Big, bold and already iconic, the billion-dollar resort development Baha Mar opened Fall 2017 in Nassau, Bahamas. And by spring 2018, three hotels will have pride of place within this sprawling playground, with more than 2,000 rooms overlooking one of the destination’s most famous beaches. We checked into Baha Mar’s newest resort, SLS Baha Mar, and found plenty to love about the stylish beachfront boutique. Here are six reasons why you might, too.
1. The Style
SLS is an acronym for “style, luxury and service,” and it delivers the first “s” in spades. The resort’s interior public spaces are dramatic and arresting, every inch offering something new to captivate the eye. In the lobby, high ceilings; colorful oversized art and atmospheric lighting amp up the drama as guests chitchat in intimate groupings of mismatched (but perfectly coordinated) loveseats and armchairs. Monkey Bar features a solar system-like cluster of globe-shaped pendant lights, and framed portraits of apes dressed in human clothes. Walk straight through the lobby and you’re presented with yet another Instagram op: a sweeping staircase leading to the Bunglalow Pool, flanked by parasols and black-and-white striped cabanas, and backed by towering palm trees, landscaped gardens and the shimmering Caribbean beyond. Have your camera ready.
2. The Rooms
SLS’ 299 rooms are almost exclusively white. But that doesn’t mean they’re boring. Decorative drama recurs here in the form of oversized lamps, whimsical trompe l’oeil wallpaper, and swaths of floor-length drapery over the windows and closet, all of which combines to lend a distinctly theatrical effect. A painted stool is the only shot of color in the mostly monotone rooms, and we felt a bit like actors on a stage set, our belongings and the view outside providing the only other hues. Although there 18 room categories to choose from, all are spacious, have separate seating areas and feature thoughtful niceties such as bedside USB ports, single-serve coffee makers and a tablet from which you can order room service. The mini bar was by far the most comprehensive we’ve encountered, including everything from miniature bottles of alcohol to sunscreen, rum cake, lip balm, a USB cord and an “intimacy kit” for those … ahem … intimate moments.
3. The Beach and Pools
The resort is located right on Nassau’s most famous strand, Cable Beach. So named because the first telecommunications cables between the Bahamas and the U.S. were laid here back in 1892, this powdery strip runs for 2½ miles, so there’s enough beach for every bum. And if prefer the pool, SLS has two: The Bungalow Pool, where a swimsuit-and-stiletto-clad crowd relaxes to the throb of ambient house, and Privilege Pool, a sophisticated spot with cabanas and chaise-side meal service.
4. The Restaurants
There are two restaurants on-site: Cleo Mediterranean restaurant, which serves breakfast and dinner (try the spicy beef-and-feta cheese “cigars”) and Bungalow Bar and Grill, offering burgers, salads, sandwiches and a comprehensive cocktail menu (try the Sun Drop, with vodka, elderflower liqueur and lemon juice). Of course there’s room service, and Monkey Bar’s menu features tasty nibbles such as foie gras sliders. But all of Baha Mar’s 14 restaurants and as many bars are at your disposal, so you can feast on modern Japanese fare at Katsuya (designed by Philippe Starck); enjoy a Caesar salad made tableside at chef Michael Schwartz’ Fi’lia; sample conch salad from a beachfront stall; or slurp a bowl of noodles at Stix Noodle Bar. Just bring your appetite, flash your wristband and sign your meal to your suite.
5. The Amenities
One of the best things about staying at SLS is that you enjoy the intimacy and personalized service of a boutique hotel while still having access to all the amenities of the Bahamas‘ largest resort complex. Which means you have access to swanky Bond nightclub; play the slots and tables at the Caribbean’s largest casino; or enjoy a round on the Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole golf course. For shoppers, designer jewelry and fashion boutiques (hello, Tiffany & Co!) tempt the wallet, and treatments at the palatial ESPA will erase any lingering stress. We were particularly impressed by The Current, an art gallery, studio and performance space that features mixed media pieces by local artists. And just wandering the Baha Mar complex, which has more than 2,500 pieces of original Bahamian art, is an experience in itself.
6. The Kids’ Club
The Chickcharnie Explorers Club serves all resorts in the Baha Mar complex. Complimentary activities, designed for kids between three- and 12-years-old, include arts and crafts; tennis and snorkeling lessons and bird watching in the onsite aviary. A programming highlight: supervised encounters with the stingrays, starfish, sea cucumbers and turtles in the adjacent marine observatory, The Sanctuary.