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Hotel Reviews: Atlantis Resort Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas

Atlantis Resort is nicknamed “Vegas-by-the-sea” and located on the privately owned Paradise Island 5.5 miles long and less than one mile across just north of the city of Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas. A toll bridge across Nassau Harbour connects Paradise Island to New Providence island, 21 miles by 7 miles. The airport is a $32 taxi ride to the western side of New Providence Island. Cruise ships at Nassau port dock in the harbour near Paradise Island. The taxi cost is $4.00 to go to/from downtown Nassau or the Prince George Dock for cruise ships with an $11.00 minimum fare.

Atlantis developed over the past two decades and consists of six different hotels at the resort. Royal Towers is the iconic feature most recognizable as Atlantis.

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My room in Royal Towers was the top floor, third window in on right end. The central bridge is a nearly 5,000 square feet, ten room Bridge Suite that was ranked one of the most expensive hotel rooms in the world by Forbes magazine in 2003 at $25,000 per night.

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View from room 15596 in Royal Towers.

This post will focus on the hotel properties at Atlantis and I will follow up with separate posts on Aquaventure water park, pools, aquarium exhibits and the beaches. I only ate at two restaurants of two dozen at the resort during my four days at Atlantis. While I walked through the casino several times, I did not gamble, so I have little insight to dining and gambling at Atlantis.

History of Atlantis

Atlantis opened in December 1998 after the former Paradise island Resort and casino went bankrupt and South African hotel and casino magnate Sol Kerzer purchased the property in 1994. Kerzer at the time was best known for developing the South Africa resort and casino Sun City.

I remember the 1985 MTV anti-apartheid video hit “Sun City” by Steve van Zandt (Springsteen’s E Street band guitarist). The Paradise Island Resort was transformed into Atlantis with the construction of one of the largest man-made marine habitats in the world and the design of Royal Towers on the west side of the casino as the iconic centerpiece hotel building for the resort.

The Royal Towers opened in December 1998 with a construction cost of $480 million and the Atlantis resort was an $800 million dollar project overall to construct the world’s largest marine habitat with lagoons, aquariums, pools, waterfalls and the largest casino in the Caribbean.

Coral Towers and Beach Towers

The photo above shows the older properties of Atlantis consisting of the Coral Towers on the right and the low level building close to the beach. The Beach Towers are three hotel wings around a central axis in the background behind the low rise hotel wing. The tallest building in the distance is the Riu Resort and not part of Atlantis. The Beach Towers and Coral Towers rooms tend to be the lowest priced rooms at the resort.

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Beach Towers

Beach Towers is the oldest building of Atlantis and originally was named Trump Plaza when Donald Trump was invested in Paradise Island.

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These rooms are the closest rooms to the convention center at Atlantis. I had to plan about 20 minutes to walk from my room at Royal Towers to the convention center meeting rooms for the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group 2012 Global Conference.

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Coral Towers

Atlantis is so large that I didn’t even wander around the grounds outside the Beach and Coral Towers until my fourth day at the resort.

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Shark lagoon outside Coral Towers low rise wing. Coral Towers was a much quieter part of the resort compared to the pools around Royal Towers. One of the features of Atlantis is the opportunity to observe and even participate in activities around the resort. At the time I was exploring this portion of Atlantis I watched children feeding stingrays (free activity) and some teenage girls feeding the sharks seen in the photo above (fee activity available for booking through Atlantis Adventures desk).

Feeding stingrays in a Coral Towers lagoon.

The Library – 15 minutes Free Internet Access Daily

Coral Towers is where “The Library” is located offering about 10 computers where guests can access the internet for free for 15 minutes each day. The $20 per day internet fee kept me off my computer for most of my stay at Atlantis.

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The Library in Coral Towers

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View of the high-rise Coral Towers building from the Library.

Royal Towers

Atlantis is such a large resort that shuttles transport guests and luggage between the hotel buildings. I generally walked all over the resort after a couple of times waiting 30 minutes for a shuttle for what would be a 15 minute walk.

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Entry drive to Royal Towers, Atlantis

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The Marina seen from entry to Royal Towers.

