It’s almost the holidays, and my pre-Christmas was made extra special by getting the opportunity to travel to the Bahamas through my job at Inside Weddings last week! I was totally spoiled and got to fly first class to spend three incredible nights at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and explore the restaurants & activities available on the property! It was an incredible experience – and I got to meet people from the states as well as Brazil, Colombia, and the UK. With just two full days to explore, our time was packed with excursions, delicious food & drink, and little bit of time to rest & relax.
I arrived at 6:30 pm, checked in & met the group for dinner & drinks.
Since my flight didn’t get in until after the sun went down, I missed the pre-dinner margaritas at El Jefe – the resort’s pink airstream food truck on the beach – but I was able to make it in time to meet everyone for dinner at 3 Tides. Afterwards, I went back to my room to unpack and make the beautiful room my home for the next three nights. Since the hotel just opened in April and is slowly rolling out new restaurants, we were some of the first to sleep in the guest rooms! The hotel has a total Vegas-on-the-beach vibe, so I’m sure it’ll be a hot spot for not only couples but also girls’ trips!
We woke up early for breakfast, toured the grounds, visited the animal sanctuary, and enjoyed a rum tasting & fresh noodles.
After getting a good night’s sleep, I met the group for breakfast at the same buffet-style restaurant where we had dinner the night before. They had everything you could ever want to get your morning started – made-to-order omelets and smoothies, local Bahamian dishes, pastries, breakfast potatoes, and so much more. Once we were fed, we went on a three-hour tour of the property where we got to see the Royal Blue golf course (Jack Nicklaus designed!), a 100,000-square-foot casino (the largest casino in the Caribbean), unbelievable guest rooms and villas in the various towers on property, and the art studio space!
Following the tour, we had lunch at the hotel’s poolside restaurant, Drift, where I had my favorite tropical frozen cocktail (“Miami Vice” – a mixture of strawberry daiquiri and piña colada), sampled conch salad (obviously conch isn’t vegetarian, but I had to try a tiny piece of the Bahamas favorite while I was there!), and had a delicious quesadilla with a Caribbean hot sauce that I wish I brought home. After lunch, we went to the Beach Sanctuary to see tropical fish, nurse sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles get fed.
After going back to the room to take a bath in the beautiful marble bathroom, we met at T² – the hotel’s cigar and rum bar – for a private rum tasting before having dinner at Stix, where we saw the chefs perform noodle pulling (basically braiding and shaking noodles until they transform from thick dough to tiny noodles).
Our last full day was spent snorkeling, getting massages, and having a last celebratory group dinner followed by drinks with live music.
Our last full day on the island was the most jam-packed with activities, and it was my favorite day of the trip by far! We met for an early 7:30 am breakfast at Café Madeline, which had the cutest French décor & amazing food! I ordered a cappuccino and the avocado toast with a poached egg on top, but we also got to sample tasty pastries, yogurt parfaits, and breakfast sandwiches.
It was a bit windy which made us all nervous, but we still boarded the shuttle to our snorkeling excursion with Stuart Cove’s Dive. The wind made the water super choppy, so we all were feeling slightly seasick, but getting into the water at the reefs helped! We saw amazing, brightly colored fish, conch, and one of the girls in our group even saw a baby stingray. I would LOVE to go back someday when the water is calmer since I’m sure that would help us to see more fish. The last stop on the tour was the most exciting! We got to see dozens of reef sharks, which you normally get to swim with but they advised against it since it was too choppy and they didn’t want them to surface thinking our flopping fins were fish… fine by me since it’s another item to cross off my bucket list later in life!
When we got back to the resort, we had lunch alfresco at Palms Café. The guacamole & the chips were amazing, my “Miami Vice” addiction continued, and many appetizers later, I was almost too full to eat my lobster grilled cheese (hold the lobster). After lunch, we all laid by the pool and then made our way to the ESPA Spa for amazing Swedish massages. After getting ready for the final evening, we met for cocktails at Blue Note before heading to Shuang Ba, the hotel’s high-end Chinese restaurant that might even have a Michelin star someday (it just opened less than a week before our visit!). We had a four-hour dinner complete with the chef’s tasting menu, fine wine, and tasty desserts. After dinner, we had a nightcap back at Blue Note where we listened to live jazz music while sipping classic cocktails.
With everyone departing the Bahamas throughout day, we met for a last group breakfast back at 3 Tides. With all of the activities on the trip, I realized I hadn’t walked on the white sand beach yet, so I took a loop around the property before heading back to the hotel to grab my bags and head to the airport. It was a quick, but memorable, trip filled with SO much food, delicious drinks, and amazing views of the turquoise waters. I would love to go back someday and can’t wait to visit again soon! There are so many more excursions I want to do – like swimming with the sharks and also the pigs in Exuma – and having time to lay out on the beach, stand up paddle board or enjoy the glass-bottomed kayaks, jet ski, play tennis on grass & clay courts, and visit the private island that’s set to open soon.
Have you ever been to the Bahamas? We had been on a cruise with mom during college and Nick & I stopped on one of the many islands on our Caribbean cruise, but this was my first time at a Bahamian resort! Let me know how your experience was in the comments! And if you’ve never been, will you be adding it to your travel wish list?