My family and I recently visited Hyatt’s largest property, the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in The Bahamas, which opened earlier this year after much anticipation. The 1,800-room mega-property is comparable to an upscale Vegas-style casino/resort, and the beautiful resort grounds are shared with two other new and upscale luxury hotels – the Rosewood and SLS Baha Mar.
Our visit to this resort was during Thanksgiving, and we were surprisingly able to book such a reasonable cash rate at the last minute.
I’ve read many fantastic reviews about this resort, and I must say we truly did have a fantastic experience during our stay. Rather than a standard review of my own, in this post you’ll find a condensed trip report with lots of pictures and 10 tips I think you’ll find useful if you’re planning a visit to the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar soon.
Free Nights Are Possible
As I mentioned earlier, I was able to find a great $200/night rate that I booked using my Citi Prestige to utilize the “4th night free” benefit, which made more sense than redeeming 20,000 Hyatt points per night in my case.
The new World of Hyatt Credit Card offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 points after spending just $3,000 in 3 months, which covers two nights.
Additionally, Ultimate Rewards points from the Chase Sapphire Preferred transfer 1:1 into Hyatt points, and right now that card comes with a sign-up bonus of 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, which would cover you for 3 free nights.
If you are looking to redeem points at this property, it still can be a great value at just 20,000 points per night for a standard room or 27,000 points per night for a room that has Grand Club lounge privileges if you don’t have Hyatt Explorist or Globalist status.
I will get into how amazing the Grand Club is later in this post, but I absolutely recommend booking a room that gives you lounge privileges, especially if you are traveling as a family because it kept our food and beverage costs down tremendously during our stay.
Also keep in mind that if you have top-tier Globalist status, you are exempt from paying the hefty resort fees each day if you book using points.
Check for Best Rates
While redeeming points at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar can be an exceptional value, I’d still first recommend checking for the best available rate. I like to get a minimum value of 2 cents per point when redeeming my Hyatt points, so I was better off paying this time around and earning points for my stay.
As a bonus, consider booking the room with the Citi Prestige card if you plan on staying at least 4 nights, so you can take advantage of the 4th night free rebate. It’s also worth noting that you can upgrade to a room with Grand Club access for just 3,000 points per night on paid rates.
In my case, I thought I scored when I found a $227.50/night rate at first, but when I was playing around on the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar website, I accidentally stumbled upon an even better deal by clicking on the “special offers” tab.
Resort Fee/Service Charge
I absolutely despise resort fees and think they are pretty deceitful in general, so I’ll be the first to say it’s pretty ridiculous that not only is there a mandatory daily resort fee of $30 (plus taxes and fees), there’s another daily fee that’s automatically added your bill as well – a $20.63 “service charge”:
The $20.63 service charge per night added to your room rate includes gratuities for doorman, bellman, housekeeping and lifeguards. Please note, a 15% gratuity is included in all food and beverage outlets. 100% of all service charges and gratuities go directly to the associates of Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.
While I will agree that the service during our stay was legitimately impeccable (especially housekeeping, who went the extra mile to fold all clothes and truly provide 5-star service) and it was nice having peace of mind that there were 1-2 attentive lifeguards in every pool and on the beach at any given time, I find it kind of a nuisance to have automatic gratuities added to my stay, especially when there is a hefty resort fee to begin with (which came out to $40 per day once all was said and done).
With the two mandatory fees together, we’re talking over $60 in charges per day on top of your room rate, taxes, fees, and incidentals. On a 4-night stay, those charges can get heavy, adding a bit more than $240 to your bill! So be prepared for that.
The good news is, you are not subject to these fees if you’re a Globalist when you book your stay using points. It’s also a case of YMMV asking for the fees to be waived or reduced during checkout if you have Hyatt status, even on paid rates. It’s certainly worth asking!
Getting to the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is very simple. It’s a 15-minute taxi ride from the airport that will cost around $25. If you are a gambler, a casino host can arrange and comp you a fancy roundtrip airport transfer (more on that below).
East vs West Towers
The rooms are split into two towers, and they each have a distinguished vibe and style. The attention to detail and the overall design around the resort is just amazing. At times, I felt like I was walking through an updated Wynn resort, and I had to remind myself that I was indeed on a Caribbean island!
When the resort first opened, only rooms in the East Tower was available, but we arrived a week after the West Tower became fully operational. I was offered a room in my choice of towers, and I chose the West because I wanted to be one of the first to review it, and also because the Grand Club is located on the ground floor of the West Tower, so it seemed like the more convenient option for our many visits there.
In terms of the design, the rooms in the East Tower are definitely more “Cosmopolitan”, and our room in the West Tower felt more relaxed, kind of like an “Andaz Maui” island vibe. The designs between the towers are very different, but both are nice and were beautifully-appointed.
We were assigned an ocean-view room view with two double beds and a small walkout balcony. While I was not offered a suite upgrade as a Globalist, I really enjoyed our room, and it was perfect for a family of 4.
The bathroom was very nicely designed and featured a tub, rain shower, and one vanity sink. The provided amenities were large bottles of ESPA products (which in my opinion, smelled heavy and masculine – perhaps a lighter, island-appropriate scent would have worked better).
Pools & Beaches
After visiting this resort, I was shocked to learn that there really are just 6 pools because it truly felt like at least 12. The pools at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar are pretty spectacular to say the least. There are pools to suit every pool desire you may have – from waterfalls, canopies, cabanas, fountains, and rain. There’s also a hidden infinity pool on top of the Palm’s Cafe.
