Grand Hyatt Baha Mar review – Part III, restaurants

By Michael and Joe:
This is the third and last installment of a 3-part series where we review the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, a brand new property that just opened in Nassau, Bahamas. You can read the first part of the series covering the room and general property here and the second installment covering the resort amenities here

Grand Club:

By virtue of my Hyatt Globalist status we had access to the hotel’s Grand Club, which coincidentally had just opened the day of our arrival so we were some of the first guests to actually try it out. The lounge was spotless and elegant.

The evening appetizers were average at best on the first evening.

We actually noticed two Hyatt reps on site from corporate headquarters speaking to the lounge attendants the first evening pointing out that the food selection should be improved and also have more items. Sure enough the quantity and quality improved as our stay progressed, with the second evening featuring steak kabobs (pretty good) and lamb meat patties (decent enough to eat).

Another evening featured shrimp dumplings. The salad and cheese selections lacked variety and there was very little fruit for dessert, but the food was good enough that it merited for us to have dinner at the lounge on two out of the three nights of our stay.

The breakfast spread was on par with U.S. Hyatt lounges, with a hot entree of scrambled eggs each morning, and sausage or bacon the rest of the days.

There were also cold cuts, salmon and bagels and a selection of breads which was very good. The pastries were fresh and also very tasty.

They have two coffee machines which I used exclusively for espresso and I found it to be of well above average quality.

We found the alcohol selection to be of pretty good quality, with complementary premium liquor, beer and wine which the staff was happy to pour for you even though you can self-serve.

The staff was extremely attentive to the point of being very conversational, which doesn’t bother me as I enjoy speaking to locals when I travel, although some people might find it a bit much. I felt they were genuinely trying to look after us and trying to get us to enjoy our time at the lounge. They were very proactive about clearing dishes, getting us refills and asking us what we needed. The hotel has clearly staffed the lounge with their best service employees, because that was clearly not our experience at the other resort restaurants, so we were happy to spend time at the lounge.

3 Tides:

On one of the evenings we decided to splurge and tried the staff-recommended 3 Tides restaurant. Since we were a party of 9 and they recommend reservations we made one, even though we found the restaurant to be substantially empty, possibly due to capacity restrictions during the soft opening phase.

We found a few main courses to be overpriced for normal restaurant standards but on par with comparable resort signature restaurants. We did find the lobster market price very reasonable at $46, given the size of the lobster. Unfortunately they overcooked it and turned out too dry.

The lobster risotto was great. It was served with a poached egg and was very filling.

The restaurant does have a kids meal option, which is essentially half the size for half the price.

The sides were excellent, particularly the mashed potatoes and the spicy grits. Beer prices were reasonable, but some other drink prices were out of the question. For example, I wanted a glass of white wine with the lobster, and while they did have a basic prosecco for I believe $15, the rest of the single glasses menu started at around $18 and went as high as $36. I personally can’t justify paying for a glass of wine at the price, especially having access to free alcohol at the Grand Club, so I ordered a Kalik Gold instead, which was very good.

The service was mediocre. Even though there were barely any patrons at the restaurant through our first half of the meal, our server took several minutes to bring water and take drink orders, the bar took a long time to send them, and then some more time to come back and take our food orders. Once the food was brought out, our server never came back to check on us other than when we had to flag him down for refills, extra utensils, etc, and until it was time to get the check. I’m not the type of person who thinks dinner should be a race to the finish line, especially when on vacation, but I still expect staff to be more attentive. Possibly one of the by-products of the hotel’s mandatory 15% service charge. The final bill for 9 guests including two small kids who barely ordered anything came out to $442. I personally would stay away from this restaurant until prices and service improves.

El Jefe:

This is one small Mexican food truck I cannot recommend enough times for a cheap and tasty meal. It’s a pink airstream trailer located at the west end of the resort near the beach, and it’s great for both beach food, pool food or even a to-go box for a quick lunch in your room. It’s on the same point-of-sale system as 3 Tides, so you can charge it to your room.  The sopes were VERY VERY good, and at $6 each and a generous size, two or three are more than enough for two people wanting to grab a quick bite. My apologies for not catching it on a picture, so I am borrowing one courtesy of the hotel’s management on TripAdvisor.

