NASSAU, Bahamas -- The 14-room Graycliff Hotel, a fixture in Old
Nassau across from Government House, is expanding its guest room
count, restaurant facilities, menus and cigar offerings for the
The property dates from 1740 and was originally built as the
private residence of Capt. John Howard Graysmith, a wealthy pirate.
It later functioned as a guesthouse in the mid-1800s. In the early
1900s, the property was bought by Polly Leach, who ran Graycliff as
a small hotel and restaurant. It was frequented by gangster Al
Capone, among others.
Enrico and Anna Maria Garzaroli, the current owners, bought
Graycliff in 1974. Their $4 million renovation project includes
eight new guest rooms and a restaurant called Humidor in a building
adjacent to the main mansion.
Cigars have been a staple
at Graycliff and will be even more so once the renovations are
complete. The Graycliff Cigar Co., temporarily housed behind the
main house, will relocate to larger quarters on the parlor floor of
the mansion. Restaurant and hotel guests will be able to view the
art of cigar rolling by 14 Cuban cigar rollers as well as buy the
Graycliff products and enroll in a cigar-making school on the
Enrico Garzaroli opened a separate shop several years ago near
Graycliff's entrance, where Cuban cigars and products are sold.
That shop, which will be renamed La Casa del Habano, will sell only
Cuban cigars as well as an array of related cigar items. Garzaroli
said that a limited number of specially designed millennium
humidors containing 150 Cuban cigars will be auctioned at a cigar
dinner at Graycliff in November 1999.
In addition to cigars, Graycliff also is well known for its wine
cellar, which contains more than 230,000 bottles from France and 14
other countries. The collection, which is overseen by son Paolo
Garzaroli, includes a bottle of Spanish wine with a label drawn by
Marc Chagall and a bottle of port bottled in 1779. A German wine
called Rudesheimer Apostelwein, dated 1727, is reportedly the
oldest certified bottle of wine on record. The younger Garzaroli
said Graycliff paid $35,000 for the bottle 10 years ago. "A bottle
of wine can average $150 at our restaurant, but customers can also
order wine by the glass for $6," he said.
Graycliff's restaurant serves lunch on weekdays and dinner seven
nights a week.
Hotel guests receive daily breakfast and can order from room
service; each room also has a minibar. Graycliff has eight guest
rooms in the main house and six garden suites grouped around a pool
on the grounds. The expansion calls for eight new rooms in an
adjacent historical building that dates from 1830. Special touches
include hand-tiled floors and the use of local artwork and crafts
in the rooms. The new Humidor restaurant will feature local cuisine
on both a la carte and price-fixed tasting menus. Each course will
be accompanied by a specific cigar and wine.
Although the target date for completion of the expansion project
originally was set for December, Enrico Garzaroli said the
restaurant may open sometime this fall. Also being added are two
more pools, a hair stylist and the new cigar school.
"Guests will now be able to eat, sleep, smoke, drink and make
cigars at Graycliff," Garzaroli said. At some point, Garzaroli
envisions actually growing tobacco on his property.
Rates this winter, including prices for the new units, range
from $210 to $365 per room, per night, double.
Graycliff, Phone: (800) 688-0076, E-mail: [email protected],