PHOTO: Renovations are underway at key section of the Bahamas’ iconic Atlantis resort. (Photo by Brian Major).
The Bahamas’ Nassau Paradise Island district is on the verge of a tourism boom highlighted by new hotels, key renovations at the district’s iconic resorts and a series of high-profile sports and culturally themes events scheduled throughout 2016.
Bahamas tourism stakeholders are on pace to expand on a successful run that saw the country welcome 1.42 million visitors in 2014, fifth-most among the 28 destinations tracked by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO). Arrivals data through mid-2015 includes a 3.0 percent year-over-year increase through July.
Additionally, officials at the Nassau Paradise Islands Promotion Board (NPIPB) report a 12 percent increase in Google search demand for the destination in 2015, “a strong indication” consumer interest in the district is growing, they said.
The new hotel developments, wave of renovations to existing resorts and slate of culturally themed and sporting events have placed the Bahamas on the fast track to visitor growth. We take a look here at details in each area:
New Hotel Development highlighted by luxury property debut
A handful of new properties is expected to further expand Paradise Island’s already diverse hotel inventory. The projects will be highlighted by the Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas, an all-inclusive, adults only, 245-room luxury resort scheduled to pen mid-year.
The property will feature a main restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; two a la carte restaurants and a pool pizzeria and grille. A lobby bar, plush guest lounge and full service spa and salon are also planned; guests will also enjoy free Wi-Fi Internet access.
Iconic properties undergo major hotel and resort renovations
Perhaps the Bahamas’ best-known resort, Atlantis Paradise Island, will execute a series of upgrades and refurbishments to key areas of the resort this year. Every suite will benefit from a sweeping array of updates covering everything from carpets to headboards.
The resort’s Royal Towers section will receive a new restaurant, Poseidon’s Table, which will replace the former Marketplace eatery with an ocean-inspired design by Jeffery Beers featuring large, round booth and banquette seating. Salon Privé, an exclusive new section in the resort’s casino, will open in 2016 to serve “elite” customers in an opulent setting.
Another popular luxury resort, Nassau’s One & Only Ocean Club, has expanded and remodeled guest accommodations in its Hartford Wing. Remodeled bathrooms feature white and blue marble throughout, plus modernized separate bath and rain showers and double vanities. A new oceanfront infinity pool has also been added.
The British Colonial Hilton, a historic downtown Nassau property, is currently undergoing a major expansion including new restaurants, luxury retail outlets and a rooftop garden.
Finally the Breezes Resort & Spa - Bahamas resort on Nassau’s Cable Beach recently unveiled a $1 million re-design of its existing meeting space. The all-inclusive property also added a new 490 square-foot event space, Panorama Gallery, featuring floor-to ceiling glass windows and doors that overlook the ocean. The facility is designed to hold up to 50 people.
Special Events on Tap for 2016
Travelers are also expected to descend on the Bahamas for a variety of events focusing on sports and cultural events. The Bahamas Rum Festival, scheduled for Feb. 26-28, celebrates the Caribbean’s signature spirit with rum vendors, competitions, displays, tastings and culinary demonstrations, educational sessions and live entertainment.
The Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, held in April and May, will allow visitors to immerse themselves in the Bahamas’ native music and culture through a series of celebrations, concerts, cultural shows and street parades that celebrate all aspects of Bahamian culture and heritage. The Bahamas International Film Festival, also slated for 2016 (officials dates have yet to be announced), will highlight diverse films from around the world. The 2016 edition of the Battle 4 Atlantis college basketball tournament will feature eight top teams from leading U.S. universities competing during Thanksgiving Week, Nov. 23-25, 2016.