Possibly the most glamorous campsite you’re ever likely to pitch up at, The Other Side in the Bahamas takes ‘glamping’ to the stratospheric heights. Yes, everything has canopies, but each tent also has hardwood floors, furniture that doesn’t fold away and enough overhead space for even the rangiest residents. All power comes from the sun, enabling eco-warriors to rest easy – literally, given the plump-pillowed, king-size, four-poster beds. The hotel is surrounded by beaches and palm trees in the quieter corner of Eleuthera, but if you want to track down the action, set sail for Harbour Island, a short-speedboat ride away.
Get this when you book through us:
A bottle of champagne and a hosted cruise around the harbour
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £471.48 ($616), including tax at 12 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional service charge of 15% per room per night on check-out.
Rates usually include breakfast, airport transfers and use of the property’s vehicles. A five-night minimum stay is usually required. From 4 March to 22nd April, the minimum stay is seven nights.
One of the series of tents that form the hotel contains a haven for gamers, with a pool table, table tennis and an elaborate array of board games, including Twister, Scrabble and Monopoly.
The hotel is closed from 12 August to 15 November annually.
At the hotel
Private beach, laundry, parking, air-conditioning, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: beach bags to borrow, free bottled water, tea- and coffee-making facilities and Malin + Goetz bath products.
Our favourite rooms
There are three Tents and three Shacks. the Tents are so far from their cramped canvas cousins, they hardly deserve to share the name: these ones have hardwood floors, bright, breezy spaces and huge king-size beds. They’re also right on the beach – so if you’d rather look at the water than dip your toes in it, go for one of the hilltop Shacks, which have far-reaching views over the ocean.
There’s a small, saltwater pool seemingly suspended above the ocean, which is also right on your doorstep – snorkels and paddleboards can be borrowed for free.
The hotel doesn’t have an official spa but in-room massages and beauty treatments are on offer, as well as yoga and personal trainers.
Bring boat shoes, smart shirts and red shorts for Mr Smith to match the snazzy Bahamians; Mrs Smith should pack as many colours, florals and patterns as a suitcase can squash to reflect the island’s upbeat vibe.
The hotel is not suitable for wheelchair access. There is a 5% processing fee for AmEx cards.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds and baby cots can be added to rooms. Babysitting can be arranged with two days’ notice; the cost is BSD15 an hour (plus a potential additional charge for taxis home after midnight) and there’s a two-hour minimum.
All ages, especially water babies.
The Tents have more space so are more suited to families. The Shacks have high stairwells and are harder to reach, but prams and other baby-related paraphernalia can be transported via the site’s vehicles. Travel cots and foldaway beds can be added.
There’s enough to keep even the hardest-to-please child amused here; activities on offer include snorkelling, scuba-diving, surfing, paddleboarding and trips to meet the island’s turtles.
Armbands and other swimming-aids can be borrowed.
Children are welcome in both the restaurant and bar at all times, though there’s no special menu – but staff will be glad to heat up food and milk. Highchairs are available
Babysitting can be arranged with two days’ notice; the cost is BSD 15 an hour (plus a potential additional charge for taxis home after midnight) and there’s a two-hour minimum.
No need to pack
There are plenty of books, games and arts and crafts to keep kids entertained.
The Other Side is powered entirely by the sun and each of the buildings are technically tents that tread lightly on the local environment. The pool is filled with water straight from the ocean in a H2O-conserving attempt.
There’s a communal table to encourage sociable evenings, but if you’d prefer dinner in your tent or on the beach, just put the request in.
Footloose (literally – no one will blink if you show up with bare feet) and fancy free.
The owner doubles up as the chef, and he has some serious skills (in addition to his hotel-building talents): the farm-to-table fare on offer includes grilled snapper with mojito oil and coconut rice ’n’ peas; lemongrass and lobster curry; and filet mignon with truffle fries and tomato salad. Save room for dessert, but don’t read this if you’re hungry: blueberry frangipane with orange sherbert; passionfruit cheesecake; and lime tart with papaya sorbet. The menu changes with the seasons and with what’s available from the kitchen garden and local suppliers.
There’s an honesty bar within its own tent that’s decked out with decorative coconuts, antique mirrors and old brass candlesticks. Mixology novices needn’t worry, since a range of cocktail books are there to help you self-medicate in style. If you insist on leaving it to the experts, summon a bartender and request a Rum Dum: a smooth mix of aged rum with young, coconut-infused rum, lemon juice, bitters and egg white.
Breakfast is served from 7.30am until the last guest wants it. The dining tent is open all day from 7.30am until 8.30pm. If you missed the boat, desserts, breads and other snacks are laid out for guests to delve into.
The Other Side is on the Bahamian island of Eleuthera, the less-developed sister to neighbouring Harbour Island.
Most international travellers will arrive on Eleuthera via Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, but other stopover options include Fort Lauderdale and Miami in Florida, and Atlanta. From each of these hubs, airlines operate onward connections to North Eleuthera Airport, a five-minute taxi ride to Three Island Dock; from there, it’s a seven-minute boat ride to the hotel. The Smith24 Team can book flights on request. Please let the hotel know your arrival and departures times as soon as possible after booking.
Hire cars can be collected at the airports, but it’s important to note that some of the roads are more suited to four-wheel drive vehicles.
The Other Side is a short boat trip from nearby Harbour Island (seven minutes), and ferry services run back and forth across the ocean between the archipelago’s ports.
Worth getting out of bed for
The nearest town is Harbour Island, just over five minutes away in the hotel’s boat tender, and it’s worth a visit to explore the buzzy bars and boutiques. There’s some interesting erosion around: head to the narrowest point on Earth, also known as the Glass Window Bridge, which separates the north and south of the island. The perfectly crescent-shaped Ben’s Beach is a 25-minute drive from the hotel. Swim in the unique natural formation that is the Blue Hole, a jungle-surrounded pool that you can jump into and climb out of with rope ladders.
On the Queen’s Highway and close to the Glass Window Bridge, Daddy Joe’s serves up grilled seafood, totally tropical cocktails and conch bites; there’s live music on Sundays, but note it’s closed on Wednesdays (+ 242 335 5688). Across the other side of the ‘bridge’, you’ll find its namesake Glass Window Bar & Grill, which has great views and an even better breeze. The food is Bahamian, with some American options. Visit The Cove hotel to sample its beachfront restaurants, which include the Gregory Town Grill and the place to find the best sushi on the island.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this beachfront hotel in the Bahamas and unpacked their bikinis and board shorts, a full account of their eco-friendly break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside the Other Side on Eleuthera…
Brian Wilson may have roamed around Nassau town but, as anyone who harbours Beach Boys lyrics will know, he ended up wanting to go home. They should’ve sent the Sloop John B to Eleuthera, the Bahamian capital’s rugged easterly neighbour, where days are spent disporting on deserted beaches, paddleboarding with turtles and jumping into jungle pools. At eco-friendly stay the Other Side, a series of tents in the quiet south of the island, guests can help out in the kitchen garden, practise yoga by the pool or hang out in the glamorous campsite, which includes a dining tent, a bar tent and a games tent. There are only six rooms, so you’ll hardly see another soul – though if you’re feeling sociable, evening meals can be communal, when guests gather amid the golden onion-shaped vases and leafy green plants to enjoy whatever has taken chef-proprietor Ben’s fancy that night. Come check-out, you’ll feel so broke up about going home.