We were pleasantly surprised when we visited the 519-room Grand Lucayan, Bahamas earlier this year. The resort is located on Grand Bahama Island, fronting a powder-white beach perfect for sunset soirees or poolside parties. For meetings, the resort offers 90,000 sf of indoor/outside venues ideal for large groups. My personal favorite was the junkanoo parade that takes place on their 2,800-pax Grand Lawn every weekend.
Grand Lucayan is welcoming a new addition to their staff. Denise Harmon is the new director of sales, so we took the opportunity to talk to her a little bit about herself, the hotel and what kind of events she looks forward to hosting at the property.
Prevue: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Denise Harmon: I recently joined the Grand Lucayan, Bahamas team as the new director of sales, where I’m primarily responsible for leading all of the sales efforts and revenue management for the 519-room resort. With many years in the hospitality industry, I specialize in resorts, specifically Florida and the Caribbean.
What do you consider the hotel’s top three selling points for groups?
One of our biggest fortes is that our island is easily accessible from major U.S. cities. We are just a 20-minute flight away from South Florida, and our resort is just 12 minutes away from the airport. Travelers visiting Grand Bahama Island and guests returning home clear U.S. Customs and Immigration at the airport. This means when they arrive on U.S. soil, they can simply claim their baggage and quickly exit the airport.
Another one of our selling points is safety. I know safety is a big concern for any traveler these days. Our island and resort are not only safe, but we also take great measures to ensure our guests have a pleasant and relaxing stay.
Lastly, another one of our appeals for groups is the vast and flexible indoor and outdoor space that we offer. Our 375-acre beachfront resort features 40,000 square feet of indoor and 50,000 square feet of outdoor function space to accommodate top quality meetings, conferences and special events. The 40,000-square foot indoor space features a state-of-the-art conference center that offers 13 meeting rooms of varying sizes, a ballroom which can accommodate up to 1,500 guests and the stately Manor House that can house up to 287 guests for an elegant reception with scenic ocean views. For those who prefer to host events al fresco, we offer 50,000 square feet of outdoor function space comprised of pool decks, beachfront and the oceanfront Great Lawn, which can accommodate up to 2,865 guests.
What is your favorite feature of the hotel?
My favorite feature of the resort and a must-see for everyone is the view from our infinity pool. It overlooks 150 feet of white sand and the breathtaking blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. It’s perfect for reading a good book, sunning or simply relaxing.
In what ways does the hotel work with planners to ensure streamlined meetings and incentives?
We have a dedicated and seasoned team of conference professionals, catering specialists, entertainment and event planners who work with groups to ensure that their catered affairs, meetings and incentive trips run seamlessly. Our leading team of experts listens to the needs and counsels meeting/group planners to ensure their gatherings are successful and exceed their expectations.
What kind of events can be put on at the hotel?
We are going to be hosting the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders next week. They will be doing a photo shoot at our resort. We are expecting a group of about 200 guests including Ravens fans and we’re really looking forward to that. We will be coordinating a variety of social events for them, utilizing the spa, the casino and the golf course.
We have also had the pleasure of hosting the Prime Minister of the Bahamas on several occasions with dinners of 800 guests.
What’s one leisure activity you recommend for groups at the resort?
If I could recommend a leisure activity for groups staying at Grand Lucayan, Bahamas, it would be a Pirates of the Caribbean themed dinner with a bonfire on our private beach. Golf is also another popular activity for groups, as well as swimming with dolphins at the Underwater Explorers Society (UNEXSO), located across the street from the resort