It’s a simple fact of life that every female needs a holiday with her girls every so often. It provides the kind of escape, fun, bonding and relaxation that only a ladies-only trip can provide and frankly we don’t get the chance to do it often enough. So when a friends muttered the words “girls weekend” sometime in February I knew that almost regardless of where we were headed, I was in.
We explored some options in Jamaica and Florida before settling on a 3-night stay at the SLS Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas. Having only been open for 18 months, the SLS is the second of three hotels to open in the $4.2 billion Baha Mar resort and it ticks a lot of boxes:
Stunning property on a beautiful sandy beach
An easy 1 hour direct flight from Cayman (less than an hour from Miami)
9 swimming pools with countless bars and restaurants around the resort
Nightclub and pool party on the property
Private dock with daily boat taxi to a private island
For a weekend break with friends, do you need anything else?
A hotel shuttle bus was waiting for us at the airport when we landed on the Friday night (included in the resort fee), and just 10 minutes later we’d arrived at the SLS and were checking into our suite. The room was HUGE - bigger than most of the apartments I’ve ever lived in - and perfect for a group of giggly gals to share, complete with 2 large bedrooms, 2 living areas, 3 bathrooms and a kitchen to store snacks and the bottles of prosecco we’d picked up in duty free. We threw our bags down, popped open the bubbles, ordered pizza and got ourselves ready for a night out at the hotel’s nightclub - Bond.
Our weekend package included a $1000 bar tab which we chose to split 50/50 between the nightclub on Friday and the pool party on Saturday - making everything simple for a group by getting the party started without anyone having to think or keep track of who paid for what.
Sidenote: we used Splitwise to track all other spending which I’ve now used on a few group trips and it’s amazing. As long as the whole group understands that you have to wait until everyone has added their expenses before you ask the app to calculate who owes what, it’s technical wizardry at it’s finest.
Crashing out at some hour between midnight and sunrise, most of us had a slow start on Saturday, easing ourselves back into party mode with a stroll around the grounds, a bit of food and some cocktails. I’m not usually one for the giant resort vibe, opting mostly for smaller, boutique hotels, but I have to say that the Baha Mar has been beautifully designed and aesthetics thoughtfully considered at every step - even the bathrooms were housed in cute little beach huts! And the duck….well that needs to be mine one day!
A few of the food outlets were converted old airstreams right on the beach which I loved - especially the Mexican one ""El Jefe” which served hands down the best margaritas I’ve ever tasted…at a pretty reasonably price I might add.
We dusted off the last of the cobwebs with a few rounds of “cliff jumping” at one of the family focused pools before heading to the party back at the SLS.
Good beats and good vibes pretty much sums up the atmosphere at Privilege day club - it was full of 30-40 somethings celebrating all sorts of things from birthdays to stag weekends - like Vegas pool parties on a small scale without the celebrity DJ.
And a day of drinking and dancing in the sunshine on the back of a fairly big night on the Friday, took the wind of out of most of our sails and we just about managed to stay awake through dinner before diving into our beds for a good nights sleep.
Feeling thoroughly refreshed by Sunday (on a girls trip? We must be growing up…) we bounded out of bed to the gym for a quick workout before grabbing coffees and joining the Flamingo parade! Yup you read that correctly - flamingos are the Bahamas’ national bird and the Baha Mar is committed to conservation, so the Flamingo enclosure is positioned to “educate guests about local conservation efforts, inspire action to make a difference and turn guests into passionate stewards of the Bahamian environment.” The staff taking care of the Flamingo’s seemed genuinely invested in their welfare and I don’t usually feel great about seeing animals in captivity but I have to admit it was really cool being so close up to the birds! The staff were incredibly informative too.
We spent the rest of the morning relaxing on the beach, reading on the pier and chilling by the pool before heading to the spa. The resort offers a great mix of energy whatever you’re into which I loved and although the spa is expensive, I never treat myself to things like massages at home, so I decided to splash out and it was definitely needed. And let’s be honest, pampering is more fun when there are friends to share it with!
Feeling utterly relaxed by late afternoon we climbed into our fluffy robes back in the room for another glass of bubbles before getting ready for sunset drinks on the SLS rooftop terrace at the Skybar.
As the sun dipped below the horizon we headed back down to the casino level for an incredible meal at Cleo which serves mediterranean food (my fave cuisine) family style - all of it delicious.
Top tip: make reservations for dinner in advance if you’re going to the Baha Mar over a weekend as they get very busy and you won’t get in with a group if you walk in.
Dinner was followed by espresso martinis and a spot of gambling! I haven’t really spent any time in a casino before but quickly learned the rules of black jack (thanks Kelly!) and loved it! We played for a few hours on a table of other jovial beginners, before quitting while we were only slightly behind (it was worth it!)
We woke up bright and bushy tailed again on our last morning, making the most of our last few hours in the resort, exploring the lush grounds while they were quiet and empty and enjoying a few final swims before heading to the airport and back home.
We laughed, we gossiped, we swam, we napped, we danced, we ate, we drank, we dressed up, we worked out…we had a LOT of fun. It was a perfect weekend.
Here’s a little video recap of all the laughs :)