SPECIAL REPORT FROM THE BAHAMAS, PART 2: TOURISTS GO TIPLESS

By Bob Schulman

Connecticut elementary school teachers Anne Klein and Mary Sotelo wanted to go to a tropical island for their vacations this year. It would have to be fairly easy to get there, they decided, and the island would have to be rimmed by powdery white sand beaches. Also, they wanted to go to an all-inclusive resort (where a flat rate covers not only the room but all the food you can eat and all the drinks you can down).

A friend told them about a resort called Breezes on the Bahamian island of New Providence, a jet hop of just 40 minutes from Miami. And that’s where they went for a week – and never left the resort the whole time they were there.

“There was just so much to do (there),” said Klein. “I particularly loved the genuine friendliness of the staff. When they put out a hand to you it’s to shake yours, not for a tip...the whole hotel has a no-tipping policy.”

The 400-room Breezes Resort & Spa (www.breezes.com) – billed as a “super-inclusive” property vs. the standard all-inclusives – is among several hotel-resorts dotting the powdery white sands of Cable Beach a little outside the town of Nassau. Here, the flat rate covers just about anything you’d like to eat and drink

-- including top scotch and vodka brands and gourmet dinners in Italian, Mediterranean and Asian restaurants.

Breezes Resort offers ‘super-inclusive’ stays. Photo courtesy of Breezes.

Between chowing down in Breezes’ five restaurants and imbibing in four bars, you might be up for merengue dance lessons, climbing a wall of rocks, jogging, trapeze-ing or shaping up in the resort’s fitness center – all covered in your flat rate. Or you could run down to the beach and hop into sailboats, kayaks or on a windsurfing float, all covered, too.

At night, there’s a piano bar to start the evening, after which you could move on to live shows ranging from Bahamian “rake ‘n scrape” bands to cabarets to comedy fests. And then perhaps head back to the bars. Again, all on the cuff.

As sales coordinator Kaisha Hanchell puts it, “No one gets bored at Breezes.” The resort, she notes, welcomes, singles, couples, groups and families with children at least 14 years old.

View of Breezes’ 1,000-foot-long beach from the hotel. Photo by Bob Schulman.

Weddings are comped at the resort, too. Free packages include everything from the license and the wedding official to the bridal bouquet, the wedding cake, champagne, flowers and even “Just Married” T-shirts. (Bahamian law requires a local residency of just 72 hours before the ceremony.)

Typical oceanfront room at the resort. Photo courtesy of Breezes.

Need tips on what to do and see around nearby Nassau and elsewhere on the 21-mile-long island? No problem, drop by the concierge desk in Breezes’ lobby. (You guessed it, you won’t need to tip for tips.)

Klein, Sotelo and other first-time visitors to the island had a pleasant surprise at the end of their stay. After checking in for their flights at Nassau’s international jetport, they went through a Security checkpoint and then a “pre clearance” process there for U.S. Customs and Immigration – meaning they were able to skip the mob scenes for such checks on arrival back in the U.S.and go right to their connecting flights.

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