Our family’s latest adventure took us to Baha Mar in the Bahamas! This tropical getaway couldn’t have come at a better time, since we’re in the middle of a cold, gray winter here in the Big Apple! The iconic Baha Mar is a fun resort for families, with lots of different pools and restaurants, and no shortage of hands-on activities that allow visitors to learn about local marine and wildlife. Many thanks to Baha Mar for hosting us on this memorable vacation. There were so many picture-perfect moments on our trip that it’s hard to know where to begin! Let’s start with an introduction to the expansive resort itself.
Baha Mar is located on Nassau’s Cable Beach, and it’s actually made up of three distinct hotels: Rosewood Baha Mar, a quiet and laid-back luxury hotel; SLS Baha Mar, a lively Miami-style hotel with a youthful vibe; and the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, a modern and upscale hotel that’s great for both kids and adults. In this way, visitors can return to Baha Mar year after year and have a different experience each time. Connecting all three properties is Baha Mar Casino, the largest casino in the entire Caribbean, and the only casino in the world with an ocean view. The resort also boasts a par-72, 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, as well as a world-class racquet club, a full-service spa, a nature sanctuary, an impressive kids’ club, and over 40 different bars and restaurants. Guests staying at any of the three hotels can access all of Baha Mar’s bars, restaurants, pools, beaches and other amenities. The only exceptions are The Rosewood’s kids club, pools and beach areas, which are reserved just for guests of that hotel.
Getting there (in style)
We flew direct from New York City to Nassau on Delta. Once at the airport, we were treated to a truly luxurious welcome. You see, each resort has its own booth in the ground transportation area of the Nassau airport, and that’s where visitors go to get from the airport to their respective hotels. This is usually an unremarkable moment, but Baha Mar sent a Tesla Model X to pick us up, with the cool Back to the Future-style falcon wing doors that open up toward the roof! The girls were delighted to ride in such a fun, futuristic car.
A room (or two) of our own
We stayed in rooms 1500 and 1502 in the west tower of the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, and had two adjoining rooms: the Grand Suite King and the Ocean View Balcony Queen. The Grand Suite King provided 694 square feet of opulence, with a king Hyatt Grand Bed, a pristine bath, and a separate living room. The Ocean View Balcony Queen was a bit smaller, but still provided 412 square feet of space, two queen Hyatt Grand Beds and bathtub. (The high-end bathroom products by Balmain smelled so good!) Both rooms had an interactive tablet, giving us all the information we needed about the resort. We were even able to make dining reservations from the device.
(Wild) things to do
If anyone in your family is an animal lover, they will really enjoy the animal encounters offered at Baha Mar. This is where the resort really shines! Here’s a breakdown of things to check out:
The Aviary: This small space has lots of different local bird species. It’s free to enter, but I’d highly recommend that you pay the $10 for the feeding activity. You’ll receive two seed sticks to hold in your hand and the birds will flock to you to eat the seeds!
The Sanctuary: This is the resort’s marine life center, where you’ll find sea turtles, stingrays, nurse sharks and many different species of fish. You can do a close marine encounter experience for $75 per person, and for the memories alone, it’s totally worth it! For about 30 minutes, you can get up close to stingrays and can feed sea turtles with lettuce! Plus, friendly nurse sharks swim around you as well.
The Flamingos: The flamingo is the national bird of the Bahamas, and is a big part of the Baha Mar experience. You can do a flamingo meet and greet experience that allows you to touch, feed and take photos with a special group of flamingos that were hatched on property. We had so much fun meeting Baha, Lynden, Luca, Indy! It was also cool to see how Bimini, the youngest bird of the flock, is just starting to turn pink from the white/grey color it was born with. This activity is not only fun and educational, but of course, the perfect photo opportunity!
The Explorers Club: The girls absolutely loved the Explorers Club at Baha Mar, which is the resort’s kids club. They were only supposed to do one half-day session, but they ended up doing three sessions over the course of our stay! The facility is actually brand-new and really impressive. In addition to beautiful, vibrant decor, it’s incredibly well-stocked with all types of crafts materials. The girls amassed quite a collection of crafts they created after the three sessions. We left with everything from tote bags to key chains, and from colored sand to shell art!
The kids club has a state-of-the-art theater room where kids watch movies and play dance-based video games. Counselors will also take the kids on “field trips” around the property to visit the animals. The Explorer’s Club programs are divided into three daily sessions: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Each session costs $65 per child. Note that these sessions are fairly structured, with counselors leading the kids in organized activities. That may be a plus or minus for your family, depending on your kids’ personalities.
Cooking Class: One of our favorite experiences was taking a family cooking class at the Explorer’s Club. The club has an ultramodern learning kitchen that’s a really impressive facility. We worked with Chef Michael Davis. Serge and I made seared tuna tacos with him, while the girls worked with his sous chef to make red velvet cupcakes. After the class we dined in the garden just outside the kitchen, which is also where they grow their own herbs and vegetables. The experience was memorable and fun!
Soak up the sun
There’s no shortage of pools to choose from (Grand Hyatt alone has 11 of them!), but the girls’ favorite was definitely Dean’s Blue Hole, a mini-sized recreation of the famous attraction on Long Island in the Bahamas. Sean loved getting to cliff-dive into the pool. There is a high and a low “cliff” you can choose from, and the lifeguards are very good at timing everyone’s jumps so that it’s very safe. This pool is extra special because it also has a grotto with windows inside that offer a glimpse into the tank of stingrays and nurse sharks at The Sanctuary.
The whole stretch of beach at Baha Mar is beautiful, but for a real treat, check out Baha Bay Beach Club. It’s managed by SLS, but is available to all guests. This brand-new beach club has two beautiful infinity pools overlooking the beach, with a beautifully designed terraced area of lounge chairs and cabanas. We were lucky enough to have a cabana for the day, which was an amazing experience. The servers were extremely attentive, and you can order food from 25 North, the California-inspired signature restaurant on-site there.
Eat, drink & be merry
There are over 40 different bars and restaurants at Baha Mar, and we tried many of them during this trip. Here are our top picks:
The Swimming Pig: In addition to lunch and dinner, this English gastropub serves breakfast too, though I don’t think many people realize this, based on how light the breakfast crowd was! It’s a great place for a hearty breakfast or brunch of steak and eggs, French toast, or chicken and waffles.
3 Tides: This was probably my favorite dinner experience. 3 Tides is an elegant space with an open kitchen that specializes in seafood. I especially liked the appetizers. (The grilled oysters and ceviche were particularly good.)
Streetbird: This casual concept by Chef Marcus Samuelsson is one of several food trucks at Baha Mar housed in vintage Airstream trailers. The chicken sandwich here is delicious, as are their conch fritters.
(A quick note to anyone new to vacationing in this region: Because most food and beverages have to be shipped or flown in, dining while in the Caribbean can be pricey. Don’t let it hinder your experience; just plan ahead, check out the menus online before your trip and add to your budget accordingly.)
Baha Mar treated us to a vacation unlike any other from the moment they picked us up at the airport. Typically, resorts are either family friendly or luxurious. They’ve either got lots of entertainment for adults to enjoy or they really shine when it comes to entertaining the kids. And I’ve rarely seen a resort with so many fabulous ways to get up close and personal with wildlife! Baha Mar provides it all. Bring your appetite, your camera, and your sunscreen…and leave room in your suitcase for all the handmade souvenirs you’ll be bringing home!
About Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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