- Cultivating Connections Travel Planners
CCTP Certified Best in Class - The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
Updated: Feb 2
Baha Mar, located in Nassau, the Bahamas, is a one-thousand-acre resort complex, located on the pristine white sands of Cable Beach. The complex opened in 2017 and features unsurpassed world-class dining, all-encompassing experiences and amenities, and a casino with memorable ocean views. At Baha Mar, you can tailor your own out-of-this-world adventure.
Baha Mar is made up of three resorts - The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, The SLS Baha Mar Hotel (the hip, party-oriented property of the three), Rosewood Baha Mar Resort (a luxury property), and Baha Bay Beach Club.
The Baha Mar area is often compared to Atlantis. I have not been to Atlantis (YET!), therefore any information I have on that property comes directly from colleagues who have visited both properties. Had I been in Nassau more than 3 nights, I would have made the trek to Paradise Island for confirmation of their observations.
Some of my findings of the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and the Baha Mar area in general
Wifi is a lifesaver! I had a strong signal in nearly every part of the resort.
The grounds are well maintained, the numerous pools are great, the beach is nice and clean and the water is crystal blue just like in the postcards.
They will have free water in your room which the housekeeping staff will replenish every day. You can also call for more or if you see housekeeping in the hall, get more bottles from them.
A little hint: Your driver will offer to stop at a grocery and/or liquor store on the way from the airport so you can grab liquor, wine, beer, soda, etc., and snacks.
A super cool feature - your room key is built into a silicon bracelet which can also be used to pay for some items (at Cafe Madeline, Scoops ice cream, etc). I do hope they roll out more integrated restaurant locations in the future. It would definitely be a time-saver.
The buildings are modern, well designed, and clean. The rooms (at least the east tower that we were in) are beautiful, in the modern navy blue/white theme, as are the hallways.
My husband compared the comfort of our bed and overall feel of the resort to the Kimpton EPIC in Miami, and the Hard Rock Hotel (Guitar Hotel) in Hollywood, Florida, and I have to agree.
Be prepared for the service charges + VAT fees. These fees are hefty and many don’t tip in addition as the hotel mentions in their welcome brochure that these fees are split between housekeeping, servers, customer service, etc. These fees also cover 2 bottles of Dasani a day and access to wifi. We still gave a couple of bucks here and there daily, especially for hailing a cab, asking housekeeping for extra water, ordering drinks, superb waiter service, etc.
The casino is so CLEAN - doesn't smell like smoke like Oklahoma casinos. It has posh decor and red accents, much like some of the nicer Vegas casinos. In comparison, I hear from colleagues that just got back from the Atlantis, and their weathered casino reminded them of Atlantic City. Baha Mar boasts the largest casino in the Bahamas and is very modern with new machines. (Mr. Smith's favorite was a Monty Python machine.)
Departure Covid Testing - we got tested in the west tower the morning before our departure, it was super easy, and it took less than 10 minutes. Our results were emailed in about an hour. I downloaded the results to the VeriFly app before going to the airport and had no problems checking in at the airport.
On our first evening, we walked into Swimming Pigs, a gastropub on the property. We didn't need reservations. There were televisions with NBA games on. It was a bit loud, but the meal was delicious!
There is a T2 Cigar Bar at the resort. T2 is founded by Tiger Woods and Justin Timberlake. It was Mr. Smith's happy place! On one occasion I had an "I Shot The Sheriff" - Aperol, passionfruit, prosecco... Who could say no?!
One evening we had reservations to dine in Cleo Mediterraneo, in the SLS Hotel. The menu is Mediterranean-inspired shared plates with some local Bahamian ingredients. Some of the dishes we had were feta and lebanah served with pita, lamb shawarma, the catch of the day (pink grouper) ceviche, and grilled octopus. The dessert was baklava. YUM! Our cocktails? We both had a Persian Pear martini (with lychee) and I ordered a Careless Whisper (St. Germain and prosecco? Yes please!). Mr. Smith also had a Decadence, a Mediterranean twist on a Manhattan.
"Breakfast" at Starbucks - there was a bit of a line, but it moved quickly and had most of the typical items from home on the menu. There were sit-down breakfast options, we just opted for Starbucks.
The Baha Bay Beach Club was a great escape from the busy pools. We reserved a daybed for the day. The food and drink service was amazing, and there were quite a few options, including cocktails. Our daybed was an easy walk to a restroom, a quiet infinity pool, and looked out on the beach.
Nothing is perfect. There were a few minor hiccups.
Doublecheck your invoicing. I suggest viewing a copy the night before check out. You can view it on the television in your room, but I opted for a printed copy from the front desk. We had a couple of charges that absolutely were not ours. I notified the front desk when we checked out, and they removed the charges.
We did have to track down our attendant at the Beach Club in the afternoon, after the lunch rush. The waitress assigned to our area was busy flirting with the lifeguard. Minor inconvenience.
That being said, the considerate staff, people, breathtaking view, chic resort, brilliant pools, and unrivaled service is phenomenal. You truly do feel like you are in paradise. I’m so sad to be home and want to return. The meals are not inexpensive, but my husband and I are accustomed to nice dinners at night when we are on vacation.
