Caribbean - Open for Business: The Bahamas

Aerial view of the Bahamas
Photo by shalamov/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

As part of our “Caribbean - Open for Business” series, in which we profile the hottest selling points for Caribbean islands that were not majorly impacted by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane MariaTravel Agent examines the Bahamas' hottest selling points for clients heading to the destination this winter and beyond. 

The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (BMOTA) reported in September that tourism operations resumed quickly after Hurricane Irma and resorts, hotels, marinas and attractions are operating normally on Nassau and Paradise Island, Grand Bahama Island and across the Out Islands. All airports, seaports, hotels and marinas on these islands are open and welcoming visitors.

Hurricane Maria did damage Ragged Island and Acklins Island severely, but the nation of 700 islands is fortunate that most were spared the worst of both Irma and Maria, according to a statement issued by BMOTA shortly after the islands' damage assessments were concluded.

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New travelers began to arrive in the Bahamas following Hurricane Irma on September 11, and visitors remained in the Bahamas during Hurricane Maria as minor tropical storm conditions affected parts of the southern and central islands.

The Port of Nassau and the Freeport Harbour are open for business and cruise lines from the U.S. have resumed service. The Bahamas recreational marinas are open and receiving visitors after most member marinas of the Association of Bahamas Marinas (ABM) reported no damage.

Visit www.bahamas.com

Warwick Paradise Island - Bahamas to Increase Commissions in 2018

Warwick Paradise Island - Bahamas

The adults-only, all-inclusive Warwick Paradise Island – Bahamas has announced it will increase commission on its “Best Flexible Rate” category to from 10 to 20 percent.

Also, travel agents booking the resort’s special promotional and seasonal packages will receive 15 percent commission, which is up from 10 percent, with some of the current offers as follows:

Fall Into Paradise

This package features nightly rates in the Bahamas from $310 per night, based on double occupancy, and credit at the resort’s onsite Amber Spa ranging from $30 to $150 per person. The Fall into Paradise offer is available on bookings made by Dec. 18 for travel throughout 2018.

Warwick Suite Dreams 

This package offers up to 30 percent off stays in the resort’s Harbourfront One-Bedroom Suites featuring Amber Spa credits up to $350 per person, transfers and other extras.

Full Moon Paradise Package

Celebrate the spirit of love and the mystery of the full moon each month with this package offering credit at Amber Spa and extra amenities.

Wedding Packages

The resort’s three wedding and vow renewal packages (does not include the complimentary wedding) are commissionable to agents and is organized with the onsite coordinator to plan the clients’ destination wedding celebration.
 
Travel agents booking the resort’s discounted rates for senior travelers (65 and over) and military members will receive an increased commission of 10 percent, which is up from five percent. The senior and military rates are discounted by 20 percent off the resort’s lowest promotional rates.

Warwick Hotels and Resorts has invested nearly $50 million to create the four-star deluxe Warwick Paradise Island - Bahamas. Set along Nassau Harbour with views of Nassau and Paradise Island, the resort features 250 rooms across five room categories.
 
Visit www.warwickhotels.com

Baha Mar Launches Its First Marketing Campaign

Grand Hyatt Baha Mar

The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar

New Caribbean resort project Baha Mar has officially launched its global advertising and marketing campaign, LIFE SPECTACULAR, officially introducing the $4.2 billion dollar integrated destination to future guests.

Aiming to highlight Baha Mar's power to elevate real life moments for every guest into something spectacular, the campaign celebrates Bahamian warmth and Baha Mar’s distinct positioning as a destination offering a moment in the sun and everything else under the sun, according to the resort.

Created out of Mod Op New York and led by Creative Director Marcelo Cardoso, the campaign aims to celebrate Baha Mar’s definable standpoint as one destination comprised of three brands, each connected to one another by Baha Mar’s energy and signature personalized guest experiences. Caribbean influenced music, unique imagery, and a fast tempo try to create a dynamic feel that draws viewers in. The campaign centers around what it means to live life spectacularly - from jumping off a seaplane into the Bahamian waters, to kids swimming in the Blue Hole, to taking a spontaneous ocean dip in a cocktail dress, to rolling the dice on a daring bet.

