The Bahamas is known to be like paradise — one of the reasons it has always been on my travel bucket list. However, it was one I thought that I would never quite make, not this soon anyway. The Bahamas is made up of hundreds of islands, 700 to be exact, but there are only around 16 that are known as tourist destinations. Each of the main islands of The Bahamas has something different to offer. On my trip, we embarked on a trip to Nassau first, the capital of The Bahamas. The island itself has just under 270,000 citizens, but the Bahamians know hospitality like no other country I have ever visited. We could definitely take a leaf out of their book.
As cliché, as it sounds, visiting The Bahamas, is like no other experience. You feel at home, and at one, almost a sense of peace you didn’t know was possible. The Bahamians know how to live a relaxed lifestyle, and it makes you step back and think “Is this how life is meant to be lived?” as that was going through my head the whole seven days I spent in The Bahamas.
Crystal blue sea, golden powdery sand, unique and exotic creatures and some of the food and drink you will ever consume. This is The Bahamas. This is paradise.
As we swerved around the bend in our luxurious transfer, I could see Baha Mar ahead. Baha Mar was one of the most anticipated hospitality projects for Nassau, bringing an iconic new resort concept that combined three major hotel chains into one resort, ranging from 3-star to 5-star hospitality all in one space. The elegance and prestige of three reputable hotel brands, the SLS, Grand Hyatt and Rosewood have come together to form one extensive resort that nobody wants to leave.
Pulling into the Grand Hyatt, we were greeted by a tall, grand facade, that screamed elegance. We were assisted out of the car with the help of the bell boys and our luggage was taken care of – the kind of hospitality I like. Making our way into the grand lobby, the first thing that caught my eye was the phenomenal casino that spread across the ground floor like The Strip in Las Vegas. The hotel still had a modern smell, and the floors gleamed of newness. Since Baha Mar was in the making for a very long time, I was excited to be one of the special ones to give it a whirl while it still remains in its pristine element.
I could tell I was going to feel right at home in Baha Mar…
The bedrooms at the Grand Hyatt are clean cut, with a nautical theme running throughout. White and aqua blue is the main colour duo with modern furnishings and a luxurious finish. The room itself is the size of a couple of London apartments put together, which ensures a comfortable stay, even if you are sharing the room with another person. I was fortunate to have all the ample space to myself, with an extra large king size bed that overlooked the aqua blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean — there is simply no better view to wake up to in the morning.
The bathroom had a fitted sink, separate toilet area and a raise shower cubicle with a natural rain shower head and a separate manoeuvrable shower head too.
The amenities stocked within the bathroom were the refreshing cucumber and green tea range by the June Jacobs collection. After a day of being out in the sun, soaking up the rays, there is nothing more comforting than a refreshing shower that naturally cools down your body with the cucumber extract and the green tea to gently soothe the skin. Just what you need!
There was plenty of storage facilities throughout the room, which is perfect if you’re the kind of traveller who wishes to unpack their suitcase and truly feel at home. The room was also equipped with all the right amenities you would require such as an iron and board, hairdryer and a much-needed coffee machine for those jet-lagged mornings.
Tip: If you’re jetlagged, head out onto your balcony and catch the sunrise with a cup of coffee. It’s utterly soothing, especially when the warm air hits your face as you watch all the apricot and firey colours come together. It is one moment i’ll never forget.
Indoor & Outdoor Facilities
When most of you hear resort, the idea of it being luxurious and relaxing completely disappears. Baha Mar is the complete opposite of your “traditional” resort. In my opinion, it’s everything I would ever want in a luxurious break, especially as it spans across 1,000 acres. Yes, you heard that right. There is so much space, you won’t even find yourself seeing the same people day to day, let alone falling over them. Plus, there is so much to do.
Think of this, all of your favourite things to do on holiday, under the beaming hot sun and being surrounded by bright blue waters at any one time. How surreal does that sound? I know what you’re thinking, get me on a plane to The Bahamas now. But first, let me fill you in on the kind of activities you can experience at Baha Mar.
