Sometimes, just sometimes, Girlahead has a superb surprise. During ILTM North America she heard about arguably The Bahamas’ most intruiging expat, aesthete Enrico Garzaroli – see above. This raconteur is a collector. Art, bottles, everything.
The wine list at his GRAYCLIFF HOTEL & RESTAURANT in old-town Nassau is honoured globally. A jam-packed cellar holds 275,000 bottles – stay or dine there and you are invited on a curated tour (warning, don’t wear high heels and don’t be over 150 lbs because it is extremely compact). Down there you might see Ch Margaux 1892, a mere $19,800, and Le Cheval Blanc 1947 – this is what he poured, he recounted laughingly, when his pal HSH Prince Albert dropped in on The Bahamas. Apparently Prince Albert reminded his host that when his sister, Princess Caroline, had come some time before Enrico told her off for wanting her steak well done. This was so rare that she told her younger brother, who had always remembered it. But there are not only wines: the whiskies include a Macallan 1937.
The background is that in 1973 Garzaroli thought about emigrating from the silk centre of Italy, Lake Como. He was on his way to New York but somehow found himself in Nassau where he was coerced into buying the Earl of Staffordshire’s Caribbean retreat, dating back to 1740, when it was the home of a pirate, Captain John Howard Graysmith. Ever the entrepreneur, he transformed it into a 16-bedroom hotel, unaffiliated.
The rooms Girlahead saw were comfortable and folksy, floral curtains and memorabilia. They have big white refrigerators and aircon and Wifi. Stay here and the food is great, especially the home-made fruit-filled breads to dunk again and again in olive oil. A black bowl of fresh cappelletti with black truffle, ooh la la…. No wonder the restaurant is full for such events as Monday to Friday wine lunches, cellar tour included.
There are shady outdoor pools, and an onsite chocolate factory. Surprises had not finished. There’s also, half-hidden among the three metre-tall greenery, a cigar workshop, manned by 16 Cuban master rollers, some men, some women, one to each old-fashioned desk, working in silence while listening to white-noise music. The range of cigars includes Graycliff, G2, Bahiba, Cabinet Selection by Graycliff, and the new B-Cuz by Graycliff. Oh my gosh, there’s no time to visit the adjacent museum, part of Enrico Garzaroli’s heritage village – apparently the museum has 10,000 treasures collected by le maestro.
But the Tesla awaits. Back to ILTM and the surprises there….