You’ll find plenty to do and serious relaxation at this Bahamas resort. Explore more tropical destinations in our guide to Caribbean vacations.
by Michael J. Solender
For many holiday seekers, vacation motivations often fall under the “escape from” or “escape to” categories. There’s no question where the Bahamas’ Rosewood Baha Mar sits in this equation. Reasons to visit this dreamy hideaway are as numerous and varied as the aquamarine waves nudging the shoreline.
Spanish for “shallow water” or “low tide,” the word bajamar is often cited as the source for the island country name, Bahamas. The symbolism of azure seas reflecting brilliant sunlight and sustaining island life is a cultural touchstone.
Rosewood Baha Mar is the crown jewel of an expansive multi-brand property spanning more than 1,000 acres along Nassau’s Cable Beach. Sister properties SLS Baha Mar and Grand Hyatt Baha Mar are also situated here — Rosewood is the smallest but most luxurious of the three. Operating as a resort within a resort with 238 rooms and suites, Rosewood delivers exclusivity and intimate, curated spaces where guests enjoy the ultimate luxury of choice.
Guests here can customize their vacation precisely as they wish, with a myriad of amenities accessible to them. Here’s a sampling of what’s offered.
Rosewood’s private stretch of Cable Beach is what island dreams are made of. Attentive staff anticipate guests’ needs and are quick to install shade umbrellas, deliver thirsty beach towels, and adjust cushioned loungers and cabanas. No one goes hungry as island snacks from nearby Costa (Mexican-infused coastal fare) and treats from one of several beachside eateries (Da’ Poke Bowl Shack is a knockout) appear upon request.
Those looking to balance mind and body find Flamingo Yoga a truly special workout — where one’s new friends are decidedly pink. Baha Mar’s coral ambassadors are unphased as guests practice flamingo poses, breathing techniques and mindfulness with the resort’s fitness staff.
Families with kids in tow get up close and personal with the flock at a special Flamingo Experience where one-on-one feeding, “conversation,” and photo-ops with the leggy avians enthrall the little ones. Family-oriented wildlife encounters are also found at the resort’s Wildlife Sanctuary, where guests observe marine life (nurse sharks, stingrays and a giant green sea turtle) feedings and discover a large touch tank with starfish, mini rays, and a variety of conchs and sea urchins.
Youngsters and the young-at-heart enjoy the recently opened Baha Bay luxury water park. There’s no less than 24 water slides, dueling “water coasters,” wave pools, a lazy tubing river, one-of-a-kind surf simulator, and plenty of splash zones to ensure everybody (who wants to) gets wet.
Golfers get their game on at Royal Blue Golf Club. The Jack Nicklaus-designed course (the only one in the Bahamas) is a visual stunner, running alongside inland waterways and ringed by hundreds of indigenous palms and lush greenery. Guests can leave their sticks at home as the rentals here are the latest PXG GEN4 collection, high-tech clubs likely to shave a few strokes off most games.
For extra TLC, score a lesson with Georgette Rolle. The former LPGA player is the first female club head professional in the Bahamas and a swing-doctor extraordinaire. Rolle’s easy manner and holistic approach to the game translate for her students into actionable instruction with immediate returns.
Baha Mar Racquet Club offers a comprehensive tennis program run by the renowned Cliff Drysdale Tennis team. Har-Tru clay and grass courts are available.
Find post-workout Zen at Rosewood’s exclusive ESPA spa, where custom treatments incorporate natural, indigenous and sustainable ingredients in facials, massages, body and nail therapies.
Celebrate Bahamian art & culture
Bahamian art embraces guests at every turn at Baha Mar. A driving force behind creating this sense of place and in developing a cultural narrative beyond the beach is The Current Baha Mar Gallery and Art Center. “Our team curates Rosewood’s public space with contemporary Bahamian Art, yet many of the pieces tell a historical story and draw from Bahamian folklore” says John Cox, an artist, curator, and the executive director of arts and culture for Baha Mar. “We look to use our art to help open windows into broader and deeper understanding of our rich Bahamian culture.”
Cox and his team lead weekly art tours throughout Rosewood, where dozens of original works are on view. Guests can engage in specialized art classes (woodblock printing, botanical leaf printing, landscape painting and others) at Current’s studio or have private lessons outdoors or at the site of their choosing.
Two must visits are ECCHO, the resort’s museum-quality gallery featuring some of the Bahamas’ most talented contemporary artists and the adjacent Baha Mar Convention Center. Here, the permanent Fairwinds Exhibition features more than 350 works (sculpture, wood carvings, paintings, Junkanoo costumes and photography) to reveal important backstories and allow for a better understanding of ideologies, beliefs and lifestyles that have shaped the culture.
With 45 food and beverage destinations throughout the greater resort, variety at Baha Mar leads to some difficult, albeit tasty, choices.
It’s hard to beat a quiet morning breakfast at The Library, the bright and cheery botanical book-filled sunroom just off Rosewood’s lobby. Guests are welcomed with expertly pulled cappuccinos, freshly baked muffins, juices and made-to-order specialties (the ricotta pancakes are the bomb) that get the day off to a grand beginning. At afternoon high tea, a large collection of Bahamian-grown and cultivated bush teas command attention.
For an early morning beach picnic, guests head to Café Madeline for authentic French pastries, croissants, egg dishes and breakfast sandwiches to go. There’s even New York-style bagels and schmears for deli fans.
Choices get more difficult for dinner. Our hands-down favorite was Café Boulud, delivering contemporary French cuisine created with the freshest Caribbean ingredients. Renowned Chef Daniel Boulud’s menu is inspired by four culinary muses — La Tradition, La Saison, La Mer and Le Voyage. Spot-on attentive service, an extensive wine list, and a sexy dining room ringed with Bahamian artwork make lingering over dessert a foregone conclusion.
Marcus at Baha Mar Fish & Chop House embodies the playful spirit and vibe of celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. This menu is made for sharing; Samuelsson’s Yard Bird (special fried chicken), cornbread, conch croquettes, and peas and rice fuel a down-home approach to family-style dining. Dine al fresco here, as the extra large beachside patio offers unspoiled ocean views.
Baha Mar positively jumps when the sun goes down. The on-site casino is the largest in the Caribbean, with more than 100 live table games including blackjack, roulette, baccarat and craps. There are more than 1,100 slot machines and live race and sports betting.
Bond nightclub, located inside SLS Baha Mar, rocks with sets from global DJs. Skybar, a rooftop venue, has roots extending to Los Angeles’ iconic Sunset Boulevard. There’s dynamite ocean views and an ultra-cool evening vibe.
Live music nightly at the Jazz Bar offers great tunes and superior people-watching. Monkey Bar at the SLS Baha Mar lobby is where everyone always seems to end up for a nightcap.
Getting there: Nassau is just a 2-hour-and-15-minute nonstop flight from Charlotte. Baha Mar is a 10-minute drive from the airport. SP
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Featured image: Rosewood Baha Mar. Photograph by Durston Saylor. Other photographs courtesy Baha Mar.