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In 2017, Canadian design duo Bryan and Sarah Baeumler were visiting secluded South Andros Island in the Bahamas when they discovered an abandoned resort dating from the 1960s. They decided to purchase it on the spot and transform into South Andros’ first-ever luxury retreat, the Caerula Mar Club.
With the reconstruction hampered by both hurricanes and the pandemic, it took three years for the Baeumlers to open Caerula Mar Club. The painstaking process was documented for an HGTV show called Renovation Island. And now Caerula Mar, South Andros’ first new hotel in nearly two decades and its only five-star resort, is ready for its close-up.
A little oasis of modernist perfection with just 23 keys, Caerula Mar is a postcard-perfect compound with private villas, a pool complex, world-class dining, and a pristine swathe of beach with super-soft sand lapped by turquoise waters. The keyword for the design ethos is “ethereal,” and this is one of the most soothing spots in all of the Bahamas.
When they first saw it, “our first impression of the property was excitement, even despite the resort being incredibly run down at the time,” co-owner Sarah Baeumler tells Maxim. “We immediately could see that the island and the community of South Andros were one of a kind.” Originally designed to be the home of the Bahamas’ Prime Minister, South Andros has better infrastructure than many neighboring islands.
“In terms of the design of Caerula Mar Club,” she notes, “we aimed to pay homage to the natural beauty and the serenity of the location with neutral hues and timeless touches. We are incredibly touched by the reactions from both the viewers of Renovation Island and our resort guests. We actually have a large percentage of return guests, and we love that they appreciate the island as much as we do.”
Caerula Mar sits on 10 secluded beachfront acres peppered with swaying palm trees. It’s one of the most picturesque pockets of Andros, the largest Bahamian island but the least inhabited, with more than 90 miles of pristine beaches, the greatest number of Blue Holes, and the world’s third largest fringing barrier reef.
A stone’s throw from the beach you’ll find Caerula Mar’s five private villas and 18 Clubhouse Suites, comfortable, airy and spacious, with a feeling of privacy. Guest rooms and villas are made with sustainable, natural materials and feature breezy outdoor living spaces, “encouraging guests to immerse themselves in nature and feel at one with their surroundings.”
Fronting the beach is the beautiful pool, where attractive young couples from Toronto mix with more seasoned travelers, all glad to have found this hidden gem. There’s also a spa, fitness center, bicycles available for daytime exploration, and excursions that include diving, snorkeling, boating, fishing and more.
There are three different on-property F&B venues, ranging from from a casual café and smoothie bar, Switcha, to the laid-back, oceanfront Driffs Bar & Lounge, and Lusca, a fine dining restaurant—the island’s first—featuring dishes inspired by international flavors that rivals anything a larger luxury resort can provide.
Driff’s is the main hangout during the day, where “sun-drenched skin, salty hair and swimsuits are strongly encouraged,” as is enjoying locally inspired cocktails and comfort food, including signature Caerula burgers, fresh fish tacos, and shareable cheese and charcuterie platters. At night firepits are turned on and the ambience changes perceptibly, with truly inspiring sunset views.
Lusca’s dining room is super-chic but far from stuffy. Comfortable dark wood chairs upholstered in ivory linen, marble-topped tables, a pale grey marble floor, off-white walls, lots of windows, and banquettes along one wall evoke a Scandinavian feeling by way of the Caribbean.
All F&B is overseen by the talented team of Executive Chef Carlos Alvarez and Executive Sous Chef Janet Hoediono. While Lusca’s menu changes frequently, one standout dish is the Lobster Pot Pie with fresh Caribbean lobster, peas, carrots, fresh cream, onions, garlic, seafood broth, and a flaky pastry crust. You can have Lobster Eggs Benedict for breakfast as well if you’re still craving the crustacean.
While Caerula Mar Club will certainly put South Andros on the map, the property was carefully designed not to infringe upon the island’s status as a minimally-developed, toes-in-the-sand escape. Known as the world’s bonefishing capital—a painstaking pursuit that requires the patience of a saint—Andros is a place for reconnecting with nature and enjoying the kind of peace and quiet that is increasingly hard to find.
As the Baeumlers put it, “What truly caught our hearts was the rich history of the island and its people. We knew that this small place in the world would provide the perfect location for family, friends, and fellow travelers to explore and to feel relaxed, refreshed, and renewed. Combining simplicity with splendor, our hideaway personifies the spirit of barefoot luxury.”
Read the full article on Maxim.