Baha Mar Resort in the Bahamas finally opens
The Bahamas resort Baha Mar has taken more than 10 years to open, but now, the $4.2 billion, 1,000-acre development on a half-mile of beachfront in Nassau is expected to finally debut — at least, in part.
Baha Mar comprises three hotel brands — Grand Hyatt, SLS Hotels and Rosewood Hotels & Resorts — for a total of 2,300 rooms. Grand Hyatt, with 1,800 rooms, is the largest and will be previewing on opening day. The 300-room SLS will debut later this year, and the 200-room Rosewood, the most upscale of the three and is scheduled to open next spring (Grand Hyatt is open for invited guests initially and is accepting paid reservations for late May).
But accommodations are only a component of Baha Mar: The project also includes a 100,000-square-foot casino — the largest in the Caribbean — that overlooks the ocean, according to Baha Mar’s president, Graeme Davis; 42 restaurants and lounges; 30 luxury retailers including Rolex and Bulgari; an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course and Golf Club; 11 swimming pools surrounded by more than 250 palm trees; and a free-standing Espa brand spa with 24 treatment rooms (white marble plays a prominent role). The casino, the golf course, seven of the swimming pools, a part of the spa and a handful of retailers and restaurants opened in April, while the rest of the amenities are scheduled to be introduced over the next year.
Large-scale flashy resorts, in the vein of those in Macau and Las Vegas, may not be an anomaly today, but the drama leading up to Baha Mar’s opening sets it apart from the bunch: The Nassau-based development group BMD Holdings Ltd., led by the chief executive Sarkis Izmirlian, announced plans for the project, then a $1.6 billion venture, with much fanfare in late 2005.