NASSAU, The Bahamas "“ Dec. 5, 2006 "“ Abandon the monotony of everyday life and jet-off to the picturesque Islands Of The Bahamas, a destination flush with many new developments and programs. From Grand Bahama Island's anticipated Ginn Sur Mer and a floating martini lounge to Bobby Flay's latest menu delights and private "spa" islands, these new additions make it easier to "admit" a loved-one into paradise.
"The Bahamas is blossoming in so many directions. There are major developments on virtually every island accessible to travelers and we continue to serve as the backdrop for many blockbuster films such as Casino Royale, providing the option to escape reality at the movie theater or in an ocean-view suite," said Vernice Walkine, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism's director-general.
THE COVE ATLANTIS: The Cove Atlantis, a 600-room luxury, all-suite hotel tower which sits independently and overlooks both Cove and Paradise beaches, will open at Atlantis Paradise Island in March 2007. All interiors reflect the imagination and design of renowned architect and interior designer Jeffrey Beers and will be the set for unique service options and amenities, from "flying room service" for breakfast and nightcaps (elevator-based, allowing delivery within 20 minutes of order); "lobby turndown service," where the colors and lighting change; to an all-adult pool experience that will include three multi-level pools and gaming tables on the deck. Chef Bobby Flay will open his popular Mesa Grill at the luxury tower and The Mandara Spa and Fitness Area will be significantly expanded offering such innovative additions as Night Club Cycling and the Generation Y Spa.
A $700-million water feature will also be added and include four adrenaline-producing water slides, including one that is 68-feet tall, eight feet taller than the popular Leap of Faith at Atlantis; a vast and diverse collection of sea life, plants, foliage and technological effects; and Dolphin Cay, a dolphin lagoon and education center (which includes the rescued "Hurricane Katrina" dolphins from New Orleans who were left homeless after the storm). For information or reservation, visit www.atlantis.com, or call (888) 528-7155.
BAHA MAR: Pushing New Providence to new heights will be Baha Mar, a $1.6 billion redevelopment of Cable Beach that will transform the site into a 3,550-room resort and gaming destination, making it the largest resort in the Caribbean. Slated to begin construction in 2007 and reach completion in 2010, Baha Mar will feature the most prestigious collections of hospitality brands in the world: a 1,000-room Caesars Resort Hotel and 95,000-square foot casino operated by Harrah's Entertainment; a 300-room W at Baha Mar, including 100 condo units; a 300-room St. Regis at Baha Mar, including 100 condo units; a 700-room Westin at Baha Mar; and a 700-room Sheraton at Baha Mar. In addition, an extensive renovation of the current 550-room Wyndham Nassau Resort is also planned, bringing the number of hotels on the property to six.
Baha Mar will also feature a free-standing luxury spa facility, an eco-water park attraction with show lake, a 20-acre beach and pool; a 50,000 square-foot shopping, dining and entertainment village and an 18-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. Visit www.bahamar.com.
SANDALS ROYAL BAHAMIAN SPA RESORT & OFFSHORE ISLAND: Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island is celebrating its 10th anniversary and has added several new elements to enhance the exclusive Red Laneâ„¢ Spa, including a new Zen Island spa area on Sandals Cay, the resort's private offshore island. Guests escape to this secluded paradise to melt their stress away at the Asian-themed spa, now featuring massage tables adorned with Oriental pendants to increase serenity. Also a new addition, Chinese-inspired red chaise lounge cushions on beds of thatch palm blend the Asian theme with the true feel of the Caribbean. Back on land, the existing Red Laneâ„¢ Spa at Sandals Royal Bahamian boasts a new, 2,200-square foot facility with additional treatment rooms, including a couples' treatment room. A new salon with a tropical nail bar and several hair stations allow guests to be pampered for a special celebration. For information or reservations, visit www.sandals.com, or call (888) SANDALS.
Grand Bahama Island
GINN SUR MER – GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND: Luxury on Grand Bahama Island will be elevated to new heights with the opening of Ginn sur Mer, a sophisticated, $4.9 billion resort community, featuring 4,400 condominium and hotel units and 1,800 residential homesites from renowned developer Ginn Resorts. After a smooth landing at Ginn sur Mer's private airport, cascading waterfalls, expansive gardens, fountains and ponds will greet guests in the palatial lobby. The resort's Grand Canal will connect travelers to a mega-yacht marina; Signature golf courses designed by golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer; a variety of restaurants; a world-class spa; sun-drenched beaches and a casino. For more information, visit www.ginnsurmer.com.
GRAND BAHAMA YACHT CLUB: Port Lucaya Marina was recently acquired by New Hope Holding Co., LTD., owners of the luxurious Grand Bahama Yacht Club, as part of the company's $500 million, 70-acre waterfront expansion surrounding Bell Channel Bay. The multi-million dollar yachting paradise will include 300 yacht slips (available by the day, week, month, year or even a 99-year lease) and 300 new plush waterfront condominiums, townhouses and private residences. Adjacent to Port Lucaya Marketplace, a lively shopping, dining and entertainment complex, the state-of-the-art marina will accommodate mega-yachts from around the world. Home sales have begun and more information is available by calling (242) 373-7616 or visiting www.grandbahamayachtclub.com.
