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Photo Credit: Mary Gostelow
Enrico Garzaroli is a collector. Art, bottles, everything. The wine list at his Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant in Nassau is honoured globally. A jam-packed cellar holds 275,000 bottles. Ch Margaux 1892, Le Cheval Blanc 1947 – poured when his pal HSH Prince Albert dropped in on The Bahamas – and a Macallan 1937. In 1973, Garzaroli, from Lake Como, visited Nassau and was coerced into buying the Earl of Staffordshire’s Caribbean retreat, dating back to 1740. Ever the entrepreneur, he transformed it into a 16-bedroom hotel, unaffiliated, with three outdoor pools, a chocolate factory and a cigar workshop manned by 16 Cubans.
ELF had a truffled pasta lunch with the gregarious connoisseur when in Nassau for International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) North America, 18-21 September 2023. She wanted to see where travel advisors would send affluent travellers from the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Mega travel speed-dating events at the host complex, the $5.2 billion Baha Mar, gave several clues. How about uber-private yachting in Galapagos? Think of a Hermès buy-out, a maximum of 20 persons, 3to 15 days, and plan your own itinerary. The Vélasquez family’s all-inclusive catamaran has identical 360 sq ft cabins with hot tubs and balconies, two restaurants, two guides and 15 crew.
Another stand-out is the forthcoming Van Gogh suite at the Heineken-owned Hotel De L’Europe, canal-side in the centre of Amsterdam. This takes room-theming to a new high. Partnerships with Vincent’s descendants, via his brother, and with the Van Gogh Museum mean a lot. There’s a personal welcome from Willem van Gogh, memorabilia, and, loaned during a stay, an authenticated numbered copy of one of the Museum’s treasures.
Of course, there was plenty of time for Nassau networking. All three Baha Mar resorts - Grand Hyatt, Rosewood and SLS - share slick-shaped catamarans for sunset cruises, and despite potentially crippling import taxes of 50% ++, alcohol readily flowed. Sadly, nothing to rival Margaux from 131 years back.