July 24, 2021

World’s Newest Mega-Resort

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Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 11.22.35 AMBahamas on $3.5 Billion: The World’s Newest Mega-Resort

By Larry Olmsted From Forbes

Some resort developers like to start small and expand organically. Not Baha Mar.

Currently the largest tourism project under construction in the Western Hemisphere, this $3.5 billion development is massive in scope, and while most American travelers have never heard of Baha Mar, they will – and soon. It is scheduled to open in a huge way this month (March 27, 2015) and will likely change the entire landscape of Bahamian tourism.

An integrated gaming resort in Nassau’s Cable Beach, Baha Mar includes the largest casino in the Bahamas or Caribbean Basin, a Vegas-style spectacle spanning 100,000 square feet of gambling and entertainment, but that is just the tip of a very large iceberg.

The development also includes five distinct and fully-featured upscale resort hotels, launching with offerings from luxury veteran Rosewood (behind Mexico’s superlative Mayakoba and Las Ventanas al Paraiso), SLS out of Los Angeles (and Vegas and South Beach), and the huge Baha Mar Casino & Hotel with 1,000 rooms and 105 suites and villas.

Next comes a 700-room Grand Hyatt, and the last to open will be a nearly 700-room all-inclusive resort from Melia, a huge Spanish company known for upscale all-inclusives around the world. The Rosewood will be the smallest with 200 rooms and five luxury beachfront villas, the casino hotel the largest, and between all five Baha Mar will have about 3,000 accommodations plus a wide array of vacation ownership options in the Hyatt and SLS along with private homes.

That’s just the beds. Baha Mar also has the first Tournament Players Club (TPC) golf course in the Bahamas or Caribbean, a Jack Nicklaus Signature design. The TPC network is owned and operated to very high standards by the PGA Tour. There’s a world-class tennis facility with clay, hard and grass surface courts and instruction by Peter Burwash International. There is an extensive nature preserve with boardwalks and sea kayaking through a series of interconnected mangrove forests and lagoons. A 30,000 square foot flagship ESPA (a world-class spa operator) facility next to the casino hotel will be a pampering centerpiece, but some of the individual resorts will also have their own spas.

Between the five hotels and the rest of the resort, Baha Mar will boast a vast and varied slate of 40 restaurants, bars and lounges. Highlights include Katsuya, a contemporary Japanese eatery with locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, South Beach and Dubai, a large nightclub designed by singer Lenny Kravitz, and oddly, Deuce, the second location of Atlanta’s most venerable steakhouse, the 36-year old Bone’s. The rest of the offerings will range from formal Chinese to Bahamian and everything in between. The development includes Waterside Place, a series of promenades with a mix of retail boutiques and Bahamian arts and crafts galleries, all surrounding an elaborate fountain show. In both public spaces and multiple galleries, Baha Mar will exhibit the largest collection of Bahamian art in the Bahamas with works on display from the National Art Gallery and the country’s two largest collectors.

This is the islands after all, so water and sun are a big part of the appeal, and Baha Mar boasts more than half a mile of uninterrupted sandy beachfront, along with elaborate “pool experiences” in “the Sanctuary,” 20-acres of beachfront aquatic bliss making a grand statement from the water side of the development, with lagoon pools, other pools, and streams linked by paths through lush landscaping of Bahamian flowers and trees.

In short, Baha Mar rivals the largest Las Vegas mega-resorts, many of which now contain multiple hotel options, for size, variety, entertainment and facilities, all transported to the tropics with golf, tennis and watersports. It’s too early to rate the service and food, but there is little doubt we will be hearing a lot more about Baha Mar, the highest profile resort opening in the world for 2015.

Guest room in the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar.
The architecture and color scheme, like the pink SLS Hotel, is Bahamian across the project.
The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel has over 1000 rooms and suites, but all are well appointed.
With five full-blown hotels, spas, a huge casino, 40 restaurants and bars, shopping, golf, tennis and lots of water, Baha Mar is the biggest resort opening in the world this year (rendering).
For more on this story go to: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2015/03/02/bahamas-on-3-5-billion-the-worlds-newest-mega-resort/

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