From what I observed, none of the pools were ever overly-crowded and all seemed to be family-friendly. All of the pools were heated, and some pools were warmer than others, but all were perfectly comfortable to get right in.
My absolute favorite was the pool closet to the beach that featured a cave where you can see stingrays, sharks, and all sorts of tropical fish (behind glass, of course).
This pool seemed to be the main attraction, because it also has a beautiful rock-jump cliff that allows you do plunge from 10-15 feet above into 14 feet of water.
We also spent a lot of time at the pool pictured below, which was great for families with young children. It gets deeper gradually, and the water fountains can easily keep kids safely entertained while adults can kick back in a nearby lounge chair.
Though none of the pools feature a water slide, there are plans to build a waterpark on the resort grounds soon (or so I’m told).
The beach at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar was awesome and great for families. The waves were gentle and the sand was soft, powdery, and clean.
All non-motorized water sports are free to use (paddle boards, kayaks, lounging floats, etc.), and there was also an abundance of life vests available in all sizes (even for tots). We didn’t feel bothered by vendors soliciting us at all.
There are plenty of lifeguards and individual restroom huts all around the pool and beach areas. There are many towel stations that all offered sunscreen and water.
The casino at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is simply stunning. lt’s huge, grand, and comparable to a casino you’d find in Las Vegas (though not nearly as busy). Though Hyatt does have a partnership with MLife, the casino here is not affiliated with the MLife loyalty program, but they do have their own independent Players Club that you can sign up for. I’m not aware of status match opportunities.
If you are a gambler, I did get in touch with a casino host at the property, and comps and airport transfers are available depending on your level and duration of play.
As I mentioned earlier, Grand Club access is 100% worth it, and I’d urge you to book a room with access ahead of time if you don’t have Hyatt status benefits that offer Club Lounge access already.
At check-in, I’ve heard mixed reports of buy-up offers ranging from $50-$100 per night. The lounge was extremely impressive for a North American Hyatt property, and the service was attentive and impeccable.
The Grand Club is located on the ground floor of the West Tower and is open daily from 6:30am – 9pm. The lounge is beautiful and massive in size, with plenty of tables (indoor and out), and comfortable lounge couches.
There is a nice breakfast spread each morning and evening appetizers start around 5pm. Though you can drop in any other time throughout the day, don’t expect to find much when it comes to snacks outside of the scheduled breakfast and evening offerings. It’s always nice to pop in for a cold drink or coffee though.
In the evenings, there are plenty of delicious pickings like grilled vegetables, salads, sushi, sandwiches, and rotating hot dishes. On Thanksgiving, the lounge had turkey and stuffing, and that was a hit.
It’s safe to say that we definitely had almost all meals here during our stay, except for lunch, which we found was reasonably-priced by the pool. Beer, wine, and mixed drinks are complimentary as well. If you grab a seat outside, you can enjoy the fountain shows while enjoying your food.
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar offers a complimentary kids club for children 3-12 years old called “Chickcharnie Explorers”. Registration is required ahead of time and is based on availability.
When we first arrived, the resort was operating on a “soft-opening” kids club schedule, and only had a 1-hour block for children 3-5 years old called “Marine Encounters”. While that was just a short amount of time for the kids, it did allow me to get some work done as they were entertained, and it wasn’t too long for them to leave them wondering where their parents were.
After I picked the kids up, they told me that they had fun feeding the sharks and stingrays and visiting the koi pond. They also did indoor arts and crafts and got butterfly tattoos. They were very happy and had a lot of fun.
The next day was when they launched a “full time” schedule with slots from 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm, which may be more convenient for some families.
Since my kids are on the younger side, we only kept them in the kids club for no more than 2 hours each morning, which allowed me enough time for me to work out and check out the spa (which was amazing, and I’ll get to that next). The staff was great and enthusiastic, and they all remembered my kids’ names after the first day.
The Spa & Fitness Center
The spa and fitness center at this resort is amazing! The gym is massive and has everything you could possibly need for a full workout. My favorite feature of the gym was biking with a view:Spa access is available to all resort guests, and I will have to say it it pretty amazing! The spa is very high-end, beautiful, huge, and includes plenty of serene areas to kick back and lounge. During my visit, there were separate steam rooms and saunas in the mens’ and women’s locker rooms, but I was told they were soon opening up co-ed steam rooms’ saunas, and relaxation areas too.
I highly recommend that you carve in some time to visit the spa and fitness center during your visit – you will not be disappointed.
Food + The Conch Shack
There are a number of restaurants to choose from at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar ranging from upscale dining to pubs to local, casual eats.
If you’re a seafood lover like me, I highly recommend you stop by the Conch Shack for some incredible and tasty conch salad (a Bahamian speciality) made fresh to order in front of you. You’ll watch the conch get extracted from the shell and prepared right in front of you. If you’re daring and want a natural aphrodisiac, ask the chef to pass “the pistol” your way.
To add to an already perfect Caribbean meal, it’s worth treating yourself to a homemade daiquiri (entirely made from fresh fruit and great rum) at the DAQS shack conveniently located right next to the Conch Shack.
I’ve rambled a lot in this post, but I hope I was able to provide some helpful information to those who are planning a trip to the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. I truly enjoyed my stay, and it’s a great family destination that I hope to visit again soon.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to comment below, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
For those who have visited the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar already, what were your impressions?