Breezes Bahamas Rebounds after Hurricane Matthew

As Hurricane Matthew approached the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, my partner in crime (otherwise known as my mother) and I kept our eyes glued to the weather channel. As the Category 4 hurricane zeroed in, we rescheduled our trip to Nassau (the capital of the Bahamas) at the last second. Not only was Nassau airport closed, but cars were underwater, trees were falling down, buildings and homes were having their roofs and walls ripped off. After watching the damage unfold on YouTube, we contemplated whether or not we should go at all. A few days later, we decided to take the risk and head to SuperClubs Breezes Resort and Spa anyway, and we are so glad we did.

Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Bahamas Photo credit: Mike Tully

Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Bahamas Photo credit: Mike Tully

To be  honest, our three-hour plane ride from Toronto was a little scary. The storm was still pounding the south-east coast of the United States, and though we stayed clear of its path, Matthew’s tailwinds were rocking our plane pretty hard. About 30 minutes in, we hit some pretty serious turbulence and the flight attendants raced the drink cart to the back of the plane and sat with their seatbelts secured for the rest of the trip. No one was allowed to get out of their seats. When our wheels touched down safely in Nassau we all applauded. Upon our arrival on Saturday evening, the telltale signs of post-hurricane-life were still visible on New Providence Island. We stopped at a grocery store (I always stock up on Cliff bars, pita and hummus before going anywhere, because as a vegan traveller, you never know when you might get stuck with nothing to eat). Many items were out of stock and the credit card machines were down in the store. Gas pump lineups circled around the block, and two gas stations were completely destroyed. But to our surprise, the local people seemed to be going about their daily business as usual.

Junkanoo Beach in Bahamas

Junkanoo Beach in Bahamas

Situated steps from the beach, Breezes Resort had one of the safest places to watch the hurricane, even ABC news set up shop to report in their open-air lobby. Even still, the resort had lost power and operated  with a generator. Around the front desk and entertainment area,  the art was  taken off the walls, every ceiling fan disassembled and safely stored away, every beach lounge stacked far from the path of high winds. Our elevator ride to our room was in the pitch black. Throughout the week, things were getting back to normal, but power was on and off, we’d overhear locals talking about not having running water in their homes, and the palms of many trees seemed to be permanently blown to the right like a bad early-90s perm. Still, the island was spared the worst of the storm. Hurricane Matthew left New Providence as a Category 3 hurricane and hit nearby Grand Bahamas and Haiti as a Category 4, severely devastating local infrastructure, knocking down power lines, and even killing almost 1000 people. 

View from Breezes Bahamas after Hurricane Matthew

View from our room at Breezes Bahamas after Hurricane Matthew Photo credit: Sue Campbell

After days  cleaning up downed trees and with plenty of community spirit, Nassau had most of the Hurricane Matthew aftermath under control. We asked some of the Breezes guests about their experience braving the hurricane and heard that all  guests were instructed to bring their blankets and pillows to the conference rooms (they had the option to choose between smoking or non-smoking), full buffets were spread out and movies entertained guests as the hurricane-winds whipped around outside. The resort offered their staff and their families to stay as guests during and after the storm free of charge, which attests to their unbelievable sense of hospitality. We were so impressed by the positive attitudes of the Bahamians, their generosity and their resilience, even after a serious disaster had just wreaked havoc on their homes. 

Back to business at the bar at Breezes Bahamas

Back to business after Hurricane Matthew at Breezes Bahamas

We took the 10-minute bus ride to Straw Market, a vibrant cruise ship port. The town is very well-developed with beautifully painted buildings in pastel pink, green and blue. We ventured into town on Tuesday (about one week after the storm) and you wouldn’t have known a hurricane had passed through. Tip: If you go to the market, be sure to bring lots of cash: prices are fair but there are hundreds of vendors more than ready to sell purses, cigars, carved figurines and other pretty souvenirs. We then walked for five-minutes to take a quick dip at Junkanoo, a public beach with white sand and crystal clear waters, surrounded by funky snack shacks and Tiki Bars.

vegan-meat-ball-at Breezes Resort & Spa Bahamas

Vegan cuisine at Breezes Resort & Spa Bahamas

Returning to the resort, we enjoyed superb  Swedish massages on the beach followed by dinner at the resort’s Garden of Eden, where the fabulous chef Donna prepared the most unique meal I’ve eaten in a while. Her vegan version of spaghetti and meatballs was out of this world. The “meatballs” were a mix of sweet plantain and pumpkin mash paired with homemade guacamole (my fave!) and spicy tomato sauce on a bed of julienned cucumber, carrots, and other mixed veggies. The creative plantain-pumpkin mix was so soft it basically melted in my mouth, and I scarfed it down so fast I never even shared a bite with my mother (oops).  This meal was just one of many specialty items available upon request on Breezes’ new vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free menu.

