Fun Under the Sun Just Got Much More Personal in The Bahamas
Fun Under the Sun Just Got Much More Personal in The Bahamas
Eco-Hotel Openings, Major Resort Plans and Niche Excursions Heighten the Vacation Experience
NASSAU, The Bahamas – Sapphire waters, endless beaches and “it’s five o’clock somewhere” – you’ve heard it all before, right? Wrong. While beautiful beaches and Bahama Mamas are staples of any visit to The Islands Of The Bahamas, consumers looking for more personalized itineraries are in for a surprise as the destination transforms travel to the tropics. From a slew of newly opened eco-resorts to the current development of a 1,000 acre resort metropolis featuring luxury properties, visitors of The Bahamas are seizing the ability to vacation in style without compromising their lifestyle.
Baha Mar Resort – Morgans Hotel Group recently signed on to operate and manage the planned 300-room luxury lifestyle hotel at the new Baha Mar Resort currently in development on Nassau’s Cable Beach, and Rosewood Hotels & Resorts will manage and operate the resort’s planned 200-room luxury hotel. Construction on the 1,000-acre destination resort complex broke ground in late 2010, and will result in a property with approximately 3,500 rooms, a 100,000-square-foot casino, three world-class spas and an 18-hole championship Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course upon completion. The resort is scheduled to open its doors in 2014. Visit www.bahamar.com/ for more information.
One & Only Ocean Club – Big changes are underway for Nassau/Paradise Island’s famed One & Only Ocean Club, providing the classic resort with a new modern edge. As a result of a six-month renovation completed in December 2010, all 10 beachfront suites and 40 beachfront guestrooms in the property’s Crescent Wing underwent a complete transformation, with new bedding, art work, case goods and the latest in cutting-edge technology including Jacuzzi bathtubs with TV. Visit http://oceanclub.oneandonlyresorts.com for more information.
Bimini Big Game Club – The legendary Bimini Big Game Club recently celebrated a public grand re-opening as a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort property in Alice Town, North Bimini. The resort just introduced Neal Watson’s Dive Bimini, a Guy Harvey Outpost Dive Center, offering diving experiences with amenities ranging from a 60-foot, glass bottom dive boat to all-new tanks and rental gear and even frequent chances to dive with Neal or Guy. Closed for two years, the Club’s recent renovations include updated guest rooms, the new Bimini Big Game Bar & Grill, the Outfitter Shop - a retail experience featuring Guy Harvey sportswear and gifts, and a new marina, pool bar and patio. Rates start at $149 per night. For reservations, call 800-867-4764 or visit www.biggameclubbimini.com.
Hut Pointe – A family owned, historical resort located near Governors Harbour on Eleuthera, Hut Pointe re-opened in spring 2010 after spending a year completing renovations. Built in 1944, this small piece of history features seven, two-bedroom suites and has been upgraded with modern amenities, including eco-friendly initiatives wherever possible. With water provided by rainwater harvesting, solar water heating and a large organic garden, the resort is making use of cutting-edge, eco-friendly technology and maintaining its quaint and quiet personality. Rate starts at $255 per night. Visit www.hutpointe.com for reservations.
Walker’s Cay – Plans to revive Walker’s Cay fishing and diving resort in the The Abaco Islands have been approved by The Bahamas Investment Authority. The resort, once known around the globe as a premier deep-sea fishing hotspot closed in 2004. Initial plans include the development of two hotels offering 100 rooms, a five-diamond resort spa, 18 half-acre beachfront properties, 28 condominiums just steps from 60,000-square-feet of retail boardwalk, yacht club featuring alfresco dining and a 2,800 foot runway capable of accommodating twin-engine planes. For more information, visit www.walkerscay.com.
East End Lodge – A hospitality establishment that will primarily operate as a bonefishing lodge was recently developed for McLean’s Town situated on the East End of Grand Bahama Island. A five-room lodge with a nature trail and lodge room with a dining-room, bar and other amenities was completed early this year, in hopes to draw bonefishing enthusiasts to the East End, as the area already boasts some of the best bonefishing guides in the country. Visit www.eastendlodge.com for more information.
Pelican Bay at Lucaya – One of Grand Bahama Island’s boutique hotels, Pelican Bay at Lucaya, recently completed and opened the Canal House, the newest meeting and conference space on the island with over 40,000-square-feet. The facility is comprised of a breakfast/special function restaurant, a salon and four separate meeting rooms with the capability of combining any two into one room. Catering to small meetings, conferences and weddings, the Canal House offers all-inclusive half and full-day meeting rates. Visit www.pelicanbayhotel.com or call 242-373-9550 for reservations.
The Dunmore – The historic Dunmore, sitting at the crown of Harbour Island’s famous Pink Sands Beach, reopened in December 2010 following extensive renovations that began that past spring. Guest now enjoy a new sense of enhanced luxury with the renovations which include a redesign of the hotel’s clubhouse, cottages, restaurant and bar, a brand new oceanfront pool, an open-air fitness facility, luxury soft goods and new technology in every room and suite. In addition to the hotel renovations, the property will broke ground in January 2011 on a residential community comprised of six beachfront home sites, offering ocean views and all of the amenities offering by the full-service hotel.
Bimini Bay Resort & Marina – as of March 1, 2011, the Colorado-based hotel company RockResorts, a subsidary of Vail Resorts, took over management of the resort community’s vacation rentals, dining operations and the marina. The company’s property management collection – Legendary Lodging will manage the property. RockResorts also announced future growth plans including the development of a 80-100 room branded boutique hotel, residences and a spa; along with additional restaurants, a beach club and environmental and sustainability projects. The hotel has an estimated opening in the Summer of 2014, with other projects – the RockResorts Spa and beach club – set to open as early as this year. Visit www.rockresorts.com for more information.
