SWEATSHIRT (40% off), JEANS, SUITCASE
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar Travel Diary + Hotel Review
Hi friends! I have received so many requests for this post, and I’m excited to finally share it with you (2 months later – insert monkey with covered eyes emoji), lol! I want to say up front that I was not paid or sponsored to take part in this trip whatsoever, the entire trip including flight, hotel stay, and food was paid out of my own pocket. To be candid, I invested in this trip to be able to share Spring content with you all ahead of the retail calendar, so you all could be inspired going into your Spring break trips and eventual warm weather. Overall, it was considered a business expense for my blog.
Following the trip, I was so excited to hear the interest you had in hearing more about the property. Overall, it was an amazing trip, and I am happy to share my thoughts/opinions regarding my stay. Baha Mar is inclusive of two separate properties, The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar (where I stayed) and the SLS Baha Mar. Though they are separate hotels, many of them share the same amenities with the SLS being the more luxury property of the two.
SLS guests had access to most of the Grand Hyatt amenities, but Grand Hyatt guests did not have access to SLS amenities. However, both hotels have access to all restaurants. I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar because the room rate was cheaper and I never felt deprived by not having access to the SLS property. Overall, I would say the Grand Hyatt property was more kid-friendly, and the SLS was considered the adult, luxury property. If I were visiting on my honeymoon, I would definitely invest a little more to stay at the SLS because the pool appeared to be more relaxed and quiet.
One thing I want to make sure I mention is that I visited the hotel in early February, which is only the beginning of the busy Spring resort season. The property was not very crowded, and I didn’t have a lot of trouble making reservations at restaurants or even reserving a chair at the front row of the pool. I had a lot of messages from you asking me to do a review because you were planning trips here and had read bad reviews about the service experience at the resort. I’ll talk more about this later, but I could see the possibility of the hotel having service and availability issues in their highest busy season, though I didn’t experience this myself.
The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar opened in Summer of 2017, and is a brand new hotel. The rooms and the property are nothing short of perfection and I always felt like there was something to do. They do a great job of creating a schedule of activities that interests all guests from gambling at the casino to volleyball games on the beach to turtle feedings at the aquarium. I definitely think I could spend 5 days or more here without tiring of the property.
The property itself is massive, offering 8+ restaurants, a HUGE casino, multiple pools each with their own bar and even a rock wall aquarium and water slide that connects to the pool. I was there for 4 nights and still didn’t feel like I saw the entire property or experienced every restaurant.
One thing I want to make sure I mention is the beach. I was very impressed with the size and cleanliness. In the past when I’ve stayed at huge hotels like this, I feel like they compensate by offering a huge property full of pools simply because they don’t have a beach to back it up. I didn’t feel that way at all about Baha Mar. The beach is massive and there is plenty of room for everyone.
If you are the type of person that enjoys a huge resort property with a schedule designed for entertaining rather than a boutique experience, this resort is definitely for you. If you don’t like crowds, making dinner reservations or even kids at the pool, then I would recommend you stay at the SLS or a different hotel all together. I tend to lean towards boutique hotel experiences, especially when traveling with Drew. But since this was a blog trip, I thought it fit perfectly for that type of experience.
I would have to say one of my favorite things about the property is all of the color around you. Even the bathrooms are pretty! It truly is a bloggers paradise and so picturesque.
I had the opportunity to experience most of the restaurants at the resort and wanted to rank them from my favorite to least favorite to help guide you in booking reservations. I have positive things to say about all of them except for the buffet, The Regatta. We were told to go here by one of the resort employees, and I was hesitant because I generally am not crazy about buffets, but we chose to try it anyways. I was not impressed with the selection and thought the food was mediocre at best.
Conch Shack – Services fresh conch salad (conch mixed with varieties of fruit). This was my absolute favorite lunch spot, and I was so sad because I discovered it on our last day. I would have eaten here everyday had I visited it earlier. Definitely try the tropical conch salad!
Cafe Madeleine – We ate here for breakfast every morning and it was SO good! They serve amazing lattes, pastries and the most delicious quiche. Highly recommend even if you want breakfast on the go. They have lots of grab and go options like yogurt parfaits and muffins. It’s also a great place for a gelato stop.
Katsuya – Japanese restaurant that is part of the SLS Baha Mar located off the main casino. This was probably my favorite dinner at the resort. It reminded me a lot of Nobu if you’ve ever been there before. They have a very similar Black Cod dish that is to die for, and you can’t go wrong with the sushi. Also loved the mochi ice cream for dessert.
