Harbour Island lies just northwest of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. It’s known for the long pink sand beaches stretching along its eastern shore. The west coast also has beaches and several marinas. Outlying coral reefs like the Devil’s Backbone are home to marine life such as stingrays and turtles. The main hub, Dunmore Town, features pastel houses like the 1797 Loyalist Cottage.
The frequent parade of the fashionable and famous, and the chic small inns that accommodate them, have earned the island another name: the St. Bart’s of the Bahamas. But residents have long called it Briland, their faster way of pronouncing “Harbour Island.” These inhabitants include families who go back generations to the island’s early settlement, as well as a growing number of celebrities, supermodels, and tycoons who feel that Briland is the perfect haven to bask in small-town charm against a stunning oceanscape. Some of the Bahamas’ most handsome small hotels, each strikingly distinct, are tucked within the island’s 2 square miles. At several, perched on a bluff above the shore, you can fall asleep with the windows open and listen to the waves lapping the beach. Take a walking tour of the narrow streets of Dunmore Town, named after the 18th-century royal governor of the Bahamas, Lord Dunmore, who built a summer home here and laid out the town, which served as the first capital of the Bahamas. It’s the only town on Harbour Island, and you can take in all its attractions during a 20-minute stroll.