By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
BAHA Mar will open its doors to paying customers in March, resort officials said yesterday.
The Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, the Rosewood at Baha Mar, and SLS Lux at Baha Mar will start hosting “paid guests” on March 27, according to a statement from the property. It said the Grand Hyatt would open “shortly thereafter.”
This comes roughly six months after Baha Mar officials announced that its grand opening would be delayed to “late Spring 2015” instead of the original December 2014 timeline.
Last August, officials at the $3.5 billion mega resort in Cable Beach said the property would open in stages from December onwards.
Speaking about Baha Mar’s new opening date, Baha Mar’s President Tom Dunlap said yesterday: “A dream starts great endeavours, but it is only a beginning. Baha Mar’s vision will truly come to life once the first guests sleep in our hotels, dine at our restaurants, snorkel at our reef, lounge at our Cabana Club, play at our casino, dance in our clubs until dawn—and experience the true soul of the Bahamas with impeccable service and joyful hospitality. This dream has been years in the making, and on March 27, 2015, it will finally become a reality.”
Baha Mar officials had originally maintained that the resort would be opened fully in December, rather than in stages.
In April 2014, the resort’s Chief Marketing Officer Denise Godreau dismissed concerns about a delay. Then in late May, Robert Sands, the resort’s senior vice president of government and external affairs said the December 8, 2014 opening date was fixed and officials were “progressing very quickly to ensure” that it would happen.
However, last August, the resort said it had delayed its grand opening until late spring of this year.
At the time Mr Sands said the priority was to “get the guest experience right the first time”. He said it was “not uncommon” for projects of Baha Mar’s scale to undergo a phased, or staged, opening and that the delay of the date had not been caused by construction delays or problems.
Additionally, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe said it was always anticipated that the resort would have a “soft” opening in December and then open gradually.
Work began three years ago on the development, which includes four new hotels – the Baha Mar Hotel & Casino, the Grand Hyatt, Rosewood and SLS Hotels branded properties – and numerous associated amenities such as a convention centre. Upon completion of renovations, the Melia Nassau Beach Hotel also will become a part of Baha Mar, according to officials.
Once fully completed the resort will include a 100,000 square foot casino, an 18-hole, 72-par Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, an ESPA at Baha Mar spa and more than 12 pools.