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Harborside Resort is a timeshare villas complex with nearly 400 residences and part of the Atlantis complex.

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The fountain in the entry drive of the Royal Towers.

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Reception area rotunda at Royal Towers.

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Rotunda ceiling.

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One of several murals around the rotunda at Royal Towers reception area.

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Grand hallway leading to the Atlantis casino. Rotunda on right and the aquarium and lagoon views on the left.

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The stairway to the floor below the Rotunda of the Royal Towers reveals the aquarium and the entrance to “The Dig” where visitors can view thousands of marine animals. I will cover this feature of Atlantis in a separate post.

My room 15596

The room was comfortable and offered a great view of Atlantis.

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I had a full balcony with chairs which is an upgraded room for Royal Towers where most rooms have shallow French balconies without the space to sit outside.

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Sunrise on Paradise Island – view from my balcony room.

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There are two features of the room worth pointing out. An energy saving feature is the AC shuts down automatically when the patio doors are open. The other item of note was the Gilchrist & Soames bath amenities. I am kind of annoyed that I didn’t load up my luggage with the three bars of soap in my room when I checked out. I am running low on bath soap and one measure I use for the caliber of my hotel stays is when I run out of fine soaps at home, then I figure it has been too long since I have stayed in a luxury hotel.

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Mayan Temple water slide with shark tank pool to the right of the temple. This is a view from my room balcony.

Atlantis is a full-service Resort

Beach resorts are not my thing, but Atlantis is nearly all I can imagine I’d want in a beach resort, except for the fact that there was not a hot tub or pool open after 5pm for guests. From reviews I read, the pool hours may go to 7pm in spring and summer months, but only 8 to 10 hours of pool time each day is one of the most annoying aspects of this resort. As in Las Vegas, the objective at Atlantis seems to be getting guests dining in the dozens of high-priced restaurants and bars around the resort and gambling in the casino during the evening hours.

From the moment I stepped out of the taxi I was impressed by the 5-star service I experienced at Atlantis. I was addressed by name upon arrival and I wondered how the person could possibly know my name. I then saw the Alaska Airlines paper luggage tag was open and the staff member had read my name off the tag.

Being addressed by name was a common occurrence during my stay as staff members read my name off the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Global Conference lanyard. I was amazed that so many people had eyesight that good. One of the signs of a 5-star resort is being addressed by name.

Blogger Disclosure

Atlantis was the Carlson Rezidor 2012 Global Conference venue (Radisson and Country Inns & Suites hotel chains) and is not a hotel property connected with Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. The fact that my stay at Atlantis was paid by the Carlson Rezidor folks as a media representative for their global conference does not really impact my review of the hotel, except to say I enjoyed one of the most expensive hotel resorts in the world much more than I probably would have if I had been paying the high prices to stay and dine there.

Suffice to say that this is one expensive resort to experience, but my impression is Atlantis is one of the most expansive hotel resorts I have ever seen and certainly an interesting place to experience.

There are so many things to share about Atlantis. I will follow up this post with several more to detail more features of the resort and provide links between the posts.


  • NYBanker February 26, 2012

    Two challenges that I’ve struggled with regarding this property are (a) the scale of the resort reminds me of many LV properties…and despite purported five-star or four-star rankings, at the scale of the properties, service invariable suffers and (b) I’ve been to half a dozen “high end” properties in the Caribbean and have yet to have a good service experience. Put together, these two facts have kept me away.

    This is the first credible positive report that I’ve read in a while.

    Besides people calling you by your name (with you wearing a name tag), would you call the quality of the experience at the property a luxury experience?

  • Robert Hanson February 26, 2012

    For anyone thinking of spending these stupedous amounts of money on Atlantis, check it out on Trip Advisor first. The Beach Tower has 1,780 reviews posted, of which nearly 40% rate it “Poor” or “Terrible”. Not including the extra 10% of “Average” reviews that are in fact mainly complaints. Yes, I know you can’t please everyone, but a 40 to 50 percent negative review rate is utterly horrible. Especially for a “luxury resort”.

