Snuggled in between the monstrosity of Atlantis, Paradise Island and the more elite One and Only Ocean Club sits an architectural marvel known as The Cloisters Only a fifteen minute cab ride from the ship’s dock, one can find themselves transported to 12th century France. Piece by piece, the stones were moved from France before landing in the United States. Purchased by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hurst the stones after being erected on his property, were later sold and transported to Paradise Island. Two years after their arrival, the stones were reassembled–apparently the directions for reassembly were not included–revealing the picturesque arches and classical statues within. Connected to the Versailles Gardens, The Cloisters are owned and cared for by the posh accommodations of the One and Only Ocean Club.
Upon arrival I instantly felt transported to a European scene. Graceful arches supported by columns formed the four-sided open-air cloister. A classical statue, deep in contemplation, sits in the middle of the structure surrounded by perfectly manicured greenery. The angles, lighting, and landscaping make this a photographers dream, and I spent a lot of time walking around and snapping photos at all angles, playing with settings and lighting.
Leaving The Cloisters, we walked across the street into the Versailles Gardens again viewing the different statues strategically placed among the flowers, vines, and bushes.
Then it was past the One and Only Ocean Club members only sign and onto their grounds. We were worried that they would ask us to leave, but I was determined to view the areas that Casino Royal was filmed. In fact, I had rewatched the movie about three times in the preceding weeks of the trip so I would know what I was looking for. We walked past the same pool as Daniel Craig. Turning around with the pool behind me, I could see all the way to The Cloisters in a view that was captured in the film. Now, if only I could get into villa 1085 where Bond seduced Alex Dimitrios’ wife. But, alas, we didn’t want to temp security. So it was onto the beach for a few quick snapshots next to the uber-rich guests of the One and Only Ocean Club before grabbing a cab back to downtown for shopping and drinking.
If you go on cruises like we do, you’ve probably already done the obligatory dolphin swim, snorkel tour, and Senor Frogs debauchery. This time in Nassau we were looking to spend little money and relax. The Cloisters provided us the inexpensive excursion we were looking for, and the best part is that we had the place mostly to ourselves. I don’t know if I would say that The Cloisters is a must-visit, but it is a must-visit if you’ve done everything else the island has to offer.