Bahamas Outfits + Baha Mar Resort Review

We’re always on the search for family-friendly destinations a short plane ride from the Northeast, and Baha Mar resort in the Bahamas popped up on multiple lists and via several recommendations from friends and readers alike! I was a little apprehensive going in due to the mixed online reviews, but we had a great time overall and the kids didn’t want to leave. At the bottom of this post, I’ve shared some pros & cons from our trip and answered some of your FAQs (like how it was for food allergies)!

farm rio dress family photo yoyo stroller schutz slides
On me: Farm Rio dress xxs (15% off w/ WELCOME15), Schutz sandals 5.5, vintage bag
On Nick: J. Crew knit shirt M (great staple!), Uniqlo pants Kids: Boden dress, YOYO stroller

Farm Rio is my favorite when branching out with color, and this dress is one of their most petite-friendly pieces to date! The proportions work very well for a shorter figure, with an empire waistline, stretchy smocked back and convenient side pockets. I had packed just 1 pair of heels for the week – these oldie but goodie clear block heel slides that are comfy, elongating, and worked with all my dinner outfits.

Alemais dress 0 (more styles), Madewell sandals 5.5, vintage bag + earrings

Last year I became enamored with Alemais dresses featuring prints by artists around the world. I stalked Poshmark and various retailers for sales before finding this one at a discount. This particular dress style comes back each season in new prints, and the fit was fairly consistent for the few that I’ve tried on.

The length of size US 0 is petite-friendly hitting me at ankle length, however, the next size up is unfortunately a whopping 4 inches longer! These dresses are 100% linen with adjustable straps, and I found the bust to fit snug even with the smocked back. You can find detailed measurements for every style and size (example) on Alemais’ website.

jcrew white cover up as a dress
J.Crew cover up xxs, Sézane tote c/o, Lack of Color hat S, earrings, Hermes sandals 35.5 (similar) & belt

This is an oversized, airy & semi sheer button-down that I reached for several times for the longer sleeve & length coverage. See my try-on video showing the fit and flow. It’s midi on the model but definitely a maxi length on petites. The torso is straight cut, so I added a slim belt sometimes when wearing it as a dress. And if you’re placing an order at J.Crew, this high waisted bikini featured here in pic # 3 is still my go-to when I want something secure with good tummy & rear coverage!

blue and white petite friendly family outfit

This is a bargain, easy to slip-on H&M dress find that’s almost gone in this color but stocked in others. For the littles, Rio got so many compliments on his little Floafers, which are like a cross between loafers and Native shoes. I also love this Scandinavian brand of kids sandals with a convenient snap button closure. Amazon has a good snap strap jelly shoe too that we bought on repeat, until Nori outgrew their sizing.

baha mar grand hyatt with kids review flamingo
Handmade mom & me swimsuits from my friend’s Etsy shop

My thoughts on Baha Mar Resort + FAQ

Overall: A newer, family-friendly resort with a wide range of water fun (pools, beach, water park) that’s an easy direct flight from Boston. I’m picky about hotels and found ours to be clean and comfortable. But as many warned, it’s expensive and can add up with food prices, taxes & fees everywhere.

For a future resort vacation I’d love to try somewhere else that’s all-inclusive, but I can see ourselves going back to Baha Mar someday.

Pros:

  • The resort felt pretty new and clean throughout, with nicely manicured grounds
  • Property is large but manageable to walk around daily. Everything was within ~10 min walk.
  • There’s something for water lovers of every age. There’s a beautiful long beach with kayaks, paddle boards and floats, multiple pools on property, and a connected water park. We spent a lot of time at Drift for a quieter family-friendly pool, and Blue Hole pool for cliff jumping and a swim-up aquarium.
  • The Water park is a main attraction. My kids looved Turtle Beach (toddler slides, shallow pool & splash area), Stingray Cove (bigger kid slides & play zone), tubing on the lazy river, and the wave pool. We didn’t even experience 2/3rds of the water park with the more thrilling slides and water rides!
  • Kids 5 & under eat free at Regatta buffet & these restaurants
  • Non-water activities for the family like free croquet, a board game rental library, and paid options like mini golf and wildlife experiences.
  • Nick treated himself to a round of golf and said the course was immaculate (but $$$)
  • A direct 3 hour flight from Boston, and a 15 min taxi ride from airport to hotel.

My review doesn’t even cover any nightlife like the jazz bar with live music nightly or the casino, since we turned in early with the kids each night!

Cons:

  • Expensive. You need to factor in sizable additional budget for daily food, taxes & fees.
    • Food was pricey (see all resort restaurants & menus), with a local VAT + mandatory service charge that adds about 25% to every bill. A mixed drink will run you about $25.
    • Room rates are also subject to many taxes & fees. The nightly taxes, resort fee ($75 a day), and service charge added a few hundred a night.
  • We went during a low period so didn’t experience this, but I heard during a busy time you must book restaurant reservations well in advance and expect long waits (even at the buffet), and go to the pools early to save chairs.
Baha Mar review kids family friendly Blue Hole Pool
Blue Hole pool with swim up aquariums and cliff jumping

Did you feel safe being in the Bahamas?

Lots of questions about this given the travel advisories. Except for taking taxis from the airport, we didn’t leave the resort so can’t really speak to this. While we usually enjoy trips where we can explore more locally, we knew going into this that all the water fun at this resort would keep us busy there.

Which hotel did you choose out of the 3?

I debated endlessly amongst the 3 hotels on the Baha Mar property! Many of you suggested Rosewood for a luxe adults-only trip, and Grand Hyatt if traveling with kids. We heeded that advice and booked a suite at the Grand Hyatt for less than a standard room at the Rosewood. Some reviews mentioned inconsistent housekeeping, but our room was clean and was serviced daily.