Sandy Dog – Hot dog hut located off the beach. Y’all are going to think I am so weird, but I loveeee Chicago hot dogs! I’ve never even been to Chicago haha. We have friends that introduced me to Chicago Dogs in Charlotte and I’ve never turned back. I had the most amazing Chicago Dog here and I highly recommend if you’re a weird hot dog fan like me. 🙂
Shuang Ba – Chinese restaurant, very authentic. This restaurant was somewhat unusual but surprisingly good. I had a hard time reading the menu and recognizing the different entrees. I had the pork pyramid for dinner which was meat wrapped into the shape of a pyramid – it’s really hard to explain without seeing the dish, but I really enjoyed the taste.
Fi’lia – Italian restaurant also a part of the SLS property and located beside Katsuya. This was probably one of my least favorite dinners, though it was still very good food. I just rank the other dinners above this one. It’s exactly as you would imagine, good Italian food, but nothing in particular blew me away.
Elixir/H2O/The Palms – these were the poolside restaurants we are lunch at most days and where we got most of our frozen drinks throughout the day. All of them had a variety of menu items that were really good. Highly recommend the nachos and steak skewers and the pina colada of course. 🙂
El Jefe – Mexican lunch spot located by the pier. If you don’t eat her for lunch, at the very least go take pictures in front of here. It’s a hot pink air-stream trailer and it is SO cute. The food and drinks were pretty good (I had a burrito bowl and watermelon margarita), but it’s a great spot for quick Mexican lunch.
Regatta – this was the buffet restaurant I mentioned earlier that I wasn’t impressed with. Again, I’m not a big buffet person unless is it breakfast specifically, so probably just not my style of restaurant.
This is a topic I’m sure many of you are waiting for me to touch on as several of you reached out with concerns about bad reviews on the resort’s service. The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar is a brand new hotel, and with any new establishment it takes a little while to work out the kinks and get into a rhythm. Although I personally did not have a bad service experience, I could see where other guests could experience service problems when the resort was at full capacity.
I personally felt that they were not staffed well enough to accommodate the number of people possible that could stay at the hotel. Think about it, the hotel has 1,800 guest rooms. At double occupancy that is well over 3,000 guests at one resort. It takes a load of service staff to properly accommodate that number of guests. I feel they are still learning the number of employees it takes to service during busy periods, and any level of dissatisfaction hotel guests have experienced will be remedied in the near term.
There were times when we would be walking down the hotel hallways lost and I’d look for a service person and couldn’t find anyone in sight to ask. I also found times when I waited at the bar for more than 5 minutes to grab a drink. You should and will need to book restaurant reservations for your dinners as I’m sure the restaurants book up when at full capacity. Though, these are all service ‘annoyances’ they are also things that I would expect at a hotel like this. I think your opinion regarding service is dependent upon your expectations and level of dissatisfaction for putting up with things like this.
I will say never once did I experience an unhappy resort employee. Everyone was thrilled and honored to be working at the resort and their primary goal was to ensure a positive experience. For instance, I remember one night our hotel key fell out of my purse and one of the employees offered to walk all the way down to the main desk (imagine how far that is in a resort this large), retrieve our key for us and walk it all the way back to our hotel, and he did it all with a smile on his face. I was very impressed and so thankful for the above and beyond level of service he provided.
SWIMSUIT TOP, SWIMSUIT BOTTOM, COVERUP
I wanted to make this topic it’s own headline because I think this is very important to touch upon. When I booked my stay at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, I was thrilled to see a $2-300 room price/night for our stay given the size and luxury nature of the property. Most other Caribbean hotels were above and behind this for half the level of amenities. I booked it, no questions asked and didn’t even think about considering the costs incurred during the stay.
With that said, the food and drinks were verrryyyy expensive ($14 or more per drink) at the hotel and definitely made up in costs for the more affordable room rate. That would be my main complaint about the experience as I am the kind of person who would prefer a higher room rate (like an all-inclusive), to not have to worry about incremental costs throughout my stay. Definitely keep this in mind when budgeting for your stay as I personally was very surprised when I looked at the menus.
Overall, I would say I had a very pleasant experience staying at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, and I hope you enjoyed hearing more about the trip. If you have any questions that I didn’t specifically address in the post, feel free to reach out to me by leaving a comment below! I love hearing feedback from you and addressing any of your needs! Xoxo.