The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar (and the entire resort complex) has been hotly anticipated since its originally scheduled opening in 2011, delayed until just six months ago. The hottest new destination in the Bahamas lived up to its legend from a hard product perspective, the soft product leaves something to be desired. The review of this property is split over two posts, the first (this one) will cover the room. The second includes details surrounding the pools, dining and property more broadly – there is a lot to cover.
A short ride from Nassau International Airport (NAS) and facing the northern coast of the island, the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar resort complex is located at:
One Baha Mar Boulevard, Nassau, The Bahamas
Uber doesn’t operate in the Bahamas but luckily the process of getting to our hotel was much more civilized than the last trip we took. The property is around seven miles from the airport and our ride took about 15 minutes. The cost of our local taxi from the terminal was $24 + three additional people at a rate of $4 each, $36 in total.
I have written before about how status upgrades are tough for hotels to execute from time-to-time, but due to some changes last year in the World of Hyatt (then Gold Passport) loyalty program, we were able to snag upgrades pretty consistently this year and ended with almost all of our suite upgrades available. We decided to burn them on this trip before they expire at the end of January and were happy to utilize them. It also makes the process at checkin less stressful because I know My Concierge already took care of the upgrade there is no awkward conversation to be had at the front desk.
Guest of Honor
For the first time since the introduction of Hyatt’s Guest of Honor program, I had the chance to use it. On solely point redemption stays, Hyatt allows you to gift your status to another guest when reserving a room for them with your points. They will have the same access to the lounge or breakfast, the same opportunity to secure and upgrade, and as confirmed on Twitter by another Globalist, their stay will accumulate towards your elite status as your Hyatt number will be the one on the reservation.
It was only recently that Hyatt indicated they would change their policy to match their peers and allow award stays (not just cash + points) to count towards Hyatt Globalist status. This is clearly another correction to their dramatic increase from as few as 25 nights for top tier status to a minimum of 60 nights this year with the same limited number of properties from which to choose. I rant only because I am annoyed that the one time I used this perk, I could have made a better choice but Hyatt’s recent change didn’t really allow me to do so. At the time of booking, Guest of Honor seemed like the right way to go for our guests (they used points for all of our airfare, we used points for their room).
We planned to pay for our room to start earning 2018 Globalist status, use points for our guest’s room which we could not earn status on anyway – then inside of our cancelation period they changed the policy regarding award stays which now count towards status and we could have burned points instead of cash. I am sure I could have gotten them to waive the cancellation charges or moved the reservation and then cancelled, but instead we just left it opting to avoid the hassle.
When checking in the two agents split us up to make things go faster. But they were more intent on getting us both checked in and less focused on what it was we were saying. I mentioned to both our guest’s agent and to ours that they had a suite upgrade on their reservation (time to burn them before they expire). It was met with nods.
As we completed our registration and were walked to our rooms by their desk agent (not ours) I re-confirmed that our guests had also been upgraded. They had not. This brings three issues to mind. The first – if the agent had just listened to what I asked, or clarified what I said instead of just nodding yes, we could have switched them quickly before leaving the counter. Second, if a Guest of Honor essentially is a Globalist during their stay (assuming that a Globalist is the one that gives them the room) do they not have free upgrades anyway? Lastly, My Concierge had made the changes to request the suites but it is always worth checking their work, something went wrong with theirs and it was at My Concierge’s level, not the property.
It was quickly rectified but not the best start.
The suite was well appointed for the cash price point we paid. The suite was essentially two hotel rooms, the first with a half bath (guest toilet), large L-shaped couch, TV, wine cooler, closet and mini fridge; the second room held the full bathroom, bed, small chair with ottoman and even more closet space.
Some immediate advantages were the plugs and outlets. It’s a brand new property so it makes sense that they would be on the cutting edge of technology and they executed. Almost every outlet also had a paid of USB ports and that essentially doubled the amount of outlets we have as we are always charging an iPad for Lucy, our phones – everything.
