by Brian Major
Last updated: 4:20 PM ET, Fri April 21, 2017
The long-awaited opening day, albeit a soft one, arrived Friday for the $4.2 billion Baha Mar resort in Nassau, with the first guests checking into the property's Grand Hyatt hotel and participating in a full slate of opening ceremonies.
Online reservations for summer stays at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar opened Friday on the Baha Mar website.
Friday's ceremonies followed a week that featured five days of pre-launch events for the resort's 1,700 staff and associates along with the operation of the property's fountains and strobe-lit "show lakes," said Baha Mar officials in a statement.
The "strategic phased opening" includes the Grand Hyatt's launch as well as the opening of the 200,000 square foot Baha Mar Casino, the Baha Mar Arts & Convention Center and Royal Blue Golf Club.
The Grand Hyatt features 1,800 rooms, including those located in two towers with one, two- and three-bedroom suites featuring upscale amenities, contemporary décor and outdoor balconies.
Also now available to guests are the Peter Burwash International tennis courts and facilities, several of the resort's 12 restaurants, bars and lounges, select ESPA spa experiences and five resort pools with beach cabanas. The property is located along a half-mile section of Nassau's Cable Beach.
The mega-resort's show lakes and fountain shows are in operation and are choreographed to coordinate with accompanying music, film and lights. The property's SLS Hotels and Rosewood Hotels properties are slated to open during the "second phase" of Baha Mar's launch, with the SLS hotel debuting in the third quarter of 2017 and the Rosewood resort premiering during the first quarter of 2018.
The Nassau mega-resort had been scheduled for a December 2014 launch but ultimately wound up in bankruptcy following disputes between the resort's original developer, Sarkis Izmirlian, and the project's main contractor, China Construction America (CCA).
[READMORE] READ MORE: Bahamas Officials Question Baha Mar Tax Exemption [/READMORE]
Questions remain regarding the mega-resort's ultimate cost to the Bahamas government, which has been a strong proponent of the project throughout the nearly two-year wait for its launch.
Local press reports note the Bahamas parliament has yet to review the sale of the resort to Hong Kong-based firm CTFE. The sale agreement remains under seal in the Bahamas' Supreme Court.
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