Out Island Bar:

The pool bar is conveniently located by the last pool near the beach, and it has a limited menu, which you can order from and they take to your pool chair. The food is brought out from the Palms Cafe restaurant near the main pool as far as I could tell. We mostly ordered kids meals (fish and chicken) and a couple of other appetizers such as empanadas and conch fritters, but we found the fish to be overtly salty. The chicken was just ok. We had quite a few Moscow Mules from this bar, but they lacked enough of an alcohol punch.

The Palms Cafe:

Stopped here on our last day.  Service was spot on and their lobster grilled cheese was insanely good!

The Swimming Pig:

This restaurant at the far end of the east tower casino is clearly the place to be in the evenings. It was frequented by lots of locals during our visit, and it’s open 24 hours, although after 11pm or so they only serve pizzas. We did go have beer, cheese pizza and an espresso martini one of the evenings, and the pizza was pretty good. While the martini was $15, they added a $9 charge for the vodka, so we had to argue that one out with the server and point out the error and have it removed.

The restaurant was very busy, so we could tell it was a good spot to eat and hang out.

Stix Noodle Bar:

I noticed this restaurant doesn’t seem to be listed on the resort’s website. I made it a point to try it out during our stay, but we just couldn’t work it into our plans. On my first evening I got hungry late at night so I went for a bite, but got there at 11:45 p.m. And missed the kitchen cutoff by 15 minutes (kitchen closes at 11:30 p.m. and the restaurant closes at midnight). The restaurant opens at 4:00 p.m. and makes Asian noodles cooked to order. Joe’s kids did try it out on their last day and liked it. It seemed busy enough during our stay to possibly merit a visit in the future.

H2O Swim-up bar:

We had one drink at the swim-up bar. I love pools that have this feature. As far as i could tell there was only one for the whole resort, so it will be hard to get a seat as the hotel fills up. The set up is ok, but the bar could use some TVs with sports, news channels or anything to go along with your drinks.

Other options:

The hotel has a free shuttle to a couple of nearby resorts including the Sandals (this doesn’t seem to be listed on their website), so you could actually catch their shuttle and find other places outside the resort. We actually took advantage of this option to go buy beer to drink at night and take to the pool the next day. Check location and nearby restaurants before taking advantage of this option.

Service:

Overall, I found the service to be just average for the common areas, poor for the 3 Tides restaurant, and excellent for the Grand Club. I would not hesitate to have dinner at the Grand Club each evening, or just go off-property. If you stop by, be sure to say hello to Vincent and Peter, which were excellent attendants throughout our stay. You could tell they are very proud of their brand new lounge.

The hotel is certainly going through some growing pains, and I believe lots of improvements are needed. For instance, almost two weeks after checking out of the hotel, I still have not received a guest satisfaction survey, which most Hyatt properties usually send out seeking feedback. A brand new property should be sending these out, as initial guest feedback is crucial to addressing different issues that inevitably come up during a hotel opening.

Overall impression:

The service and food quality overall needs some improvement. Each time you impose a 15% mandatory service charge, you are discouraging employees to go above and beyond. Whether because of additional training needed because the property is new, or because of the mandatory tips, I think the service has to improve to justify the service charges. If visiting the property (at least for the moment), I would personally stick with the Grand Club (it is worth to upgrade to a Grand Club room if you don’t have access, IMO), the El Jefe food truck and possibly the Palms Cafe. Yes, there are also other restaurants offsite, but who wants to leave the resort and either pay for a cab or rent a car and drive on the “wrong side of the road”?

If you have already stayed at this hotel I would love to read your thoughts and compare notes. Feel free to post comments or questions below.

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4 Responses to Grand Hyatt Baha Mar review – Part III, restaurants

  1. Robert says:

    We agree that the food is overpriced and the service lacking. We stayed last week of July. The rooms are excellent however we had to remind the staff to clean the room and leave towels daily. Worth it to get off site, if you take the bus. Other cafes on the island were great.

  2. Traveller Tom says:

    We just got back from Baha Mar Oct 4th. We are hyatt discoverist but got access to the Grand Club for $50 per day on a special they were running.excellent service, staff and food in the club. You missed out on the shrimp spring rolls st Stix, absolutely delicious. Agree that the lobster grill cheese at the palms was very good too and a good size.

  3. Traveller Tom says:

    Madeleine French bakery was a pleasant surprise as well. Very good deserts around $5 each plus the standard 15% service fee and 8%vat tax on top. But some deserts are half price after 11:00 am and all deserts are half price in the last hour At 7:00 pm making them very affordable.

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