NEW YORK --
Tourism in the Bahamas may take a giant leap forward if plans for
the worlds largest resort -- a multibillion-dollar, lunar-themed
complex just north of Grand Bahama Island -- get off the launchpad.
completion in 2010, Moon Bahamas -- pitched by Canadian developer
RJH Holdings as the largest, most expensive, most exclusive and
most spectacular resort in the world -- would sit on five man-made
islands built off Grand Bahamas northern coast.
After some $4.5
billion worth of construction, facilities would comprise a series
of superlatives: the worlds largest casino and largest wine cellar;
its biggest mega-yacht marina; and its largest and tallest hotel,
with 12,000 suites stacked in a 100-story tower.
The complex also
would include some 50 restaurants, 10 cruise ship terminals, four
golf courses; a huge convention center and 22,000 condominiums, all
encircled by the worlds biggest artificial coral reef.
the biggest hotel currently in operation in the Bahamas, the $850
million Atlantis on Paradise Island, has 2,317 guest units along
with what are now the largest casino and largest artificial marine
habitat in the Caribbean.
A lunar theme
would dominate throughout the 10-square-mile resort, which is being
billed as a tribute to Earths closest celestial partner.
For example, a
400-foot-high scale model of the moon, nestled between wings of the
100-story hotel, is planned to house a Moon Casino and a Metropolis
A 500-foot wave
pool will feature a black moon sand beach and a lunar-lander lounge
accessible by underwater walkways. A Crater Cafe will be one of
many five-star dining options.
In addition, the
resort will have a Planet Ice winter-sports center for those
seeking diversionary breaks from the heat.
According to RJH
Holdings chairman, Michael Henderson, the company settled on the
lunar theme -- and near-planetary scale -- in response to the
belief that most North American architecture is not very exciting,
especially when it comes to resorts.
Searching for a
revolutionary idea, developers wracked [our] brains for something
different, and, lo and behold, the most obvious thing, the moon,
became the project centerpiece.
scale of the endeavor was a logical response to the lunar theme,
because if you brought the Moon to Earth on a small scale, it would
backfire, he said.
other locations -- Las Vegas; Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
Singapore; and Phuket, Thailand -- were considered for the project,
RJH Holdings settled on the Bahamas due to its proximity to the
U.S., environment and tourism infrastructure.
were interested in the infrastructure, said Henderson. We werent
sure the island could handle something the size of Moon Bahamas,
but it turns out it can.
RJH Holdings said
it entered into a memorandum of understanding on development with
the Grand Bahama Port Authority; launching Moon Bahamas requires
final Bahamian government approval. Construction could begin by
Asked for comment
on the prospects for Moon Bahamas, a
spokesperson for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said the agency is
studying the proposal.
Meanwhile, in an
official statement, Port Authority Chairman Edward St. George
called plans for the resort ambitious, bold and unique.
Over the next few
months, a detailed feasibility study will be conducted, in addition
to finalizing funding, brand leveraging and corporate
already enlisted 84 partner companies and individuals, from
caterers and decorators to architects, programmers and space
trade partners have not yet been selected, but the six-year
construction timeframe gives us lots of time to put together our
marketing scheme, said Henderson.
One idea is to
ferry travel agents from around the world through the resort during
the first six months of operation.
can be had at www.moonbahamas.com.
reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].