Nassau • a duty-free shopping paradise ....
Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) is located 16km from island capital Nassau, on the Bahamian island of New Providence. It is in the middle of a $409.5 million extreme makeover. This staggering capital investment programme is transforming Lynden Pindling into one of the slickest, most modern airports not just in the Caribbean, but on the global stage.
Lynden Pindling has two runways and, pre-makeover, dealt with around three million passengers per year. Terminal 1 is for Domestic and International traffic, whilst Terminal 2 is for the US. With over 80% of passengers heading to and from the States, Terminal 2 has US border pre-clearance facilities, with flights treated as domestic upon their arrival in the US. International services from Nassau's airport include flights from Air Canada, British Airways and WestJet, with non-stop flights to Toronto and London. Carriers offering domestic routings include America's Continental and Delta Airlines. The airport • the largest in the Bahamas • is also a major hub for Bahamasair.
In March 2011, Phase 1 of the airport revamp was unveiled. The spanking new 247,000 square foot US Departures Terminal is bathed in warm island sunshine. There are also 34 new gates, including one to accommodate the Airbus A380. Passenger capacity has now increased by 50%, to over five million per year. This is terrific news for travellers visiting Nassau's satellite Paradise Island, whose 'Vegas by the sea'-styled Atlantis resort attracts tourists by the plane load. Goodbye out-dated facilities and dodgy baggage-handling, a big Bahamian hello to seamless ground-handling services, legendary hospitality and superb tax and duty-free retail offerings
Lynden Pindling offers duty-free shopping on arrival, as well as departure. With a vast selection of Bahamian and Caribbean island souvenirs plus luxurious fragrances, watches, cameras, leather goods and liquor, this is the perfect airport for savvy shoppers to fly in and out of. The island itself also boasts many duty free shops • head to Bay Street if time permits • but for those on a time budget, the stylish airport concessions provide everything you need under one bright, sunny roof.
For tax free tantalisation, spend some time in the fabulous John Bull luxury goods department store. It specialises in leather, perfume, cosmetics, jewellery and the watches of Tag Heuer, IWC, Jaeger LeCoultre, Tissot and the fashionable Anne Klein and Invicta brands. With 30 minutes' free WiFi in the terminals, you can check online to be sure you are getting the best brand for your buck.
Best-selling fragrances include Paul Smith, Daniel Hechter, Hugo Boss and DKNY for him; Moschino, Paloma Picasso, Burberry, Elizabeth Taylor or Kenzo for her. For stylish cosmetics, pocket a limited-edition travel compact from sleek and stylish brands like Maybelline, CoverGirl, Estée Lauder, Guerlain or Erno Laszlo.
There is a Hard Rock store and Harley Davidson apparel and accessory store. If you're drinking rather than driving, however, take advantage of the Airport Liquor Shop's duty-free liquor deals on London Gin, Bacardi Rum, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey and a world-class range of wine and Champagne (located after security in Departures).
If you're hungry for calories rather than Cartier, enjoy a cocktail on one of the sunny outdoor patios or visit the colourful food hall for authentic treats from Bahama Mama, Bahama Dutch Oven, the Bootleggers Bar or Kafe Kalik. On Level 2 (for US Departures) there's also a Heineken Lounge and Duty Free for those last-minute tax-free purchases.
For a pre-flight wind down, relax with a cigar in the Graycliff Lounge and Divan smoking lounge, or pick up duty-free tobacco products from Marlborough, Mild Seven, Macanudo or Romeo y Julieta.
Lynden Pindling International Airport has already established itself as The Bahama's foremost airport. As Phases 2 and 3 of its reincarnation are implemented, its upward trajectory is assured. So for paradisical shopping en route to Paradise Island - you know where to go.