== Introduction ==
In September 2010 I was fortunate enough to go on a holiday of a lifetime! In December 2009 two of my cousins asked if I wanted to go the Bahamas with them in September and I am so glad that I decided to say yes! My cousins went last year and enjoyed it so much that they wanted to go again, but this time share the experience with me.
We booked our holiday in January, and ever since then it was all I could think about! We booked two weeks in the Atlantis hotel on Paradise Island and I've never experienced anything like it! It was my first holiday abroad without my parents and was fantastic!
== On Arrival ==
We were picked up at the airport and taken to the hotel in a minibus. The airport in on the main island of Nassau, and the Atlantis resort is on a smaller island (Paradise Island). We were taken to the reception area of the Coral Towers as the Beach towers (where we stayed) do not have a reception area of their own. The check-in process was quick and easy and a member of staff offered to take our bags to the room. My cousin said we could manage (the man warned us it was a long walk but we decided it would be ok) but I really wish I had taken him up on the offer as it was a long walk and after travelling for so long all I wanted was my bed!
We finally arrived at the lifts to the beach tower and took the lift to our floor. We were lucky to discover that our room was the one nearest the lift so we didn't have any further to walk with our heavy bags!
We stayed in the Beach Tower which has a 3 star rating. There are a number of different places to stay within the resort which vary in ratings and price.
== Reception Area ==
The reception area was bright and nicely decorated and the staff were all helpful. There was a desk here that you could book activities that take place in the resort (e.g. swimming with Dolphins). You could also book other day trips but this was not based in the main reception area.
There were lots of staff in the reception area and it was always easy to find someone to help if you needed it. There was also a nice seating area and this was where we met our rep from the holiday company to book some of the trips we went on.
== The Room ==
Our room was on the seventh floor in the beach tower and was easily accessible via the lift. We had an en-suite bedroom with 2 double beds (for 3 of us). There was a table, TV, mini bar, safety deposit box, iron, hot drink maker, wardrobe and drawers.
The room was big enough for the three of us, and we took turns to have one of the beds to ourselves each night. The view from the room was amazing - we could see the beach, and some of the pools and part of the water park. I loved standing on the balcony and just admiring the view.
The bathroom had a bath and shower and a large sink area next to the toilet. None of us had a bath when we were there, but we all found the shower to be suitable.
Unfortunately there were lots of little ants in the room. Our Bahamian friends told us that they were harmless sugar ants, and as they kept going for our sweets I think they were right. We bought an ant spray which killed them off but we couldn't leave anything sugary lying around for more than a couple of minutes before it would be covered in ants!!
== Housekeeping Service ==
The housekeeping staff came in daily to make the beds and change the towels etc. They also changed the bedding a couple of times while we there for the two weeks. They knocked on an evening to check everything was ok. I don't know if they did this every night as we were not always in. On the second night, when the lady knocked, I asked if we could have a bin for the bathroom (as there was only one small one in the bedroom area). During the middle of the second week she moved our bedroom bin into the bathroom! We didn't ask for anything else so I don't know if they were any better at resolving any other issues. To be fair though, we didn't ask about the bin again as we just put a carrier bag on the bathroom door handle. Overall though I think the house keeping service was acceptable - not the greatest I've ever seen, but it was satisfactory, and the staff were always friendly if you passed them in the corridor.
== The Pools and Water Park ==
The resort has its own water park and a large number of swimming pools. We spent most of our days by the pools and in the water park. There was a nice swimming pool next to the beach tower (which is a good 20 minute walk from the water park) but this closed after a couple of days into our holiday as it was near the end of the season so not all the pools are open. There is also a lazy river in this area but this too closed after a couple of days. We had intended trying both the pool and the lazy river out but we missed our chance as we didn't realise it would be closing.
There are lots of swimming pools around the resort so there is plenty of choice. We used a number of different swimming pools each day but spent most of our time on the rapids (on floating rings) or slides.
Each day you need to get a wrist band to wear whilst you are around the pools. This means that you do not need to keep showing your room card all the time. You are allowed to get one wrist band per person per day if you are staying in the hotel. It is possible to purchase day passes into the water park if you are not staying in the hotel.
There were plenty life guards around the pools and they were all very friendly. We made friends with quite a few of them and they often got into the pool or rapids with us. They didn't often stray far from their posts but I'm not sure if they were paying attention on what was going on in the pool they were supervising (they were too busy flirting with my cousins and I!). The pools were all fairly quiet though due to the time of year and they said their boss doesn't patrol so much off peak season. The life guards on the children's pools were always at their post, but we saw a few of them sleeping around the rapids so I don't think the life guards were the best at doing their job. That said, I don't know if this would be the same situation if you went in the busy summer months.
Some of the best days of the holiday were spent at the water park and in the swimming pool. There are a number of pool bars (which are very expensive) service a variety of food and drinks. Most days we had chicken nuggets and chips or pizza, but a few times we had a pasta salad. We also had a cocktail a couple of times (which were served in yard glasses and were very strong!!)
