By Joanna Mazewski, Taking the Kids Correspondent
NASSAU, Bahamas (Day Two) — They say that the best things in life usually take a little longer to build. But no one would have anticipated the 10-year wait before The Bahamas’ new premiere luxury resort would finally open its doors.
After years of multiple false starts and financial headaches, the $4.2 billion, 1,000-acre development simply known as Baha Mar finally opened its doors to the public last April. The half-mile beachfront resort comprises of three top hotel brands – the Grand Hyatt, SLS Hotels and Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. The Grand Hyatt was the first of the three to make their grand debut, while the SLS will open later this year followed by the Rosewood in 2018.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the property with the Nassau Island Promotional Board. Perhaps the most exciting part for my two children, ages 7 and 9, was the BEACH sanctuary at Baha Mar. It’s an experience like no other that allows guests to immerse themselves in the natural beauty and wildlife of the Bahamian islands. The beach sanctuary is home to multiple species of wildlife, including 6 Green Sea Turtles, 1 Hawksbill Sea Turtle, 10 Southern Stingrays, 8 Nurse Sharks and more than 50 other varieties of reef fish.
What’s more, the beach sanctuary aims to educate guests about local conservation efforts. During our visit, my children got to feed the green sea turtles, waddle in the water during a stingray feeding and see nurse sharks first-hand.
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is not only a great resort to have young visitors immerse themselves in local culture and conservation efforts, but it also has stunning world-class facilities that include 7 swimming pools and several different restaurants, bars and lounges (and let’s not forget the biggest casino on the island). We swam in the Blue Hole family pool, which is inspired by the natural saltwater blue holes of the Bahamas. For lunch, check out Drift, a casual poolside dining option that offers everything from local delights, conch fritters, burgers and a kid’s menu.
But that’s not all. There are more children’s activities offered that include visits to the property’s aviary to learn about indigenous hummingbirds and butterflies. There are also classes on Bahamian crafts such as basket weaving. Bahamian art is another focus: the property will soon display 8,500 pieces of local art that will include a mix of paintings, sculptures, ceramics and photographs throughout the resort.
In other words, Baha Mar was well worth the wait.