Over our daughter’s spring break, Hubby and I spent a week in the Bahamas, splitting our time between staying with friends who live in Lyford Cay and enjoying a stay at the beautiful Rosewood at Baha Mar resort on the island of New Providence, Bahamas. This was our first visit to the Bahamas, and we were utterly charmed by the blue waters, the friendly Bahamian people, and the copious amounts of rum drinks!
Our stay was idyllic, and I wanted to give you the skinny on the Baha Mar resort complex in case you were planning a vacation. During our stay, I received many DM’s from followers mentioning their intent to visit the Bahamas. It is important to note that at the time of writing this post, a Travel Health Visa was required to enter the Bahamas. This could be applied for on this website, and the main requirement for the visa was a negative COVID PCR test. A negative COVID test was also required to return to the US, and the Baha Mar provided this for guests at the hotel free of charge. More on that later as I dive in to the details of our Bahamian vacation and our stay at the Rosewood Baha Mar! xoM
We flew American Airlines out of Phoenix on the red eye to Miami, departing Phoenix at 2:10 am and arriving Miami at 8 am. We had a two hour lay over in the airport, and we killed time by sipping mimosas in the American Express Centurion Lounge (we were, after all, celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary too!). The next leg from Miami to Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas located on the island of New Providence, was a quick 45 minute flight. By the time we passed customs and took a taxi to Lyford Cay, it was noon and we were trading our travel clothes for swim suits. Rum drinks here we come!
The island of New Providence is not large, at 7 miles wide by 21 miles in length. Without traffic, it is very easy to get from one end to another, and taxis are plentiful. Another option is to arrange transportation through the resorts which run around $60-80 each way. The trip from the airport to either Lyford or Baha Mar is only about 15 minutes.
The ease of traveling is one reason you might consider a trip to the Bahamas. It is very close to the US, there are many beautiful islands to visit, and re-entry to the US was shockingly easy as you actually go through customs and immigration in Nassau before returning to the US, thereby avoiding the whole mess in the US. We chose to visit New Providence island because of the Baha Mar Resort, but we are already planning our next stay in either the Exumas, Harbour Island, or Eleuthera.
Baha Mar is comprised of three outstanding resort properties –the Grand Hyatt, the SLS Baha Mar, and the Rosewood– providing guests with roughly 15 restaurants from which to choose and 7 pools in which to swim. The Grand Hyatt caters to families with many kid-centric activities, the SLS is sleek, sexy, and more couples oriented, and the Rosewood is, well, a Rosewood. We chose to stay at the Rosewood as it was our silver anniversary (I may just beat this theme to death so be warned), and because of our previous great experiences at this hotel brand — take a peek at my review of the Rosewood Miramar Beach Hotel. Plus, Rosewood is the only of 3 hotels on the property to offer cushioned lounge chairs, a big plus in my book.
It is important to note that Rosewood guests can access all the amenities of the three Baha Mar hotels, yet only Rosewood guests are allowed to enjoy the pools and amenities located on the Rosewood grounds. Every day we were presented with a difficult decision: do we rent a pool cabana, recline in the cushioned lawn chairs overlooking the ocean, or head on over to the Grand Hyatt to jump off of a make-shift waterfall? What is very cool, even for grown ups, is that behind this waterfall is an aquarium with colorful fish and nurse sharks.
Kids will also enjoy the interactive sealife areas, where you can pet rays and starfish, and for a fee, can watch the feeding of the rays and nurse sharks. But the stars of the resort are the Caribbean flamingos. Originally found on the Bahamian island of Inagua, the Grand Hyatt has a few that, twice a day, perform a “flamingo parade”, strutting around the resort for all to enjoy.
Lastly, for those night owls, Baha Mar boasts the largest casino in the Caribbean, found in the lobby, and actually links all three hotels. The casino is open 24 hours a day. Who knows, you may pay for your vacation with one spin of roulette wheel, or go deeper in debt…it all depends on your tolerance for risk.
