Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino

Friday, March 9, 2018 1 No tags Permalink 2

Note: this post is a compilation of previous posts on the Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino. 2018 Update Below.

Bahama Princess

The Bahamas Princess Tower
Freeport, Bahamas

Photo by B.J. (Chris) Lothian
Ernie’s Studio & Camera Center, Ltd., Freeport, Grand Bahama, W.I.

So, here’s the backstory on this one. Mom and Dad went to the Bahama Princess (and stayed in the Country Club) when my sister and I were quite young (pre-1980?). Years later, they took us there on vacation (we stayed at the Tower). The Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino was a phenomenal place, sitting on 1,000 acres with pools and a casino. It was right next to the International Bazaar.

The Princess resort was built sometime in the 1970s and was a pretty big deal. Sometime after our visit in the early 90s, the Princess Towers became Bahamia Royal Oasis Resort, owned by Driftwood Properties (it seems the country club became the Sunspree Holiday Inn around that same time). As late as the year 2000, the Resorts at Bahamia was still in business. But things changed, and several tropical storms/hurricanes hit the Bahamas. The business closed down.

In 2007, the Royal Oasis Resort was purchased by Harcourt Development Group for $33 million. They had plans to transform the site into the Crowne Plaza Golf Resort and Casino at the Royal Oasis. Then the financial meltdown of 2008 happened. The Crowne didn’t open.

Closed and abandoned for so many years,  on September 23, 2010 a fire broke out at the Towers on the 7th floor:

I sent an email to Harcourt Development Group, inquiring as to the status of this lovely resort, but didn’t get a response.

I dug up some family photos from maybe 1991, for your viewing pleasure. I skipped the one where I was having my hair beaded and braided.

Casino view:

bahama princess casino

Princess Tower:

bahama princess tower

View from our room in the Princess Tower:

bahama princess tower view

The International Bazaar:


This article in the Freeport News (autumn 2013) discusses the International Bazaar, which is currently up for sale. The location has 85 retail stalls.

As of November 2013, Harcourt Developments was still listing the Royal Oasis like it’s a fully functioning, open business. I again emailed them to see if they can provide an update on the development, and again I did not hear back.

Looking around in January 2014, I found another link for the Royal Oasis Resort Hotel, Casino and Convention Center, this one from AECOM Capital. From their website:

The Royal Oasis is a well-established resort hotel located about 10 minutes from the airport, adjacent to the International Bazaar. While not located on the beach, the hotel complex is renowned for the tropical settings of its pool areas, which offer respite for guests after nights in the casino or out on Grand Bahama Island.

AECOM provided masterplanning and full design services for the existing 300,000 square foot, 400-room hotel, as well as for the 45,000 square foot casino and 55,000 square foot convention facility. In addition, a new 350,000 square foot hotel tower was added that includes 250 rooms as well as a new lobby, spa and fitness center. New residential 1, 2, and 3 bedroom 650 timeshare units were also part of the project scope.

I contacted both the company and one of the principal architects and once again haven’t heard anything at all. The Freeport News notes in this article that the International Bazaar is still for sale.

2018 Update

Apparently The Freeport News likes to steal photos. This article about the West Sunrise Highway reopening uses my photo above, the view from our room in the Princess Tower and they credit themselves with the image. You can see they cropped the photo, but my watermark still partially shows on the top of the ‘b’ on I have the original print, which was scanned in.

Here’s their website:

Here’s my original scanned photo with watermark:

I appreciate the reporting on the Bahama Princess, but I’d like to be credited for my own photos in other articles, and linked back to my website.

Anyhow, on to the update article, which I have linked and included the text as sometimes things disappear on the internet.

This article (link here, text below in case the link eventually fails, by Denise Maycock, Tribune Freeport Report, tells a more recent update of the Bahama Princess after another hurricane and a more uncertain fate:

WHILE the island of Grand Bahama is now in restoration mode post Hurricane Matthew, the old Royal Oasis resort property and the International Bazaar in Freeport have fallen into further disrepair.

The main entrance dual thoroughfare is littered with debris, and some of the tall Royal Palms and decorative lamp posts lining the entry-way were blown down in the storm.“

It is an eyesore within an eyesore, if that’s possible. This area was once the gem of Freeport and it is sad to see it in such poor state,” said one Freeport resident.

The 500-room tower resort, and the 900-room country club and timeshare, was the island’s premier anchor resort property for many years. The casino was the main attraction and visitors flew in from the US to gamble and enjoy Freeport’s nightlife, while staying at the hotel.

Guests would shop at the nearby International Bazaar which housed souvenir shops, retail stores, restaurants and bars.

In 2000, the Princess Resort properties were sold to Driftwood, which changed the hotel’s name to Royal Oasis Resort and Crowne Plaza. The developers closed off West Sunrise Highway, a major road artery that passed through the property.

The Bazaar thrived off the resort, which had high occupancies and employed about 1,500 persons. Hundreds of Bahamians were also employed in the various shops there.

In August 2004, Hurricane Frances struck and the resort was severely damaged. The developers closed the property, leaving thousands of workers jobless. Businesses at the Bazaar were also affected and many merchants were forced to close or relocate to the Port Lucaya Marketplace.

The only remaining merchants are the Asian restaurants and a few straw vendors.

Harcourt Development later purchased the Royal Oasis resort property, but was unable to redevelop and open the hotel and casino property due to lack of sufficient funding. The hotel and Bazaar deteriorated after years of neglect.

When The Tribune visited the property recently, it looked like a jungle of dried up trees and overgrown vegetation and there appears to be no urgency to clean up and remove debris.

Meanwhile in Port Lucaya, restoration work has commenced at the Marketplace and stores are expected to open when power is restored there.

Royal Oasis was bought by Harcourt Development Group in 2007.

If you like international hotels, you might like these:

Hotel Ponce Intercontinental

Bluebeards Castle

La Concha Puerto Rico

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2 Comments on "Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino"

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[…] Updates on the Princess here. […]

I really enjoyed reading this story/piece. Brings back so many memories for me as a kid. My parents took us kids there when we were little for Christmas. I actually found and loved on a Cat in that Bizaar. I feel for those that live there. I hate to see this place just disappear and hope someone can manage the funds to restore this and make this a great place again. I am not sure if I have any amazing pictures that were shared here. I think of this place often and all the memories with my family as we… Read more »