    The complaints range from the simple: there is only one hot tub for the entire resort, and the nearest restaurant to the Reef Tower is over a mile away. To the major: it is filthy, and the staff are surly and unresponsive. To the indefensible: the same utensils that are used to handle raw meat are then used on cooked meat. Leading to food poisioning that puts some people in the hospital.

    Read it for yourself:

    Now if you can get Ric’s Media Pass, which as he said everyone who treated him with special attention immediately noticed, you will undoubtably get superior service.

    And staying in a “Water View” room in the Royal Towers can’t hurt either. But the best tax included price I could find for that room, with two meals a day, is $950 a day for a single, $1050 a day for two. Add in $15 drinks, $25 suntan lotion, gym use fees, $9 bottles of water, $12 dollar hot dogs, and $25 minimum bets in the casino.

    Then ask yourself, why are you paying as much for the Atlantis as you would for the Four Seasons Maui? Which with 1,460 Trip Advisor reviews, has a poor or terrible ratio of 2.5%, and an “Excellent” rating of 85%?

  • MilesQuest February 26, 2012

    We enjoyed the Atlantis water park during our stay so much that we came back the next time while on a cruise to experience it again.

  • Robert Hanson February 27, 2012

    I note you didn’t choose to pay the current fees to, you know, actually stay there a second time. Since you can purchase a seven day cruise for the price of a ONE night stay at Atlantis, why pay to stay there?

    One of the recurring complaints on Trip Advisor about staying at Atlantis is how the facilities are so overrun by cruise ship day trippers, that folks paying four figures a day to stay there are just lost in the shuffle….

    But you make an excellent point. Perhaps the best way to expericence Atlantis is to take a cruise, and just pay the $120 fee for a day use….

  • Ric Garrido February 27, 2012

    @NY Banker – I think Atlantis is a full-service resort with sufficient different activities to keep one busy for days. I would categorize the property as a resort in the sense of Las Vegas hotels like Venetian and Mandalay Bay or perhaps a place like Hilton Waikoloa.

    The One&Only Ocean Club down the street from Atlantis is the place to be for a luxury experience. I was too much of a crowd for that hotel. (I was told to leave for taking property photos).

    You can’t compare Atlantis with a place like a Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton since those hotel properties are not designed for dealing with 5,000 guests a day.
    It is difficult to be a 5-star mega hotel.

    @Robert Hanson – I concur with the statement about the cruise ship visitors. I had to patiently weave my way through crowds several times around aquarium features, outside walkways and inside hallways while trying to pass a crowd of a hundred tourists from a cruise ship being led on a property tour and spread out taking photos.

    That being said, the Aquaventure park did not appear crowded to me during my stay.

  • hello March 1, 2012

    I have been there for a short time, funny how all the art work shows white people but the resort is in a black majority nation.

  • Ric Garrido March 1, 2012

    @hello – I didn’t really notice that feature of the art work. The Atlantis rotunda murals are based on Greek mythology and Plato so I would expect the figures to be white.

    One of the most interesting experiences I had during my stay on Paradise Island was getting kicked out of Ocean Club for taking photos of the grounds and directed to exit the property via the Versailles Gardens.

    After seeing the Cloisters, the 12th century French cloister reconstructed on Paradise Island, I attempted to get back to the beach via another route avoiding Ocean Club. My walk took me down the road with the industrial laundry facilities for the area.

    The slice of life I saw was the lunchtime Bahamian version of a California taco truck. The street was lined with a dozen cars parked and trunks and hatchbacks open. Each car had industrial food trays filled with home-cooked food and dozens of workers were buying hot lunch from the food vendors operating out of their cars.

    There was little shade and about 50 men were crowded under a small grove of trees eating in the shade on an 80 degree day.

    Atlantis resort, lagoons and activities are fun and nice to experience, but my two best memories of the Bahamas were the day I arrived sitting in a liquor store drinking beer with the employees and seeing how the local workers dine from hot food vendors working out of their cars. That is the Bahamas I’ll remember long after the hotel resort specifics fade from my memory.

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  • J May 15, 2013

    Just curious if Ric who is missing a K and /or an H, is cute.

  • Ric Garrido May 15, 2013

    I’m not a typical beauty and I am not missing a K or an H. Well, actually, I am missing a K. My wife Kelley.

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