Last month Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Voyages and The Bahamas Tourist Board invited us to The Bahamas for a few days. With Rhys literally just back from holiday and Rob and Sinead tied up with family commitments, we were struggling to find someone who wanted an all-expenses-paid 5-star business class trip.
Luckily our occasional contributor Jamie was bravely willing to step up and take one for the team. Yesterday we covered his visit to the Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady ship, and his hotel reviews follow over the next three days. Over to Jamie ….
This is our review of the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, Nassau.
Baha Mar is an integrated resort development situated on 1,000 acres overlooking Cable beach, just outside Nassau, The Bahamas. It opened in 2017. It looks like this:
The Grand Hyatt forms the central pillar of this resort with its two towers offering 1,800 guestrooms. It is flanked on either side by upmarket hotels from SLS and Rosewood. As I saw the resort for the first time looming on the horizon, its enormity reminded me of the hotels in Las Vegas.
As part of our press trip with Virgin Atlantic, I was booked in to the Grand Hyatt for one night to sample the hotel and surrounding resort. The hotel website is here.
Check in at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
I’d been on an organised scuba diving trip with Stuart Cove in the morning and headed straight to the Grand Hyatt afterwards, arriving around 1.30pm. The entrance area is extensive and opulent – I thought it was quite an opening statement.
Check-in time is actually 4pm but because of the nature of my stay I did not expect any issues getting there so early. However when I walked into the reception area, I was amused to find a large queue of people all waiting to check in. These large resorts must actually be fairly flexible on arrival time it seems.
I could see at least six or seven reception staff processing new guests so figured I would not have to wait long. I was wrong but at least it gave me time to admire the sizeable foyer space (which I completely failed to photograph in all its splendour).
After a wait of around 25 minutes I finally got to a desk and checked-in. This involved filling out a form on a tablet attached to the desk, a fiddly and laborious task which probably explained the long wait. The lady serving me was most welcoming and efficient nonetheless and soon enough I had my key and headed over to the West Tower where my room was located on the 15th floor.
My initial impression of the resort was promising. The corridor towards the lift had a modern fresh feel. It still felt very new such was the cleanliness of the place. There were various random works of modern art to admire and bespoke light fittings had the look of sculptured jellyfish.
Exiting the lift at the 15th floor, I was greeted by a pleasing aquatic patterned carpet. The corridor walls were adorned with fussy ornamental light fittings.
Rooms at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
I had been given an Ocean View room with two queen beds. It was, it seems, one of the rooms which had been recently renovated.
I was thankful for this judging by the look of some rooms on the Hyatt website. For a hotel that was not quite five years old they looked terribly dated and quite unappealing. My room on the other hand was bright and contemporary with simple but elegant furnishings.
The bed linen was clean, fresh and comfortable, as was the mattress. Above each bed were oversized black and white photographs of washed up coconuts, artworks that reminded one of the tropical environment you had arrived at. Inbetween and either side of the beds were painted white basket lamp shades. I thought these looked low quality, particularly compared to the rest of the furnishings. I also noticed they were starting to gather dust and must be a pain to clean.
Here is the view looking back towards the bathroom with its external wood cladding:
On a central bedside table could be found a tablet in a docking station. This could be used to order room service, book an experience or check the latest activities schedules. The docking station had two handy integrated USB chargers.
The room was not huge but I was quite happy with it. I had a small Juliet balcony with a terrific view looking out over the complex towards the sea.
Opposite the beds were two chairs either side of a cupboard with a table top. Above this was a 43” flat-screen TV. Note if you needed to work on a laptop that the room does not have a proper desk.
Housed within the cupboard could be found a very well stocked mini bar including half bottles of Bombay Sapphire gin and Jack Daniels whiskey. Not free, unfortunately ….
At the other end there was a Keurig coffee maker and Pringles plus an after sun spray and mobile power pack.
Four complimentary plastic bottles of water were placed on the table top. Next to these was an electrical socket hub including two USB charging points. Electrical sockets are all USA style. It also contained HDMI and AUX connectors and a bluetooth button, all of which I assumed were meant to link up with the TV on the wall above.
I had been left a welcome gift on a wooden tray. It comprised of a can of coconut water and a traditional Bahamian rum cake. It was very welcome indeed as I was starving. I polished both off pretty quickly and found the rum cake to be delicious.
There are two storage spaces on the left as you enter the room. The first is a hanging wardrobe with iron, ironing board and slippers. The other had shelves and a safe.
This is the bathroom:
It was small but I liked it. The design was simple, modern and elegant.
The shower was on the right. There was a high level window which allowed more natural light through from the room:
The toiletries provided were from Balmain which I was impressed with, although they did smell like they were aimed at the female market.
Wifi was available throughout the resort and in the room. There were no login details needed and connection was straightforward. The quality was fine and I had no issues making calls via Whats App.
