You guys… SO MANY of you had so many questions about our recent trip to The Bahamas — my DM inbox was flooded with questions about where we stayed, how much we liked it, where to eat, etc. I was so excited to put together this #GLAMtraveldiary for you — it’s been a while (since London/Paris), and it feels good to have some travel content here on OSG again! Let me first start off by saying — this is in no way sponsored by the resort we stayed at — we fully booked this trip on our own. Raj and I have a tradition of going away on our “spring break” usually around March each year — we did Cabo last year (and a few years back) and have done Aruba, Cancun, and some cruises in the past, as well as some U.S. destinations like Charleston and driving down the CA coastline. Raj has typically been the organizer of our spring trips (and I’ve taken the reigns for some of our overseas travel including the South of France and Italy the past two summers). I always trust his research — he doesn’t even involve me slightly in the planning and has just booked it and told me afterwards where we’re going! This year was no different, and he surprised me with a fully planned trip for Valentine’s Day. You all probably know the saga by now. We had a BRUTAL winter, but then February was on the milder side. Just when we thought we might get off easy and have an early spring start, March arrived (clearly pissed off, too) and we had back-to-back HUGE snowstorms for 4 weeks in a row. Our trip was cancelled 2x, and poor Raj had to spend hours on the phone rebooking the hotel, our restaurant reservations (which we needed weeks in advance), and our flights, and we were seriously starting to debate just calling the whole thing off. You know when something just doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards?! That’s how we were starting to feel. We kept saying, “third time is the charm, right?!” and on our third attempt, we were finally off to warmer weather! We had a layover in Miami and it was a quick 35 minutes in the the air — I slept for those 35 minutes and decided to include the glamour shot that Raj took of me as we started to descend into The Bahamas. He really knows my good angles, huh?! Our flight was so early in the morning, so we ended up arriving and basically had a FULL day ahead of us… I love booking travel like that.
WHERE WE STAYED
Raj had heard amazing things from a few friends and colleagues of his about Baha Mar, a new(er) resort which opened about a year ago. Baha Mar is a three-resort complex consisting of Grand Hyatt, SLS, and the soon-to-be Rosewood. We ended up booking our room at Grand Hyatt — the resort that opened first last year, based on reviews and other feedback we had heard. The resorts are all situated right next to each other and have paths so you could freely walk around each property. The overall aesthetic of the resort is very cohesive, but each property definitely has its own feel. The Grand Hyatt has some really cool art deco inspired decor and is definitely geared more towards families, while the SLS is a pastel lover’s dream and has a very trendy feel (similar to their other properties) and has the resort’s adult-only pool (hello, sign me up). We spent an equal amount of time at both — listening to live music at the Grand Hyatt pool for St. Paddy’s day, and then sitting in a cabana all day with rosé at the SLS. I love when resorts have a mix of energy — some days, I’m looking to relax with a book, and other days, I love the pool party vibe.
It is not an all-inclusive resort, and there are standalone restaurants that you can eat at (no matter where you stay). We received an insider tip to make reservations for dinner each night before even getting to the resort — they book up fast and then you’re seriously shit out of luck and have to go off property (unless you go with the buffet option) if you don’t book ahead. We ate at Cleo — a delicious Mediterranian restaurant twice, Katsuya (sushi) once, and at Filia (Italian) once. Our 5th night, we decided to order takeout from Stix Noodle Bar and eat in our room (since we had a full living room and dining room table). Lunch was my absolute favorite meal there and there were so many options — there were adorable airstream food trucks lining the beach, so you could grab a bite at the hot dog stand, the poke stand, the taco stand, or the BBQ stand (and soon-to-be pizza stand), or eat at a few of the poolside restaurants (which we did once). All of the food trucks were insanely delcious — I’m still dreaming of the poke bowl, and I had to get my hands on a hotdog one of the days (they are a weakness). I loved being able to just grab food and head back to wherever we were stationed without losing our chairs (more on that below).
