As part of HotelHomes.com’s “Mega-Project Week”, we are checking up on the world’s most ambitious mixed-use resorts and destinations, starting with the remarkable Baha Mar project in Nassau, The Bahamas.
Located on the Bahamas’ famed Cable Beach and dubbed the Bahamian Riviera, Baha Mar is now fully under construction and scheduled to open in December 2014. The massive project was originally conceived nearly ten years ago, but has been progressing full steam since receiving financing from the Export-Import Bank of China and breaking ground in February 2011. In February 2013, the resort’s tallest structure, the 25-story Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, topped off, a milestone that put the project at the mid-point of completion.
Majestic in scale, the resort is set on 1,000 acres along a 3,000-foot stretch of white sandy beach, only 12 minutes from Nassau’s International airport. With an estimated cost of over US$3.5 billion, it will include four distinct hotels with residences for sale, an 18-hole 72-par championship Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, and ESPA destination spa, a 100,000 square feet casino on par with the best in Las Vegas, an extensive convention facility, and ultra-luxury retail and entertainment venues. Even global music icon and 4 time Grammy Award winner Lenny Kravitz is involved in the project. Baha Mar will partner with Lenny Kravitz and his creative firm, Kravitz Design to create a dramatic atmosphere for Baha Mar’s signature nightclub.
When open, Baha Mar will boast 2,200 hotel rooms spread across four major hotel brands including Rosewood Hotels & Resorts®, Mondrian, a Morgans Hotel Group property, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, as well as the new, dazzling centerpiece of Baha Mar, The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel. “One of the strengths of the residential product is that we have a mix of offerings to meet a variety of preferences,” says Phillip Day, vice president of residential sales. “The Grand Hyatt has high brand recognition globally and is known as a high-quality leisure property. The Rosewood is known as one of the most luxurious of the top-tier brands. The Mondrian is one of the cutting-edge, chic lifestyle brands which attracts yet another audience. Our casino residences are over-sized units, uniquely designed for those drawn to what will be the Caribbean’s largest gaming facility.”
Only around 300 of the 2,200 hotel rooms and suites will be offered for sale, mixed among the four hotels, and representing the larger suites and villas. These residences can be used by the owners at will, or rented by the hotel to generate income.
Thus far, sales have launched around the globe, and more than 40 contracts have been processed, including some of the largest beachfront villas. According to Chris Collins, Senior Director at IMI, sales in the prime US market are set to commence this spring. Residences range in price from US$1.5 million for a one-bedroom residence at the Grand Hyatt to over US$17 million for a Rosewood beach villa.
While Baha Mar compares in size to the nearby Atlantis, its development as a single-phase project was a strategic decision designed to garner global attention and critical mass. According to Tom Dunlap, president of Baha Mar Ltd., “We are very fortunate that the vision of our owner and the support of both our lender and the construction group have afforded us the ability to present all of Baha Mar in a single grand opening vision. Everything from the choice of four hotels to the largest casino in the region to the conference center and the golf course will be ready on that day.” Indeed, the impact is expected to be profound, estimated to add $11.2 million to the country’s GDP over a 20-year period.
If the goal was to capture our imagination with Baha Mar’s impressive scale and lifestyle offering, we must admit that it has certainly worked on us!