All in all, I would give this resort a solid 10 out of 10. We were so impressed with it all and I wouldn’t hesitate to return, preferably for more than 3 nights. You can tell they go out of their way to keep this place clean and immaculate.
One thing I was most excited about was the private tour of Nassau's pirate history that I arranged for the two of us. If you watched "Black Sails', you know what I'm talking about!
A few of the tour highlights:
The Caves of New Providence
Our private guide Marvin told us that it is believed that The Caves were used by pirates in the 16th and 17th centuries. Its passages would have been used to hide treasure or weaponry. It would have been a great hiding spot for the pirates themselves to prevent attacks from various European navies or rival pirates. The caves are now home to some cute little bats. Marvin pointed out the area that would have been used as a kitchen for the Lucayan, the first indigenous people of the Bahamas.
Pirates of Nassau Museum
The interactive Pirate experience in the heart of old Nassau was full of pirate history! That makes sense because some of the most notorious pirates in the Caribbean called Nassau home. Think Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, 'Calico Jack' Rackham, and Charles Vane.
Fort Montagu is the oldest fort still standing in the country's capital city of Nassau. It is located at the eastern end of Nassau Harbor, standing along the waterfront, and was used to help defend the island from pirates between the years 1690 to 1720. Unfortunately, we did not allocate enough time to visit, given the traffic and time spent at Arawak Cay...
And because I live for culinary delights...
Arawak Cay, AKA Fish Fry
Arawak Cay, better known as 'Fish Fry' is home to a variety of authentic Bahamian restaurants, featuring traditional dishes from the Islands. My stomach is rumbling just thinking of the seafood delicacies. Everything from grilled shrimp, and lobster tails to fried snapper, served with sides like cornbread and mac and cheese (not ANYTHING like Kraft mac and cheese!). The one dish I couldn't wait for was conch. FYI - Cracked=battered and deep-fried. My meal? Cracked conch, plantains, peas and rice, and Bahamian mac n cheese. No possible way I could eat it all!!!
I also made sure to reserve a table for dinner at this elegant establishment.
Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant
We also had the most AMAZING dinner at Graycliff. Dating back to the 18th century, this beautiful colonial mansion is rumored to have been built by the pirate Captain John Howard Graysmith. In 1844, Graycliff became Nassau's first inn. Graycliff Hotel and Restaurant has a world-renowned wine cellar mixed in some fun with chocolate and cigars. Graycliff is one of the Caribbean's first 5- star hotels & restaurants. We missed out on the educational tour of the Graycliff Cigar Company which offers a demonstration of cigar rolling, but Michael was able to purchase one rolled while we ate, to take home with us. FYI - They also have a store and lounge in the Nassau Airport, which we visited before boarding our flight home.
Our dining experience at Graycliff Restaurant Saturday evening was beyond superb! Our aperitifs? I enjoyed a Graycliff champagne cocktail and Mr. Smith had a stirred Bombay Sapphire martini with a lemon twist. Mr. Smith and I shared the chilled stone crab claws with a warm mustard sauce appetizer. He ordered a Cesar salad and the pan sautéed Nassau grouper with a cream sauce, I ordered the duck à l’orange with a Bahamian citrus sauce. We shared a side of most amazing spinach gratin. Dessert? Did you know I appreciate anything guava? Naturally, I ordered the guava duff, which is a Bahamian steamed pudding with a guava and vanilla sauce.
The Bahamas offers more than just chic resorts. There are a lot of cultural, historical, and natural attractions in this country as well. Keep in mind, like most islands in the Caribbean, it’s not an inexpensive destination for a vacation.
Below are some observations by colleagues that have visited both Baha Mar and Atlantis
There are more food options at Baha Mar and they are better.
"We had dinner one night at Carmine's in the Atlantis because it came highly recommended and I regret it. It ended up being our most expensive meal and the food was beyond gross. Big mistake even leaving the resort as Baha Mar has everything you need."
Baha Mar is far less walking than Atlantis, way less. It's still pretty big but nothing compared to the Atlantis Property.
Atlantis water park has more on the "Scary ride" side, but the Baha Bay Beach Club at Baha Mar is new and offers some amazing experiences for guests of all ages. There are cabanas, daybeds, waterbeds, and loungers available for rent - with food and drink service!
Atlantis has "Cove Beach" and generally has a lot more coastline, so you can have more solitude at the beach.
Baha Mar can be a bit crowded, though finding a chair shouldn't be a problem. The beach to the Rosewood Resort end of the beach is less crowded.
The staff is much friendlier at Baha Mar. The comparison was very stark...so much friendlier. In fact, the staff at the Baha Mar is some of the friendliest I've had at any resort. The employees at Atlantis are just plain rude people.
Atlantis has too many people.
Baha Mar provides better service, restaurants are better, and it’s newer. The entertainment is better at Baha Mar. Baha Mar does not allow guests to the amenities like pools, so no cruise ships which is a huge plus.
Unfortunately, Atlantis is showing its age.
It was seriously the most amazing vacation ever. Ready to go? I'd love to help you plan your next vacation, whether it's to the Bahamas or somewhere else on your bucket list. I'm ready to take care of the planning no matter when you'd like to travel. I can research and reserve your transport, accommodation, any tours or day trips, and transfers. Plus, I am a pro at matching you to the right travel insurance policy for your vacation and personal needs. Let's chat. Reach out today!
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