Escape the busy beaches and resort precincts of Paradise Island at these ornate historic gardens and watch the sun set over the harbor.
In a part of the Bahamas better known for its modern tourist resorts than for its free attractions, these magnificent European-style gardens come as a breath of fresh air. The Versailles Gardens were once the centerpiece of Huntington Hartford’s private estate, before being purchased by the One & Only Club. Today, feel free to roam around the romantic, tiered gardens, watch the sun set over the harbor or stop and smell the roses. The 12th-century statues and cloisters will fascinate art historians and architecture enthusiasts, while the tranquil setting will satisfy the needs of anybody wanting a break from the busy resorts of Paradise Island.
Despite being an increasingly popular attraction for visitors to Nassau and Paradise Island, the Versailles Gardens are rarely busy; it’s not uncommon to have the grounds all to yourself. Head to the gardens before midday for a stroll as you take in the harbor views. Climb the terraced lawn to reach the 12th-century Augustinian cloister at the top. A wealthy businessman imported the large stone structure to the United States before it was purchased and installed in the gardens by Hartford in 1962. Take a photo on the steps of the cloister, the center of which is a popular venue for wedding ceremonies.
In the evening the gardens begin to fill as people come to watch the sun set. Bring a mat and set yourself up on the manicured lawn to watch the orange glow descend over Nassau harbor. The historic stone sculptures that adorn the gardens take on an iridescent glow in the twilight hours, a truly magical time to visit the gardens.
The Versailles Gardens are a public park and so entry is free. They are open through the night. Located at the eastern end of Paradise Island, the gardens can be reached by bus, taxi or car. There is parking available at the One & Only Club for a small fee.