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Travelers who plan a trip to the Baha Mar resort complex on Nassau’s Cable Beach will quickly find that they’ve made just the first of a staggering number of decisions. There are three hotels to select from, along with more than 30 bars, restaurants and lounges for every meal and drink of the day. Depending on where you stay, you’ll also have access to anywhere from six to 11 swimming pools and a handful of hot tubs.
Though the properties share a single stretch of Bahamian beach, this too becomes a tricky choice: Sunbathe on a lounge chair or an oversized float? Paddle around on one of the complimentary kayaks or take a dip in the famously turquoise water with a noodle in hand?
Resorts such as Baha Mar are designed to take some of the guesswork — and, yes, the stress — out of traveling. You pull up to the resort, drop your suitcase and find everything you need for an entire weeklong stay at a single site. But at the 1,000-acre Baha Mar property, with its Las Vegas-style show fountains, 18-hole golf course, racquet club and myriad diversions for children, don’t be surprised if you find yourself standing in the middle of the 100,000-square-foot casino paralyzed by all the options.
At least part of the confusion stems from the communication meltdown among the three properties and Baha Mar. We found that asking the same question at all three properties often yielded different answers. More confusing, when we went online, our searches yielded a flurry of even more conflicting responses.
So, to help you find your perfect Baha Mar vacation, we’ve created this comprehensive guide for every type of traveler. Just be sure to keep your wristband (or, if you’re a Rosewood guest, your room key) visible or on hand at all times. That’s how Baha Mar’s rather imposing battalion of security guards will identify you as a resort guest. It’ll also verify your access to certain exclusive amenities as you move across the property.
Best for families
Book: Get a room at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, the most budget-friendly hotel at Baha Mar. Connecting rooms make it easy for parents to keep tabs on their sprouts. Children will love the views of the fountains, while mom and dad will appreciate the sophisticated touches like rainfall showers and fragrant bath products. Be sure to request a room in the East Tower, which features bathtubs (incredibly helpful for travelers with tots in tow).
Eat: The spacious, buffet-style Regatta restaurant gives families plenty of room to spread out, and every member of the family will feel spoiled for choice. Wee ones can safely sprawl out on the kid-friendly banquettes.
Do: Travelers at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar have access to six pools, including the most kid-friendly, Dean’s Blue Hole, which features a 15-foot jump and a grotto with windows into the adjacent marine sanctuary. (An up-close encounter with the sea turtles and nurse sharks in the sanctuary is available to children 8 and up, for $65.)
Best for couples
Book: A room at the Rosewood Baha Mar is nearly twice as expensive as at the other hotels. But as a result, it’s also the most private and romantic. Couples will find plenty of quiet corners to enjoy together, including tucked-away garden patios and serene bends in the serpentine Lagoon Pool.
Eat: Rosewood guests can stroll along the beach to the SLS Baha Mar, which has a number of high-end restaurants perfect for date night. Share Mediterranean-inspired tapas at Cleo Mediterráneo or wood-oven pizzas at James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz’s Fi’lia. Continue the evening at the Jazz Bar, off the casino floor near the Grand Hyatt’s West Tower.
Do: As a Rosewood guest, you’ll have access to every pool at the resort (save for one at the Cabana Club offered exclusively to high rollers), but you’re far better off dipping your toes into the Rosewood’s two more romantic pools, including the three-tiered, fan-shaped infinity pool, aptly named the Quiet Pool. If you’re waterlogged, move inside for a couple’s treatment at Sense, a Rosewood Spa.
Best for partiers
Book: Party hearty at the SLS Baha Mar. This property has gone to great lengths to position itself as a sexy, couples-friendly hotel — and that’s not untrue if your ideal date night involves DJ’d pool parties and boozing. But the SLS seems better suited for bachelor and bachelorette parties, spring breakers and groups of friends.
Eat: Grab a table outside at the hotel’s Philippe Starck-designed Katsuya restaurant, where you can watch the reflecting pools erupt into flame every few minutes. The property also has an exclusive 10,000-square-foot nightclub, Bond, which offers bottle service and a DJ booth.
Do: Sleep in before making your way downstairs to Cleo for brunch. From here, you can slip into the shallow Bungalow Pool or sidle up to Daqs for a vast menu of Bahamian spins on the daiquiri. Starting on Thursdays and running all weekend, the adults-only, swan-float-filled Privilege Pool hosts wild DJ parties.
Best for high rollers
Book: Money players book a suite at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. Travelers interested in the 100,000-square-foot casino floor should position themselves close to the live card tables and ocean-view slot machines, and this hotel has invite-only suites in the East Tower reserved exclusively for high rollers. If you’re part of this elite group, you may also have access to the Cabana Club and its private pool.
Eat: Pry yourself away from the Caribbean stud poker table or the TVs at Baha Mar Sports Book for a bit of nourishment at the property’s late-night dinner spots. Order hand-pulled Chinese noodles at Stix or, if it’s a really long night, head over to The Swimming Pig, Baha Mar’s only 24-hour restaurant.
Do: Gamble, of course, but be sure to enjoy your winnings, too. After a successful night on the floor, go ahead and indulge yourself. Baha Mar has a number of upscale storefronts including Bulgari, Rolex, Chopard and Breitling, along with a few more distinctly Caribbean selections like Uniquely Bahamian, Sandy Shores and the Striped Cabana.
Best for multigenerational groups
Book: Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers traveling together ought to get a suite or villa at the Rosewood Baha Mar — budget permitting, of course. Consider an ocean-view, two-bedroom suite with a separate living room and two full bathrooms (for a total of two freestanding tubs, two rainfall showers, two toilets and four vanities). You won’t waste any time fighting over the bathroom here, while the full kitchen (which has a four-burner stove, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher) makes it easy to take meals inside, as a family. Splurge on a villa for your own private plunge pool.
Eat: Head over to the Grand Hyatt for dinner at 3 Tides Fish House. It’s upscale but boisterous, and there’s plenty of space here for large groups. Younger members of the group will love watching the evening fountain show from the outdoor patio, but everyone will love the menu. Stick with seafood, of course: grouper ceviche, lobster cakes with red curry aioli, and yellowfin tuna poke bowls with furikake.
Do: Take a day trip without straying too far from Baha Mar by enjoying a complimentary boat ride to Balmoral Island. The boat shuttles guests every hour, and there’s a private stretch of beach reserved for Baha Mar guests (other hotels and even cruise-ship passengers have access to other parts of the island). Rumor has it, however, that a new private island exclusively for Baha Mar guests is in the works.
The Points Guy has comprehensive coverage of Baha Mar and the Bahamas — read all our stories here.
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