Baha Mar: The Easiest Beach Paradise in the Bahamas
Our personal definitions of paradise tend to involve elemental, private pleasures. “A jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and you beside me singing in the wilderness,” was the Persian poet and astronomer Omar Khayyam’s oft-quoted 12th-century take. Put me down for that—though I might add a stretch of white sand beach.
Which Baha Mar, the Bahamas’ much-ballyhooed 1,000-acre resort development, which opened fully last June, certainly offers: two miles of it, lapped by the azure waters of New Providence’s Cable Bay. And, less than three hours from JFK, it’s a tempting place for a bit of tropical solace.
Aside from the beach, the rest of the complex, I must confess, had me worried at first. It’s the biggest thing by far in the Caribbean: three hotels (Grand Hyatt, SLS, and Rosewood) with, among them, 2,334 guestrooms; 40 restaurants, bars, and lounges; more than 20 luxury shops; a 100,000-square-foot casino; and a 200,000-square-foot convention center.
All of which is splendid for the Bahamian economy—but what did any of this have to do with moi? Where was I to find my sweet spot amid this abundance of possibility? “This is Nadion, one of your butlers,” says a voice over the phone minutes after I check into the Rosewood, my first stop. “I’ve been informed you need cosmetics. May I escort you to the MAC store?” So much for impersonal.
How about beach access, my lodestar? At big resorts it often involves a soul-killing maze of air-conditioned corridors. I brace myself in the elevator—and am deposited directly at the entrance to a lush garden with winding paths that lead, past koi ponds and two free-form swimming pools, to the sand.
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My mood is further enhanced by a rum swizzle at the Rosewood’s wood-paneled Manor Bar, and when dinnertime at the Commonwealth restaurant rolls round, I’m all in: My spicy lamb chops are the best I’ve ever had. The chef’s name is Siddharth Krishna. (“It’s like Jesus Christ!” my dining companion exclaims.)
I alight next at the biggest hotel of the lot, the Grand Hyatt, which has a gym to match. From the balcony of my suite I have forever views of Cable Bay. Access to the water here requires—gasp!—a stroll through the casino. Do I mind? No. Why not? Because the casino has views of the water, and I spot gamblers in bathing suits (I kid you not). And because it occurs to me to get my first blackjack lesson.
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I demur at the DJ-pumped, South Beach–style pool party at the handsome SLS hotel (the “lifestyle” option here). I am otherwise occupied, anyway, by an illuminating guided tour of the Fairwind Exhibition, a showcase of 250 works by both prominent and up-and-coming Bahamian artists installed in a wing of the convention center, and by the resort’s resident flock of flamingos—startling expressions of nature’s own artistry.
Sated by all that and much more (including water sports and beachside Airstream food trucks), I repair to a chaise longue. Is this part of the beach crowded? It is. Does it matter? Not really—it has the density of the Côte d’Azur.
Straight ahead of me, in the bay, is a small deserted island: Long Cay. Soon it will be available for private bookings. You’ll be able to take along your proverbial loaf of bread and jug of wine with someone singing himself or herself silly in the wilderness.
This story appears in the November 2018 issue of Town & Country.
*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com
*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors