How the SLS Baha Mar Created a COVID-19 'Safety Zone & Rolled Out an Epic Vacation Package
How the SLS Baha Mar Created a COVID-19 'Safety Zone' and Rolled Out an Epic Vacation Package to Enjoy It
by Christine Burroni
From Caribbean excursions to relaxing poolside in a private cabana, this three-night package checks all the boxes for a perfect resort stay right now.
Editor's note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
Traveling these days comes with a laundry list of COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, but one Bahamian hotel aims to take the stress out of it all with a glamorous new vacation package — all while providing peace of mind.
Aptly named "Worth Your While," the curated three-night stay at the SLS Baha Mar combines quintessential Caribbean experiences with relaxation time, perfect for anyone who's been craving some out of (remote) office time.
The package includes private round-trip transportation from the airport in a Tesla, a full-day excursion to Rose Island — complete with a private villa and sea turtle experience — a private cabana at the hotel's Bungalow pool, a flamingo yoga session, and more.
"We wanted to include unique things that you could not experience anywhere else," Axel Gasser, vice president and general manager of the SLS, told Travel + Leisure. "We wanted to give the best that SLS has to offer and the best that the island has to offer because the Bahamas is such a unique [and] such a wonderful destination."
The $4,000 experience also includes accommodation in one of the hotel's one-bedroom residences with daily in-room continental breakfast.
Upon arrival, guests are directed to a designated testing area where they'll undergo a rapid COVID-19 test in partnership with the Bahamas' Doctors Hospital, as part of the Baha Mar's Travel With Confidence program. Guests then wait for results in their hotel rooms and are given their key cards once the tests come back negative.
Resort employees are also tested on a weekly basis. Local residents who want to enjoy the hotel pools, massive casino, or restaurants are also tested through a drive-through facility.
Masks are required while roaming the property — that comprises the SLS, Rosewood, and Grand Hyatt — while markers for social distancing and hand sanitizer dispensers are dispersed throughout the complex.
"We've created this safety zone," Gasser said. "Once you're cleared, we want you to forget about that." "I think we're in the 'new normal' [and] 'the new normal' means you can have fun, you can enjoy yourself, but be responsible and wear your mask," he added.
The Bahamas requires a negative PCR test taken no more than five days before arrival as well as a Health Travel Visa that can be obtained on the island's tourism website. Currently, there is a curfew in place that starts at 10 p.m.
If a guest does contract COVID-19 during their stay, Baha Mar will provide accommodation and daily in-room dining for a two-week quarantine period or fly the guest back to the U.S. on a private jet.
Baha Mar guests returning the to U.S. will also be able to get tested at the end of their trip to comply with the CDC requirement that all international arrivals test negative for COVID-19.
Guests have their choice of dozens of cuisines including Mediterranean fare at Cleo, Japanese at Katsuya, Italian spot Fi'lia, and a steakhouse, Carna, by famed butcher Dario Cecchini.
Most recently, renowned chef Daniel Boulud opened a new location on the Baha Mar property, Café Boulud The Bahamas, providing foodies with his famed French cuisine.
In the resort's gradual opening, which started in December with the opening of the Grand Hyatt and continued with the SLS and Rosewood opening on March 4, Gasser told T+L that 1,000 employees are back to work after a year-long closure.
"It just feels extremely rewarding to be back at what we do best," Gasser told T+L. "Taking care of guests, curating their experiences, and making people happy is part of our DNA."
Christine Burroni is Travel + Leisure's Digital News Editor. Find her keeping up with just about everything on Twitter or see what she's up to in NYC or on her latest trip on Instagram.