Many people know that The Cloisters sits on top of a hill on Paradise Island, but not everyone knows how this stone masterpiece arrived on an island that is a mix of heaven and hedonism. Now sought after as a photographic backdrop for weddings, engagements and other professional photo shoots, The Cloisters have been in the Bahamas longer than some of their smiling photo subjects have been alive.
Augustinian monks in 14th century France designed and created this masterpiece, in fact, it is all that is left of the original monastery that housed them. The Cloisters is one of four pieces that were removed from the Augustinian monk’s monastery, the other sister pieces were placed in other locations that span the globe. First purchased by William Randolph Hearst and shipped to the United States in the 1920’s, Huntington Hartford bought it from the Hearst estate and brought it to the island he had rechristened Paradise Island. That name better suited Hartford’s vision than the one used by locals: Hogg Island.
A special feature located in the center of The Cloisters is a luminescent white marble statue of a still, standing woman. She is named Silence. She is a quiet and grounded reminder of her sculptor’s years as a soldier in World War I. The Scotsman and soldier, William Reid Dick, chose her name and commented that, “Silence, is the sleep that nourishes our wisdom.”
Find The Cloisters on the south side of Paradise Island Drive, surrounded by lush palms and colorful bougainvillea. It’s the perfect place to sit and meditate, reminisce, and catch glimpses of the boats moving in and out of the harbor. Not to mention the perfect view across the street to the One and Only Ocean Club’s iconic pool and green gardens.