[ #TheMagicCity ] • Bahamas Princess Resort
The Bahamas Princess Resort and Casino was a hotel property, sitting on 1,000 acres with pools and a casino. It was built sometime in the 1970's & became the centre of the tourist industry in, "The Magic City" or the City of Freeport. It was strategically placed adjacent to the International Bazaar. Eventually, ownership was changed & the Princess Towers became the Bahamia Royal Oasis Resort, owned by Driftwood Properties. The Princess Casino, along with the Monte Carlo Club at the Lucayan Beach Hotel, became a part of the centre of the tourist economy within the City of Freeport and by extension, the island of Grand Bahama. The casino was originally named El Casino and featured an iconic Arabic dome. The casino brought in so much money, a Miami Herald article in July of 1967 stated that money, “had to be mailed, parcel post, to New York banks in cardboard beer cartons”. In 1983, El Casino was sold and rebranded, "The Princess Casino". The casinos at The Atlantis Resort & Crystal Palace Resort, both in New Providence, grew in popularity towards the end of the 21st Century. However, during this same time, a decline eventually trended in Freeport.
It continued to be the main choice among tourists well into the beginning of the turn of the century. This changed drastically, however. In 2004, the island of Grand Bahama was ravaged by two major hurricanes; Francis and Jeanne. The following year, whilst still recovering from the previous hurricane season, the island was brought to a standstill once again due to the catastrophic destruction brought on by Hurricane Wilma. A hurricane that was only just beaten in terms of strength by Irma this year.
Although the Royal Oasis Resort was, unusually, not located on the beach, it was still the most popular resort on the island of Grand Bahama. Despite the fact that the property was not on the beach, it was renowned for the tropical settings of its pool areas, and eventual man-made beach, which offered respite for guests after hours in the casino or out on Grand Bahama Island.
Presently owned by the Irish based Harcourt Development Group, which also owns Suffolk Court Condominiums in South Bahamia, Grand Bahama, the several hundred thousand square foot and just under 500 room resort remains dormant; used only by those less fortunate seeking refuge. It was purchased for $33 million in 2007. The company had intended to modernize the resort, however, it was gravely affected by the global recession of 2008 and as such could no longer focus on reviving an already sunken ship.
Due to its popularity trending downward, it became evident well before its closure in 2004 that the casino model, upon which the Freeport & Grand Bahamian tourist economy stood, was being challenged. The already severely challenged economy suffered another blow when casino licenses in Florida, (the state the casino marketed to most) and in almost every major metropolitan area of the United States were granted. After successive hurricanes, the casino and its adjacent hotel properties closed; thus crippling the Grand Bahamian Economy.
Today, the 300,000 sq. ft., 400 room resort and its casino remain closed and are an antiquated relic of a much more prosperous time in #TheMagicCity. Successive governments have vowed to see the resale and reopening of the resort, but this has yet to come into fruition.