The Bahamas. Say that a few times in your head and you almost feel like you are already on vacation. Now imagine water that is the prettiest shade of blue, white sand beaches, and swimming pools that will keep your kids happy for days. You are now seeing into your family’s future and your upcoming stay at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. Want to guarantee a fantastic vacation at Baha Mar? Read on for all of my Baha Mar tips for your first family trip to this amazing resort.
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar finally opened it’s doors during the summer of 2017. The original opening was set for 2015, but there were many financial issues and the property sat empty. Since the summer of 2017, two more hotels have opened, Rosewood and SLS. All three of these luxury properties share an enormous pool complex, white sand beach, and amenities. The 1,800 room Grand Hyatt is by far the most family friendly of the three, and that is what we are going to focus on with our Baha Mar tips.
Baha Mar resort is currently closed, but expected to reopen on October 1, 2020. The resort is using this downtime to build a new mini golf course, add restaurants and shopping, and continuing to work on Baha Bay, it’s water park scheduled to open in 2021.
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The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar Room Tips
Read the resort reviews online before you leave, but keep in mind that this is both a good and bad thing to do. Most TripAdvisor reviews come with complaints, but some reviews are actually helpful. I always check out the latest reviews for where I’m staying and where I’m planning to eat a few weeks before my trip. You can read the TripAdvisor reviews for the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar here.
The rooms at the Grand Hyatt do not have a microwave or refrigerator. Both of these appliances are helpful when traveling with kids, and can be requested upon your arrival. We requested a refrigerator when we checked in, and it was delivered shortly after we got up to our room. I didn’t know that microwaves were available to request until the people delivering our refrigerator asked us if we needed one. There is no charge for either appliance, but they are only available on a first come basis. I did request our refrigerator in advance of our arrival, but that request didn’t make it into our file.
The Grand Hyatt has two towers designated as East and West. Besides the decor, the main difference is that the East tower has bathtubs in the bathrooms and this tower is where most families are placed. The West tower only has showers in the bathrooms.
Have an odd numbered room assigned to you in the East tower? You’ll be getting a fountain view out your large windows. The fountain view is nothing to be disappointed about because the fountain shows are beautiful and play throughout the day, well into the evening. You also get a gorgeous sunset view.
There is a separate check-in line for World of Hyatt members. It’s way to the left of the reception desk in the East Tower.
The fountain view rooms of both towers get a lot of sunshine all day long. It’s great when you’re visiting in the winter, because isn’t seeing the sun the whole point of visiting the Bahamas? Your room will heat up though during the hot and humid summer months.
Each room gets two bottles of water delivered every day.
Each room has a balcony. Some rooms have a full balcony with 2 chairs and a table, and some rooms have a Juliet balcony which is only good for standing on. The full balcony rooms have a higher room rate.
There was only one bathroom robe in the room. If you need more, just call housekeeping.
Rooms have 2 closets for storing your clothing and suitcases. The closets also contain the safe and ironing supplies.
The wall to the bathroom opens. Yes, the wall OPENS! Why, I have NO idea. Can you tell I think this is very unusual? When you walk into your room for the very first time, the wall will be open, so be prepared for the minor freaking out by any teenagers that may occur. The wall does completely close, but doesn’t lock. Go to the Grand Hyatt website here, and scroll down to the room picture for the “grand queen” room. Notice the bathtub right next to the bed? That’s not right!
Take the time to explore the services available on the computer tablet in your room. The tablet is useful to check hours of restaurants and activities, order room-service, read thru restaurant menus, and to request basic items from housekeeping.
Check your towel supply when you arrive at your room. We only had three sets, so request more as needed.
The light switches are an issue. You’ll discover what I mean that first night while everyone is sleeping, and that one person gets up and turns on the bathroom light. Let’s just say that all of the lights will probably turn on once they figure out how to get the bathroom light on. The switch by the door to the hallway and the switch by the bed are master switches. Each night you want to turn off the lights with the master switch by the bed, and this should allow someone to turn on the bathroom lights by simply flipping the light switch in the bathroom. Practice this before everyone goes to sleep. Trust me.