I’ll quickly mention the room key. Here it is.
Its an electronic wrist band that you can wear in the pool and pay for the frozen daiquiri you’re sipping on at the same time. There’s no worrying about what to do with your credit card key whilst exploring the resort or enjoying the water park. I found it to be most convenient.
Restaurants at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar
Dining options are plentiful with over twenty venues throughout the resort. In the evening we were taken on an organised tour which involved spending time in three restaurants.
Our first stop was Katsuya, a delightful cosy Japanese eatery designed by Philippe Starck. Here we were treated to a variety of starters including Salmon tacos, Wagyu gyoza, popcorn Rock shrimp and crispy Brussel sprouts (it was nearly Christmas!). It was all so beautifully presented and utterly delicious that I didn’t want to leave. But our next appointment was due, this time at a sumptuous Chinese haute cuisine restaurant called Shuang Ba. The decor here was stunning with beautiful Chinese murals adorning the walls. We were served delightful fruit martinis, opulent in looks and taste.
Food served included stir fry rib eye beef in black pepper sauce and steamed red snapper. It was very good but not memorable and I couldn’t really differentiate it from many other Chinese meals I’ve had.
Finally we headed to French restaurant Café Boulud for dessert and were presented with lemon meringue pie, baba au rhum and chocolate coulant. All tasted exquisite I must say.
It turned out to be a really interesting evening and a lovely showcase of some of the excellent fine dining available in the resort.
We continued the night at the glamorous Skybar. Perched atop the SLS Baha Mar hotel, it is surprisingly the islands only rooftop lounge and currently access is only permitted to resort hotel guests. Drink prices reflect such exclusivity with a gin and tonic costing $18 plus tip. Thank goodness they pour them strong up there ….
The restaurant tour gave me a chance to admire the resort as we walked around. There is a centrally located casino, the largest in the Caribbean:
There are corridors lined with luxury brand shops:
Reminders of Christmas were everywhere, despite the heat outside:
Note in the above photograph the sculpture outside in the garden. I discovered many more artworks around the resort which I appreciated. This was a large scale butterfly piece by Damian Hirst:
Some of the quieter parts had a lovely local and traditional feel. Wherever you were, the fixtures and fittings all exuded a fine bespoke air of luxury about them:
Breakfast options were a bit more limited than lunch and dinner. There was a la carte dining at Pizza Lab or the buffet breakfast at Regatta. There were also two Starbucks outlets. We decided on Regatta as it had a generous amount of options.
Regatta is open from 7am – 12pm and breakfast costs $40 so arrive hungry. With such opening hours there were plenty of brunch type food options on top of the usual breakfast ones. Expect to see American centric catering here – pancakes, waffles, pastries, muffins. All the usual hot breakfast items were present including that ubiquitous thin streaky crispy bacon. Someone needs to introduce the USA to a nice piece of smoked back bacon!
There were Mexican options such as quesadillas and burritos, and some nice cold cut choices including smoked salmon which you could pair with a toasted bagel. I was pleased to see some Bahamian dishes too including conch chowder. My favourite item was a tropical mango fruit smoothie, it tasted so fresh and pure that I felt a mental boost with every sip.
There are a plethora of things to do whilst staying at the Grand Hyatt. You have free entry to the brand new Baha Bay waterpark with its slides, lagoons and surf simulator.
There are ten landscaped tropical pools to explore including the adults only ‘privilege pool’. There is the Royal Blue golf course and the racket club with nine courts including one grass court. There is a large fitness centre with daily classes. There are nature sanctuaries and Flamingo Cay to discover.
And of course there is the private beach where you can sit back and enjoy the view. You certainly won’t get bored.
I enjoyed my brief stay at the Grand Hyatt and was sad to leave as I felt there was so much more to explore. The room was comfortable, clean and modern if a little small. Service was sincere and impeccable throughout my stay (those super friendly Bahamians again!) and the resort was fascinating, lavish and relaxing.
I will say this though – budget accordingly, as you will find it difficult to stay here without spending a good sum of money.
A night at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar staying in an Ocean View room costs around $650 including taxes, service charges and a resort fee of $66.
Rooms can also be booked using World of Hyatt points, starting from 20,000 points for a standard room and 32,000 points for a standard suite. This means buying World of Hyatt points when they are on sale may lead to large savings. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.
World of Hyatt update – December 2022:
Get bonus points: You will receive double World of Hyatt points on all stays of 2+ nights between 15th September and 20th December. Registration is now closed, unfortunately. You can read our article on the promotion here.
New to World of Hyatt? Read our overview of World of Hyatt here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on what we think World of Hyatt points are worth is here.
Buy points: If you need additional World of Hyatt points, you can buy them here.
Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from Hyatt and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.