Eleuthera Lodging House Rental Tips
When visiting Eleuthera you have several lodging options. Unlike many major tourist destinations the lodging choice of preference on Eleuthera is a house rental. While there are several small boutique hotels, motels and condo style resorts, there are just a few of them compared to the number of houses available for rent and they tend to be either high end or budget oriented limiting their appeal to many Eleuthera vacationers.
Most visitors choose house rentals on Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells due to their superior locations, abundance of amenities, added space and comfort, privacy and attractive pricing. Simply by cooking several meals at your house rental you will save enough money to do fun things on vacation or splurge a little more when you do eat out. The small resorts up and down the island are considered a good choice for those who prefer to vacation in a more social setting. You won’t find any large hotels nor household brands such as Hilton or Wyndham although one of the boutique resorts is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection.
Read on to see various lodging and house rental options or read this blog first, which will give you some ideas on how to pick your lodging on Eleuthera.
1. Vacation Rentals by Owner
Renting a house directly from its owner is the easiest and most affordable way to book a house rental on Eleuthera. There are several websites that aggregate house rentals together so that you can easily search, compare and reserve them while still working directly with the property owner. Alternately, you can search for properties individually. If the owner has their own website then you can contact them directly via their website, but, if they don’t, then they are likely listed on one of the aggregation sites. However, the aggregators differ significantly in terms of fees and services offered.
a) EleutheraDirect.com – is the only owner direct aggregator exclusively dedicated to house rentals on Eleuthera, Harbour Island and Spanish Wells. They have a growing inventory of properties plus a number of distinct advantages such as having no AirBnB or VRBO service fees. This alone will save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your vacation.
They offer all of the great search capabilities that you expect from a high quality website while also offering some Eleuthera specific search capabilities like searching based on Atlantic (eastern) versus the Caribbean (western) side of the island or by local settlement. Additionally, your communications with the owner are not moderated or filtered like on VRBO and AirBnB. EleutheraDirect.com is an excellent choice for finding the lowest rate with the best search features while also benefiting from unmoderated communication with the property owner.
Here are some more tips on how to choose a house rental on Eleuthera.
b) VRBO, AirBnB, & TripAdvisor – these large brand name online travel agencies (OTAs) have fallen more and more out of favor with savvy renters who realize how much VRBO fees for renters negatively impact the quality of their vacation without providing any real value. Many, many years ago the ‘original’ VRBO set the world on fire by offering a very easy way to find quality vacation homes while only charging homeowners a small advertising fee, but that has all changed.
Now, these companies still charge homeowners a hefty fee to advertise on their platforms while simultaneously charging renters anywhere from 3% to as much as 20% commission to use their software to make a booking. Additionally, they monitor and filter all communication between the homeowner and renter until after the booking has been concluded making it difficult to exchange information.
They have further eroded the trust of homeowners by imposing strict hotel-like policies that make it very difficult to manage their rental businesses. As a result, the #bookdirect movement is occurring and many homeowners are moving away from these platforms as they simply offer no value. Their only real value to a renter is the choice they offer by having a large number of properties in inventory. Once that advantage goes away there will be little use for their service.
c) Owner direct websites – are still a great way to find a property you love, communicate directly with an owner, and save money by not paying any commissions or booking fees. The only real negative with this method of house renting is that you have to spend time finding each individual owner. Not all have their own websites and many of the websites aren’t well organized. Still, if saving money by booking direct will let you have a better vacation, then consider this. Use the OTA websites to find the house you like and then do a Google search to find the homeowner’s own website. You can then book direct and avoid the VRBO service fee.
Note: Eleutheradirect.com provides direct links to owner websites and videos if the owner provides them.
2. Boutique Resorts and Small Motels
Eleuthera, Bahamas does not have anything that would qualify as a traditional American, Canadian or European hotel. Instead, it has a handful of small motels, boutique resorts and one glamping resort. Below are most of what is available on Eleuthera listed more or less in order from north to south.
a) The Other Side – is a beautiful solar powered ‘glamping’ site situated along Cistern Cay Beach. You’ll find nothing but palms, tents, shacks and a salad garden. The property is within short proximity of all the raw beauty of Eleuthera as well as the neighboring Family Island of Harbour Island, which has one of the longest and widest pink sand beaches in the world. It is best described as home meets safari with a few conventional hotel amenities. Rates range from $550 to $750 per night.
b) The Cove Eleuthera – is the highest end luxury resort that can be found on Eleuthera boasting 55 rooms, suites and villas. It features two private white sand beaches, a spa and fitness center, oceanfront dining and an open-air sunset bar. The price for a suite starts at $859 per night.
c) The Sunset Cove & Rainbow Room – formerly known as The Rainbow Inn, this property consists of a series of 11 affordable suites and cottages plus an on premise restaurant, bar and pool with prices ranging from $85 to $222 per night. Each of the 7 luxury suites and 4 classic beach cottages has its own unique design.
d) Sky Beach Club – is an intimate collection of seven oceanview accommodations including 7 villas and 4 poolside bungalows. It features its own restaurant and swim up pool bar and is just steps from one of the best beaches on the island – Hut Pointe Beach. Prices for a 2 person bungalow start at $235 per night and go up to $800 per night for a 4 bedroom villa in non-holiday season.