Standard rooms do not have a table, only a desk and chair. The chair kind of sticks out into the walkway, so you may want to move it to the corner of the room near your balcony.
Bring your own hair conditioner. Housekeeping was very stingy with the hair products, and you’ll want a good conditioner to get thru the tangles in that beach hair.
Tips for the Pools and Beach at Baha Mar
You would think that a resort that is known for it’s pools, would make it a little easier for you to find them. The walkway to the pools and spa is on floor seven, for the East tower. If you walk to the pools on the main level, you have to walk through the casino.
Everyone staying at the Hyatt property gets a wristband at check in. Unfortunately these wristbands do not unlock your room door or allow you to charge things to your room. The only thing these wristbands are for is to identify Grand Hyatt guests who are trying to enter a pool area that is reserved for Rosewood or SLS guests.
Take advantage of the Sun Bum sunscreen that is offered at the towel huts. Even if you don’t think you need it, this is a necessity in the hot sun of the Bahamas. It’s so convenient and always appreciated when sunscreens is offered at the resorts. There is also ice water at the towel huts too.
There are so many pools at Baha Mar, and every single one is unique and has it’s advantages. Check out every pool and pick a favorite. We were partial to Fortunes and Dean’s Blue Hole.
During the winter months, the pools close at 6:00. The closing coincides with sunset.
You may notice that some pool towels are sitting on the same empty chair all day long. So can you sit there? Or is the chair being saved for someone? It’s always a guessing game. This wasn’t a big issue during the week because there were always empty chairs, but the weekend is a different story.
Wouldn’t a water park make Baha Mar the ultimate family destination? Well, they are building one, but there is no word on when it is expected to be completed. Hopefully it’s like the waterpark at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, Florida….you can read more about that resort here.
Wondering what is included in the $30 daily resort fee? Well one thing included is the use of kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and snorkeling gear. Equipment can be checked out right on the beach, and an attendant will even help you carry your kayak to the water’s edge.
There is currently (early 2019) work being done on the dock at Baha Mar. It looks like quite a project and there was a little bit of noise from the construction. You only notice the noise if you are on the beach.
Walk out on the dock for the great view of the whole resort, or pick up a shuttle boat from the dock to Balmoral Island (owned by Sandals) which is only a short cruise away. The shuttle service to Balmoral is free and there is a designated area on the island for Baha Mar guests to go.
There are vendors walking along Cable Beach offering drinks, jewelry and scarves for sale, para-sailing adventures, and hair braiding. If you don’t make eye-contact, or politely decline, they will probably leave you alone.
There are a lot of beach chairs set up along the water. We never had a problem finding chairs together.
Look out into the water and the first thing you’ll see are the aquamats and floating islands that are anchored all in a row. This is where your family will be spending a lot time while at the beach.
The Food Scene – Baha Mar Tips About Where to Eat
The type of restaurants, the high meal prices, and the quality of the food at Baha Mar are a concern for family travelers. Read any review on TripAdvisor and you’ll see the complaints of people not getting into their restaurant of choice, the tasteless food, and the through-the-roof prices. Yes, most of the food offerings are not all that family friendly, but there are solutions.
Make your family’s dinner reservations in advance. You can read about the restaurants on the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar website and check out some menus. If a place sounds good, make a reservation (you can always cancel).
Have a family full of people who can’t agree on what to eat for dinner? Then you need to go to the buffet to make everyone happy. The buffet is expensive for those ages 12 and up ($54), but kids age 11 and under are charged $15 for dinner. The kid’s price isn’t too bad because once your kids see all of the desserts, ice pops, and candy they will eat their money’s worth.
There is a Starbucks in the Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar (of course there’s a Starbucks…they’re everywhere). Besides the coffee drinks that everyone loves, it’s a good option for a sandwich for any meal of the day. Don’t load up your Starbucks card though, you can’t use it here.
