Baha Mar is the latest and most prestigious resort to open in the Bahamas. With three leading hotel brands and all the residential lifestyle amenities you could wish for, you may be tempted to move there permanently, says Jenny Southan
Said to have the clearest sea water in the world, the 700-island archipelago of the Bahamas has long been a glittery bolthole for holidaymakers and expats looking for a luxurious paradise to make their home, even if only temporarily. Part of its allure can be put down to its association with James Bond, whose escapades often took him to these parts. Scenes in Casino Royale, for example, were shot on New Providence Island, where the capital Nassau is located, and where non-stop BA flights from London touchdown along with services from the US.
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Life in the Bahamas (just 55 miles east of Florida and one of the oldest members of the British Commonwealth) is rich with ways to spend your time, be it strolling along the pink sands of Harbour Island, watching flamingos at West Side National Park on Andros, or viewing Long Island’s blue hole, one of the deepest on Earth. Activities range from diving and sailing to bone-fishing and swimming with pigs on Big Major Cay. With a year-round outdoor swimming climate, the islands are perfect for whiling away the endless days of summer, winter and everything in between.
The desirability of New Providence as a destination has been enhanced by a new resort, Baha Mar, on Cable Beach. Costing US$4.2 billion, it made its debut in 2017 with the opening of the Baha Mar Casino (the largest in the Caribbean, with 119 gaming tables, high-limit betting and private gaming rooms), the 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed Royal Blue Golf Course, a flagship ESPA spa with 24 treatment rooms, and the Racquet Club Baha Mar. Also there are the Baha Mar Convention, Arts & Entertainment Centre and the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar hotel, and beyond the show lakes and fountains, you will discover 30 designer boutiques, with brands such as Rolex, Bulgari, Hublot and Chopard.
With direct access to a kilometre-long white sandy beach, the 299-room SLS Baha Mar opened soon after in November 2017, while spring 2018 saw the unveiling of the 237-room Rosewood. There are fully serviced one- to six-bedroom oceanfront residences and villas from $705,000 at the SLS and from just below $1m at Rosewood. For UK citizens looking to buy property, Baha Mar provides enticing new options in this long-standing tax haven, with no income tax charged to residents no matter where in the world they earn their money. Once you own a house or apartment valued at more than $750,000, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency, and for anyone investing in excess of $1.5m, their application may be expedited.
The jet-set lifestyle of Baha Mar is easily enjoyed. The SLS Baha Mar, which is operated by US hospitality group sbe, has become a popular hotspot for entertaining. In addition to Mediterranean restaurant Cleo and trendy Monkey Bar, there is Privilege for upscale pool parties, rooftop lounge Skybar (the only one in Nassau), modern Japanese restaurant Katsuya, Fi’lia by the James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, and nightclub Bond, conceived by rock singer Lenny Kravitz’s Kravitz Design. Carna for steaks is coming soon.
The new Rosewood, meanwhile, has farm-to-table London-style brasserie Commonwealth and its exclusive Rum Room; and Costa, which features pavilions surrounded by water and a menu of seafood and meat dishes with a Latin American twist. In addition is The Library where a Bahamian-style afternoon tea is served. The heavenly Manor Bar features design inspired by a yacht interior – all dark polished woods and blue velvets.
The design of the property itself is reminiscent of a Bahamian island estate home, with white weatherboarding, tropical gardens and verandas. And to ensure the stresses of work are smoothed away, Sense, a Rosewood spa, has created treatments based on ancient Bahamian rituals using local plants such as lignum vitae, moringa leaf, cassava and neem tree.
For those interested in a base on the island, Rosewood has one- to three-bedroom residences (from $995,000) with private concierge and butler services, plus four-to six-bedroom beachfront villas with their own pool (from $6.4m to $25m). Buyers at Rosewood and SLS are eligible to apply for permanent residence status. Dependent on nationality, buyers may be entitled to tax benefits including capital gains and income tax exemptions.
Owners of the residences at SLS and Rosewood enjoy access to the members-only Nexus Club (with its champagne bar, pool with day beds, private gaming and cigar bar) plus the 65m (213ft) super yacht Eternity, on which they can cruise the archipelago or visit Baha Mar’s own 15-acre private island, Long Cay. Staffed by Rosewood and available for private hire, this is where sybarites can relax in a hammock on the beach with a glass of rum. Life doesn’t get any better than this.
Find out more: bahamar.com/residences/
This article was first published in the Winter 19 Issue.