e) Hut Pointe Inn – is a family owned, eco-friendly, all-suite inn located directly on Queen’s Highway across from Hut Pointe in the settlement of Governors Harbour. Rates for a 2 bedroom suite with kitchen start around $255 per night.
f) French Leave Resort– is part of the Marriott Autograph Collection. This lodging option is located a short walk from downtown Governor’s Harbour with views overlooking the Bight of Exuma and nearby Cupid’s Cay. There are 20 Bahamian villas, either one or two bedroom units, plus 1648 Bar & Grill, pool, fitness center, spa and a small marina. Rates start just below $500 per night, but are mostly in the $900 per night range. It also has one 4 bedroom house rental for $2,600 per night.
g) Squires Estate – is a collection of restored nineteenth-century rental houses perched on a hillside overlooking Governor’s Harbour and the Bight of Exuma. The Estate offers a wide range of accommodations including grand homes, romantic cottages, hillside pools and harbour views. Prices range from $145 per night for a small cottage to $650 per night for a large rental house.
h) Pineapple Fields – is a grouping of 32 one and two bedroom condos located just across the street from one of the more popular restaurants on the island, Tippy’s, and it’s beautiful pink sand beach. Rates start at $219 per night for a one bedroom in low season and go up to $439 for a two bedroom in high season.
i) La Bougainvillea – is a boutique hotel & restaurant located on a very secluded 50 acre estate. It is located between the settlements of North Palmetto Point and Governor’s Harbour, but closer to the former. It’s private pool overlooks one of the prettiest beaches on the island. It has 6 rooms, 1 cottage and 1 six bedroom rental house with prices ranging from $250 to $1,250 per night.
j) Unique Village Resort – this quaint beachfront resort is comprised of 14 units – 10 hotel rooms, 2 two-bedroom villas and 2 one-bedroom apartments. It has a delightful pool, oceanside restaurant and bar with authentic Bahamian cooking, and outstanding elevated Atlantic Ocean views. Prices start at just $110 per night.
k) Northside Inn – if you want to stay closer to a dive shop then look no further than Northside Inn, perched on a private hillside on the Atlantic Ocean just outside of the main downtown area of the Rock Sound settlement. It has 3 stand alone cottages with a total of 5 rooms directly on the Atlantic Ocean and its own private beach. Run by Rose Gibson, you’re sure to enjoy the sandy floored bar and restaurant right next to the cottages. Many consider this the best restaurant on the island. Rates are $110 and $120 per night based on season.
l) Cape Eleuthera Resort & Marina – is a modern condo development & marina located on the very southwestern tip of Eleuthera. It has condo rentals, a very nice marina, if you happen to come by boat, a pool next to Harbour Pointe restaurant, and a nearby bar called Barracuda’s that has nightly happy hours. Rates start at $265 for cottages and $399 for villas. The marina has 47 slips that accommodate vessels up to 200′ in length. The resort has 14 two-bedroom villas and 18 one-bedroom cottages.
3. Home Rental Agency / Realtor
There are several agencies and realtors that offer private vacation homes for rent. This is a good choice if you aren’t sure what you are looking for and need some hands-on assistance from someone with more knowledge of the island. They are commission based and either charge owners 10-20% for their service or simply add their commission to the homeowner’s standard rates. It’s best to find out how they earn their commission as you might be able to book directly with the owner and avoid that additional fee. Below is a list of some of the local realtors and agencies.
a) Sotheby’s/Damianos International Real Estate – offers transformative experiences through a global network of exceptional agents.
b) HG Christie’s – claims to be the largest full-service real estate agency specializing in luxury homes and condos, vacation homes, beachfront properties, development properties and private Islands, as well as a full selection of rental properties throughout the Bahamas.
d) Island Real Estate – is one of several realtors who specialize in vacation rental properties and property sales exclusively on Harbour Island.
e) Spanish Wells Realty, Ltd. – is one of the more notable providers of lodging and real estate on Spanish Wells.
You have three basic types of lodging on Eleuthera – house rentals, boutique resorts and inexpensive motels. House rentals are preferred by most travelers. If you choose to rent a house you’ll need to narrow your lodging selections. There are several ways to find and reserve a private house rental – aggregators, owner direct website, or realtor/agency.
Aggregators and OTAs such as Eleutheradirect.com, AirBnB and VRBO offer many lodging choices, but only Eleutheradirect.com has zero renter fees while also improving direct renter to owner communication by not filtering or masking parts of your message.
Owner direct websites are a good booking option especially if you can find the name of the house on one of the OTA websites to help shortcut searching for them directly. However, you have to invest time searching and comparing each individual home through independent websites, which can be time consuming.
Commission based realtors and agencies can be very effective if you need some extra hand holding. Just make sure they are not passing on the cost of their service to you, the renter, and that they have recent first hand knowledge of the property you are renting. Realtors and agents will have some knowledge of the property you are renting, but nobody knows their home as well as its owner.
Click to see Indigo Seas in Rainbow Bay, Eleuthera, Bahamas. This is the property featured in our cover image for this article.
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