On Location: SLS Baha Mar

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A Beach Club cabana elevated the experience to the next level.

In my years in the meetings industry, I have never stayed at an SLS Hotel. I was aware of their founding in 2008 by Sam Nazarian, with interiors by the French designer Philippe Starck. I envisioned the brand as stylish, cool, elegant (just like its chandelier logo), and the hotels’ locations were in some of the sexiest spots on the planet: Miami, Dubai, Buenos Aires, Barcelona (opening soon).  

So it was a thrill to finally experience the SLS Baha Mar in the Bahamas during the Incentive Research Foundation’s Annual Invitational last week. Actually, the thrill started with a one-story-high mirrored chandelier sculpture, complete with pendalogues, that marked the entrance—a sure sign that this would not be your typical hotel. 

The lobby had a design-forward, yet homey, feel to it. There would be no roses at SLS, but elegant white long-stemmed calla lillies on a center table, and behind the front desk were the signature SLS arches. The furniture was sleek and mid-century modern. There was a feeling of having arrived, yet a family-friendly vibe, with a pool table tucked away in a private alcove and plenty of families enjoying themselves alongside stylish couples.

The Nassau property sits next to an enormous water park and a separate Beach Club, a peaceful area shaded with palms and steps from the ocean, which the IRF was allowed to take over for its final evening event. There are numerous other indoor and outdoor spaces, most at the adjacent Grand Hyatt’s 200,000-square-foot convention center. Our group took advantage of the entire resort, with meetings at the Grand Hyatt, a poolside evening at the Rosewood (the third property in the Baha Mar trio) and late-night partying at the Skybar atop the SLS on the 20th floor. 

SLS stands for style, luxury and service, and there’s nothing like the warmth of Bahamian hospitality. Baha Mar President Graeme Davis spoke at the Invitational’s closing session about the $4.2 billion resort’s almost entirely Bahamian workforce, and the family approach of its owners and management—and it shows. 

The SLS Baha Mar experience is all about the water, and the hotel has two dedicated pools, one for adults only with DJs and bottle service. A private cabana at the Beach Club was a highlight of our stay, elevating it to an even higher level with private service, yummy food, and a flat-screen TV. From your chaise lounge, you could watch the jet skiers and parasailers out on the turquoise waters—without moving a muscle. 

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.