Get in and splash about
The Grand Hyatt has six pools, each with a different style, catering all kinds of guests. You can get up close with the wildlife in the aquarium or jump off the diving points at Dean’s Blue Hole if you fancied something a little more adventurous. Each of the pools has an extensive number of sun loungers around the pool, some with small cabanas at Elixir, Reflections and Out Island if you want to be poolside without being exposed to the sun. The pools are full service, with cabana boys at your service with fresh towels and a range of different factor sun cream. All the pools are within ten steps of a bar, so you can stay hydrated on your concoction of choice throughout the day. You must try a Baha Mama though, a true Bahamian classic and it goes down a treat while topping up your tan.
Play golf at the Royal Blue
I’m sure all you golf fiends never thought you would be able to mix your love for playing golf and travelling to an exotic part of the world, did you? Well, Baha Mar truly has it all. Royal Blue is one of the most prestigious golf courses across the Caribbean, designed by the honourable Jack Nicklaus with an 18 holes course, with naturally unfolding landscapes that evolve right before your eyes.
Win a set on the tennis courts
Grab your tennis partner and hit one of the nine courts that Baha Mar offers to hotel guests. Nothing like having a game of your favourite sport, and gaining a victory in Paradise. For those that didn’t think of bringing their trusty gear with them, Baha Mar also has a full-service shop that allows you to buy or rent anything you need in order to get you game ready. Ready, set, match point!
Unleash your tension at the ESPA Spa
If you’re anything like me, my life is often so busy, I rarely get time to just sit, breathe and relax. I generally use my time out of the country as a way to slowly unwind, and there is no better way than a spa treatment. ESPA is a world-renowned brand, with some of the best treatments. I’ve experienced ESPA spas in many countries across the world and they are truly fantastic. Baha Mar’s extensive spa allows you to wind down any way you like, so why not treat yourself to a 60 minute time out?
Soak up the sun on Cable Beach
If you want to feel the sand between your toes and feel the salt in your hair, head on down to the crystal clear waters of Cable Beach that surrounds Baha Mar. Grab a sun lounger, or dive straight into the sea. The water temperatures are generally warm all year round, and you’ll find the bottom of the ocean is lined with sand – no pebbles, seaweed or anything to interrupt your swimming experience. Maybe a shark or two… only kidding!
If you’re into water sports, you can rent complimentary paddles and head out to see and experience Cable Beach in a whole different light. There are paddleboards, single and double kayaks, water hammocks, floating lounges, personal floats and snorkels on offer.
Explore the Sanctuary
If you have ever dreamt of getting up close and personal with your favourite wildlife, you can at Baha Mar. The experience is available to all ages, so even the little ones can get involved. The Sanctuary is has a dual purpose – to conserve and celebrate nature. There are daily feedings for sea turtles, nurse sharks and more. You may even get the opportunity to stroke a starfish too.
I have always admired flamingos but I had never been up close and personal with them until visiting Baha Mar. You can certainly “follow the flock” on this occasion, as you get up close and personal with the resort’s hand-reared flamingos. On a daily basis at 9:30 am and 3:30 pm you can see flock parading at Flamingo Cay but if you want to have a one-to-one encounter with a private experience by making a booking too.
Best of all… there is more to come! By 2021, there will be a whole new waterpark with rides, a wave pool and a surf rider. Just as you thought the facilities couldn’t get any better!
Dining: From dusk to dawn
There are over 40 different outlets across Baha Mar, from the main restaurants that reside within the hotels themselves, through to food airstreams around the beach and pools, cocktail bars (Daqs is a must try!) and small grab-and-go style hut restaurants. You could stay at Baha Mar for over a week and still not manage to make your way around to every outlet, that’s how extensive it is. However, if I had to narrow it down, here are a few of my favourite restaurants for breakfast and dinner:
The Regatta restaurant is perfect if you’re the kind of person that likes to try a little bit of everything. The breakfast and dinner selection is set out as a buffet, serving up American classics right through to traditional Bahamian cuisine. Everything is extremely fresh and satisfies any kind of craving you may have, including ice-cream for breakfast!
If you want a taste of Europe in The Bahamas, be sure to grab breakfast or a snack from Café Madeleine. This cosy nook within Baha Mar brings a piece of Paris in the form of freshly baked pastries, quiches, croque monsieurs, homemade gelato and the best coffee – their vanilla lattes, both iced and hot are out of this world.
