A hidden jewel A review of Orange Hill Beach Inn
My husband and I just celebrated our 25th anniversary with a week at Orange Hill Beach Inn. We had read so many great reviews of this place and we were not disappointed. We have been to Nassau several times, staying at Breezes and Sandals. This year we did not want to stay at an all-inclusive. We wanted to experience more of the island and explore new places. This trip, by far, exceeded our expectations!
First off, Orange Hill is definately a hidden jewel. Somewhat off the beaten track, it is quiet and intimate. Many of the guests we met were returning guests and many locals came by for drinks or dinner.
Orange Hill is on a bluff looking over the beach across the street. The beach is not quite as nice as it appears though. The beach seemed to be a popular place with local Bahamians, but they left lots of trash behind. There was LOTS of broken glass, so beware when walking.
The grounds of Orange Hill COULD be paradise but they are in DESPARATE need of some attention. There are loads of beautiful tropical plants & gardens, but someone needs to do some pruning and general maintenance of them. The pool also needs some attention. It needs a good scraping and patching & repainting of the cement. It was clean though. They need to invest in new pool furniture and balcony/patio furniture. Broken wooden swings need to be either fixed or thrown out.
Our room was very nice- very basic & simple. Beautiful hardwood floors. The furniture was very nice but a new mattress was DEFINATELY needed. Our aching backs.... The bathroom was very outdated and needs an update immediately. The shower had low water pressure- almost felt like a sprinkler. Very hard to get beach sand off your body with such a fine mist. We had a little kitchenette which we did not use other than the refrigerator. The balcony had a sm. table and 2 chairs on it. It was not very clean or comfortable. We ran the A/C almost continuously and it was big enough for the room. There also was a fan. Housekeeping attended pretty well to our room. Plenty of towels and the bed was change 2 times during our stay.
There is food service at Orange Hill if you want it. They serve a breakfast buffet for $7, a sm. lunch menu averaging $7 and dinner buffet $17+. It was okay. Nice to have the option. We went to the grocery store (they have a daily trip if you don't have a car) and bought our own breakfast and lunch foods. We brought a soft-sided cooler. The "lounge" also provides an assortment of soda- $1.50, alcohol & beer- $3.50 and water (2 sizes of bottles) You serve yourself- "honor" bar- and check it off on a paper in there. Pay daily or at the end when you check out.
The service is EXCELLENT at Orange Hill. Basically, they will arrange/get/do anything you want. Judy and her staff are very attentive. You just have to ask for beach towels- no annoying "towel cards". They seemed to take great pride in Orange Hill.
Orange Hill prides itself on being a quiet, peaceful place for its guests. We did have a problem with this, and I must say, Judy remedied it IMMEDIATELY when she found out. All I will say is that this is NOT the place for middle-of-the-night, drunken, LOUD pool parties!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stay home if that is what you want, or better yet, go to BREEZES. Also, the same people were PIGS. This is NOT a "full-service" type of place with loads of employees walking behind you to clean up after you. CLEAN UP your own messes. (bottles, cups, etc.)
It may seem that I am being a bit "hard" on Orange Hill in my scoring. Well, I think that Orange Hill is simply a WONDERFUL place. It is NOT a resort owned by some big company. It is local and managed like you a guest in someones home. That, in itself, is what appealed to my husband and I. I would, without hesitation, return back to Orange Hill and would recommend it to an EXPERIENCED traveler.
Also, I would recommend renting a car. It is on the #10 jitney line, but it is on the outskirts of the route. It can get pretty hot standing out there AND because of limits to the schedule, a cab ride costs a FORTUNE. So, if you plan on exploring New Providence & PI, definately rent a car!
OVERALL SCORE: C
This score is deceptive. This place is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS . If you are a traveler who wants to explore and experience true New Providence then this is the place for you. If you want luxury, all-inclusive,etc. then go to Sandals Royal Bahamian.
Now the rest of my trip....
Driving a car was not as daunting as we anticipated. Just keep saying to yourself "stay to the left, stay to the left, stay to the left.......!!" Be open to getting lost though- the tourist maps leave a lot to be desired and few streets have signs anyway. We just looked at it as an adventure and laughed alot!! And we "discovered" many places by surprise!
Go take the "tour" of Bacardi and drink all those FABULOUS rum cocktails. It is NOT free- we paid $2.50 each but it was still worth it. You can buy Bacardi Rums CHEAP to bring home.
Restaurants: Check out Indigo Cafe (!!), Travelers Rest, Montague Gardens, Hard Rock Cafe. Don't bother with Johnnie Canoes- a poor tourist trap with not so great food and lots of cigarette smoke even though we sat outside. YUCK!!!
Pay $1 to drive over to Paradise Island. Then take the road to the east that brings you to Paradise Island Beach Resort. (I don't have a map in front of me- sorry. Don't park there but right next to it is a sandy area where you can park and a pathway to the eastern end of Cabbage Beach. PARADISE!!! If you walk to the end of Cabbage Beach to the rocks, it is called Snokelers Beach. It's a short walk, but definately worth it. Best $1 we spent!! We don't care for the rest of Paradise Island and there are NO PLACES to park.
Nassau is just a BIG traffic jam with overpriced stores for the cruise ship people to spend money in! When the ships are in, Nassau is INUNDATED with tourists.
We went to the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas. It is in a gorgeous old mansion. We really enjoyed it. Will go back next year to check out their collections.
The residents of New Providence need to do a better job of keeping their island clean. It is such a JEWEL. It is so sad to see how badly the beaches are in disrepair. Tourism is basically their only industry. There are signs reminding them of this. All we ask is that trash is picked up and either put in barrels or taken home. And the GLASS on the beaches......It is an emergency in my opinion. I was terrified of cutting my feet. By the way, Cabbage Beach was pretty clean compared to the others.
All in all, we had a WONDERFUL trip again this year and can hardly wait to go back. We found a house we liked, but it cost $895,000 which is NOT in our budget. And this was NOT an expensive one!!