Melia at Baha Mar will be the first all-inclusive resort in the $3.5 billion Baha Mar complex under construction in Nassau's Cable Beach area.

Melia Hotels International took over the current Sheraton Nassau Beach Hotel, adjacent to Baha Mar, on Dec. 1.

The 694-room resort is operating as the Melia Nassau Beach Resort until its integration into Baha Mar in December 2014, when it will be renamed Melia at Baha Mar and begin operations as an all-inclusive.

The property will be the first hotel in the English-speaking Caribbean for the Spanish hotel chain, which has more than 350 properties in 40 countries, under seven brands.

In the Caribbean, Melia currently has five resorts in the Dominican Republic and one in Puerto Rico. Melia also has nine properties in Mexico.

"Melia brings an upscale name with global recognition and exceptional values to our brand portfolio at Baha Mar," said Sarkis Izmirlian, Baha Mar's chairman and CEO.

"The company's expertise in the European, Latin American and Russian markets will further support Baha Mar in attracting a worldwide clientele," he said.

Obediah Wilchcombe, Bahamas minister of tourism, said the presence of the Melia brand "will be a tremendous asset as the Bahamas seeks to increase international airlift."

When Baha Mar opens in December 2014, it will include five hotels with more than 2,900 total rooms. All but the Melia will be newbuilds.

Those four newbuilds are the 200-room Rosewood at Baha Mar, the most high-end resort in the complex; the 300-room Mondrian at Baha Mar, described as "hip and edgy in the W Hotels style" by Robert "Sandy" Sands, senior vice president for administration and external affairs at Baha Mar Ltd.; the 700-room Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar, billed as the convention hotel, and the 1,000-room Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, the centerpiece of the resort complex.

Baha Mar will also include private residences, a 200,000-square-foot convention center, an 18-hole golf course, a 30,000-square-foot Espa spa, a 100,000-square-foot casino, 40 restaurants, a mile of beach, entertainment venues, shops, 14 pools, a private island and the Waterside Place retail center with galleries and entertainment venues.

Refurbishment plans for the Melia property include new restaurant concepts and updates to pools, lobby area and rooms.

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