By Kristina Smith
If you’re a fan of HGTV’s Island of Bryan, then you’ve likely heard of the stunning Caerula Mar Club.
Nestled on the southeastern coast of South Andros Island in the Bahamas, this hidden gem catapulted to worldwide fame when it was showcased on the hit reality TV show hosted by the dynamic Bryan and Sarah Baeumler.
The resort’s incredible journey captured the hearts of viewers as the Baeumler family embarked on a remarkable transformation, turning it into a breathtaking luxury boutique resort.
Set along a beautiful white-sand beach overlooking the azure waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caerula Mar Club is a haven of elegance and luxury, boasting meticulously crafted accommodations ranging from private villas to clubhouse suites.
As the sun sets over this paradise, guests are invited to savour the culinary delights of both Bahamian classics and international flavours within the resort’s restaurant, all while being treated to the stunning ocean views. With its idyllic setting, Caerula Mar Club is a popular destination for romantic beach weddings and other special occasions.
We connected with Sarah Baeumler to learn more about this secluded hideaway.
Wander: What inspired you and your husband to choose South Andros Island as the canvas Caerula Mar Club?
Sarah: We’ve always been drawn to The Bahamas for its untouched natural beauty, friendly local vibe and easy access from places like South Florida. We love boating, snorkelling, diving, and even flying (Bryan has his pilot’s license) and have spent many family vacations exploring the islands.
As soon as we came upon South Andros and the formerly abandoned hotel that we transformed into Caerula Mar Club we knew it was an interesting project with tons of potential. Tourism was relatively absent in this area, and we identified a unique opportunity to mark a ‘first’ by opening the first luxury hotel and fine dining restaurant here.
The project definitely came with its challenges, but the rewards have been tenfold when we get to see travellers enjoying this secluded piece of paradise where we have made some amazing memories with our family, team and guests.
How would you characterize the design and architecture of the resort? It so beautifully complements the natural beauty of the island.
We kept the design quite simple, classic and neutral so that nature could be the star of the show. It was important to us to use raw, sustainable materials that would offer an organic feel while allowing the beauty of South Andros to really shine and align with our effort to protect the area’s precious natural resources.
I’d categorize the design as clean, natural and comfortable, with soft hues mimicking nature—like the powder-white sand and soft pink conch shells that can be found along the shoreline. We kept the original architecture in terms of the suites and villas and found ways to honour the former property, like blowing up these beautiful black and white portraits we found while cleaning out the hotel and using them as wall decor in some of our villas.
While the aesthetic is more sophisticated than what you might traditionally find in many of the Out Islands, we wanted to infuse the design with a sense of the local culture so our guests would be fully and authentically immersed in the destination of South Andros.
Could you tell us about the resort’s commitment to sustainability and conservation efforts?
Our resort operates on 100% solar power. We also have our own line of in-room amenities designed in partnership with LoveFresh cosmetics that are made in small batches with all-natural materials. From a community standpoint, we partner with The Bahamas Conservation Conservancy to help protect and preserve the inland Blue Holes, which are the incredible ocean caves unique to Andros.
We also partner with South Andros’ high school farming program to help support the use of local fruits and vegetables in our kitchens. Supporting the island is hugely important for us, and we plan to continue giving back as we grow our brand.
Can you share a couple of behind-the-scenes anecdotes into the process of transforming the property for fans of the Island of Bryan?
There were definitely some hurdles early on in the transformation process. Learning how The Bahamas works in terms of importing supplies was one unique challenge that we’ve since mastered.
It was an extreme lesson in patience as things here on the islands run on a completely different schedule than what we might be used to in Canada or the States. Like the time we ordered tiles, waited for months and got the wrong tiles. We just had to run with it, and all turned out OK. It was a great lesson for both Bryan and me in going with the flow.
One of the most fun parts of the process was having our entire family be a part of the experience. The kids gave incredible input on everything from testing menu items (they love their smoothies!) to excursions and experiences.
We even ended up with a couple of extremely lovable island pups as a result of having them live here with us for the duration of the hotel’s construction. It’s something I wouldn’t change for the world.
How do you envision the future of Caerula Mar Club?
We’re always looking for ways to offer added value for our guests while ensuring experiences align with the true ethos of The Bahamas and this beautiful island. Since opening, we’ve catered to families with older children, tons of couples and honeymooners, private pilots, boating/fishing groups, mother-daughter trips and multi-generational groups, weddings, and more.
We’re an intimate property, and our goal has always been for everyone to feel like family when they’re here. Caerula Mar Club is our second home, and we have so many guests who return year after year, so I’d like to think it’s theirs as well. As we look ahead to 2024 and beyond, we’re looking to expand the brand in some exciting new destinations. More on this to come!