The Breezes Bahamas all-inclusive resort has the friendly, welcoming feel of a family run hotel despite its affiliation with the (albeit much diminished) SuperClubs chain. Located on Nassau’s fabled Cable Beach right next door to the stalled Baha Mar complex, for now Breezes has one great advantage over its ritzy neighbor: it’s actually open for business.
If anything, Baha Mar will enhance the appeal of a Breezes Bahamas stay, not diminish it. Breezes guests have access to the same beautiful beach at a fraction of the cost, and should you ever tire of the all-inclusive dining here you can always wander over to Baha Mar to check out the restaurants, try your luck at the casino, or enjoy the golf course and other (promised) amenities available to the public. As Breezes sales manager Hedda Smith notes, the best strategy for budget-conscious Cable Beach visitors may be to “stay here, play there.”
Lots Included, and Some Attractive Add-Ons, Too
For now, however, there’s still plenty to like about the 392-room Breezes Bahamas. It’s not the newest of resorts, sure: the bright decor speaks of the late 80s or early 90s in places, but despite the need for a style makeover, it’s all pretty well maintained. (The lobby, on the other hand, has been recently renovated.) You get the sense that the resort, with spacious performance stage and lookout-style lounge overlooking the pool and swim-up bar, was once a bigger deal than it is now (and it was), but it’s easy to see why Breezes Bahamas is still going strong while many of its contemporary resorts have closed up or rebranded.
Foremost, it’s a great value: for $175-200 per person per night, the resort’s SuperInclusive package includes all meals, drinks and water sports — the only extra we encountered was spa services, but those were well worth paying for since our massages were expertly performed at a pair of private cabanas on the quiet side of the resort’s 1,000-foot beach (e/g. the end farthest from the construction noise over at the Baha Mar). One of the recent additions to the resort are other beach cabanas that you can rent for the day and include your own personal waiter: the prompt drink and food service alone is worth the $20 a day, never mind the shade and comfy loungers.
Authentic Local Cuisine Part of the Inclusive Dining Mix
Food is often what separates good all-inclusives from bad, so we were thrilled to sit down at our first night at the resort to an excellent (and all-new) dining experience: authentic island cuisine served by candlelight at the beachfront Reggae Cafe: conch fritters flavored with Bahamian Kalik beer, jerk chicken with deep-fried “festivals,” and traditional “broil fish” served alongside rice and beans, fried plantains, and Bahamian mac & cheese.
The cheery Banana Boat buffet was a cut above, as well, especially at breakfast (midnight snacks are served here, too), while the Munasan Japanese “specialty restaurant” served up some perfectly acceptable sushi and Teppanyaki-style stir-fry.
Located in the basement, Martino’s managed to convey a bit of old-school Italian ambiance, and while the wine was of dubious provanence, the chicken parmigiana and signature penne with Caribbean lobster and broccoli were palate-pleasing. Across the hall lurked a dark and mostly deserted nightclub that looked right out of the late 1960s, which not coincidentally was when the resort first opened; much the same could be said of the indoor portion of the couples-only Garden of Eden restaurant, although the outdoor courtyard looked quite charming (we did not have an opportunity to dine here, however).
Try Your Hand at Water Sports, Rock Climbing, Tennis -- Even Trapeze
The vibe at the resort can be quite varied depending upon when you come: it was quiet during our stay, but that was just one week after the last of the Spring Breakers left and, well, let’s just say we heard stories from some of the staff. So plan carefully if you don’t want to relive those drunken days of collegiate life that you barely remember.
Besides the pool, the resort has a nice tennis center, basketball and beach volleyball courts, a rock-climbing wall, and the usual array of inclusive, non-motorized watersports: windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, and paddelboarding. Lessons are offered regularly for tennis players, prospective sailors and windsurfers, and — most bizarrely — trapeze artists. The occasional pool games break out at the encouragement of resort staff, depending on guest interest, and the lobby includes pool and ping-pong tables which we saw getting a fair amount of use. Live music is offered nightly near the lobby bar (by the house Funky D band) and in the piano bar.
Upgrade to Rooms Where You Can Walk Out to the Beach
You won’t be blown away by the rooms, but again they offer a lot for the money, and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay in a fifth-floor oceanfront suite, which featured a spacious bathroom, mahogany furniture, a work desk, and flat-screen TV. The resort has 391 rooms total, including 5 suites, 28 Deluxe Oceanfront rooms and 8 new Deluxe Beachfront rooms. Other rooms are Garden View. The ground-floor Deluxe Beachfront rooms have sliding doors leading directly to the beach; certain other ground-floor rooms have hammocks and furnished patios.
Just Far Enough Away for Privacy, But Still Convenient to Downtown Nassau
Finally, Cable Beach is not terribly far from downtown Nassau: it’s too far to walk, but also isolated enough to feel secluded and safe. We took a $15 cab ride downtown to have lunch at the intriguing Greycliff hotel and sample their locally made chocolates (as well as dropping in at the nearby John Watling’s rum distillery), but the city bus (or "jitney") is a cheap and convenient option as well: it’s just $1.25 each way and stops at the hotel every 10-15 minutes.
However you travel, you’ll ride over nice, new smoothly paved roads built between Cable Beach, the airport and downtown — another perk of being the Baha Mar’s neighbors and one you’ll enjoy more or less exclusively until the (currently insolvent) mega-resort finally opens.