Baha Mar and Mod Op commissioned the Wade Brothers, whose notable projects include Helly Hansen, Adidas, and Nike, to photograph and direct the campaign. The Wade Brothers capture the story of one couple’s Baha Mar experience through two distinct points of view: the husband narrates one spot as a romantic getaway; while the wife narrates the second spot as an enriching and relaxing family vacation, while her child is learning more about the marine life. Each family member experiences the same resort destination, whether looking for “me time” or “we time,” and leaves having fulfilled different personal desires and expectations.

“We envisioned one concept showcasing the overall destination, while also highlighting the unique features of our three iconic hotel partners and the luxury in choice of various accommodations,” said Karin Salinas, vice president of marketing, Baha Mar, in a written release. “The feel at Baha Mar is intimate and the spaces are carefully curated to create customized experiences that are personalized and real. We needed to communicate that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach at Baha Mar. Every nuance of the resort from amenities to special experiences and offerings is purposefully created.”

Baha Mar is billed as one of the largest hospitality projects ever built in the Western Hemisphere, with partners including Grand Hyatt, SLS, Rosewood, Jack Nicklaus, sbe, Peter Burwash International and luxury retailers including Bulgari, Cartier, Rolex, Tiffany & Co., amongst others.

With Grand Hyatt recently opened and SLS preparing to welcome guests on November 14, Baha Mar is now moving towards phase three of the project which will arrive with the launch of Rosewood Baha Mar in spring 2018, when the resort destination will offer grand total of 2,300 rooms, suites and villas across three prominent hotel brands: Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, SLS Baha Mar and Rosewood Baha Mar. Resort amenities are shared among all hotel guests, including ESPA-branded spa; Jack Nicklaus Golf Club; Peter Burwash International tennis courts; pools & beaches; Baha Mar Casino; over 40 restaurants, bars and lounges and more than 30 luxury retail shopping outlets.

Four Seasons to Expand to Bahamas, Manage Ocean Club

Four Seasons is set to add a new Caribbean resort in the Bahamas with a new agreement to manage the Ocean Club on Paradise Island.

Starting November 30, 2017, the property will be rebranded as The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort, Bahamas. A number of enhancements for the property are planned ahead of its debut under the Four Seasons flag, although no details were shared at this time.

The Ocean Club, which first opened in 1962, has a five-mile white sand beach, as well as a series of Versailles-inspired lawns and gardens surrounding a series of low-level buildings housing more than 100 accommodations, including several cottages and villas. The resort also has five restaurants and bars, including DUNE by Michelin-starred Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, as well as a spa, three pools, and six tennis courts. Guests also get access to the adjacent Tom Weiskopf-designed Ocean Club golf course. Several indoor and outdoor event spaces for up to 250 guests are also available on site.

The move marks the latest Caribbean expansion for Four Seasons. In October 2016, the company assumed management of the Viceroy Anguilla resort, rebranding it as the Four Seasons Resort and Private Residences Anguilla. That property has 166 accommodations, including dedicated resort guest rooms, private residences, villas and vacation rental units. The Four Seasons Resort Nevis also recently announced a number of upgrades, including the opening of new casual restaurant Kastawey Beach Bar.

Island Destinations Adds Grand Hyatt Baha Mar

Travel Agent recently attended an Island Destinations (ID) event at the St. Regis New York and learned that popular luxury wholesaler has added Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas to its portfolio and plans to add the rest of Baha Mar in the future. 

Laurie Palumbo, chief operating officer for Island Destinations, told Travel Agent that ID just added the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, which began taking guests back in May, and also plans to add remaining Baha Mar resorts  - SLS Baha Mar and Rosewood Baha Mar - once they open.

It was announced in March that the Rosewood Baha Mar would open by 2018. The resort will have 185 ocean view rooms and suites, as well as five luxurious beachfront villas, which will be contemporary and residential in style. All guest rooms will offer private balconies with outdoor living areas, while the luxurious four-bedroom villas will have exceptional tranquility, exclusive services and a private pool. In March, SLS Baha Mar announced it was aiming for an opening date in the fourth quarter of this year.

