By George Wayne
“It’s better in the Bahamas,” the catchy advertising lingo goes and when Gwyneth Paltrow and her former husband Chris Martin decided to make their first public appearance since their decision to divorce – and catapult into to the urban lexicon: the term – ‘conscious uncoupling’ on the most important of the ‘’family islands’’ of the Bahamian archipelago they were actually adhering to long held tradition.
After all, the super private enclave called Windemere on the sliver of a British West Indian island called Eleuthera was a long time favorite escape of Prince Charles and Princess Diana of Wales, and we all know how that marriage held up. And before that ill-fated couple it was also a haven for the even more ill-starred couple of Wallis Simpson and Edward Windsor aka The Duke of Windsor and the ex-king of England who abdicated with the famous words, “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility this to discharge my duty as King Edward VII” and then fled to the Bahamas; there is a long distinguished of ‘conscious uncoupling’ involving this Caribbean archipelago and so it should have come as no surprise that our Princess Gwyneth would have sought to add to history by making their very first appearance after the announcement of their impending divorce and the avalanche of publicity, they could never ever have imagined that followed.
The place they choose was at a tiny beach side shack of a restaurant called Tippy’s’ in the tiny hills of historic Governor’s Harbor on the island of Eleuthera. And so it was that I was overcome with a keen desire to visit this place and discover it for myself.
The islands original Greek name in fact spells freedom; it is 110 miles long and two miles wide and was first colonized in the early 17th Century by Puritans fleeing religious persecution.
Seven days after their fateful appearance at Tippy’s and a fabulous night spent on the beach of Emerald Bay in Nassau attending an unforgettable junkanoo party hosted by the Bahamian Prime Minister Hon. Gladstone Perry for the Hollywood movie producer Will Packer, GW arrived bleary-eyed very early the next foggy morning. The property, when I finally arrived, was the most luxurious hotel I have seen in some time. It is a five-star hotel called the Cove – Eleuthera. More on that later.
The very next morning at about noon I asked Mr. Amos Johnson to pick me up at my hotel in his white mini-van taxi cab and take me to Tippy’s for lunch. As we approached the crescent turn of the charming and very ancient Governors Harbour and turned left up the hill from the distinctly colonial seaside village the architecture changes dramatically. It is soon clear we are in the “Beverly Hills of Eleuthera.” The tiny concrete homes of the lumpenproletariat now give way to beautiful to-the-manor-born neo-colonial manses of Pyfroms Lane with all the required signature accouterments. The expansive wrap-around verandahs which drape beautiful plantation-style homes preening in the usual pastiche of poppy Caribbean colors beguile state of the art modern homes in every way yet exquisitely capture the elegance, sophistication and charm of an era long past.
Tippy’s Bar & Restaurant on a Saturday is impossible to be seated without a dinner reservation at least 48 hours old. The restaurant was packed to the rafters and the house band Big Black Belly + The Haitian Sensation was, by 8pm, crooning out its staple cover classics such as Bob Marley anthems – ‘Three Little Birds’ and ‘No Woman No Cry.’
They certainly didn’t order the signature house cocktail called ‘Tippy Sunshine’ which is basically a rum punch because Gwynnie insisted on bringing her own bottle of white even though the chalk board above the dilapidated unusable Kwai piano propping up photo snapshots of past visitors easily recognizable – George Clooney, Matthew McConaughey, Mariah Carey, Danny Glover and on and on.
The wine board had a few good choices here including the very fine ‘Whispering Angel’ white at $62 or the Zenato Pinot Grigiot, but Gwynnie brought her own bottle of white wine. They only had to look across the shanty restaurant to gasp at the broken piano hanging behind the bar which “was the very same piano Princess Diana used to play on whenever she was in residence at Windemere,” Big E continued.
She and her ex-husband were seated that packed Saturday night at Table 10 which is right there in the middle of the room. Apple and Moses were nowhere in sight, and the couple were, “definitely, relaxed and happy,” according to sources.
They had to have noted the pungent sea salt in the air as the cool breeze wafted from the crashing Atlantic Ocean a few sand-swept steps away from the pink sands of French Leave Beach, as they looked at the chalk board borne by their waitress and from which they ordered the Cajun Grouper and the Bahamian stone crab claws and she had to have been the one who put in the order for the Caesar Arugula salad. They dined for quite a while too that night, spending about two and a half hours celebrating their uncoupling.
The very next day they sought solace at the most private and newest and the only GW can fairly declare five-star resort addition to this British West Indian archipelago called The Cove Eleuthera which is without doubt the latest under-the-radar celebrity escape and the creation of the rakish New Orleans hotelier Sidney Torres IV.
The most sought after photograph in the world right now is one of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin post divorce, but they had to have felt a sense of calm and pleasure looking about this simply exquisite and uber-private property filled with other equally very rich and posh guests.
The kids swam in the infinity pool they dined a deux and lounged in the flawless, modern and spare all white airy lobby library impeccably curated with a range of the finest coffee table books. In fact, one cannot help but note on arrival at the tiny check in booth, the prominent placements of lush coffee table books such as “Vanity Fair Portraits-A Century Of Iconic Images” by Graydon Carter or “Island Hotel Stories” by Francesca Matteoli or classics like “Enduring Style – Gary Cooper” by Ralph Lauren, Maria Cooper and Bruce Weber.
The Cove Eleuthera has indeed become the latest celebrity refuge a few days before Gwynnie & Chris sought solace here, so too had the rambunctious teenage pop star Justin Bieber who in fact rented out half of the entire 40 acres property for his entourage and him. In fact, the ever sultry country superstar Shania Twain in fact had lunch next to GW.
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