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 December 2014.
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 carefree.”
The $3.5-billion project will center around two main hotels and two boutique properties. 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 lawns.
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 Las Vegas.
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.”