Tofu teryaki at Breezes Bahamas

Tasty tofu teryaki means open for business at Breezes Bahamas

At all-inclusive resorts, it is always important to let the staff know in advance about alternative dietary needs, because you never know what secret meals the chef might have cooking unless you ask. Breezes definitely understands the value of fantastic customer service, and the kitchen staff works hard to accommodate their guests. My delicious meal at the Garden of Eden was the perfect ending to our adventure in the Bahamas, our only regret is that we couldn’t stay longer.

Travel Planner

Breezes Resort & Spa Bahamas is a 391-room, all-inclusive beach resort offering vacation packages for singles, groups, couples or families (14 yrs old and over). The resort is located on one of the best beaches, Cable Beach, a convenient 15-minute drive from Nassau airport. There are four restaurants available, plus a buffet.  Breezes Bahamas also offers a new vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free menu. Visit their website for more information about the resort, including the 40% off special. 

Bahamas: Learn more about the Bahamas by visiting the Official Ministry of Tourism website.

For more tips on vegan-inspired travel to the world’s best sun destinations, check out these other delicious posts by the Vegan Vacationista. Or subscribe to the free A Taste for Travel newsletter.

Florida: Vegan Festivals, Food and Cocktails in Florida Keys and Miami  

Cancun: The Stuff Vegan Dreams are Made Of 

Kauai: 3 Top Vegan Eats on Kauai 

Aruba: Finding Vegan Heaven 

Panama: Secrets Playa Bonita Panama: A Paradise for Nature Lovers 

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Showing 14 comments
  • Doreen Pendgracs
    Reply

    Great to see more and more resorts offering really good vegan fare. I must say, I always feel guilty visiting a place that has experienced a natural disaster, as we know that away from the resorts, the locals are having a very difficult time in recovering from the storm. But … we know that they require our tourist dollars to help with that recovery, so it is a catch 22. Thx for the thought-provoking post.

  • Donna Janke
    Reply

    It must be scary to live through the hurricane or even catch the tail end of it. I’m amazed at how quickly some resorts recover. You’d never know there’d been a hurricane from the gorgeous view from your room.

  • Jessica
    Reply

    Hi! Thanks for the comments! It was certainly an experience being there right after the hurricane, and at times I was able to imagine what it would be like to sit there with no power and nowhere to go, knowing that a serious storm was on the way. I’m super glad we went because I was able to witness the amazing strength and positivity of people from the Bahamas, I’ll never forget their incredible attitudes about the whole event.

  • Emily
    Reply

    You wouldn’t have known that a hurricane had just been through there. It must be a really scary experience. As an aside, that food looks delicious. It’s great that there’s more and more choice for vegetarians and vegans now.

  • Joe
    Reply

    Yikes! It couldn’t have been easy to go there in the light of Hurricane Matthew, and the flight over there must have made it even more scary, but this is a good lesson in resilience and perseverance. Both from you – glad you had a great time – and the people of Bahamas too. Must have been so humbling to see them react that way, and a lesson to us all there perhaps…

  • Naomi
    Reply

    What a devastating force of nature but I’m glad you got to go in the end. I think it is good for tourism to come back as soon as possible as people already struggle enough, without having their source of income drop too.

  • noel
    Reply

    I’ve never stayed at an all inclusive resort, the food looks really good. Nassau looks like a wonderful place to visit and so close to Miami – I would love to visit in the off season

  • Sand In My Suitcase
    Reply

    Some of those Caribbean islands must be so used to hurricanes by now, they know how to deal with them :-). (Of course, they’re still devastating.) So it’s great that Nassau had most of the damage under control within a few days! Tourism is important to them – it’s great to read that Breezes Bahamas and other places are open for business again :-). And those vegan meals look mighty tasty!

  • Noreen Kompanik
    Reply

    Great article! And great when tourism can bounce back as quickly as possible. Well done, Michele!

  • Amanda
    Reply

    So crazy, we were in the Caribbean as Hurricane Matthew was hitting. The side of Jamaica we were on was like nothing happened, but we couldn’t get to the Bahamas.

  • Jenn and Ed Coleman
    Reply

    We were married in Nassau just a few years ago. Understandably, we were worried about the damage that Matthew might have caused in a place so close to our hearts. Your first hand account help put us at easy and we are glad that this wonderful place is carrying on.

  • Annie
    Reply

    Wow, what an incredible perspective. Nice as well that staff could stay while waiting out the storm, I always appreciate a business that takes care of their employees. Those pictures of food are unreal, vegan cuisine never looked so good!

  • Maria
    Reply

    Although the recent hurricane the place looks great and the food delicious.

  • Irene S. Levine
    Reply

    So glad you got to go…or I should say DECIDED to go. Sounds like wonderful memories that you’ll now share with your mom!

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