OLD BAHAMA BAY RESORT & YACHT HARBOUR: Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour, a treasured resort favored by the rich and famous, welcomed 24 additional Junior Suites in November, along with Bonefish Folley's Bar & Grille. The family-style seafood restaurant is named after the legendary bonefisherman who still lives on Grand Bahama's West End and takes guests of Old Bahama Bay out for the fishing experience of their lives! For information or reservations, call (800) 572-5711 or visit www.oldbahamabay.com.
PELICAN BAY AT LUCAYA: Travelers know they are on vacation the moment they walk through the doors of Pelican Bay at Lucaya hotel. Upon dropping their bags in one of the tropically-decorated guestrooms and suites, guests can sit back and relax with tropical tunes at the new floating Martini Lounge at Pelican Bay's Ferry House restaurant, while enjoying exotic martinis, mojitos, and a variety of appetizers from oysters to tostados. For more information or reservations, call (866) 296-7963 or visit www.pelicanbayhotel.com.
The Out Islands
THE ABACO CLUB AT WINDING BAY continues to add home-sites and amenities to its luxurious offerings. The mixed-use, membership property partnered with Ritz Carlton Residences in 2006, pairing the luxury of The Out Islands setting with superior Ritz Carlton service. For more information, visit www.abacoclub.com.
"CLUB" PEACE & PLENTY on Exuma continues to refine the property with an upcoming renovation of top floor bathrooms, a new pool bar, expanded lunch hour and new menu on the lighter side. The "Club," along with Peace & Plenty Beach Inn, has also installed solar power technology to heat water for the resort, utilizing more environmentally sustainable technologies. For more information, visit www.peaceandplenty.com.
THE EMERALD BAY RESORT on Great Exuma continues to grow with the opening of the Grand Isle Villas, 72 beach and ocean front, Caribbean style villas. The 5,000 sq. ft. casino opened its doors in May 2006 adding to the list of on-site activities available. For more information, visit www.grandislevillas.com.
COTTON BAY ESTATES, a Starwood property on Eleuthera, is nearing completion on the first phase of development. The boutique hotel, comprised of fully furnished one-, two- and three-bedroom villa residences, anticipates the arrival of its first guests in March 2007. A 67,000 square feet clubhouse will also open serving as the community center for all activities including dining, shopping, playing tennis or just relaxing by the pool. For more information, visit www.cottonbayeleuthera.com.
ROYAL ISLAND, the 480-acre, undeveloped island just off Eleuthera, will soon be a $500 million high-end residential community by developer Cypress Equities. Plans for the development include a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course as its centerpiece; a world-class spa; five-star hotel; and single-family estate sites with ocean views. A deep water marina, surrounded by a village center of retail shops and amenities, will accommodate yachts ranging from 20 to over 200 feet in length. Access to Royal Island will be seaborne, either by yacht or a 10-minute ferry ride from North Eleuthera. For more information, visit www.cypressequities.com
Farther south on Eleuthera, POWELL POINTE AT CAPE ELEUTHERA will complete the first portion of a mixed use development by January 2007. The site plan includes Estate Homes, Beach Villas and Townhomes with access to a marina. For more information, visit www.capeeleuthera.com.
Outside of Governor's Harbour on Eleuthera, THE CLUB AT PINEAPPLE FIELDS has opened 32 units in its condo hotel. Expansion continues at the property located just across the road from the island's hottest restaurant, Tippy's. For more information, visit www.pineapplefields.com.
On Harbour Island, CORAL SANDS continues to add new ways for guests to enjoy island life and the famous pink sand beaches. The new two-bedroom Beach House lies only steps away from the blush sand and the three-bedroom Villa Clarissa comes with its own guest cottage, for a taste of island luxury. For more information, visit www.coralsands.com.
BIMINI BAY RESORT + CASINO on North Bimini has opened the first 95 residential rentals with more slated to open this December. This is the first phase of a development that will eventually include a Conrad Hotel and casino. For more information, visit www.biminibayresort.com.
A new international airport opened on Grand Bahama Island in fall 2004 and more major airport improvements are on the drawing board throughout the islands, including the renamed Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau and Marsh Harbour International Airport in Abaco. The Stella Maris Airport on Long Island was closed for resurfacing in early 2006, but is now open.
An ideal destination to cast cares away, the 700 Islands Of The Bahamas attract visitors with world-class diving and fishing, beautiful turquoise water and miles of picture perfect beaches. Island-life, from the non-stop excitement and entertainment of Nassau/Paradise Island and Grand Bahama Island to the laid-back lifestyle of the Out Islands, comes in a variety of flavors for discerning travelers yet draped in one colorful Bahamian backdrop. As of Jan. 23, 2007, all U.S. citizens and foreign nationals traveling to the United States from The Bahamas will be required to present a valid passport enter or re-enter the United States. To escape from the intensity of everyday life following a much deserved Bahamavention, call 1-800-Bahamas or visit www.bahamavention.com.
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