We also opted into club access at the Grand Hyatt — which is well worth it, if you plan to use it. If you haven’t done a club access before, it’s basically a private lounge with snacks and drinks throughout the day. It’s a bit of money up front (it was $150 per day for both of us) — but seriously ends up saving money over the course of the week. We would eat breakfast here each day (a coffee at the resort is like $6, so stick with me and this will all make sense). We also would stop into the club throughout the day to stock up on water bottles to bring with us to the beach, and grab some club sodas to bring with us back to our room. They also had a nightly happy hour with a full spread of appetizers, so we would make sure to stop there each night before dinner, have a few glasses of wine and a few small bites (then split a meal at dinner since we’re not huge eaters). A glass of wine ran about $15 (minimum a glass with the added service charge and tax), so between coffee and breakfast, fruit and snacks throughout the day, wine, water, and all beverages, it made sense for us, and we made great use of it. It saved us from ordering wine at dinner + we just loved being out of the hustle and bustle of the resort sometimes. The Grand Hyatt also has this beautiful water fountain show throughout the day to music (think: The Bellagio in Las Vegas on a smaller scale), so we loved grabbing a glass of wine and watching the show at night from the club.
A FEW THOUGHTS + SOME TIPS/TRICKS
A few of you were asking about my thoughts between the two resorts that are currently open (I can’t speak for Rosewood, which opens in June this year). The blogger in me wants to tell you SLS — the rooms looked so Instagrammable (as we like to say), and the overall vibe was cool, but we heard service over there is a bit spotty, and I would agree based on what we experienced. It’s the newer resort on the complex, and sometimes it takes a bit of time for places to find their groove and work out the kinks. It also has that very exclusive vibe — and some of their pools require reservations, cabanas are very expensive, and there aren’t as many pool chairs. If that’s not your thing, I would probably recommend the Grand Hyatt. It’s a bigger property, has a huge casino, and don’t quote me on this, but I believe the rooms are a little less (likely because it’s bigger overall).
We utilized transportation that the hotel offers (it was $40 per way from the hotel to the airport and vice versa), with a private SUV. We actually asked our driver to stop at a liquor store on the way to the hotel when we landed, and we stocked up on some booze to bring with us to keep in our room. I can’t explain how much I loathe spending an insane amount of money on alcohol. I don’t know what it is — but it drives me NUTS. I’m not normally a big drinker, but I make the exception on vacation and like to sip on a cold drink when I want, without racking up a bill. Sometimes, I like to have a beer that’s NOT $15… you feel me? Since it’s a hotel (and not an all-inclusive resort), we walked in with our bag of liquor and stored a few bottles of champs and a liter of vodka in our room fridge, and would make our own drinks in our room when hanging out before dinner.
Make restaurant reservations well in advance. I honestly felt bad for people standing around the restaurants dumbfounded that there weren’t any openings. I would have been livid if that happened to us and I’m happy we researched ahead of time. We made our reservations about a week in advance — all of their restaurants are on Open Table, which makes it super easy to book/change as needed.
There are no rules for saving chairs. Meaning, some asswipe can wake up at the crack of dawn, grab a towel or two, and save a row of chairs on the beach. I literally saw a fight go down because this older couple put a towel down at 9am and decided to actually show up at the beach at 1pm, thinking their towels would still be there. A group of girls took the row of chairs (either thinking they were empty or just straight not giving AF), and their drama woke me right out of a nap. This gets a little old for me, and reminds me of being on a cruise. Major eye roll.
After doing so much galavanting during our European trips, sometimes it’s nice to stay put somewhere, but I did want to do an excursion to swim with the island pigs! It always seems when you get somewhere that you have all the time in the world — so we wanted to feel out our game plan before committing to leaving the resort for a day trip, and then the week got away from us! It’s easy to get sucked in, so if you want to plan a trip off the resort… do it before!
Overall, we loved every second of this trip. The resort was clean and absolutely gorgeous, the food was delicious (we didn’t have a bad meal anywhere), the Bahamas overall is absolutely gorgeous — the weather is unreal (it was like 78 degrees with a warm breeze the entire time), and it was such a perfect mix of relaxing and fun. I would definitely recommend!
I’m going to be sharing part 2 of our trip tomorrow — in case you missed it, we were able to extend our time in the warm weather and flew right to Miami from The Bahamas! I’ll be sharing my #GLAMtraveldiary for Miami here tomorrow and a really fun project we shot down there!
FOR A FULL LIST OF WHAT I WORE ON THIS TRIP, please visit this post! I included all of my outfits separate and provided sizing info for those popular items!