PHOTO: Ann Chiu, wife of Warwick Hotels president Richard Chiu, and Perry Christie, the Bahamas prime minister, cut the ribbon to open the Warwick Paradise Island – Bahamas resort. (Photo by Brian Major).
Already filled with diverse hotel options (and anticipating more), Nassau officially welcomed another new resort this week.
The all-inclusive, adults-only Warwick Paradise Island – Bahamas officially opened in a harbor-side ceremony that highlighted the territory’s fast-paced tourism infrastructure development.
Warwick Paradise Island’s official launch followed a $50 million renovation and a February “soft” opening. Warwick Hotels and Resorts Group—a privately owned, Hong Kong-based firm led by Richard Chiu—purchased the former Paradise Island Harbour Resort in a 2012 auction.
Chiu was among the dignitaries at last week’s premiere, which held on the hotel’s harbor-side terrace. The long-tenured hotel had previously operated under several other brands and ultimately endured a long closure that ended following the 2012 auction.
Intended as a “modern, relaxed” resort accommodating singles, couples, groups of friends and adult families, the property symbolizes the Bahamas’ development as an “exciting, transformative” destination", according to Perry Christie, the Bahamas' prime minister
“We’ve sought to welcome global brands with global connections,” Christie said at the opening ceremony.
“Clearly the Warwick is one of them. The brand is reflective of the quality of the product we have nationwide. This is going to be an excellent addition to Paradise Island and the tourism stock of the Bahamas.”
The new 250-room hotel’s signature feature is a 10,000 square foot terrace, which overlooks the harbor that is filled with all manner of watercraft, including giant cruise ships moored at the Nassau docks.
The terrace also features a wedding gazebo, boardwalk and incorporates an outdoor steak and seafood restaurant. Other restaurants include Tings on a Stick (serving meat, seafood, vegetable kebobs and Asian fusion dishes), Abbiocco (a fine dining experience featuring Italian specialties) and Chickcharnie’s Pizzeria & Grill.
An entertainment complex located off the lobby features live shows and DJ music. Other facilities include a full-service spa and salon, while amenities include free, resort-wide Wi-Fi access, a fitness center, tour desk, plus wedding and honeymoon packages. The property is a 10-minute walk from Nassau’s Cabbage Beach, and Bahamas visitors can also purchase day passes for the resort.
Located adjacent to Paradise Island Harbor, the 12-story property’s upper floors provide a clear view of the iconic Atlantis - Paradise Island resort. The Warwick Paradise Island – Bahamas is also within close proximity of well-known Nassau properties including the all-inclusive Breezes Bahamas, the still-unopened Baha Mar mega-resort, the boutique Graycliff Hotel and the exclusive One & Only Ocean Club luxury resort.
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Moreover, the opening comes as the Bahamas prepares to welcome new resort inventory including the $200-million Pointe development in downtown Nassau. Multi-million dollar renovations are also underway at Atlantis’ Coral Towers wing.
Christie even cited the “soon-to-open mega-resort” $3.5 billion Baha Mar, noting the long-awaited property, when open, will add Hyatt, Rosewood and SLS hotel brands to the Nassau mix. A soft opening of the long-delayed Cable Beach resort is scheduled for April 21.
The new The Warwick Paradise Island – Bahamas resort operated for years in its present location under various brands. Originating as the Flager Inn in the 1960s, the property later became the Loews Harbour Cove in the 1970s and 1980s, then the Paradise Island Fun Club in the 1980s until around 2000. It was known as the Holiday Inn Sunspree until 2004 when it became the Paradise Island Harbour Resort before ultimately closing in 2014.
Christie said the property has a “long and treasured history and local connection” to Nassau. While it adds another accommodations option for Bahamas travelers, Christie noted the new resort also provided much-needed opportunity to the nation. Warwick has hired “40 to 50” management employees, with plans to hire an additional 125 employees, he said.
Warwick has also worked with the Bahamas’ Ministry of Labor and National Training Agency to, “ensure employees are trained and ready to deliver levels of service representative of the brand,” said Christie. “Mr. Chiu has already indicated his pleasant surprise at the quality of the staff and [its] service,” he added.
In local interviews, Chiu said his company has focused on “renovating buildings with good location and history and heritage.” The company’s properties include the Warwick New York, once owned by American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.
“The Warwick Hotels are known for their distinctive locations, upscale quality, service excellence and the promotion of the local destination’s local [culture] and traditions,” said Christie.
“Each of the properties [are] an emblematic representation of a bygone era of timeless elegance married with modern technology and innovation to assure delivery of service, customer convenience and satisfaction.”