The Bahamas is a longstanding playground for superyacht owners, but Kelly Sullivan explores why the new Baha Mar resort is this year’s zeitgeist stop-off for a rounded, Bahamian experience.
Seven o’clock in the brightly lit Library of the Rosewood Baha Mar and the evening is just getting into full swing. Salmon-pink glasses of fizz toast another beautiful blue-sky day in The Bahamas, a sophisticated preamble to dinner. A few feet of marbled floor away is the Manor Bar, where later in the evening guests will round off the night with smoked Old Fashioned cocktails and a cigar from the bar’s humidor.
One floor below, guests are sitting down to dinner at Malam, the Indian grill restaurant in which a fusion of traditional tandoori meets local Bahamian seafood set in a grand food hall. It’s here I spend my first night, easing myself into the time zone with easy comforting food in the form of grilled squid, lamb chops and buttery naan breads.
Just one of three hotels in the Baha Mar resort, The Rosewood is an ideal stop-off for superyacht owners when exploring the capital island of Nassau. The Albany Marina is the first port of call for docking, but from here Baha Mar is only a short distance and one worth making. The resort is perfectly poised for yachties to explore other corners of the island, discover the history and experience the culture.
With over 700 cays and islands in the archipelago only a modest 35 are inhabited, the biggest being Nassau. The Bahamas is rich in history, one that dates back to the fourteen hundreds, with remnants of an imperial past still in situ. “You’ll notice it in the social structures,” my driver tells me. “The school system follows the British system. We also drive on the left-hand side here.”
It’s possible to enjoy a taste of the island’s history through a guided tour of the John Watling's rum distillery. Housed in a classic Conch Style building, typified of The Bahamas, on the North East of the island, large chickens roam freely around the venue as visitors enjoy rum cocktails on the lawns. My tour guide walks us back 500 years ago to Columbus’ discovery of the islands over a short flight of the eponymous rum.
As well as the onshore liquid delights the Bahamas’ cerulean waters are also a draw for discerning watersports fans and superyacht owners. While some parts of the Bahamas’ reefs have been impacted by bleaching, the majority is proving to be resilient. The region is home to an abundance of tropical fish and exciting sea life including sharks, manta ray and friendly sea turtles. The Bahamas other famous sea residents are a little more unorthodox. Seventy nautical miles south of the Baha Mar is “Pig beach” which is home to around 20 swimming pigs and piglets.
To get a taste of the surrounding cruising on offer I take a 10-minute boat ride from the hotel to the private island of Long Cay, where guests of The Rosewood Baha Mar can enjoy complete privacy on an untouched cay with a private butler. I dine under the palms on grilled chicken, salads and bottomless glasses of Whispering Angel. On the short slip of ivory beach, it’s easy to while away hours under the sun with only the faint sound of music from the mainland, splintering the otherwise silent surroundings.
If you do choose to spend a night or two on shore at the Rosewood, before or after your charter, you certainly won’t feel like you are missing out on your superyacht comforts. The hotel’s suites exemplify the luxury that threads throughout the property. From the plush, four-posters to the stand-alone bathtubs and wrap-around balconies, every surface has a tasteful stack of coffee table books and each wall hung with local artwork, befitting the decor. Out the back of the hotel, three pools in succession, fan their way towards the sea. The main, larger pool shaped like an ink spill, meanders and winds around a labyrinth of private pergolas and sun beds. It’s easy to relax here.
At night, the light clings softly to the base of trees, paving my way towards the second restaurant in the Rosewood, Costa. It’s a floating Latin American affair girdled by palm trees serving up the perfect mezcal cocktail. Easily one of the best dinner settings in the Baha Mar resort, Costa offers relaxed al fresco dining with plenty of atmosphere. It’s here, with the cool sea air rustling through the trees and the soft playing Latino music that I sample the local delicacy, conch, pronounced “conk”. Served differently at every eatery, I enjoy it as a conch salad, served fresh, diced with a side of spicy mayonnaise and accompanied by a selection of fresh tacos and plenty of guacamole and chips.
I finish my trip with a final glass of pink fizz, marvelling in the beauty of the Bahamas. It’s easy to see why the superyacht set are so enthralled with this archipelago. The country proved its admirable rectitude and resilience when its northern islands were struck by hurricane Dorian in 2019. With Rosewood Baha Mar raising the level of luxury on Nassau while staying true to its Bahamian roots; it’s the ideal location to top or tail your time in these special islands.
A King, double occupancy room at Rosewood Baha Mar starts from USD$660 per night (approx. £508 per night). Guests of the Rosewood berthing at the Albany will be required to pay a $75 berthing fee.Click here for booking enquiries