Pride, purpose, fortitude and generous, enigmatic hospitality is synonymous with Bahamian culture. During a recent trip to see the new facelift, the Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino was a shining example of these attributes, delivering planners a tropical oasis set in an engagingly festive environment with mouthwatering cuisine and quality service that’s imbedded in the culture—all at an incredible value.
“We give you our hearts and then service every minute of it,” says Samuel R. Zabawsky, director of sales/marketing. Albert Hakim, a planner with printing broker Laserwave, Inc., experienced this on our trip while he was working to secure a new venue for a Passover group of 600 guests, which will take over most of the property and require very specific needs.
“In 24 hours I’ve met more people here than I have in three years at another property,” he said. “Everyone is so welcoming and they’re getting everything done. Their answers are always options with solutions.”
The 559-room resort consists of three towers in the heart of Cable Beach, just minutes south of downtown Nassau, surrounded by stunning turquoise waters and pale white beaches. Uncomplicated, airy guestrooms feature a private balcony overlooking the Atlantic or heart of Cable Beach.
The Rainforest Theatre hosts up to 800 in cabaret-style seating with a true theatrical stage. The 13,000-sf Crystal Ballroom can handle 1,750-person receptions, or divide into four separate meeting rooms. The 30,000-sf Crystal Palace Casino features more than 400 new slot machines and 40 gaming tables. And the 18-hole Cable Beach Golf Club across the street undulates around picturesque lakes.
But what grabs any planner’s attention in Nassau is the wealth of experiences in a tight, easily navigable destination.
Look into Stuart Cove’s seaside adventure village, featured in the 1996 film Flipper. The state-of-the-art watersports facility offers a whole fleet of boats for snorkeling, diving, dolphin experiences and the more exclusive, personal SUB adventures. Shaped like a seahorse, these personal submarines propel riders 20 feet underwater on slow guided tours moving at a speed of about two knots.
We serenely snorkeled over thriving coral reefs, former movie sets and shipwrecks seeing firsthand the beauty of these complex ecosystems alive with sea plants and colorful marine life. For your more courageous groups, this is one of the few places for snorkeling or diving with Caribbean reef sharks. About 25 of these calm creatures swim freely with participants during this incredible up-close encounter.
Let’s talk food. Black Angus Grille at Wyndham Nassau is one of the premier steakhouses on-island, couched in an expensive new decor with wood paneling and leather banquettes. Try the house specialty, a succulent blackened conch filet. Another group favorite was the nouvelle Asian-themed Moso restaurant. The menu is a fusion experience blending modern Chinese, Thai and Japanese.
An evening isn’t complete without cocktails at 22 ABOVE where Fredrick Case, last years’ 2nd place winner of the Taste of the Caribbean mixologist competition, knows your libation of choice even if you don’t. Love the view over the casino floor below, the candlelit tables, wide dance floor and exceptional live Bahamian bands playing Barry White to Maroon 5.
Here’s a deal. The Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board is aggressively providing meeting professionals substantial rebates, a variety of value-added offers and tax credits for new bookings contracted by Dec. 2010 for completion by Dec. 22, 2013. Rebates run as high as $30,000 for 1,500 room nights.