By Wendy Wood-Prince
The shiny new penny of resorts in Nassau Bahamas was our destination when some of my family went to celebrate yet another grand birthday of one of our relatives. This time it was the 80th birthday of my Bahamian aunt (my maternal grandmother was born and raised in the Bahamas and much of our extended family still lives there). Affectionately called “Grand” by her grandchildren, friends and relatives arrived from all points to show their love and affection.
The new Baha Mar resort sits on Cable Beach in Nassau.
A few of us reserved our stay at the new Baha Mar hotel complex. We approached our accommodations in a “divide and conquer” manner. My parents, daughter Ellie, and I stayed at the just opened Rosewood. My son, Andrew and his girlfriend Josie stayed at SLS and my visiting aunt, Jonna stayed at the Grand Hyatt. This way, we got to experience all three of the hotels within the 1000 acre complex. Baha Mar is unique in that the three hotels on its property are not affiliated with each other but they share the same beach and are all connected through a casino.
First to arrive on the island was my aunt Jonna. Despite getting to The Grand Hyatt at 10am, she checked in and was shown right to her room which had a view of the ocean and was spacious and decorated in bright blue and white. The bathroom even had louvered doors that opened into the rest of the room.
The Privilege Road at SLS Baha Mar with Grand Hyatt in the background.
The Grand Hyatt has 1800 rooms and with that many, the lobby and public areas are a bit of a mad house. Nonetheless the hotel seems to be doing a good job of handling the masses. If you want the good value of the Grand Hyatt but not the higher price tag of the SLS or Rosewood hotels try The Reserve at Grand Hyatt. This 105 room hotel within a hotel has a private entrance, check-in, personal concierge and butler service.
Grand Hyatt is also very kid friendly with a kids club and a pool that has windows into a shark and ray pool and there is a rock cliff that kids can jump from into the pool. Overall The Grand Hyatt is a great value and very kid friendly but not for those looking for peace and quiet!
Daniel stands ready in the reception of The Reserve at The Grand Hyatt.
Peace and quiet is also not the vibe at SLS Baha Mar right next door to The Grand Hyatt. Andrew checked in to SLS in the afternoon. With 299 rooms, SLS is much smaller than Grand Hyatt and the decor both in the room and around the public areas has a hip and funky vibe. The rooms all feature a cool mural depicting ancient walls and tromp l’oeil views of sea and sky.
SLS is the place to go for a night out. Cleo restaurant with its Mediterranean fare is very popular (make a reservation before you arrive or you may not get in) The Monkey Bar with its silly monkey wearing suits portraits is a great place for a cocktail and some people watching before dinner. After dinner, check out Skybar. Skybar is the only rooftop bar in the Bahamas and great late night hang out with breezes and views in every direction. And if all of that fun isn’t enough, there is BOND, the 10,000 nightclub where you can dance the night away until your ears are ringing from the thumping music. The great thing about these venues is that they are all within the Baha Mar complex and offer a fun and safe environment for young adults without venturing into downtown Nassau which can be a bit sketchy these days.
Elegant interiors at Rosewood Baha Mar.
For a true upscale and refined experience, check in to Rosewood at Baha Mar, which I did along with my daughter Ellie and my parents. Rosewood has 237 rooms including a few oceanfront villas with three to six bedrooms each. The hotel has been open for just over six months and admittedly continues to have a few kinks to work out. Neither one of our rooms were ready until after 6pm on the day of our arrival. With nothing to offer us except for drinks in the library until the rooms were ready it put a slight tarnish on our initial impression and took away some of the beauty of that impressive lounge area. The hotel management did their best to make up for it and gave us some credit towards our final bill but it was a tough first impression. Once in our rooms, everything went much smoother. Our butler was wonderfully attentive and friendly and couldn’t do enough for us. The entire staff at the hotel was wonderful and went above and beyond to make our stay memorable. the decor at Rosewood is a nod to old colonial Bahamas with the addition of every modern amenity. The grounds have two pools and luxurious gardens and trees that give the impression that the resort has been there for much more than the short time it has been open and welcoming guests.
The tranquil pool at Rosewood.
We hung at the beach, checked out all of the hotels pools and relaxed in the sunshine. The food was excellent everywhere we went within the grounds and the younger set stayed out and partied until the wee hours.
My parents and I did a little exploring on the island reminiscing and visiting old haunts.
The birthday girl with the Bahamas National Choir.
The evening of the big birthday party arrived and we dressed in our party finery and over to my aunt’s house for the big celebration. Friends and family gathered and hugged and chatted and danced on the driveway turned into fabulous dance floor at my aunt and uncle’s house. Soon after everyone arrived a hush came over the crowd as we heard distant singing getting closer an closer to our party. The big surprise for my aunt was serenading and a performance by the Bahamas National Youth Choir. We listened to the choir singing old calypso folk songs and classic reggae. The performance culminated in the singers dancing with the birthday girl and other guests. It was a party full of goosebumps of good feelings and love.
Ellie enjoying the hidden outdoor nook at Rosewood.
The greatest gift of travel is taking a moment away from your regular life to appreciate and enjoy your friends and family.
Get the Worldwide connection through Wendy at Lake Forest Travel Bureau’s lakeforesttravel.com.