The Bahamas Gets Its First Party Hotel, SLS Baha Mar
Nassau, the Bahamas just got a whole lot sexier thanks to SBE's new property SLS Baha Mar
My friend and I spun around on giant flamingo pool floats as the DJ mixed Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” with Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Feel the Vibration.” A live drummer added his own layer of percussion as hotel guests grooved to the beats in the shallow end of the pool, waving their craft cocktails in the air. The daytime party at SLS Baha Mar’s adults-only pool, Privilege, was just getting started—and it was about to get a whole lot rowdier.
“We're known as the party hotel,” said Charles Dessert, marketing manager for SLS Baha Mar. “People come to celebrate and have a good time—not so much by relaxing by the beach, but by having cocktails while a DJ spins poolside. At our core, we are a luxury brand that is friendly, casual and relatable.”
The playful but tasteful SLS Baha Mar celebrated its soft opening in Nassau, the Bahamas, in November 2017. It marks the first SLS property to open outside of the U.S. and is part of the SBE portfolio of hotels. The 299-room property occupies a prime stretch of beach within the $4.2 billion Baha Mar beachfront resort destination, which also includes the Caribbean’s largest casino, an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, the family-friendly Grand Hyatt Baha Mar and the soon-to-open Rosewood Baha Mar.
“The product we're offering—a high-energy, disruptive brand—didn't really exist in the Bahamas before,” Dessert said. “For example, we are planning on opening a rooftop bar later this year called Skybar, similar to the Skybar at SBE’s sister property, Mondrian Los Angeles. It will be the first and only rooftop bar on the island.”
SBE has made other bold moves as of late, such as bringing the high-end Katsuya brand to Baha Mar in August of last year. Katsuya by Starck Baha Mar is the brainchild of master sushi chef Katsuya Uechi and French designer Philippe Starck. With indoor and patio dining for up to 250 guests, the upscale Japanese restaurant features high ceilings with warm tan and grey wall accents and a stellar signature cocktail menu. If celebrating something special, a dramatic private dining area known as the Dragon Room—covered in custom wallpaper that resembles the scales of a dragon—can elevate the occasion.
Wanna to impress bae and got money to burn? Reserve a spot at Katsuya’s newly launched sushi rolling classes. Ideal for small parties or a fancy date night, the sushi classes can accommodate up to 20 guests. Classes typically last for three hours and include a sake tasting, passed appetizers, a signature cocktail and an opportunity to prepare and eat sushi rolls. The cost is $250 per person.
Other SBE food and beverage options throughout Baha Mar include Cleo Mediterraneo; Filia Baha Mar by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz; Bungalow Pool Bar & Grille (one of two pools on property at SLS); Monkey Bar, located in the SLS lobby; and Bond, a 10,000-square-foot nightclub with decor initially conceived by Lenny Kravitz’s Kravitz Design.
For me, dining at Fi’lia was more than a meal; it was a sensory experience that started as the server brought a fresh oregano plant to our table. She began to snip the fragrant leaves into a dish, then slowly drizzled Fi’la’s custom cold-pressed Italian olive oil over the fresh herb. She served the dip with freshly baked ciabatta bread while making chitchat. It was a small gesture that really made us feel like we were in for something special.
Be sure to order Fi’lia’s signature tableside Caesar salad, which is only available during dinner service. Your server will wheel over a gorgeous wooden cart with a grill and prepare every element, including garlicky croutons, right before your eyes. Bursting with citrus, it was one of the tastiest Caesar salads we’ve ever had.
Accommodations at SLS Baha Mar range from the 358-square-foot Superior King to the two-bedroom SLS Residence, which can accommodate up to six guests. While touring a two-bedroom SLS Residence, the ocean views and bathroom design were standout elements. Integrated bathrooms offer walk-in rainfall showers outfitted with wildly colorful opalescent glass. Rounding out the offerings, a designer kitchenette, dining table and two living rooms make the suite feel truly massive.
In addition to the rooftop bar in development, SBE and SLS Baha Mar have more plans to dazzle and delight guests. According to Dessert, they are rejuvenating a nearby island that’s visible from Baha Mar’s beach. The end goal is to create an additional food and beverage outlet for guests and a secluded environment where they can spend the day.
“All our venues are thoughtfully curated and unique, and we are very proud about that,” Dessert said. “We may be luxury, but we also want guests to have fun here and think of our property as a playground.”