I just returned from a good friend’s beach wedding and a 3-night stay at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in The Bahamas. I previously visited this resort for four nights over Thanksgiving in 2017 with my family and had a blast.
I really enjoyed returning to the 1,800-room mega-resort with a Vegas-style casino and beautiful grounds, but this time around some things have changed that I shared in my original post. While I’ve previously written a lengthy review of this property, the purpose of this post is to highlight my impressions and notable changes after visiting a second time.
Still a Sweet Spot
The great thing about the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is that it still remains a Hyatt “sweet-spot” redemption, even after the recent award changes that went into effect. It’s still a category 5 property at 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.
Using points is an especially good deal for World of Hyatt members because you’d be exempt from the mandatory and outrageous resort and service fees (we’re talking over $60 per day). With that in mind, if you need to load up on Hyatt points, don’t forget that 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.
Getting There by Taxi
During my first visit, a casino host arranged a round trip black car transfer for my family to/from the resort. This time around, I didn’t have much luck with that request. Those who know me know that I do enjoy gambling more than the average person, so I was a bit bummed that a complimentary transfer could not be arranged for this trip.
The good news though is that getting to the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is very simple and quick by taxi (15-minutes); however, these taxis are not metered, and we felt ripped off being quoted a stern $40 each way. Previously, I remember it being around $20-$25 each way, so keep that in mind.
Another observation that I picked up on this time around was that white wristbands were distributed at check in. Since there are three hotels that share the Baha Mar grounds (Grand Hyatt, SLS, and Rosewood), the different color wristbands matched guests to their respective hotel. It was told that these wristbands are to be worn at all times, although it didn’t seem to be super enforced (my young kids didn’t wear them because they were too big).
Grand Club Lounge
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. Food costs at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar are outrageously-expensive, and the resort does not offer the option of an all-inclusive meal plan, so keep that in mind.
The Grand Club is located on the ground floor of the West Tower and is open daily from 6:30am – 9pm. There is a nice breakfast spread each morning and evening appetizers are served from 5-7pm, and switches to dessert between 7-9pm.
Although 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.
Private Island Experience
Since our last visit, the resort has added a new feature that’s popular with children and adults alike- Flamingo Cay. Guests can visit the flamingos and get more up close and personal with them during scheduled daily “parades” and feedings.
Perhaps the most disappointing change since our last visit was the elimination of the complimentary kids club. I popped in to check out what the new deal was and get ready for it… it’s a staggering $61.20[!!!] per session (3 hours) per child, ages 3 and up and fully potty trained. Sessions run between 9am-12pm and 1pm-4pm. There’s also an evening session starting at 6:30pm. Do the math – this means a family with two children will have to fork over over $120 for 3 hours of kids club access. Hard pass!
In light of all of this, you can still take the kids to the daily marine life (sharks, turtles, and rays) feedings at 10:30am at the Exploration Center next door.
Waterpark Coming Soon
Though none of the resort pools currently feature a water slide, since opening, there have been rumors about an on-site
waterpark “water feature” in the works. The good news is that it looks like that may come into fruition soon because the construction site is there. Resort employees say it’s expected to be completed by Fall 2019, but I’d say that’s extremely optimistic. Either way, I think whatever it ends up being will be a nice enhancement.
No More Conch Shack
In my previous post, I raved about the Conch Shack as a way to enjoy an incredible and tasty conch salad (a Bahamian speciality) made fresh to order in front of you. Unfortunately during this recent visit, I discovered that the Conch Shack has been replaced by a poke bowl spot, which I did not get to try. The good news though it’s worth treating yourself to a homemade daiquiri (entirely made from fresh fruit and great rum) at DAQS, which is located right next door.
I noticed an increase of food trucks down by the entrance of the beach. During my first visit, there were only about two food trucks to choose from, and now there’s around a dozen.
In theory, these are good for quick and cheaper casual eats, but in reality, lines were long and it wasn’t much of a bargain. I had ordered a couple of terrible burgers from Umami Burgers one afternoon for lunch, so I gave up on trying another food truck; however, friends of mine said they enjoyed the speciality hotdogs at the Shady Dog food truck.
I hate to point out shortcomings, but I was quite disappointed in the service this time around, and it seemed to be the general consensus with all of my friends as well. Perhaps I visited during a more crowded time, but I found the service around the pool and casual restaurants to be extremely slow (we’re talking 60-90 minutes for a boxed burger with a bag of chips), which was a bit frustrating, especially with hangry kids. On the plus side, service in the lounge was friendly and attentive, just like my first visit.
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.
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 recently, what were your impressions?