Visit bahamar.grand.hyatt.com

Cool Pools in the Bahamas

Breezes Bahamas

Here's a breakdown of the Bahamas' pools Travel Agent has featured in our "Cool Pool of the Week" series.

Millennials looking for a cool swim-up bar with views of the Caribbean Sea should take a dip in Breezes Bahamas’ “Sip and Dip” pool, the largest of three pools located at this all-inclusive resort in Nassau, Bahamas

There are several specialty drinks made at the swim-up bar and, although finger foods aren’t normally offered, they can be prepared by special request. Or, a short walk from the pool resides The Jerk Hut and on the other side, the "Banana Boat Buffet."

Advisors should note that although the pool has never been rented out before, it can be rented out for a private event after 5 p.m. when it closes to the public. To arrange a private space at the pool, advisors should contact the sales office at [email protected] about two weeks prior to the event.  

For active Millennials, the Sip and Dip pool features a volleyball net and host occasional tournaments. All of the pools at Breezes are located adjacent to each other and all are freshwater pools. The main pool is smaller than the Sip and Dip Pool, but it has the most room as no games take place in that pool. 

There is also the misting pool, which is the smallest of the three and the most shallow. In addition to the three pools, there is also a jacuzzi Millennials can relax in.

Breezes Bahamas sits on a 1,000-foot stretch of Cable Beach. At night, Millennials can enjoy the resort’s live entertainment or take their chances at one of the many nearby casinos. Breezes Bahamas is a solid match for singles, couples, groups and families with children age 14 and older. 

Visit www.breezes.com

Millennials looking to take a dip at one of the most buzzed about resorts in the Caribbean have seven pools to choose from at the swanky Grand Hyatt Baha Mar on Cable Beach in Nassau, Bahamas

And Millennials who’ve always wanted to swim alongside friendly sea creatures can do so without ever leaving the resorts’ pools.

The coolest feature of any pool at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, the first hotel to open at the much-anticipated Baha Mar Resort, is perhaps the swim-up aquarium filled with adopted nurse sharks, stingrays, tropical fish and marine life and an underwater marine cavern inspired by one of the world’s deepest salt water sinkhole, Dean’s Blue Hole. Perhaps the second coolest features of the seven pools is the in-pool cabanas surrounded by trickling rain screens. In total the pools use roughly 1,245,797 gallons of water.

Advisors should note that some of the pools, including the circular private pool with cabanas on the perimeter, can be used for group events. To book a poolside event, agents should email group sales at [email protected].

Marking the official debut of the much-anticipated Baha Mar Resort, Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is the first of three properties to open. Just opened in April, Baha Mar Resort offers the Caribbean’s largest casino (one of the only in the world to have direct beach views), a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design golf course, the Caribbean’s first and only luxury ESPA spa, and of course some stylish swimming pools.

Visit bahamar.grand.hyatt.com 

Those looking for a throwback hotel with some classic charm should take a dip at the main pool of Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant in Nassau.

The main pool at Graycliff is an 82-foot lap pool, one of the first to be built in the Bahamas in the mid-1950s. Make sure to bring a mask or goggles because one of the pool’s coolest features is the artwork on the bottom. The pool was recently retiled with a hand-painted design by artist Sergio Furnari.

There are no scheduled activities at the pool. Guests relax in tranquility. Cocktails are served from a full-service bar at the pool, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Waiters serve food from both the Graycliff Restaurant lunch menu and the Giotto Pizzeria menu. The signature cocktail here is the Graycliff Special, which includes both coconut and banana rum, a splash of lime juice, grenadine, an orange slice and a cherry.

Agents should note that the pool at Graycliff can be rented for events – dinners, cocktails, parties, weddings etc. Advisors should contact Deanne Williams, events coordinator, at [email protected] at least one month in advance, although it can be arranged with less lead time.

