Baha Mar Comes to The Bahamas
By Leo Jakobson
October 31, 2013
One of the largest and most luxurious resort developments to
come to The Bahamas in more than a decade will celebrate its grand opening in
Baha Mar – The Bahamian Riviera, is far more than just a
resort. The Nassau mega-development will include four hotels with 2,200 luxury
rooms, more than a half mile of white-sand beaches, a championship Jack Nicklaus
Signature golf course, a 100,000-square-foot casino, and more than 30 shopping,
dining and nightlife venues, as well as a huge convention facility.
Baha Mar was “wrought from the belief that the Bahamas can
rival the most sought-after destinations in the world,” says Tom Dunlap, president
of Baha Mar. The development has “Old World charm,” adds Saun Lightbourne, the
director of destination marketing. “It will be elegant yet comfortable and
The $3.5-billion project will center around two main hotels, two boutique properties and an upscale all-inclusive resort. The largest will be the Baha Mar Casino &
Hotel, with 977 rooms, 23 one- and two- bedroom residences, and a Las
Vegas-style casino with 1,500 slots and 150 tables games. It is also home to
Baha Mar’s main destination spa, a 30,000-square-foot ESPA, with extensive
beach and water views. There will also be a VIP villa designed by singer Lenny
Kravitz that is suitable for private receptions and get-togethers.
Next is the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar, with 615 rooms and 85
one- to three-bedroom residences. Because it is the main convention hotel in
the development, the Grand Hyatt staff will also manage the convention facility
to which it is connected. At 200,000 square feet, the Baha Mar Art Gallery,
Convention Center and Performance Hall is one of the largest event facilities
in the entire Caribbean. Designed to reflect the undulating waves and seashells
of the beach, it includes a 2,000-seat performing arts center theater. The convention
center is already open.
“We are making Baha Mar the preferred destination for
meetings and events,” says Greg Saunders, managing director of the Grand Hyatt
and the convention center. “We have facilities for groups from five to 30,000.”
These include 14 outdoor event venues, ranging from the four convention center
event lawns — measuring 14,450-, 26,000-, 26,500- and 64,000-square-feet — to
rooftop terraces. Inside are three ballrooms, measuring 29,120-, 19,623-, and
15,624-square-feet, as well as 16 meeting rooms. State-of-the-art A/V equipment
is available throughout all of the meeting and event venues.
For smaller groups and incentive programs, there are two
boutique properties, including the colonial style Rosewood at Baha Mar, with
113 rooms, 87 one- to three-bedroom residences, and five four-bedroom beach
villas. It also has its own, smaller Rosewood spa and a 7,500-square-foot
ballroom and meeting center.
Swathed in Bahamian pink, the Mondrian at Baha Mar brings
the contemporary chic style and Sunset Strip vibe of the Morgans Hotel Group’s
see-and-be-seen brand. It has 193 distinctive designer rooms and 107 elegant
one- to three-bedroom residences, as well as a 5,000-square-foot ballroom and
meeting center. In addition, the Mondrian and the Rosewood both have on-site event
The newest addition to Baha Mar is the Meliá at Baha Mar, a 694-room all-inclusive property in what is currently the Nassau Beach Resort. It will undergo renovations, and be renamed when the entire Baha Mar project open in December 2014.
The water features are extensive at Baha Mar, with a huge
system of pools located between the hotels from the beach. In addition, the
Baha Mar Casino & Hotel and the Grand Hyatt face an elaborate dancing
fountain system, created by the designers of the famed Fountains of Bellagio in
Access is a vital question, and Baha Mar’s executives have
been at pains to point out that Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport
completed a $400-million-plus renovation and expansion in October, opening a
new terminal that is capable of handling twice as many passengers annually,
more than twice as many planes at once, and has a modern new baggage handling
system. It is also capable of landing any size aircraft currently in service. A
newly built road puts Baha Mar only a 10-minute drive from the airport.
The level of service is an integral part of choosing a venue
for any meeting, incentive or event, and Baha Mar is also going to great
lengths to ensure their service is world class from the get-go, creating a
dedicated service academy for all of its staff. In addition, the company is
actively recruiting Bahamians, not just locally, but from universities all over
the world, says Yvette Edwards, director of sales and marketing of the Grand
Hyatt. “We have already started recruiting,” she said in early October.
“Recruits have been in paid training for six months before the opening.”
Updated Dec. 4, 2013 to reflect the addition of a fifth hotel.