as little time as possible in the hotel. In fact we seriously considered leaving Nassau early, but in the end decided not to let this bad experience completely spoil our honeymoon.

We never received any apology from the hotel about the whole debacle. In fact we did not even receive some of the basic services that they advertise (e.g. absolutely no Wi-Fi service was available, no turn down service, etc). We also have serious doubts whether the room that they had us stay was even the luxury room that we paid for (or their luxury rooms leave a lot to be desired).

By the way in my 20 years of international travel this is the first time I was downgraded because I complained in a hotel, but I guess there is a first for everything! Overall an amazing experience in this “5-star” hotel.

Finally and to end this on a lighter note: The restaurant that they had us staying over (and where the cockroach obviously came from) is called “Humidor Churrascaria”. Although we are not Spanish speaking we decided to start calling it “Humidor Cucaracheria” (for the Spanish name for cockroach) to have a bit of fun.

Room Tip: If you must stay in Nassau stay in the Hilton instead.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013

An enchanting main building with a stunning swimming pool and peaceful lush gardens with turtles.the legendary restaurant was a slight disappointment first night but vastly improved for New Years Eve . Food range is good and food is excellent tho first night both mine and Mrs H's food was tepid .i think the restaurant service is generally good although over fussy .the wine list is impressive especially if you wish for Old World although I found the over zealous mark up put a lot of my favourites out of my price range ....for example no Brunello's for under $250. My eventual choice a 22 yr old Barola was not decanted until I asked then was served with pieces of cork .The dining room setting is magnificent either inside or al fresco and a wonderful ambience of old style and energy exudes.
Our room (Corona) was an out building some walk from the main building though it did give an excuse to walk through the wonderful gardens . It was generously sized , stylish and had a wonderful oldy worldly bathroom , although the attractive shutters did not extinguish fully the daylight or noise .
We found the service very inconsistent , we asked 4 times before our tv was fixed , we waited 3 days for urgent laundry , we were told there were no tickets available for the famous Junkarnoo, we later found out there were hundreds and bought through our own efforts . otherwise the service was pleasant, helpfull and friendly but not excellent .for example we spent 2 afternoons by the previously lauded fabulous pool, without seeing one waiter to order drinks from (as depicted by the hotels website ).
Overall a lovely experience that could have been so much better .....pricing was over the top, dinner first night with one bottle of wine $450 and NYE $1250. (2 bottles of champagne and one bottle of red Guidalberto) ........ Far too much in my opinion although the NYE gala dinner was excellent and a night to remember. Overall rating 3.5 out of 5.

Room Tip: Ask to be in the main house
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

My wife and I just got back from 4 nights at the Graycliff. The hotel was fantastic! It is a small campus of various renovated old buildings all connected with a series of gardens and pool areas in the back. The old buildings give it the air of a B & B, but the bedrooms have been nicely renovated with large beautiful bathrooms. The pools were beautiful and serene. The Graycliff is a fantastic alternative to the crowded, run of the mill, tourist hell holes that crowd nearby Paradise Island. We had an amazing time and would recommend it to everyone.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012 via mobile

.... I stayed at graycliff hotel last weekend. I absolutely loved it! is a beautiful hotel with history and elegance! The service was impressive! Hospitality excellent the scenery breathtaking! And friendly staff :)

Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Graycliff Hotel

Address: West Hill Street, Nassau 10246, New Providence Island
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > New Providence Island > Nassau
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Nassau
#2 Luxury Hotel in Nassau
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Nassau
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Graycliff Hotel 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated next door to Government House and only a few minutes away from white sand beaches, Graycliff Hotel offers an enticing world tucked away from the casinos and glitter Nassau is known for. This AAA Four-Diamond hotel boasts twenty elegant guest chambers and spacious pool cottage suites. The ambiance at Graycliff is to make each guest feel as if they’ve returned home. Upon arrival, guests are invited to sit and relax in comfort of the lounge while checking in.The rooms are all individually decorated in various styles with names that evoke all the charm and romance of the tropics. Graycliff’s decor features an alluring blend of the old and the new. 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. All rooms are air-conditioned with private bath. Breakfast is served to hotel guests only. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Graycliff Hotel Nassau
Graycliff Hotel Bahamas/Nassau

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