To give some well-earned compliments, the property included a balcony in both the living room and bedroom though as it was essentially two separate rooms forming one, the balconies were separated. This didn’t impact us at all, but if our friends had come over to play cards it would have been tight on one balcony and it would have been nice to have the two of them combined.
As the suite was essentially two hotel rooms, there was a guest half bath off the living room.
The mini bar is triggered. I have covered this enough in the past, but it’s always a hassle no matter where you go. We lifted a drink to check the label or something, the spring loaded trigger goes off and then we have to call down to get the charge removed.
The wine cooler was a nice addition, though I don’t know anyone who is storing a dozen bottles of only white wine, but I did see a ton of families that would have probably liked to store leftovers, baby’s milk, and any number of other items. Maybe the property developer thought it would seem more premium to have a wine cooler rather than a fridge but it was uselful only for storing bottles of water and coke for us. I am guessing that a glass front wine cooler costs more than a cheap mini fridge, so perhaps the property should reconsider when it comes time to replace them one by one.
The door between the living room and the bedroom was enough to really separate the space and allow Lucy to play or watch a movie and the two of us to relax a little in the other room. We love a true, closed-door suite.
We found the bedroom to be spacious, clean and beautifully decorated. The advantage was in the bedroom’s simplicity. Everything had a place, everything had space, plugs were easy to find and in the right spot (next to a bed, not on the wall near the door). The hotel includes a tablet that was really helpful. I wish we had checked it out before the morning we left, we might have been able to find a couple of restaurants that we stumbled around looking for.
The shower reminded us a little of fine hotels in Asia which have a peek-a-boo feature so that you can see all the way to the ocean while taking a shower (but not actually being outside). Or maybe it is for voyeuristic guests – hey, to each their own. Either way, the rain shower head and handheld wand were effective for water pressure and gave options that helped us to bathe our daughter (rain shower heads don’t really work very well for her).
The toiletries were not our favorite but are the Grand Hyatt standard, June Jones. Some destination hotels and resorts like the Hilton Waikoloa on the island of Hawaii stray from standard protocol to offer something unique, as they have done with a coconut blend instead of Peter Thomas Roth. We liked the variety then, but there is nothing wrong with offering the standard.
Just don’t forget to bring your own soap too. Why? Because in three days, and six overall housekeeping visits (daily turn down services during our three-night stay) they never once replaced our toiletries. That’s bush league. I get more attentive service at a Choice hotel than I am at a Category 5 hotel from Hyatt? It’s totally unacceptable, we called down for replacements when we finally couldn’t squeeze out any more and waited an awfully long time for them to arrive.
The bathroom was also closed-door which I always appreciate and while the vanity was single, there was enough space for all of our stuff for a family of the three. Despite development by a Chinese firm, the toilet was not Japanese as you often find in premium Asian properties (Chinese, Japanese or otherwise).
The view was a mix of parking lots and turquoise Caribbean water in the distance behind hotels. There was a lot of ground between our room (1710) and the sea, but I certainly got up every morning, walked to the balcony and looked at the beautiful water. Any complaints I have about the view leading up to the water are null and void as it was the first thing I did each morning.
We paid two separate rates for our three-night stay, one for our Guests of Honor on points and the other in cash. For the full point redemption price, I thought it was pretty expensive. At 20,000 points per night, we could have stayed for fewer at the Andaz Papagayo (15,000), the same price for the Park Hyatt Beijing and even the Park Hyatt Bangkok is the same 20,000/night.
For points and cash, the rate is 10,000 points and $125/night, a great value at the Park Hyatt Bangkok, a poor value in the Bahamas. Why? Firstly, because the cash rate for the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is about $250-280/night giving you a very poor value for your points (1.25¢/point). Secondly, the cash rate is so low that I would much rather save those points to pay for more expensive properties.
The cash price for the nights we stayed including taxes, VAT, etc. $284/night however, that included a $32 daily resort fee which was credited back on my stay (and for our guest of honor) at checkout. We weren’t originally querying that on the bill, just doing some math when the desk agent noticed it. I was glad she caught it and for an all-in rate of $252 for Globalists, the property is well worth your money.
What do you think? Was the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar worth the wait? Will you be visiting the property?