== Eating Out and Nightlife ==
The hotel has a large number of restaurants based in various locations. We tried the Italian restaurant which was located near the beach tower and it was nice, but very expensive. I do not think it was worth the money although the service was fantastic. It cost $40 dollars for a main dish (we each had a risotto!) and although it was nice I wouldn't pay it again. The restaurant was lovely though, and the lighting was soft, so I think if you were there as a couple for a special occasion it would be worth paying the extra for the brilliant service. We ate at the Atlas Bar and Grill a few times as this was more reasonably priced. This was located in the casino. Not all the restaurants were open everyday due to the time of year that we went.
We walked through the casino everyday to get from the beach tower to the night clubs or swimming pools (if we wanted to stay indoors where it was air conditioned).
There were two places you could go for a drink at night: Dragon's and Aura. Dragon's was open every night (but closed for refurbishment 3 nights before we came home) and Sunday/Monday nights lots of the locals come in too. We went to Dragon's most nights as this was a good place to meet our new friends and was a good place to dance. We were quite often the only people there for the first hour or two as night time starts much later over there. The drinks here were fairly expensive but as with most things at the hotel you could use your room card to add it to your bill.
Aura is a night club and is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Only hotel guests can get into Aura for free (I believe the locals would need to pay $100). I quite liked Aura but the drinks were very expensive here too and there were lots of rich men trying to hit on us (not particularly nice ones!).
== Dolphin Cay ==
Dolphin Cay offers a range of dolphin and sea lion encounters. We decided we didn't want to swim with the dolphins but we booked a shallow water encounter and it was fantastic! We were in the water for about 30 minutes, where we were able to pet and feed the dolphin. There was a professional photographer there taking photos, which could be viewed and purchased after the encounter. We also did the shallow water sea lion encounter which was great too. It was very similar to the dolphin encounter but with a sea lion. The dolphin encounters could be booked at the desk in the reception area of the hotel. They were quite expensive (as were the photos) but I think they were well worth the money as they are once in a lifetime experiences!
== The Area ==
Paradise Island was just off the main island of Nassau, which is accessible via a bridge or boat. It is easy to get to Nassau, which is well worth a visit. We went there a couple of times on the boat, and we walked across the bridge one day (quite a long walk to get to the town centre). Our friends also took us into Nassau via car, where we got to sample local cuisine. There is lots to do in Nassau including boats trips (to other islands), shopping, and dining out. Our friends also took us to the local bowling alley which was a great night out!
The weather is amazing too - though we were told it was quite a bit cooler in September when we were there.
== Check Out ==
Check out was easy and the staff were very helpful. The bill was correct and was easily settled with our credit card. We left our bags in the courtesy luggage room as we were not leaving until late afternoon. We asked for someone to come and collect the bags from our room (after our long and tiring walk on arrival I decided it was best we get some assistance!) and they did so without any trouble at all. Collecting our bags at the end of the day was hassle free too.
== Cost ==
Prices vary depending on when you stay, but I've just looked online and staying in the beach tower in January 2011 is $280 per night. We paid £1500 each for the two week holiday (including the flights, which I think were about £700).
== Overall ==
== Advantages ==
* Good size room
* Friendly staff
*Lots to do
== Disadvantages ==
* Sugar Ants
* The maid didn't bring us another bin
I would thoroughly recommend this hotel and resort and the beach tower is comfortable enough. We didn't spend a great deal of time in our room and we had everything we needed. All the staff were friendly and helpful. The beach tower is near lovely swimming pools and a beautiful beach (hence the name!) I think maybe a two week stay here is too long. I think if I went back to Paradise Island (which I would absolutely love to do) I might stay in another nice hotel (All inclusive) and pay for a few day pass into the water park as it is very expensive to stay at the hotel and everything in it is expensive too. That said, a stay at the Atlantis is well worth a trip if you get the chance!
Thanks for reading! Bluejules x
The Atlantis Resort is a huge, luxury, fantasy holiday resort and casino on Paradise Island which is in Nassau, New Providence Island, The Bahamas. Popular with celebrities, this hotel complex boasts the 3rd most expensive hotel room in the world at a staggering $25,000 per night (according to Forbes Magazine). I visited Atlantis for the day whilst on holiday in the Bahamas and staying at a little less luxurious resort and was really impressed with what it had to offer. In would love to come back someday and stay there - especially with children as they would love it!
The Resort - Background Information
Atlantis was created by South African businessman Sol Kerzner and his company Kerzner International. Kerzner also owns several worldwide 'One&Only' brand resorts and is developing Atlantis The Palm in Dubai. Atlantis The Palm in Dubai is a 1539 room resort of similar style to Atlantis Paradise Island, is going to be the flagship resort on the Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, and is due to open in September 2008.
Atlantis Paradise Island: Statistics
Rooms: 2097 rooms, 230 suites
- The Beach Tower, formerly known as the Paradise Beach Hotel, is the oldest building at Atlantis
- The Coral Towers
- The Royal Towers contains the "Bridge Suite", ranked by Forbes as the third most expensive hotel room in the world, at $25,000
- Harborside Resort consists of 392 villas and features a harbor-front restaurant, pool area including a children's pool with water fountains, a fitness facility, a sundry store, and all-day shuttle service to Atlantis.