Checking into the Rosewood Baha Mar Resort, Bahamas was seamless. All guests were required (at time of this post) to take a rapid COVID test upon arrival. Hubby and I sipped on our welcome Proseccos, and once it was determined we were negative, we were given the keys to the room. Our personal butler, Tyrrel, led us to our two-bedroom suite and gave us a cell number to text any time of the day for any request we should have.
At the Rosewood, every detail felt luxurious and thoughtful. The views of our suite were the first thing that caught my eye. Once my eyes adjusted to the surroundings, I noticed a spacious seating area, dining table for six people, large kitchen with premium minibar and every known appliance should we decide to move in (even a laundry room). In the bedroom, an overstuffed king bed filled the room opposite a narrow work desk and a cozy reading nook. There were three balconies with lawnchairs and chairs for more lounging and reading. The bathroom was covered in Carrera marble countertops, and a rainfall shower and toilet were hidden behind tasteful frosted glass. There were two vanities across from one another, and at the center of the marble bathroom was a freestanding soaking tub with bath salts.
FOOD + DRINK
The resort has over 40 food and beverage options which include a wide range of bars, lounges, and concept-driven restaurants, from Starbucks to Cafe Boulud. When we were visiting in mid-March of 2021, the resort had just reopened and, as such, many of the concepts were in various stages of reopening. Basically, we did not have as many options as one would normally have in a non-COVID world. I can tell you what we enjoyed, however: Breakfast at Cafe Boulud with the Avocado Toast and the Cafe Lattes, lunch at either Da’ Poke Bowl Shack in the Grand Hyatt or at Streetbird on the beach, a Marcus Samuelsson concept in a food truck, and dinner at Katsuya. With interiors by Philippe Starck, Katsuya was striking in every way. The coastal Mexican restaurant, Costa, reopened the day we arrived and the menu was too limited for me to really comment. I can tell you to book a table outdoors around the koi ponds, and that the guacamole was very good.
Other standouts in the Rosewood include the lobby bar and the library. The Rosewood’s lobby bar, The Manor, is a dark, sophisticated space with velvet sofas and cut crystal tumblers. And across the hallway, the library impresses with its soaring, coffered ceiling, Ikat-print throw pillows, and velvet jewel-toned sofas. English tea is offered every afternoon, along with a selection of tea sandwiches, and a nice selection of bubbly.
I did not make it to the spa or the exercise room, but did peek in at the gym and it looked very nice. They have a tennis compound on the property and online there is a list of the options to play in clinics. Royal Blue Golf is an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus designed course which features dramatic views of undulating fairways and rolling white sand dunes. A Club House, Pro-shop, Tavern may also be enjoyed alongside an extensive caddie programme and Golf Professional Team. Plans are in place to develop a waterpark and reopen the already developed shopping center.
Staying at the Baha Mar is definitely pricey! The Bahamian dollar is tied to the US dollar, with a 1:1 ratio, so no need to pull out the calculator when you receive the bill. From drinks at the pool to the over-the-top dining spots, the cost to do anything at Baha Mar is more than what one would expect.
OFF SITE EXPLORING
While it is tempting to sequester yourself at the Baha Mar, I highly suggest getting out a bit to explore the island. We were so fortunate to have had the opportunity to spend time with friends who live in Lyford Cay, if only to see Lyford and nearby Old Fort Bay, two of the most beautiful beaches in New Providence.
We had lunch one afternoon at Island Brothers, a charming French Mediterranean restaurant owned by two equally charming French brothers.
We also took a taxi into downtown Nassau one evening to dine at the historic Graycliff Restaurant. The first 5-star dining establishment in the Bahamas, Graycliff also boasts the world’s 3rd largest wine list. It is worth taking a stroll around the pool and gardens of this beautiful mansion that date back to 1740.
We went diving one morning with Stuart Cove’s, and the highlight for all was taking a powerboat to Exuma for the day with Powerboat Adventures. It is an action-packed day of feeding iguanas, the famous swimming pigs, sting rays and black tip reef sharks. The scenery was spectacular and we really cannot wait to return this lovely corner of the world.
All photos by Marci Symington for TEXAZTASTE.com.