Las Vegas is one of the most popular destinations in the U.S. for a reason. There's a seemingly endless number of world-class restaurants, nightlife and a chance to let loose and actually enjoy your vacation. But imagine if you could get all that, access to two miles of beach in the Bahamas?
After more than 10 years, the long-awaited Baha Mar—the largest resort and casino in the Caribbean—is finally complete after its third and final hotel opened to guests in Nassau, Bahamas earlier this month.
With the Caribbean’s only grass tennis court, an 18-hole golf course and three different hotels to choose from, there's something here for everyone, including a 100,000 square-foot-casino that serves as the resort’s hub for those looking for a true Las Vegas alternative.
Most east coast cities—including New York, Philadelphia and Chicago—offer nonstop flights to Nassau at least once a day. To fly from New York to Las Vegas you’ll spend nearly six hours in the air, but a nonstop flight from JFK to Nassau clocks in at just over three hours. The trip from Miami is less than an hour.
If you find yourself with a long weekend to spare, here’s the full scoop on how to spend it in this Caribbean paradise whether you're looking to gamble, party or just relax by the pool.
Your Pick of Three Hotels
Baha Mar is made up of three separate hotels that all have their own unique vibes and price points. Here’s how to find which one is ideal for your vacation style.
The Grand Hyatt is the largest of the three hotels at Baha Mar with 1,800 rooms between two towers. The most affordable and family-friendly choice at the resort, the Grand Hyatt includes access to five pools and the resort's beach.
Families with children can enroll kids between the ages of 3-14 in the resort's Explorer's Kids Club, which includes everything from learning about sea turtles, nurse sharks and other local ocean wildlife at the BEACH Sanctuary to art lessons taught by the resort’s local artists in residence who are also responsible for pieces seen inside the Grand Hyatt, including the painting The Fifth Season behind the check-in desk created by the program’s curator, John Cox.
From $295 per night.
SLS Baha Mar
With only 299 rooms and suites, the millennial pink SLS Baha Mar tower caters to—yes, you guessed it—millennials and offers DJ-hosted weekend pool parties that you’d expect to see in Vegas. Guests not only have access to all the pools and the beach at the Grand Hyatt, but also two exclusive pools reserved only for guests of SLS.
After a long day in the sun, you'll find most SLS guests dancing at Baha Mar’s nightclub, , long into the night or taking it easy with a glass of rose at Monkey Bar, located in the hotel's living-room like lobby.
From $445 per night.
Rosewood Baha Mar
Baha Mar’s most exclusive property took the longest to complete, but finally welcomed its first guests on June 1, 2018. Those who check in to the Rosewood will feel like they’re a world away from the rest of the resort—which is ideal if walking through a casino is not on your dream Caribbean vacation bucket list.
Rosewood’s newest property will feature two private pools and 237 rooms and suites, with a collection of beachfront villas that each have their own private plunge pools. While all guests at Baha Mar have access to the 24 private treatment rooms at the ESPA spa, Rosewood also has their own Sense by Rosewood Spa, too.
From $725 per night.
Don’t Leave Without Eating At…
Between the three hotels at Baha Mar, there are 40 restaurants and lounges that range from casual food trucks on the beach to upscale sushi restaurants with sleek Philippe Starck interiors. We've narrowed it down to a few of our favorites.
You might not expect to find high-end Chinese cuisine in the Bahamas, but Shuang Ba does just that in a beautifully-designed dining room complete with a massive marble pillar engraved with dragons at the center of the restaurant and hand-sewn silk panels representing the seasons in four corner booths. Signature dishes include "cherry" foie gras and traditional Peking duck, but be sure to order from the extensive selection of Baijiu, a Chinese liquor you wouldn't expect to come across in the Caribbean.
Katsuya by Starck
With locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and South Beach, Katsuya brings Chef Katsuya Uechi's modern Japanese cuisine and Philippe Starck's sophisticated interiors to the Bahamas for one of the standout restaurants at Baha Mar. While the menu has traditional sushi and sashimi offerings, expect to find plenty of local Bahamian fish, including wahoo sashimi and local conch salad.
While many of the restaurants at Baha Mar focus on international cuisine, the poolside Conch Shack is Bahamian through and through. Here, you’ll watch conch prepared directly before your eyes while the chef walks you through the process of making the island’s famous conch salad with all fresh ingredients.
Located in a hot-pink Airstream trailer decorated to look like a pineapple, El Jefe seems like it was made for Instagram. Luckily, the Mexican fare it serves will also hit the spot during a day at the beach. For those who like to get their sun in first thing, order a breakfast burrito to go and eat it poolside. Ah, vacation.