You don’t have travel far to find that edge-of-the-world feeling. All it takes is one look at Bimini’s ombre turquoise waters to forget Miami’s only 50 miles away—and to understand the rustic simplicity that has long attracted anglers and solitudinarians.
The storied history of these quaint isles begins in 1513, when Juan Ponce de León traveled to Bimini in search of the fountain of youth. He never found it, but the legend persists in a thousand-year-old well on South Bimini. The islands later gained recognition as a haven for prohibition-era rumrunners and for its notable residents and visitors. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent time on Bimini while writing his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and Ernest Hemingway’s big game fishing quests here inspired some of his most famous works.
Today, the narrative of this sleepy destination is evolving. Hilton’s arrival at Resorts World Bimini (rwbimini.com) brings with it nouveau digs for a fresh crop of young travelers, who revel in the islands’ unhurried, drink-in-your-hand lifestyle and thrilling sea escapades.
The easiest way to reach the resort is by seaplane. Departing from Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Tropic Ocean Airways (flytropic.com) lands adjacent to the Hilton on the bay side of North Bimini. Spanning 750 acres, Resorts World Bimini comprises the 323-room hotel, TK vacation condos, a casino, two marinas, 11 bars and restaurants, two beaches, and four pools. Rather than an overtly Caribbean aesthetic, the Hilton’s organic-meets-elegant vibe depicts the new Bimini. Yet, reminders of the islands’ original draw—serenity—persist. A glass façade and floor-to-ceiling windows in the rooms and suites ensure the ocean is always in sight.
Here, the quest for tranquility begins waterside. The rooftop infinity pool and the cabana-dotted Paradise Beach are ideal spots to kick back and detach—or not. The entire resort is Wi-Fi equipped, so post a selfie with your piña colada–filled coconut without fear of international data charges.
Continue the relaxation mission at Hilton’s Serenity Spa. Block off a few hours to indulge in the Wanderlust Majestic Meditation Ritual, which begins with a detoxifying rhassoul clay wrap followed by an aromatherapy massage and a foot ritual aimed at grounding the mind and body.
Bimini is the sport fishing capital of the world, and anglers can reserve fishing charters through the resort. Adventure awaits for snorkelers and divers, too. Bimini Undersea (biminiundersea.net) offers excursions to underwater wonders, including the eerily beautiful, semi-submerged S.S. Sapona shipwreck. Daredevils will inevitably climb to the top of the ship and jump into the blue abyss below, while others can swim through and marvel at the sea creatures that now call the vessel home. Closer to the shores of North Bimini lies Bimini Road, a structure of massive stones lining the ocean floor once believed to be the ruins of the lost continent Atlantis. Paddleboard and glass-bottom kayak rentals, available at Bimini Under the Sun, provide another mode for taking in Bimini’s clear waters and lush mangroves.
There’s nothing like ice cream to end an afternoon outdoors, so stop by Amicci’s for homemade gelato in flavors like passion fruit and pistachio. It’s located in the resort’s Fisherman’s Village alongside charming storefronts like Splash (shopsplash.com), a posh boutique filled with boho-chic bikinis, breezy dresses, and luxe beach bags.
Fine dining options at the resort cater to Bimini’s more discerning guests. At Sabor, diners nosh on 32-ounce, dry-aged tomahawk steaks while perusing the interactive wine list on iPads. The Sushi Bar, developed by Top Chef winner Hung Huynh, offers lighter fare. Start off with a sake-infused cocktail before moving on to yellowtail carpaccio topped with Serrano peppers, scallions, and a white ponzu sauce, and the Sun of a Beach roll with seared salmon, shrimp, and miso-honey. Pro tip: The resort makes its desserts in-house, so save room for treats like the layered green tea crêpe topped with Grand Mariner and citrus.
For a true taste of Bahamian flavor, venture outside the resort into Bailey Town and Alice Town via golf cart or bike, available for rent at the resort and Bimini Undersea, respectively. Traverse down King’s Highway to end at Edith’s Pizza, an island staple. Order a Bahama Mama and the famous lobster pizza, a deliciously buttery and cheesy creation baked on crispy, sweet Bimini bread. This 7-mile stretch of North Bimini is also brimming with conch, and the salad at Stuart’s is a local favorite.
When evening rolls around, set out farther south to the white sands of Radio Beach, the final resting place of the Gallant Lady shipwreck. This secluded spot was made for sunsets—and for Instagram-worthy photos warranting the hashtag #BiminiBliss.