Graycliff was a private home at the time the pool was built, and its then owner, Canadian millionaire I. Walton Killam was an avid swimmer, but didn’t want to have to go down the hill to the sea every day.

The hotel includes 20 guest rooms and suites, two swimming pools, three restaurants and the Graycliff Cigar Company. Travel agents can also pre-sell commissionable experiences at Graycliff such as culinary lessons, wine luncheons, chocolate making classes, cigar rolling and more. To book, advisors should email [email protected].  

Visit www.graycliff.com

Millennials looking to escape the crowds in Paradise Island should head to the swanky, all-inclusive Sandals Emerald Bay, in the destination’s Out Islands for a relaxing dip with some of the Caribbean's most beautiful views.

There is actually a choice of three pools at Sandals Emerald Bay. Encompassing over an acre, one pool will entice guests with a whirlpool, swim-up pool bar, a unique fire pit feature and complimentary poolside cabanas. Straw-roofed Balinese gazebos each containing two comfortable beds are dotted around the  gardens, on the beach and around the pool. Clients can spend the day in the shade and be pampered by a Cabana Butler, who'll deliver cold towels, suntan oils, a morning fruit platter and continental breakfast, lunch and fresh drinks.

Signature cocktails here include the Caribbean Muse, which is made with Appleton Genesis white rum, vodka cantaloupe juice, creme de banana and simple syrup.

There is also a “Quiet Pool” for total noise free relaxation. Sandals Emerald Bay also offers one of the Caribbean’s largest zero entry pools.

Agents should note that all of Sandals Resorts’ all-inclusive vacations include unlimited scuba diving, land and water sports and fitness classes.

Sandals Emerald Bay will offers Millennials eight, five-star gourmet dining restaurants, 16 relaxing treatment rooms at the Red Lane Spa, and a total of 249 rooms and suites sitting on 500 acres.

Visit www.sandals.com/main/emerald/em-home

Also, be sure to tell clients about French Leave Resort's freshwater pool, which overlooks one of the Caribbean's most picturesque harbors, Cupid's Cay in Eleuthera.

The pool features sweeping views of the waters, and is a great place for enjoying sunrises and sunsets. Millennials can also unwind and relax with delicious poolside dining options, ranging from lobster salads, pan seared ahi tuna, grouper wraps, to inventive cocktails and the Bahamian lemonade, "Switcha"

In fact, French Leave Resort recently joined the Autograph Collection and is expanding from four seafront cottages to 12 by the end of the year.  

The property is the first construction of true seafront cottages on Governor's Harbor since the 1940s, as the 270-acre site had been privately owned. 

Each offers full beachfront views, spacious living areas and covered verandas, LCD TV screens, a personal golf cart, and an in-room iPad, which clients can use for everything including room service to pre-ordering lunch on the beach. Some of the villas also offer an in-room washer/dryer, a fully-equipped kitchen, and a Bose Stereo system.  

Additional on-property amenities include a fitness center, special events lawn and a wedding pavilion, two mega yacht slips, as well as one of the island's best restaurants, 1648 An Island Restaurant.

Visit www.frenchleaveresort.com 

Also, Millennials looking for a cool pool while vacationing in the Bahamas will have two stylish options to choose from at the Hilton at Resorts World Bimini hotel. 

The 305-room luxury hotel is situated on a 750 acre beachfront complex, marina and casino on the Bahamian Out Island of North Bimini. 

The property is home to both a rooftop infinity pool and a wrap-around lazy river pool. Those enjoying the rooftop infinity pool can sip Bahama Mamasand other signature cocktails from Monkey Business, the new poolside bar, from underwater seating and cocktail tables in the pool. From the pool, Millennials can take in sweeping island views. 

On the ground level is the lazy river pool, which measures 600 feet and overlooks Bimini Bay’s turquoise waters. There are nine expansive pool-facing suites with adjoining rooms that open directly to the pool, and the lazy river also features a swim-up bar with stool seating. 

Visit www.rwbimini.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent’s Joe Pike on Twitter @TravelPike and Instagram @pike5260.

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