By Robert Di Pano
BIMINI — A major new hotel has opened its doors in the Bahamas.
Hilton at Resorts World Bimini held its grand opening this weekend, a highly-anticipated debut that brings a cutting-edge hotel to the 700-island chain.
Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie, who was on hand for the junkanoo-style opening ceremony, said the hotel’s debut was a “defining experience” for the Bahamas.
The property, which joins what was already one of the region’s top casinos, has a total of 305 rooms including 18 suites.
It immediately becomes one of the most modern hotels in the country and the wider region.
The opening marks the completion of the hotel’s second phase, which included meeting rooms, restaurants including a sushi bar in the lobby, rooftop amenities, a spa with five treatment rooms and a new connection to the casino.
That’s all in addition to what is the largest combined marina in the Bahamas.
Also on hand are suites for high rollers and Diamond members.
One of the highlights is a rooftop infinity pool with a dramatic wraparound walkaway, along with the hotel’s signature swim-up suites.
“This is an example of how public-private partnership can work with development and service-oriented business,” said Bahamas Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe. “It will ensure that when we say it’s better in the Bahamas. we mean it.”
The wider Resorts World Bimini project has already catapulted Bimini into the second-most visited Out Island of the Bahamas, Christie said.
That’s been boosted, too, by the recent launch of daily seaplane flights from Fort Lauderdale to Bimini on Cape Air. The flights, which began operating earlier this year, mean the trip takes about 30 minutes. More crucially, passengers return to Fort Lauderdale though the private aviation terminal, meaning a far less crowded customs and immigration experience.
The resort should stabilize at around 720 employees, a significant boost on an island with a population of about 2,000 people.
The hotel becomes the second Hilton-branded property in the Bahamas, joining Hilton British Colonial in Nassau.
It’s quickly become one of the top Bahamas hotels.