The Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas is the biggest resort in the Caribbean and, with its outstanding water park, massive casino, and ample shopping, dining and recreation offerings, arguably one of the best places to stay if you want all of your activities right at your doorstep -- and are willing to pay the price for the convenience.
The numbers on Atlantis are staggering -- more than 2,300 hotel rooms, 20 million gallons of water devoted to pools, watersides, rivers, and other aquatic attractions in a 140-acre watermark, 21 restaurants, 19 bars, and a casino with 90 table games and more than 850 slot machines. In fact, you should think of Atlantis as a Las Vegas style resort in the Caribbean rather than likening it to any other Caribbean hotel you've been to -- it's that different.
What kind of traveler will like the Atlantis best? Families with kids, for starters -- the Atlantis Aquaventure is one of the best water parks on the planet, and there's lots of other fun activities as well, from dolphin encounters to The Dig, an entertaining expiration of the lost city of Atlantis. (Read a review on Atlantis from About.com's Family Travel site.)
If you crave nightlife you'll never be bored in Atlantis -- you literally could spend a week here and not eat at every restaurant or drink at every bar, the casino goes 24/7, and the nightclubs rival those of any big city. Atlantis also is a great destination for a quick trip to the islands, just a few hours away from the East Coast via air, with lots of flight options into nearby Nassau.
If you're trying to watch your money, Atlantis may not be for you -- it's tough to stay on a budget here: the water park is free to hotel guests, but as in most of the Caribbean, food costs can add up, and of course the casino is a tempting place to go a little overboard. Also, you may want to look elsewhere if you're seeking an authentic Caribbean experience: Paradise Island is isolated from the mainland of New Providence Island, which is good for security reasons but also means that you'll need to cross a bridge (or take a water taxi) into Nassau if you want to experience the "real" Bahamas.
The Beach Tower at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
The Beach Tower is the oldest accommodations building on the Atlantis resort; it was formerly the Paradise Beach Hotel but has been extensively expanded and remodeled. Beach Tower rooms are 275 square feet and feature casual tropical decor, one king or two double beds, full balconies with water or terrace views, and flat-screen HDTVs. The Beach Tower is located near Atlantis's Marina Villa with its high-end shops and dining. Rack rates run from a low-season low of $280 per night to as high as $480.
The Coral Towers at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Once the Britannia Beach Resort, the Coral Towers were, like the Beach Tower, part of the original Atlantis resort opened in 1998 by Kerzner International. Today, Coral Tower rooms are 300 square feet with king or two queen beds and full balconies, with views of the Caribbean, the Atlantis water park and aquarium, or the resort's interior grounds. Coral Tower guests have their own swimming pool and have easy access to amenities like a large fitness center and conference center. Rack rates run from $330-$536.
The Royal Towers at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
The 1,200-room Royal Towers are the signature accommodations at Atlantis -- twin soaring hotel towers connected by the famous Bridge Suite, which is one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world. Stay in the Towers and you'll be right in the center of all the Atlantis action, with easy access to the casino, dining, the water park, and other attractions.
Guest rooms in the Royal Towers are 400 square feet and feature Bahamian-inspired tropical decor and king or two queen beds, French balconies with terrace, harbor, or water views, separate sitting areas, and full-service bars. Rack rates range from $390 in the off-season to a high of $605 nightly.
The Bridge Suite, which is suspended 17 stories high between the two towers, has panoramic views from its floor-to-ceiling windows and has 2,500 square feet of entertainment space, and 800-square-foot balcony, two bedrooms, and a host of other top-of-the-line amenities ... all for just $25,000 or so per night.
The Cove hotel at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
The 600-room, all-suite Cove hotel was opened in 2007 and is billed as an "ultra-luxury" resort-within-a-resort at Atlantis. Rack rates for rooms range from $590 to $815 nightly. The resort has its own private adults-only and family pools with cabanas, and great ocean views from its rooms and most public spaces. Club Cove is the hotel's concierge level, with an exclusive guest lounge offering food and drinks throughout the day.
Rooms come in six classes. Ocean Suites are 672 to 784 square feet in size with full or French balconies, queen beds plus a sleeper sofa, work desk, open floor plans with step-down living areas, walk-in closets, marble bathrooms, and in-room bars. Deluxe Ocean Suites add king beds, more space and better views.
The 10 one- or two-bedroom Azure Suites are located on the top five floors of the Cove tower and boast 1,198 to 1,958 of living space and -- in addition to spectacular views from floor-to-ceiling windows -- furnished balconies, deep soaking tubs, separate glass-bricked showers with rainfall showerheads, and open floor plans with separate sleeping areas. The Sapphire Suite (1,700-2,460 square feet) also has great views and a wealth of space and fine amenities, such as opaline glass lighting fixtures and original abstract artwork. Sumptuous bathrooms showcase designer touches, like Brecia marble floors and Italian-designed Catalano sinks, Hansgrohe faucets, and Waterworks soaking tubs.