Tip: Order the poached eggs and avocado on toast, and have it to take-away. Then, stroll down to the beach, catch the early morning light, find a deckchair and enjoy your breakfast by the sea. Nothing beats hearing the waves crashing into the shore as you tuck into your first meal of the day.
Royal Blue Clubhouse
Whether you’re a golfer or not, lunch at the Royal Blue Clubhouse is a must. It takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the resort to the serene rolling green space of the Royal Blue golf course. Plus, Chef Kevyn Pratt’s food is something else. He brings some true authentic Bahamian cuisine to the clubhouse, many recipes and cooking methods he learned directly from his grandma — that’s something special. Kevyn’s famous lobster tacos went down a treat around the table and is often what many guests come over to the clubhouse to try specifically. If you’re not a seafood fan like myself, Kevyn serves up an array of other mouthwatering options — you will be spoilt for choice.
Tip: If you can, try and get a table outside as that’s where you get to experience the best views.
Breakfast and dinner at Cleo is an experience in itself. For breakfast you’re taking through a journey of many fresh types of meat, fruits, and made-to-order omelettes, offering healthier options such as egg white only omelettes too. As you move through to dinner, it transforms into a Mediterranean experience, where award-winning chef Danny Elmaleh uses local Bahamian ingredients to recreate his original Cleo menu. You can tuck into a range of mezzes, flatbreads and small plates that are usually shared across the table.
Shuang Ba offers a haute Chinese experience with a traditional and elegant setting, in the heart of The Bahamas. You will be able to try an array of authentic flavours and many common dishes found in China. A few of the highlights you can find at Shuang Ba is the much-loved roasting Peking duck and the signature dish cherry foie gras. Definitely, a restaurant to leave for date night or to celebrate a special occasion.
The Commonwealth Restaurant resides within the Rosewood, and its unique concepts incorporate diversity, history and flavours from six different regions. All the dishes are made using fresh produce, all within an elegant and refined setting. If you’re earlier for dinner or are looking for a post-dinner nightcap, the bar within the restaurant is worth a try. It’s small, but mighty and can serve you a cocktail or two that will blow your socks off.
Tip: If you can gather one or two people to share the beef wellington with you, it’s a must try. The meat is so well seasoned, and it’s cooked to perfection. You won’t regret your decision.
If you like meat, Carna is for you. Setting in a dim lit restaurant within the SLS, this restaurant comes to life with the best meat and wine combinations. Carna was born as a result of master butcher, Dario Cecchini, bringing the world’s best cuts of meats to the heart of The Bahamas. Dining at Carna will be a foodie experience you will never forget, I can assure you. I’ll let the food do the rest of the talking.
Heat up the night!
Baha Mar truly comes to life after hours, when the sun sets, the entertainment begins. The biggest Casino in The Bahamas gets filled with all the gamblers, performers and bands grace the stages within the bars, Baha Mar’s resident club, Bond, opens to guests with some of the state-of-the-art DJ’s performing.
If rooftop bars are more your thing, the SLS has opened the very first rooftop bar, Skybar, in The Bahamas, and it’s one to check out during your stay at Baha Mar.
If you want something a bit more relaxed, with somewhere you can talk and catch up with friends, then I would definitely recommend the Manor Bar at the Rosewood. They know how to make some fantastic cocktails. I would recommend the Island Bliss, made with watermelon and rosemary infused vodka, St. Germain, watermelon juice and champagne. I loved it that much, I remember the name and ingredients off by heart… that says it all!
Overall experience at Baha Mar
If I had to use three words to sum up my stay at Baha Mar, I would use luxurious, faultless and surreal. From the service to the entertainment to the food and facilities, I couldn’t recommend a better place to stay when in The Bahamas. It truly offers everything you could possibly want or need, and no request is too small for the staff of Baha Mar. I have to admit, it is one of those resorts you have to experience for yourself, as some things just can’t simply be put into words.
Thank you to all the team at Baha Mar for making my stay such an unforgettable one. I’ll be back!
Until next time…