Fitness & Spas Food & Wine Lifestyle Luxury Hotels Travel

Work out, and arm-nip, while researching luxury hotels

Hanging from a TRX suspension trainer

Hanging from a TRX suspension trainer

Eating is no good without working out, and what will be the five-hotel luxury Baha Mar complex just west of Nassau, on the Bahamian island of New Providence, already comes up trumps. When it opens officially, there will be a gigantic gym as part of the ESPA building. Now, there is a pop-up gym, 24/7, at the Meliá. The gal worked out stringently, always taking the 64 stone steps in the outdoor fire escape up, and down, between the Meliá’s lobby and room 815. She also worked out on the beach with a fabulous trainer, Jimmy Mackey of MacFit 360.

The training Academy, with construction behind

The training Academy, with construction behind

This was good training for what were delightfully busy days. I walked over to the $3.5 billion complex’s Academy training base (construction for the various hotels can be seen behind). This was formerly the Commonwealth Bank, and the big central reception hall, once the banking hall, still has a six-foot high main safe in one corner. Overhead looks like a tent, with pink and white striped panels rising to an old chandelier, in what they call ‘Bahamian blue’, which has more than a hint of pale turquoise.

Mr Parrot senses FOOD….

Mr Parrot senses FOOD….

One day during my too-short time at Baha Mar was memorable for a spur-of-the-moment experience. I was lunching with Luis Fernandes, MD of what will be Rosewood Baha Mar. We went to the source-of-farm-to-table, Goodfellow Farms restaurant in the middle of a working farm. I am thinking of another lovely produce-surround dining venue, at Babylonstoren near Cape Town, when all of a sudden one of the Goodfellow Farms family members, a parrot, comes round – bad photo but I want you to see it – and NIP. With clear intent and certainty, he went for my juicy arm. I screamed. Another diner came running.

But he's only a baby, pleads Ian Goodfellow

But he’s only a baby, pleads Ian Goodfellow

Fortunately it was the owner of the farm and restaurant, Ian Goodfellow. It is only a baby, he explained. Enough of dining in a vegetable field, I must get back to my more usual habitat, luxury hotels.  I need, for example, to find out who actually has designed Baha Mar’s Grand Hyatt, Rosewood and SLS hotels, plus the Baha Mar Casino Hotel.  Some say much of it is Dianna (two Ns) Wong, and others say the overall designer is Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz….  who really knows?  The only thing I know is that I LIKE the result.