The two Presidential Suites (2,750 square feet) are on the 21st floor and have private butler service, an executive office, 10-seat dining area with full kitchen, private exercise room, parlor with a full home theatre, double walk-in closet and vanity area, guest bedroom and bathroom, and a terraced balcony that runs the full length of the suite with multiple entrances. Finally, the 4,070-square-foot Penthouse Suite takes over the 14th and 15th floors of the Cove and has a domed ceiling, Murano glass chandelier, an executive office, 10-seat dining area, full chef's kitchen, butler's office, master bedroom and bath, and practically a 360-degree view of the ocean and harbor.
The Reef hotel at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
The newest addition to the Atlantis complex, the Reef hotel has 497 "home-like" accommodations -- a.k.a. condominiums -- on Paradise Beach. Room rates range from $520 to $720 nightly, and the Reef has studios, one- and two-bedroom suites, and a two- or three-bedroom penthouse available. Studios have 523 square feet of living space and full kitchens, plus private balconies with terrace, harbor, or ocean views. Suites range from 974 to 1,718 square feet and similar amenities. The lavish penthouse suites can be configured up to 3,102 square feet and three bedrooms, and feature a wrap-around terrace.
The Harborside villas at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
The Harborside is Atlantis' vacation-ownership (timeshare) resort and often has units available to rent to travelers. One, two, and three bedroom villas are all equipped with full kitchens, separate bedrooms, sleeper sofas, and furnished balconies. Rates start at $340 per night.
Aquaventure Waterpark and Aquarium at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
The Atlantis Aquaventure water park and aquarium together comprise the world's largest open-air marine habitat. The two are intertwined, with just adds to the fun -- you can ride a water slide through a shark tank, for instance, and the Ruins Lagoon, teeming with fish, is built in and around the Royal Towers. Vantage points include a glass tunnel through the Predator Lagoon, a 100-foot suspension bridge, and underground grottos. You'll see more than 250 species of sea life and more than 50,000 creatures of all shapes and sizes. Waterfalls are everywhere.
The Aquaventure water park sprawls over 140 acres and includes water slides, pools, a snorkeling lagoon, and a lazy river. Towering above it all is a reproduction of an ancient Mayan Temple, home to the Leap of Faith water slide (the one that goes through the shark tank), the twisting Serpent Slide, the Challengers racing slides, and the mysterious Jungle Slide. The 120-foot Power Tower has four more high-octane water slides, including the near-vertical Abyss and a trio of inner-tube slides. The Current lazy river is nearly a mile long and includes a series of manmade rapids as well as waterfalls and waves. There's also a Mayan-themed kids' water-play area called Splashers.
More low-key is The Dig, a charming and well-conceived exploration of the imagined ruins of a submerged lost city of Atlantis.
Admission to the water park and aquarium are included if you are an Atlantis guest; a limited number of day passes are also available to non-guests, for a fee.
Dolphin Cay at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Dolphin Cay is the animal-encounter attraction at Atlantis, billed as an education center with the mission of "enlightening and educating visitors" about dolphins, sea lions, and other marine mammals. the 14-acre park includes a number of saltwater enclosures where you can swim, touch and play with the animals in shallow or deep water, become a trainer for a day, encounter stingrays, or snorkel the ruins of Atlantis.
Dining and Nightlife at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
The Entertainment Center at Atlantis features the largest casino in the Bahamas, part of 100,000 square feet of gaming, dining and entertainment options at the resort. Gaming options range from baccarat and craps to blackjack, Caribbean stud poker, and roulette; there's also a sports book and, of course, hundreds of slot machines. Just off the casino floor you'll find the Aura nightclub, an upscale, intimate space for dancing and partying that has VIP rooms overlooking the dance floor with bottle service.
For kids, there's a private no-adults club for 'tweens, the Crush club for teenagers, evening programs, a game room, and more.
Dining options abound, from quick bites like Johnny Rockets to famous restaurants like Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's Nobu serving innovative Japanese cuisine, an outpost of Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill, and a recreation of the famous Cafe Martinique -- an iconic spot featured in the 1965 James Bond movie "Thunderball," and just one of the many dining choices at the resort's Marina Village.
More Amenities at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
A 30,000-square-foot Mandara Spa and golf on the Tom Weiskopf designed Ocean Club Golf Course are among the many amenities available to Atlantis guests. (Read a review of Atlantis from About.com's Golf Travel site.)
There's also a state-of-the-art fitness center with a peaceful yoga garden, a Sports Center and Atlantis Tennis Center featuring a four-lane lap pool, six basketball hoops, and six clay and hard tennis courts, a kids club, and the Atlantis Speedway, where you can design and build your own remote-controlled race car. The Gamer's Reef Arcade and a pottery studio are both oriented toward families, too, while the Climber's Rush rock-climbing center will challenge guests of all ages.
Marina and Marina Village at Atlantis resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
The deep-water Atlantis Marina can welcome yachts of up to 220 feet in length and is home to a 65,000-square-foot marketplace (the Marina Village) with upscale dining and shopping. Even if you can't afford to shop at the upscale Crystal Court boutiques, it's a beautiful place to walk around and take in the sights and live entertainment. For the budget-minded shopper, there's always the nearby Bahamas Craft Center, featuring goods from local artists and craftspeople.
Atlantis Paradise Island Resort Location and Contact Information
Atlantis Paradise Island
One Casino Drive
Bahamas Call 1-242-363-3000
Bahamas Call 1-242-363-6068
Bahamas Fax 1-242-363-6008