We walked through the other hotel properties to check them out, and generally found:

  • Grand Hyatt: lowest priced amongst the 3, family-friendly, several suite options with kitchens
  • SLS: modern rooms, more of a party vibe with DJ pool parties, fun for couples or bachelorettes
  • Rosewood: pricey, luxurious and more peaceful & secluded. Has a tranquil pool & beach area exclusively for Rosewood guests. Rosewood guests can also use any of the Hyatt pools & beach. All three hotels have access to the main Baha Mar grounds and water park.

How much does a trip there cost? Any ways to save?

As an estimate for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids ages 5 & under, friends had shared it was about $5500 in total (room, food, drinks, all taxes & fees) for 5 nights in a standard Grand Hyatt room during May, excluding the cost of flights. This total will vary depending where you dine, how much you drink, room type, etc. I checked out the standard room and it was pretty nice, about 400-450 sq feet with a balcony.

As an alternative to using a travel deals website, booking through a Hyatt Prive travel agent (like @tsuiadventures, at no added cost), or using your Amex cards has some perks. For Baha Mar properties, this includes a free upgrade of 1 room category based on availability, free daily buffet breakfast, and a resort spending credit which helped save a bit.

Given our kids’ food allergies, we wanted a room with a kitchen. We booked a suite (“One-Bedroom Residence)” and got a free upgrade via Hyatt Prive to a bigger suite (“Residence Deluxe”) that was 1200 sq feet with 2 full bathrooms, a full kitchen, dining table, washer & dryer, and sofa big enough for kids to sleep on. There were enough options for the kids to eat so we didn’t end up actually cooking full meals, but the extra space, fridge & microwave all came in handy!

I also wanted to mention for comparison’s sake of 2 popular family destinations – our total costs per day at Baha Mar were the same as at Disney World (staying at the Contemporary hotel with theme park tickets), for a suite at Baha Mar Grand Hyatt vs a regular room at Disney Contemporary.

baha mar grand hyatt family suite review
1 Bedroom Residence Deluxe (suite) at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar

Was the casino a concern with young kids?

There’s a casino that interconnects on the ground level between the 3 on-property hotels, and we usually walked through it to get to the pools and beach. I didn’t find it to be a concern for the brief few minutes that we went through it each time.

Where did you guys eat?

Breakfast: we took advantage of the complimentary breakfast buffet through Hyatt Prive (just note there’s still a mandatory service charge) and the kids were free. The buffet is fairly extensive and the kids delighted in stopping at the fruit popsicle station when heading out. For quicker options, Cafe Madeline had a pretty ambiance, and Starbucks was the most budget-friendly option.

Lunch: food trucks, takeout from the poolside restaurants (kids eat free), Umami Burger / Sam’s Crispy Chicken at Baha Bay water park, or the poke bowl shack.

Dinner: We weren’t looking to spend a few hundred a night at the formal resort restaurants, and were perfectly happy eating several times at Stix, their more casual Asian rice & noodle bar that didn’t require reservations. Pizza Lab was also popular for pizza & pasta. The buffet was cheaper than many Baha Mar restaurants, and we always found it to be pretty satisfactory, including the local cuisine counter where we had yummy oxtail with plantains over rice & beans.

One restaurant that we did enjoy was Costa at the Rosewood hotel. It features a beautiful, tranquil open-air ambiance set over a koi pond, and a nicely decorated indoor area. Kids get cups of fish food after dinner to feed the koi, which both Rio & Nori couldn’t get enough of! We had guac, crudo, shortrib tacos & fish tacos, and the kids had fish sticks & marinara sauce pasta (you can also request butter or olive oil pasta).

We also ate one night at Cinko (kosher, dairy-free) for Asian / Latin cuisine. We tried the yucca fries, sushi, Korean fried rice and the kids had burgers & hot dogs (skip the kids’ sushi – the teeniest plain cucumber roll). Nothing too memorable, but everything was decent and we appreciated the dairy-free aspect.

costa rosewood baha mar kids food allergies review
Costa restaurant at Rosewood. Nori: Boden kids dress Rio: cotton set, waterproof shoes

Was the resort food allergy-friendly?

We were spoiled after being at Disney with all their allergy-friendly procedures! Baha Mar was fine – on par with our expectations. With a wide range of dining options, certain ones were better than others for accommodating food allergies.

Our kids are allergic to nuts, dairy, and a now minor level of egg. We’ve made huge strides with Nori’s anaphylactic dairy allergy over the past year with Allergy Release Technique (similar in some ways to OIT), and would be much more anxious when traveling if that weren’t the case. We brought bread, sun butter & jelly and a load of snacks from home just in case.

For more severe allergies, it’s easier to find options at sit-down restaurants where you can talk to the chef, compared to more casual spots like the food trucks, poolside and Baha bay cafes. At a sit-down restaurant, whenever we asked about allergens the staff would check in detail and offer alternative options if needed. While some restaurants have allergen notations on the menu, they were not always accurate, so just make sure to confirm. If you’re at one of the more casual food spots, ask for a manager because some of the staff taking orders had no idea.

At the buffet, the main chef would come out to answer Qs and share pictures of ingredient labels whenever I asked, but they weren’t always sure what was in some dishes or the pastries that are baked offsite. There were various containers of peanut butter and items with nuts out in the open, though you can request a portion to be brought out directly from the kitchen if such cross-contamination is a concern. The buffet chef also kindly offered to cook up something simple for Nori like chicken & veggies in a clean pan. All in all – while it was no Disney in regard to food allergies, there were options.

I’m trying to plan ahead for the kids winter & spring breaks next school year, and would love any recommendations on family-friendly destinations that aren’t a hike from the Northeast!

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