From Wreck to Riches: HGTV Couple Transforms Abandoned Bahamian Hideaway Into Hidden Gem
Boutique hotel brings a new level of sun-soaked sophistication to the island of South Andros
SOUTH ANDROS, Bahamas - September 2019: In August 2017, husband and wife, Bryan and Sarah Baeumler were vacationing in the Bahamas with their family when a day trip to South Andros, one of the Bahamas lesser known outer islands, changed the course of their family’s life. Having come across an abandoned resort from the 1960’s, which had been on the market for more than 10 years, they instantly knew this was their next adventure. The celebrity design masters, known for their hit HGTV Canada series, House of Bryan and Bryan Inc., had an immediate vision and purchased the 10-acre site days later with a plan to design Caerula Mar Club: a serene and stunning hideaway that debuted on the sleepy island of South Andros in December 2019.
After a successful second season of Bryan Inc. – the program was rated #1 on HGTV Canada last spring – the network began documenting Caerula Mar’s ground-up construction with a new hit series, Island of Bryan. Here, viewers follow Bryan and Sarah on their biggest undertaking yet, transforming the onceneglected resort into an island paradise and bringing a new level of luxury hotel product to South Andros. Island of Bryan quickly became one of the network’s most popular programs; the series, which debuted in April 2019, became the most watched of any of HGTV Canada’s series in more than a decade.
Tucked away between lush mangroves and powder-white sands edged with crystalline turquoise waters, Caerula Mar redefines the Bahamian resort experience with 18 oceanfront suites and six private villas. Designed with sustainable, natural materials and spacious outdoor living spaces, guests can immerse themselves in nature and feel at one with their surroundings. The oceanfront suites and private villas have been designed with an open-concept living and sleeping area that seamlessly blend traditional architecture with mid-century modern style. Contemporary furnishings are layered with soft Belgian linens, aged marble stone, and soft white oak floors to create an atmosphere of relaxed luxury. The property features three dining options, ranging from a whimsical café and smoothie bar to the barefootchic, Driffs Bar & Lounge, which serves comfort food with a local twist – think: artisanal pizzas and fresh fish tacos. Lusca, Caerula Mar’s fine dining restaurant, provides guests with sweeping ocean views while enjoying an ever-changing menu of Caribbean-inspired gourmet dishes.
Coaxing travelers to unwind in the area’s lush, tropical environment, Caerula Mar’s grounds will soon be dotted with meditation paths and swaying hammocks alongside dedicated areas for relaxation such as a reflection pond and yoga mats to be placed under the shade of towering palm trees. While the island’s secluded location lends itself to relaxation, its unparalleled coral reefs also make South Andros a must visit destination for diving, snorkeling, boating, and fishing.
“We discovered South Andros on a family vacation and it’s had a special place in our hearts ever since,” said Sarah. “We knew that transforming the property into Caerula Mar was going to be a massive undertaking, but we also saw its potential as a place where travelers could get back to the basics, reconnect with nature, and savor the simplicity and beauty of this incredible paradise. We designed the property to be light, open, and airy, evoking that feeling of contentment after a long day at the beach, when your skin and hair are kissed with sun and salt and you know everything’s going to be alright.”
A sleepy fishing village where daily life revolves around just one main road and the exportation of fresh conch and spiny lobster is a key source of income and economic stability, South Andros is home to a large variety of complex ecosystems and wildlife, with a 190-mile fringing barrier reef that happens to be the third largest in the world. Accessible via a 20-minute flight from Nassau and a little more than an hour flight from Fort Lauderdale’s Executive Airport, the island maintains its rich culture by operating a variety of small businesses. During the renovation process Caerula Mar provided employment opportunity for upwards of 100 South Andros residents and the opening of the resort means a new source of sustainability for the island, and many of its inhabitants have become part of the Caerula Mar hospitality team and community. Caerula Mar is also pleased to be joining the Reef Rescue Network, operated by the Perry Institute for Marine Science, and together, this nonprofit organization will guide the implementation of an underwater coral nursery to restore and rehabilitate coral reefs in the Bahamas.
“Sustainability and environmental preservation are incredibly important to us,” said Bryan. “Not just in the property’s construction, but in everything we do. From sourcing ingredients for our restaurants to selecting our tour partners and establishing relationships with employees and suppliers, we are always looking for ways that Caerula Mar can help contribute to and further sustain the local economy of South Andros.”
About Caerula Mar
Tucked away between lush mangroves and powder-white sands edged with crystalline turquoise waters on the small island of South Andros, The Bahamas, Caerula Mar redefines the resort experience with 18 oceanfront suites and six private villas. Designed with sustainable, natural materials and spacious outdoor living spaces, guests can immerse themselves in nature and feel at one with their surroundings. An epitomic representation of barefoot luxury, the property features three dining concepts that range from a whimsical café and smoothie bar to Caribbean-inspired fine dining, areas for yoga and meditation, and adventures that range from sailing, snorkeling, diving and fishing. The chic island respite is a sophisticated haven for sun-seekers, nature-lovers, and travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path escape to one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful, untouched and bio-diverse destinations.
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