After doing my research on the Bahamas’ history and tourism, I decided where to stay. I chose Baha Mar primarily because part of it is a Hyatt property. The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar has 1,800 rooms, including 230 suites. It also maintains The Reserve at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, which is a luxury hotel-within-a-hotel that includes a private entrance and check in, personal concierge and butler services.
The Baha Mar project was a tumultuous one but with a happy ending. Baha Mar originally was developed to be a 1,000-acre resort complex. In 2010, a local investor and the government reached an agreement. The goal was to revitalize a beach area. The development brought other investors and China Exim Bank financed it. Groundbreaking took place in 2011, and the resort was supposed to open in 2015 at a cost of over $4 billion.
In 2016, bankruptcy halted construction for nearly a year with the resort nearly completed. At the end of 2016, another investor, Chow Tai Fook, agreed to buy Baha Mar from Exim Bank, and then construction resumed.
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar opened first. The SLS opened in November 2017, followed by the Rosewood in June 2018. We visited in November 2018, and you’d never know any of these details. The place looks amazing and brand new.
While we were here, Tiger Woods held his Hero Golf Invitational, and the tournament attracted a lot of media attention. At the Grand Hyatt, we met many of the Golf Channel and NBC Sports people checking in and going to the tournament. The players themselves had a small dinner party on the property during the tournament.
The hotel has its own Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, Royal Blue, but Tigers held his tournament elsewhere on a course he invested in, along with Joe Lewis, Justin Timberlake and others.
Along with the golf course at the hotel, it also has a casino, a spa managed by ESPA, Hobby Horse Nature Preserve and 14 restaurants and bars. The hotel also features a large casino with 100,000 square feet of gambling and entertainment options.
Since we are Hyatt Globalists, we used upgrades to obtain a beautiful and spacious suite that overlooks the property and the sea.
We’ve traveled to many resorts and one problem we don’t look forward to is overcrowding of lounge seating around pools. We’ve known people to get up at six o’clock in the morning to put their towels and a paperback on a chair, and then go back to bed. With six pools and 3,000 feet of beachfront, overcrowding is not a problem at the Grand Hyatt.
Staff warmly greeted us as we approached the pool area, and they showed us to the plentiful available seating. They gathered tools and told us to raise a flag, which was neatly attached to each chaise lounge to get service.
It’s very relaxing all around the pools, and each one has a restaurant or bar nearby. You can have someone bring you food or you can toddle over to the place and enjoy a meal in the restaurant.
In addition to restaurants, food trucks go along the beach offering a diverse selection of food, including BBQ, sliders, Mexican and margaritas. These appear to be seasonal, so they may not be open, and new ones might come and go.
Recreation and Activities
Recreational opportunities abound on the property. A highlight is the Dean’s Blue Hole pool, which is named for the world’s second deepest natural blue hole, in Long Island, Bahamas. It’s an hour-long flight to go to the original Blue Hole, so why not create a replica on Baha Mar property? The pool features three waterfalls rushing over a 15-foot manmade cliff. Guests can cannonball into the pool, then swim into the grotto for an up-close look at sea turtles, sharks, reef fish and stingrays in the adjacent marine sanctuary.
The property also has its own aviary that you can step into to enjoy local birds. The resort maintains a group of Caribbean flamingos in a habitat where the Hyatt and Rosewood properties merge near the beach area. This is a great photo opportunity, and unlike the pink flamingos you might find on a Florida lawn. These are real birds enjoying themselves in their natural habitat.
If you’d like to get away from the sun for a few hours, you can enjoy an art museum located on the property. The Current has more than 2,500 paintings and sculptures by artists-in-residence. You might find some on display in your suite or in common areas around the resort. It’s a great chance to see some of the Bahamian culture in artistic rendering.
If you have a certain Hyatt Status, the Grand Club is available to you at no charge. You also can choose a room package that includes entry to the Grand Club. The club is a sanctuary away from the casino and offers a western breakfast at no charge and snacks and drinks throughout the day. In the evening, there are cocktails and hors d’oeuvre served between five and seven o’clock every evening. From seven until eight o’clock there are desserts and more drinks available.
We were impressed with the quality of service and food in the Grand Club. We enjoyed meeting Minouchka, who seemed to be there both day and night. Her constant smile and warm personality just made our day go better. We usually met Chrislyn Spence in the mornings, as she was the Grand Club Manager. She always was cheerful and professional.
Adam was our regular host in the evening and took care of the cocktails with a smile and made sure dessert was available if it was going fast. We also met Locksley who was attentive, knowledgeable, professional and friendly. The supervisor of the Grand Club was Justin Albury, and he made sure everything ran smoothly and promptly resolved guests’ concerns. We’ve been to many Grand Clubs, and this one was terrific. The people in the club exude hospitality. Couple that with tasty food, and the Grand Club is hard to beat.
We first saw the fountain shows during our first night at the Grand Club. If you’ve ever been to the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, you have an idea of what you might see. However, the Baha Mar property is much larger, and the show goes on at the West Tower, the East Tower and in between. The premiere shows are every half hour and are accompanied by music. However, there are smaller shows in the interim. The fountain shows are mesmerizing and include colored lights, moving water and music. When we were at the Grand Club, children would run to the balcony to see the show. As adults, we also found the spectacle to be amazing.
Reasons to Go
Here are some of the gems of Baha Mar that will inspire you to visit—and bring you back!
- Nightly fountain shows
- Nightly flames on the water show
- Day and night water show in the pools
- Underwater grotto of sharks, turtles, sting rays and all sorts of interesting fish
- The flamingos—babies and adults!
- Balmoral Island trip
- Straw Market, close to Melia
- Free shuttle
- Café Madeleine
- The Current
- Royal Blue, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course
- The Grand Club
- The Other Blue Hole
- Private beach
- Exuma excursion
See our other post on The Bahamas: