After several years of planning, construction delays and development battles, the luxurious Baha Mar Casino & Hotel today opens its doors in the Bahamas. Featuring a total of 2,200 rooms across four world-class properties – the Rosewood, SLS LUX, Grand Hyatt and the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel – the integrated resort firmly puts Bahamian gaming on the map.
First scheduled to open in December 2014, the integrated resort encountered repeated delays with the general contractor and the project was eventually liquidated in 2015. A flurry of further delays with partners forced the government to help move proceedings along, assuming part of the cost to finish the project and signed a deal with the Export-Import Bank of China that allowed the resort to be purchased by Chow Tai Fook Enterprises.
The Hong Kong conglomerate received approvals for its gaming license earlier this month by the office of tourism minister Obie Wilchcombe after a review was completed by the Bahamas Gaming Board. The property will feature a 100,000 sqft. casino boasting creative designs and ocean views. It plans to open with 1,500 slot machines and 150 table games.
With a total cost of approximately $4.2bn, the 1,000-acre waterfront development is one of the largest resorts to open in North America. Today’s opening is the first of several phases and includes a preview of the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel and the Grand Hyatt hotel, as well as the Royal Blue Goilf Club and the Arts & Convention Center. More than 12 restaurants will also open for business along the beachfront.
Opening the first phase alone has created 1,500 new jobs and the complete property could deliver more than 12,000 direct and indirect jobs. According to a 2013 economic assessment, the Baha Mar would ultimately generate some 12pc of the Bahamas’ GDP.
“The Bahamas is one of the most iconic and popular destinations in the Caribbean,” said Graeme Davis, President of Chow Tai Fook, Bahamas. “A critical part of our vision for Baha Mar Resort is to showcase the extraordinary beauty of the island in addition to its culture. In partnership with the Bahamian people, we look forward to delivering future guests a resort that is distinctive not only for the Bahamas but for the entire Caribbean.”