Grand Bahama News

Old Bahama Bay getting an upgrade

Old Bahama Bay (OBB) Resort and Yacht Harbour has embarked on a $2.5 million renovation project involving repairs, upgrades and remodeling of the property in West End in preparation for the 2023 spring season.

OBB President John MacDonald called it a major undertaking.

“With our promise of doing this, we’ve seen an uptick in our reservations and we are already getting a good amount of reservations for the 2023 season,” MacDonald told Grand Bahama News.

“We have a large group just waiting on permits now, that’s seeking to come in April for a sky dive competition like we’ve had before. We’ve also got a couple of groups looking at us for rendezvous in late April and also early June.

“We are finishing up those contracts now. It is over and above our normal course of business, but we are ready to provide what they need.”

The resort, which opened in 1999, is 56 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida, and boasts of being a premier getaway property for boaters.

With 73 units – 67 beachfront junior suites, and six one and two-bedroom suites, and a 72 slip marina, OBB guests can indulge in the many amenities offered at the site, including complimentary use of Wi-Fi, snorkeling equipment, and bicycles to tour West End. 

It became embroiled in the elaborate Ginn Sur Mer project, which came to a standstill when Ginn Clubs and Resorts defaulted on its project financing in 2011.

Last year, a proposed purchase by Kingwood International Resorts was rejected by the government. 

At the time, Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper said he was unable to talk publicly about why the deal was rejected.

“This, however, is an important landmark project for Grand Bahama Island,” said Cooper. “We want there to be a developer with significant resources, a clear vision for the property and a willingness to partner in the shared vision for the island. The government is committed to helping to find such a partner.”

Speaking of the upgrades, MacDonald said, “It started with phase one in the late 90s all the way through to the final phase in the early 2000s. So, we are updating them with new colors.

“We are going two-tone on the wall paint, repairing the floors where needed, installing new toilets and other plumbing fixtures. We’ve installed all new trims, including a chair rail this time and updated the furniture to a newer island look to be more modern with today’s times.”

According to MacDonald, guests will enjoy two new features in the rooms.

“We are putting in new microwaves that are not only a microwave and convection, but these modern ones are a microwave, convection and air fryer,” he said.

“We are also adding the single-serve coffee pots and larger flat screen, wall-mounted smart TVs.”

Combining Bahamian charm with luxury, MacDonald said they are not ignoring the exterior of the buildings.

“We have installed new roofs on all but three buildings,” he said.

“We will do them in the spring. They all had the original roofs since the resort was built, so we’ve redone each roof. We’ve removed the windows in the eves that were empty space, which caused issues during heavy storms, and also the dormers that were there, to give it a more ‘islandy’ look.

“We started repairing all of the stucco and stripping down the painted areas, and we are now priming and repainting the buildings. We have chosen all new Caribbean-style colors to add a little flavor.”

MacDonald is hopeful that the pool will be drained, cleaned, and resurfaced before the large groups arrive.

He noted that a grand reopening is planned for early April when all the upgrades will be unveiled.

“We want boaters and visitors to know that Old Bahama Bay is open for business,” he said.

“We closed out 2022 strong, which is why we were able to advance our renovations. We were able to make extensive repairs to the docks that sustained damage from the prior hurricane.

“That included cleaning, repainting and renovating our fuel tanks, and adding a brand new fuel pump system. We also brought all of our safety signs, fire extinguishers and safety hand throw wind devices up to code.”

In addition, OBB’s entire online network – Wi-Fi, sales, IT department and operating system – is being upgraded.

“We are trying to make sure we hit the ground running pretty hard come spring,” MacDonald said.

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