The Graycliff luxury brand in Nassau encompasses far more than the iconic 18th century, 20-room mansion-cum-landmark hotel on West Hill Street.
Beyond the antique-filled guestrooms are four restaurants and a beer garden, a 250,000-bottle wine cellar, a culinary academy, a cigar company and a chocolate factory.
The hotel, an elegant colonial home built in the 1740s as the residence of Capt. John Howard Graysmith, sits on a hill across from the governor’s mansion near downtown.
Four categories of guestrooms and suites above the first floor overlook the veranda, gardens or the property’s two pools. Beaches on New Providence Island, the casinos on Paradise Island and the shops on Bay Street are a short taxi ride away.
The latest addition to Graycliff’s brand is Graycliff Chocolatier, an on-site boutique and factory that opened in November.
“As a chocolate lover with a passion for learning, I wanted Graycliff Chocolatier to be a true pursuit of a chocolate lover’s dream,” said Paolo Garzaroli, president of the chocolate factory and cigar company.
On a vineyard tour in South Africa several years ago, Garzaroli and his wife were offered chocolates paired with the wines.
Intrigued, they asked the winemaker if he had ever considered creating a chocolate that could be combined with tobacco to complement the Graycliff Cigar Co.’s products. That led to the introduction of a chocolate bar infused with tobacco that was available through cigar company retailers.
Logistics, however, proved problematic. Several chocolate manufacturers closer to the Bahamas were tested, but Garzaroli wanted hands-on control over quality.
Thus was born the Graycliff Chocolatier, headed by chef Erika Dupree Davis. Hour-long factory tours, available daily except Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., are priced at $50. Adults can sample treats and dive into chocolate-making ingredients to create their own.
On a $35, hour-long kids’ tour, mini-chefs paint with chocolate, decorate activity books and meet with mascot Captain Choco. Ten-minute walk-through tours are $10.
Also new at Graycliff is the Humidor Piazza casual dining area that includes Giotto Pizzeria, the Beer Garden and Humidor Churrascaria.
The pizzeria has a wood-burning oven, the Beer Garden offers more than 50 international brews, while Humidor Churrascaria specializes in Brazilian barbecue.
Winter rates start at $375 per room, per night and include WiFi.Visit www.graycliff.com. via TRAVEL WEEKLY. photos: orbitz.com, rumshopryan.com