Once dinnertime rolls around and your family really doesn’t feel like going out for a big sit down meal, then it’s time to order delivery. Pizza from Marco’s or Domino’s, and Chinese from Wok ‘N Roll are some nearby options.
Baha Mar has food trucks parked throughout the pool and beach area. This is a delicious and cheaper option for your meals. The food trucks do shut down at 6:00 p.m., so you’ll want to grab an early dinner and sit at the tables near the pools or bring your food up to your room. Check out the Baha Mar website or the tablet in your room to read about the food trucks. Our favorites were the chicken nachos from El Jefe, Chicago dog lunch combo from Sandy Dog, pulled pork sandwich from Flame to Smoke, and the plain Jane slider and waffle fries from SliDerrzz.
Not all restaurants offer a kids menu. The Swimming Pig offers kids meals that end with ice cream. We were interested in eating at Stix, but they didn’t have a kids menu. I always figure that no kids menu = not kid friendly. (Just my opinion…I know you can always make a kids meal from ordering sides.)
Up for an afternoon or evening walk? Visit the Daiquiri Shack that is just off property for drinks that are more reasonably priced than at the poolside bars.
Who likes to end their day with something sweet? Grab a cup of gelato at Cafe Madeleine and enjoy it in front of the fountain show.
Consider stopping at a grocery store on your way to the resort from the airport, to stock up on snacks for your room. We did a little shopping and bought everything we needed for breakfast, snacks, and drinks.
Calculate the price difference for upgrading to club level compared to what you’ll save on restaurant meals. The Grand Club Lounge serves breakfast, mid-day snacks, evening appetizers, and drinks. The price difference may be worth it for your family.
Everything Else That You Need to Know About Baha Mar
This is a cashless resort. You can use a credit card or charge everything back to your room. You don’t even need your room key to charge to your room, just tell them your last name, hotel, and room number.
If you do need some small bills for tips, but are out, the front desk can make change.
Gratuity for housekeeping and bellmen staff is included in the daily resort fee.
Try to visit during the week for fewer crowds. We noticed an increase in the crowds once Friday rolled around.
You can use World of Hyatt points for your stay at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. One night is 20,000 points for a regular room and 27,000 points for a club level room. I’ve heard different reports, but if you pay with points you may not be charged the $30 daily resort fee. We were not charged the daily fee which is usually the case when you pay with points…but you never know.
Wondering how to get to the airport when it’s time to go home? There was a constant line of taxis waiting at the Grand Hyatt entrance. Let the bellmen know when you are ready to go and they’ll get a taxi for you.
Get off the property and explore the island. Most tours will pick you up right at the Grand Hyatt. Another option is to hire a private driver and plan your own tour itinerary.
There may be travel advisories for certain areas in the Bahamas, but the resort is very safe and security is visibly present. If you travel into Nassau just be aware of your surroundings and head back to the resort once the sun goes down.
Baha Mar is an expensive resort, but there are many free and reasonably priced activities for the whole family. Here are a few examples:
- Yoga classes are offered for $15, and you can find the schedule on the in-room tablet.
- Watch the fountain shows during the afternoon and again after dark. You can get so close to the shows, that you’ll feel the mist.
- There is a short fire show each night in the fountain behind the casino.
- Tour the art studio for inspiration, and don’t miss walking through the convention center to view even more artwork. Classes are available.
- If you want to head into Nassau, hop a jitney bus at the stop in front of the hotel. Keep in mind that buses only run until 6:00 p.m.
- Walk around the sanctuary and aviary areas among the pools. Kids will also love watching the flamingos near the food trucks.
These Baha Mar tips will help your family have the best vacation possible! A little planning really goes a long ways when it comes to traveling somewhere new with your whole family. Enjoy your trip!
Check out these other posts that will have you dreaming of your family’s next trip to the Bahamas:
- 40 Easy Ways to Save Money at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas
- What to Pack for Your Atlantis Vacation