NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A $4 million investment at Exuma’s Grand Isle Resort and Spa saw the island open its first Beach Club last week – a swanky locale set to lure in trendy vacationers and be the new St. Tropez of the region.
In an interview with Eyewitness Business, the property’s majority owner Peter Nicholson said the 30,000-square-foot 23 North Beach Club opened on budget last Friday in a soft opening. The year-long construction timeline may have been a few months more than expected, he said, but the detailed final product was projected to further bolster the resort’s occupancy going forward.
“I think we can replicate the same feel that people travel [to St. Tropez] for, but we have better beaches,” said Nicholson. “This will be The Bahamas’ high-quality beach club, but it will have a different feel from other islands because our beach is very large.”
At peak construction, the Beach Club employed around 60 workers full time, with near two-dozen employees needed upon opening.
That number is expected to grow as the new addition gains in popularity, with the marketing force of the nearby swimming pigs seen as one of the most powerful draws to the southern island.
The decision to take down the deserted building – previously slated to be the clubhouse attached to the failed Four Seasons property – was made following many curious remarks by visitors to Exuma.
“That laid empty from 2008 when it was built and looked like an eyesore and people kept asking what was that deserted building,” said Nicholson. “We’ve really been working hard trying to promote Grand Isle and increase occupancy and we are operating at full occupancy now all the way to April… but I said we needed to do something about it.”
The 23 North club is expected to provide guests with a more luxurious poolside lounge experience, accompanied with fine dining options prepared by Chef Fritz, the executive director of culinary, to complement the stunning views of Emerald Bay.
Features like the cabanas, daybeds, lounge chairs, indoor and outdoor bar and restaurant, and beach access are expected to be a big draw for the yachters, with the nearby Emerald Bay marina primed for the uptick.
“We want 23 North to be a haven for guests looking to immerse themselves in exceptional luxury experience while also enjoying the natural beauty of the Caribbean,” said Managing Director of Grand Isle Resort & Spa Lester Scott, in a release last week. “The resort is always looking for ways to enhance and uphold our high service standards, so we look forward to 23 North becoming one of Exuma’s most popular luxury beach club.”
The Beach Club will also serve as an event space for special occasions including weddings, birthdays, reunions, incentive meetings and more. Billed as the perfect place for couples to tie the knot, 23 North also features a large bridal suite and sits on Emerald Bay’s beach, which has been touted as one of the most beautiful locations in the Caribbean region.