Nonstop Continental service to Nassau, Grand Bahama Island and The Abaco Islands – Continental Airlines now offers daily, nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale to Marsh Harbour, Abaco (MHH), and seasonal daily nonstop service from West Palm Beach to both Nassau and Freeport. To book flights, visit www.continental.com.
Landing on The Exuma Islands and The Abaco Islands – American Airlines now offers daily nonstop jet service from Miami to George Town, Great Exuma (GGT) as well as additional jet service on Fridays and Saturdays. Increased airlift to The Exuma Islands is a direct result of growing tourism in the region. Also, American Eagle Airlines resumed daily, nonstop, seasonal service between Miami and Treasure Cay, Abaco (TCB). The carrier will run one Miami-Treasure Cay flight per day on a 64-seat aircraft.
Nonstop Delta service from Atlanta – Delta now offers nonstop service from Atlanta to George Town, Great Exuma (GGT) on Wednesdays and Sundays, making it possible to escape the southern city’s gridlocked highways for The Exuma Islands’ uncrowded beaches in roughly two hours. Fares start at just $129 each way. To book, visit www.delta.com.
Arriving on Nassau – AirTran Airways now offers nonstop flights from Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, and Orlando, Fla., and connecting service from more than 40 other cities. The low-fare carrier, and only major airline with Wi-Fi on every flight, flies from Atlanta to Nassau, Bahamas (NAS), daily, and offers multiple nonstop flights weekly from Orlando, Fla. and Baltimore/Washington. To book a flight, visit www.airtran.com.
Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas – With its debut in December 2010, Allure of the Seas shared the title of the world’s largest cruise ship with sister-ship Oasis of the Seas. Allure sailed into Nassau for the very first time on Dec. 13 and will continue to call on Nassau year round as part of her seven-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary.
A new way to get from Miami to Bimini – The Balearia Ferry Group from Spain has announced the launch of Miami to Bimini service, set to launch in June 2011. The 450 passenger ferry will shuttle passengers between the Port of Miami and the Bahamian island six times a week, and will take about an hour and a half travel time.
Scheduled Charter Service to Stella Maris, Long Island – Gulfstream Connection has made travel between Fort Lauderdale and Stella Maris more convenient, with scheduled service three times a week. Starting March 22, 2011, Gulfstream will connect travelers between Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Stella Maris (SML) on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays via Cat Island (TBI). Flights depart FLL at 1:10pm and arrive SML at 4:10pm. Return flights arrive in FLL at 6:40pm.
NEW PROGRAMS AND ADVENTURES
Island Routes – For a truly authentic adventure in The Bahamas, try an expedition with Island Routes, a new tour operator in The Exuma Islands. Tours range from bonefishing or kayaking trips to the 007 Thunderball Tour, where participants cruise in and out of 150 little islands and cays, snorkel at Thunderball Grotto, swim with sharks and feed wild iguanas. Call 877-768-8370 or visit www.islandroutes.com for more information or to book an excursion.
“Crush” Teen Club at Atlantis – This December will mark the unveiling of an $11 million cutting-edge teen club, “Crush,” at Atlantis, Paradise Island. Designed by renowned architect and interior designer, Jeffrey Beers, the 14,000-square-foot space boasts an interactive internet lounge complete with multi-touch computers and surface tables with photo editing and publishing interfaced to Facebook, a game room stocked with state-of-the-art technology, a floor-to-ceiling gaming tower with 24 gaming consoles, 10 private gaming cabanas, iPads for internet browsing and more.
Atlantis Stingray Experience – The Atlantis resort has introduced a new marine interaction program, the Stingray Experience. This new program offers a hands-on encounter and snorkel experience with hundreds of stingrays and tropical fish in the water of Atlantis’ Water Edge. The educational experience also includes an aquarist demonstration of the proper way to feed rays.
Atlantis Kids Adventures – The Atlantis resort recently inaugurated its Atlantis Kids Adventures (AKA), an 8,000-square-foot club for 3- to 12-year-olds, complete with a culinary center for hands-on cooking classes, a 13-iMac computer lab, an amplified performance stage and the world’s first-ever LEGO Atlantis Fantasy Camp, where children have a chance to work side-by-side with a LEGO Master Builder in group building events. Entrance to AKA ranges from $40 to $65.
Bay Street Straw Market As part of Nassau’s downtown revitalization, plans for construction of an $11.2 million straw market on Bay Street were announced in December 2009. The two-story structure is being developed by Cavalier Construction Company and is expected to be ready for occupancy in late August 2011. The market will feature 34,000 square feet on the ground floor and an additional 4,500 square feet on a second floor enclosed mezzanine upon completion. It will accommodate over 400 vendors selling authentically made Bahamian straw and wood craft to visitors.
The Islands Of The Bahamas have a place in the sun for everyone from Nassau and Paradise Island to Grand Bahama to The Abaco Islands, The Exuma Islands, Harbour Island, Long Island and others. Each island has its own personality and attractions for a variety of vacation styles with some of the world’s best scuba diving, fishing, sailing, boating, as well as, shopping and dining. The destination offers an easily accessible tropical getaway and provides convenience for travelers with preclearance through U.S. customs and immigration, and the Bahamian dollar at par with the U.S. dollar. Do everything or do nothing, just remember It’s Better in The Bahamas. For more information on travel packages, activities and accommodations, call 1-800-Bahamas or visit www.Bahamas.com. Look for VisittheBahamas on the web on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. To purchase one-of-a-kind items from The Bahamas, visit www.eshopbahamas.com.
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Lauren Lane Anita Johnson-Patty
Weber Shandwick Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
(212) 445-8303 (954) 236-9292