Luxury Hotels


Oh the meetings, 26,000 of them in all, the business side of ILTM NORTH AMERICA, 18-21 September 2023 at beautiful Baha Mar in Nassau. The complex’s Conference Center is fortunately vast, and some exhibitors, like The Leading Hotels of the World, had their own small rooms. Other ‘groups’ had areas within big rooms. The Swiss contingent came over powerfully, partly because of Roger Federer, who has a three-year contract with Switzerland Tourism. See above. The exhibitors from Switzerland, who of course included BADRUTT’S PALACE in St Moritz, therefore had the big advantage of working while he looked down on them.  His presence also made it easier for the buying travel agents to see where their next appointment was.

It was all incredibly well organised. outside every meeting room there were plentiful supplies of water and coffee, and milk, almond, half-and-half or real? The commendable sustaining offerings also included paper sack grab-and-go lunches for media. The programme for the 40-ish (number, not age) communication hacks included ‘press round table lunches. Every nine minutes, energetic writers moved, bags and laptops and half-devoured superb flank steak submarines, from one table to another. That was still enough time to exchange business cards and suss out Ecuador, Saudi Arabia’s AlUla and, from the Galapagos, a boutique hotel and, separately, a 20-person luxury catamaran called Hermès. Honestly, superb value for time.

Media needed a bit, if not more, tender loving care. There was morning yoga and, yesterday, a memorable 90-minute sunset cruise. This followed on to dinner on high, at GRAND HYATT’s Marcus. Baha Mar President Graeme Davis is a sustainability spokesman. Lion fish was deliberately on the menu as it is a preditor,  and therefore all the better for itself being eaten. With rum-glazed plantain and passionfruit piri piri it was jolly good. You could say this about the whole event, jolly worthwhile.

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Luxury Hotels


The first proper day of ILTM North America, at Baha Mar – ‘shallow waters’ – in Nassau was back-to-back meetings.  But what a setting!  Baha Mar’s convention centre is not only huge but a kaleidosope of riotous colour. Above, for instance, Daniel Scott, MD ROSEWOOD MAYAKOBA, and Lucy Clifton, MD SpotL1ght Communications, stand in front of a permanent display of art flowers, each bloom at least 30cm diameter.

But the complex does have some more subdued areas. Two minutes walk leads to Waterside Chapel. How lovely to be married in such a soothing place, its all-white wood and leather interior complementing views, through big windows, of Roussesau greenery. During ILTM, the chapel is desantified as the Media Centre. Take your pew and listen.

The first morning kicked off with a media welcome from Baha Mar President Graeme Davis. A presentation from Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board was an update on ATLANTIS and its one-time little sibling, now THE OCEAN CLUB, A FOUR SEASONS RESORT. Japan National Tourist Office JNTO had an impressively detailed cast that included the YTL-owned RITZ-CARLTON NIKKO, two hours from Tokyo, whose GM, Alex McBride, is married to a charming Japanese lady.

After Japan, media ‘went’ to West Hollywood, followed by Portugal, and then it was time to hear how Preferred Hotel Group is refreshing some of its offerings. The morning continued in other rooms, back in the conference centre. Speed-dating it was, truly. Every nine minutes it was rush from one table to another, switching concentration from Galapagos to Rome to Santa Monica. Move, carrying goods and chattels and attempting to eat a much-appreciated and delicious flank steak sub.

It seemed, and was, hours since Hyatt’s elegant media breakfast. Atop a two-floor tower ten minutes walk from GRAND HYATT BAHA MAR, this open-sided venue is Marcus, a hotel-run Marcus Samuelsson restaurant, a perfect venue for help-yourself fruits, smoothies and good tasty Bahamian bacon steaks. Work hard, network with results and eat (and drink) divinely, messages from ILTM North America.


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Avant le deluge…. ROSEWOOD BAHA MAR hosted an early sundowner around one of the resort’s three pools last Sunday. Sip and swim, savour the sun.  People needed fuel for what would be a fast-paced four days, 18-21 September 2023. ILTM North America outgrew its previous home and it has located to the three resorts that form Baha Mar, of which more to come.

This is not as large as mother-ship of the ILTM family, in Cannes, but it is the largest tabletop show.  Simon Mayle, who runs ILTM in the Americas, has brought in 475 buyers (travel advisors) from 200 cities in North America, a tally that includes sizeable big contingents from American Express, Internova, Signature, Taylormade and Virtuoso.  72% of these buyers are first-timers to ILTM North America. Buyers will have a total of 26,000 meetings, each 15 minutes long, with 475 exhibitors from 65 countries.

There are also important media here, and this group was welcomed last night in Baha Mar’s ECCHO art centre. Host Graeme Davis, President of Baha Mar, stressed the importance of the arts scene to Baha Mar. There are over a thousand Bahamian original art works among the 3,000 pieces displayed throughout the whole complex, and the 14-strong art department (which has classes five days a week, or bespoke any-time commitments) is led by renowned artist John Cross. A partnership with The Bahama’s National Gallery starts soon. What is also exciting is that Baha Mar will host the first regional Culinary and Arts Festival, 28-30 October, with Sting as special guest. Watch this place.



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