- The Reef, the newest building at Atlantis, consists of condominium hotel residences
- The Cove Atlantis is a newer 600-suite tower opened in 2007
Restaurants: 21 (offering options from the categories: fine dining, relaxed dining, buffet and express)
Casino with 90 table games and over 1000 slot machines
Water activities: 6 adult pools (some are more like lakes!), 4 kids pools, Aquaventure (a 141 acre waterscape with water slides and rides), Dolphin Cay (a 14 acre dolphin habitat where you can swim with dolphins), Lazy River Ride (a ¼ mile slow circuit in sitting in a rubber inflatable tube), and 2 different beaches offering miles of pristine white sand and watersports.
Marine Life: the hotel has several lagoons (11 million gallons worth) offering viewing areas onto species such as sharks, manta ray, lobster, tuna, stingray, barracudas, sawfish and spotted eagle ray. The lagoons are called Ruins Lagoon (featuring replicas of old relics), Predator Lagoon, Seagrapes Lagoon, Stingray Lagoon, Hibiscus Lagoon and Mayan Temple Lagoon. There are fish feeding activities scheduled that visitors can take part in. The main viewing area for the marine life is called 'The Dig' and is located under the Royal Towers section of the hotel. The goal of The Dig is to provide guests with the feeling of the legendary destroyed city of Atlantis. There is lots of debris and old relics scattered among the marine life to signify the Lost City of Atlantis. Predator Lagoon is full of sawsharks, barracudas and stingrays. A 30m clear acrylic tunnel runs underwater, allowing visitors unobstructed views of the marine environment which is pretty impressive.
Spa: there is a spa called the Mandara Spa which offers 24 pampering spa treatments. Services offered include the usual facial, massage and body treatments, as well as teeth whitening and salon treatments. There is an aromatherapy room for women which I thought sounded really good.
Golf: guests of the hotel can enjoy use of the Ocean Club Golf Course, which is an 18 hole par 72 golf course overlooking the ocean. This is operated by Troon Golf and was designed by Tom Weiskopf. There is an on-site pro shop and clubhouse.
Other Entertainment: There is the Atlantis Theatre (cinema) showing recent Hollywood hit movies, and the Jokers Wild Comedy Club with stand-up comedians you may have seen on TV. There is also the Earth and Fire Pottery Studio where adults and children can go to make and paint their own pieces of pottery.
Library: Atlantis Library with over 1,200 volumes, audio book, chairs and internet access.
Shopping: Several Rodeo Drive style haute couture shops in the resort's Crystal Court Shops. There are a further 20 shops in the Marina Village area offering everything from fine art to jewellery, souvenirs and clothing.
Atlantis in the Movies/TV
-James Bond Casino Royale was filmed at the resort's Ocean Club
- In the US series Friends, Atlantis was used as the location for Monica and Chandler's honeymoon
We were 2 of the many day visitors to the Atlantis resort - people who are able to spend the say at the resort but who may be staying at another resort locally. We were actually staying at the Sandals Royal Bahamian which itself was luxurious, but somehow paled into comparison with Atlantis. When you initially drive up to the towering Royal Towers section of the Atlantis resort, there is a very impressive water feature made up of 5 huge, gold Pegasus winged horses. The second thing you can't fail to notice are the many million dollar yachts that are moored up along the resort's Marina. The resort is impeccably designed and the main buildings feature water falls emanating from gargoyles' mouths and many other castle like design points. The doors to the hotel are huge winged gold doors with seahorses and other sea life imprinted in them.
Once in the main marble-floored lobby of the resort/hotel you can see down to the floor below which has huge glass screens the height of one floor of the hotel that offer viewing points onto the marine lagoons. You can literally be a few inches away from stingrays and many types of fish. This is great to see and does not cost a penny. We explored the high end shops in the Crystal Court which were very much in-keeping with the luxurious nature of the lobby areas of the hotel, and then explored outside. The outer areas of the resort are exceptionally well landscaped and designed and there are several man-made beach areas around the palm-lined swimming lagoons with waterfalls protruding from the top of red rock features. As the sand beneath the lakes is so white, the water looks a perfect marine blue and very inviting! The whole resort is like a little haven away from the real world and there is so much to do and see. We walked down to the Marina Village from where you could get a better view of the yachts and we explored all the shops and stalls there, stopping for a drink at one of the outdoor bars. We also saw the impressive casino and a selection of the food outlets and cafes scattered around the resort. Unfortunately as a day visitor you are unable to get close to the main beachfront areas and the water parks, so to see these you need to be a staying guest of the resort.
Overall this place exudes luxury and fantasy and is in my opinion the perfect place for a 'get away from reality' holiday. There is something for everyone and you can do as much or as little as you wish. Unfortunately with all this luxury comes a relatively hefty price tag. For a search in the August 2008 for a room for a family of 4 the minimum you would pay is $500.00 per night (£250.00) and that is before you add airfares. But if you have the money and the opportunity, this is a great place to visit and I am sure you would not be disappointed. I will certainly be aiming to revisit this as a staying guest at some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future!