Bahía Beach Resort and Golf will neutralize stress, a guarantee that is not mentioned in any catalogue. Located in the northeast of Puerto Rico, the resort is just thirty minutes from the Luis Muñoz Marín international airport in San Juan. The entrance to the resort, which opened in January 2009, opens onto the lush golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. Managed by Troon Golf of Arizona, the 18 hole course stretches all the way to the beach. Nearly 65% of the 483 acres (195 hectares) of the resort is reserved for green spaces and as a result, nature is a constant for those who play at the course and for resort guests.
Bahía Beach is the first natural sanctuary of the Caribbean to receive the Gold Audubon International Signature Certification. This recognition is awarded to developments supervised from the development stage that meet strict environmental criteria, says Russ Brodie, a technical manager at Audubon Environmental.
“We are in an area that is filled with fauna as well as genetic information,” says Natural Resources Manager Marcela Cañón. The resort borders on the Espíritu Santo River, “an area that includes mangrove swamps, a coral reef and a beach that is very important for the nesting of sea turtles, especially leatherbacks, the largest species in the world.”
Vegetation corridors were constructed to “connect El Yunque with the beach through a network of plants designed to sustain wildlife.” To achieve this goal, more than 4,500 native trees were transplanted and 63,000 native species were planted.”
Bahía has 63 acres (25 hectares) of lakes that are fed by the water table and rainwater. “Rainwater is used for the golf course and gardens.”
Without leaving the resort, guests can see native and migratory species such as brown pelicans, iguanas and bats. The first leatherback turtle arrived on Earth day this year (April 22nd).
The luxury of St. Regis in the Caribbean
The investment in the resort will total $970 million and its financing is guaranteed.
The star of the complex will be the St. Regis Hotel-Spa, scheduled to open in 2010. The complex will have 139 junior suites and one-room units with exquisite details including works by Puerto Rican artist Rafael Ferrer. The hotel will also boast a Remède Spa, swimming pools overlooking the sea and the Fern Restaurant, headed by world-famous chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. It will be the first St. Regis in the Caribbean.
The resort will also include Las Estancias, luxury houses starting at $2.5 million. Buyers include New York Mets player Carlos Beltrán, medal-winning boxer Oscar de la Hoya and former Army Secretary Clifford Alexander, according to Sánchez-Ortíz. Celebrity couples like Jennifer López and Marc Anthony and Bill and Camille Cosby have vacationed in Bahía, and Ricky Martin held his foundation golf tournament here early this year.
Owners will have the chance to enjoy services like the St. Regis Butler and St. Regis Concierge as well as memberships to use the resort facilities.
The Fun Continues to Grow
Only one-third of Bahía’s lands have been developed. To date, the 90 villas in Las Verandas have been completed. Some of the 10 two-storey town homes in the Las Olas section are ready to hand over to owners, while the 24 apartments in Las Ventanas are under construction. In addition, the resort will have a commercial center with well-known brand stores, cafés, restaurants and a convention center.
The architecture is a reflection of nature in many respects. “We made the natural surroundings even more lush through landscaping,” says Joseph Andriola, vice-president of SB Architects, one of the firms in charge of designing the resort. Climate was an important factor, since Puerto Rico is in the area affected by hurricanes.
Andriola explained that the balconies are designed to protect against rain, with hurricane-resistant windows, reinforced concrete and secondary energy sources. The idea is “to take advantage of materials in order to extend the outdoor experience beyond its usual season.”
In the surrounding areas, visitors can view flora and fauna, play golf or tennis, fish and scuba dive near the coral reefs or take a trip in kayak to discover the wonders of the Espíritu Santo River. Nearby, El Yunque awaits those who want to experience the wonders of the rainforest; the annual rainfall reaches 200 inches in this pristine 28,000 acre area.