The Baha Mar resort complex in Nassau is set to open on March 27, 2015. // © 2015 Baha Mar
Feature image (above): Baha Mar Casino & Hotel will offer table games, slot machines and luxury rooms. // © 2015 Baha Mar
Almost any conversation about the future of Caribbean tourism eventually includes the impact that Baha Mar will have on the region. Baha Mar is a $3.5 billion luxury beachfront resort project in Nassau, on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas. The much-anticipated resort is poised for its grand opening next month.
From the very beginning, the mega-resort project has been talked about as a game-changer. I have toured the property while it was under construction, and even during a hardhat tour, the scope of Baha Mar was awe-inspiring.
Much of the discussion in New Providence at the time was speculation about how the iconic Atlantis Paradise Island resort would be affected by Baha Mar. Executives at Atlantis seemed sanguine about the competition, and the general response was there was plenty of room for both, since the resorts are targeting different markets. Atlantis skews more toward families than Baha Mar, although Baha Mar is also open to all ages.
The project is also getting a lot of attention due to the fact that China is one of the main investors. In addition to appeal for vacationers from the U.S., it’s anticipated the resort will be hugely popular with Chinese travelers, especially since the centerpiece of the resort is Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, featuring 1,500 slots, 150 table games and 1,000 high-end rooms.
“Baha Mar will open all hotels along with most amenities on March 27,” said Paul V. Pusateri, chief operating officer for Baha Mar. “We are thrilled to welcome our first guests to ‘The New Riviera’ in time for the peak spring travel weeks.”
In total, Baha Mar will have 2,200 luxury guestrooms spread across four hotels: the aforementioned Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Rosewood at Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar and SLS Lux at Baha Mar. While there will be plenty of standard rooms, there will also be high-end suites and villas.
From its inception, Baha Mar has been developed as a complete resort destination. To me, it’s a bit like a Las Vegas by the sea.
It’s easy to imagine travelers from the U.S. jetting in for a long weekend and never leaving the grounds. There will be 40 restaurants, bars and lounges, ranging from fine dining establishments to casual eateries — everything from high-end Katsuya by Starck to Casetta, selling pizza slices from a vintage Airstream trailer.
Shopping will be diverse, with an emphasis on luxury brands such as Bvlgari, Coach, Rolex and Tiffany & Co. There will also be less-pricey shops, including those specializing in Bahamian arts and crafts.
A 30,000-square-foot ESPA at Baha Mar spa overlooks the beach, and guests can expect to find spa therapies utilizing traditional Bahamian products and practices. Baha Mar also has 20 acres of beach and pool experiences, including 3,000 feet of beach.
There will also be a golf course designed by golf champion Jack Nicklaus, with the front nine providing ocean views, while the back nine winds through an inland forest and Bahamian natural habitat.
Baha Mar’s convention center rounds out the offerings, with close to 200,000 square feet of combined indoor and outdoor spaces, making it one of the Caribbean’s largest facilities.
There is a $40 per day, per room resort fee, which covers resort-wide Wi-Fi connectivity, non-motorized water equipment, access for two to the fitness center and unlimited local calls. Clients who enjoy Baha Mar can take advantage of Club Blu, the resort’s rewards program. Guests earn reward points for every dollar spent at Baha Mar, including play at the Baha Mar Casino.