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Bon vivant millionaire Huntington “Hunt” Hartford II believed that you should never cast pearls — or anyone wearing them — before swine. And so, 40 years ago, during the development of his ultra-exclusive resort on Hog Island, he induced the Bahamas legislature to rename it. Thus was born Paradise Island and, on its crystalline shores, the Ocean Club, the ultimate high-society hideaway. Guests such as the Hearsts, the shah of Iran, and Zsa Zsa Gabor arrived by yacht and seaplane. Expenses, however, quickly mounted. Five years after opening the Ocean Club, “Hunt” Hartford found himself hunting for a buyer. Paradise, fortunately, was not lost. The Ocean Club survived, and, now, fresh from a $100 million facelift, so has all the lavish opulence that Hartford envisioned. White Georgian columns stand outside the warmly lit plantation-style lobby, and the staff fusses without fawning, delivering you to an impeccably appointed room, suite or villa, all of which come with thrice-daily maid service and a 24-hour personal butler. Given a choice between a room in the stately Hartford Wing or the brand-new Crescent Wing, select the latter. All 40 rooms and 10 suites open toward the ocean. Just swing out the louvered doors, step onto a patio or terrace, and take in the seemingly infinite stretches of immaculate sand, ocean, and sky. Or lie back on your mahogany bed and savor the commingled scents of sea air, hibiscus, and bougainvillea — not to mention the fresh-cut flowers that arrive daily in your room. The Ocean Club’s most memorable aromas, though, emanate from Dune, the restaurant of famed chef Jean Georges Vongerichten. The subdued colors counterpoint strikingly with those on the plates and through the windows. Vongerichten — whose epaulets include New York’s vaunted Jean Georges, Vong, and Jo-Jo — uses herbs grown in the gardens right outside the restaurant to spice up dishes such as “Black Plate,” a feast for two consisting of quail with Thai spice, crab spring rolls, shrimp satay, lobster Daikon, and rice-paper-wrapped tuna. As you watch chef de cuisine Josh Eden at work in the open kitchen, sip on Dune’s eponymous libation, an intoxicating mix of coconut milk, gin, curacao, and Cointreau that’s as azure as the Bahamian sky. Dune shares a wine list with Ocean Club’s Courtyard Terrace, an elegant, open-air restaurant studded with palms, casuarina trees, and fountains. If you’re feeling flush after a night at the blackjack tables at Atlantis — the flashy casino up the road — you’re welcome to pair your meal at the Ocean Club with a $5,000 bottle from Atlantis’ private cellar. A treat in itself, Atlantis is worth the 10-minute walk. No fewer than 100,000 fish — including sharks, jewelfish, lionfish, barracuda, and jellyfish — populate its 11 million-gallon waterscape, making it one of the world’s largest marine habitats. If you want nightlife, head across the Paradise Island Bridge to Nassau. Your concierge can arrange transport. He can also arrange for unsurpassed fishing, sailing, and scuba diving jaunts, a swim with dolphins at Blue Lagoon, and a half-day aboard the Black Magic, a yacht that raced for New Zealand in the America’s Cup. One thing you must arrange to do is play the Tom Weiskopf-designed Ocean Club Golf Course, which opens this month. Reports already have it rivaling the legendary Teeth of the Dog layout at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. The Ocean Club prides itself on making every pleasure possible. And that includes the pleasure of simply doing nothing. Take a walk along the alabaster beach. Watch the gulls dip their wings. Or stroll the twelfth-century French Augustine cloisters that Hartford had reconstructed, stone by stone, in the Versailles gardens. Who knows? You just might bump into Oprah, Prince Philip, Leonardo DiCaprio, or any number of new-breed jet-setters who frequent the club. And, oh, while you’re reveling in your idyll, do lift a glass to “Hunt” Hartford, the man who first made Paradise possible. TRAVEL INFORMATION Flights: Most major U.S. airlines have direct flights to Nassau International Airport, a half-hour drive from the Ocean Club. Or, if you’re up for it, Chalk’s Ocean Airways (1-800-424-2557) provides regular seaplane service to Paradise Island Airport from both Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Don’t forget your passport or the $15 departure tax. Reservations: Room prices at the Ocean Club vary according to availability. Expect to pay at least $700 per night for a room. Call 1-800-321-3000.

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