Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter holiday at Lyford Cay

Frances Beatty (in a photo sketch) stands before a wall at Marcie Bond filled with stunning designs in bold prints from Tory Burch's terrific collection of attention-grabbing resort wear, tailor made for resorts like Lyford.
By Jamee Gregory

What could be more relaxing than an Easter holiday at Lyford Cay? The shining white sand, perfect blue sky, bougainvillea and hibiscus tumbling in front of perfectly manicured homes, immaculate green golf course, red clay tennis courts, Pucci clad blondes waving from their vintage Fiat Jollys , perfectly turned out toddlers, friends from England, France and Greece all creating a version of paradise behind the club’s pink gates. But every once in a while, the urge to shop rears its head and it’s time to leave all the beauty behind.

My friend, Frances Beatty, offers a trip just outside the club’s well-protected entrance. Pulling up confidently in her golf cart, she doesn’t let on that driving on the left will pose a death-defying challenge as we pull out without looking, much to the chagrin of an on-coming truck. We survive, heading gingerly for Coles, a well-stocked branch of Nassau’s favorite shop.
Franny parks the golf cart. Me in front of Coles outpost at Lyford Cay.
This new outpost is a magnet for Lyford members who prefer not driving forty minutes to town or to Atlantis. The charming shop is filled to the brim with familiar brands, like Pucci, Jack Rogers, Juliet Dunn, and Graham Kandiah, interspersed with local treasures like coral-encrusted sandals, the late Harl Taylor’s one-of-a-kind straw bags, and Jeannie McQueeny's elegantly colored linen tunics and floor-length caftans, embroidered with stars, shells, and coral swirls.

These unique tops are perfect for tropical resort life, appearing regularly on the ladies, many of whom are well-acquainted with fellow member, Jeannie, otherwise known as Lady Nuttall. A wall of bikinis, racks of beach cover-ups in sheer materials that cover yet reveal, rows of Pucci pants, jersey dresses and minis keep us busy for quite a while. The temptations are overwhelming, but we resist, each leaving with something beautiful and promising to return the next day.
At Coles (clockwise from top left): Harl Taylor straw handbags, even more unique since the shocking murder of their creator, displayed on a pagoda made by local women from the straw market with couture details like shells and coral; Dazzling array of Pucci purses; Moyna's shell bags in pink, coral and orange, colors for sunny climates.
Above, left: My all-time favorite — Jeannie McQueeny's tops, beaded and embroidered in Nepal according to her exacting specifications and designs. I bought the coral one in front. Who could resist hand-beaded starfish? Oprah wore the yellow and blue shorter tunic on the cover of her magazine.
More from Coles: Shell jewelry, coral necklaces, colorful beads and Pucci's distinctive terry towels, just right for island living.
We barely have time for our next stop, the beautiful boutique of Marcie Bond, another club member who perfectly understands what will tempt the local ladies and look perfect by the pool for lunch or at private dinners. Her well-trained eye and brilliant sense of color makes for well-edited shopping.

With colorful and bold resources from the likes of Tory Burch, whose jewel-bordered tunics and geometric prints beckon, to treasures from St. Barths, to dresses from Sweden, Bond covers all the bases. Hot pink, turquoise, and coral are prominently featured, along with crisp white cotton shifts and beaded bags. Unusual earring and necklaces contribute to the mix, making this shop a popular stop. Marcie’s delightful warm personality and good taste explain this boutique’s loyal following!
Above: Sea shell themes are perfect for life beside the ocean!  Mother-of-pearl earrings and silvered-shells would brighten the decor of anyone's table!
Right: Lyford luminary, Marcie Bond, in her chic shop, a mecca for sophisticated shoppers.

Below: More Moyna, a little Trish Becker Jewelry and a flock of birds grace handbags just right for packing and perfect with gauzy tropical caftans and shifts.
Marcie holding a silvery, sophisticated tunic from a new line discovered in St. Barths. Bright patterns cover the simple shapes of tunics and beach cover-ups. Solids with colorful bands around the neck and chest evoke gorgeous gladiators, ready to stride down the sandy white beaches.
Running across the courtyard we dash into Bamboo-Bamboo, the chicest home shop on the island, run by Marcie’s brother, John Fondas and Andrew Raquet, the well-known designer. Traveling the world, these gentlemen have assembled an astonishing array of treasures that tempts even the most jaded shoppers. In a community where sophisticated home owners are always on the lookout for perfect gifts for themselves and for others, this is the place to stop.

Unique evening bags, ivory crabs, shell prints, blue-and-white ginger jars, colored glass, unique flatware, dazzling shell-encrusted placemats, fascinating coffee table books, unique frames, all rest in harmony, displayed engagingly. Andrew is in constant demand, refurbishing many of the club’s legendary homes. Bamboo-Bamboo has earned its stripes, besting similar stores in urban environments.
Clockwise from top left: Bamboo-Bamboo, definitely the most glamorous shop for the home; Treasures fill every corner. A mini-sailboat might be the perfect gift for the hostess who has everything; Table tops are studded with honey holders, jam jars and John Derian paper weights. Chartreuse parasols are perfect for hot, sunny terraces, shell-framed mirrors, and coral cotton placemats edged with tiny beads would grace any home with tropical style; Rattan shelves, white Parsons tables, coral trunks for lamps, perfect for life by the ocean or on your yacht.
Discerning shoppers never leave this treasure-trove empty-handed, even if it means carrying their discoveries through customs. A coral tablecloth sets of marvelous blue and white jars, shell and sivler salt cellars, stunning frames, mahoganny salad servers, all perfect dinner party gifts, brilliantly displayed. Whimsical prints, with shell and tropical motifs, beautifully framed, hand-painted plates, tempting books (including my New York Apartments, Private Views, by Rizzoli) and a vast assortment of Assouline offerings are all perfect for dinner gifts or housewarmings.
Chess sets, hand carved prints, colorful cotton umbrellas for the garden, a family of ivory crabs and other crustaceans, Italian notebooks, all demand attention. Not an inch wasted, every corner is packed with fabulous scented candles, colored glasses, hurricane lamps for outdoor dining. Andrew and John have thought of temptations for every hour of the day. What about a magnificent book of maps, big enought to occupy a coffee table with style? that could be the perfect gift.
What a treat to find such a smart selection in a corner of the Bahamas! Long may they stay well-stocked!

Oh, oh, we’re late for tennis and our husbands will be mad…but it was worth it. Jumping back into the cart Franny hits the pedal, taking our life in her hands. Miraculously, we arrive in one piece, packages in hand.