Surviving Paradise Island – Your Guide to Atlantis Resort
Atlantis Vacation: Atlantis Tips & Travel Guide
It’s hard to give a comprehensive guide to the largest resort in the Bahamas, let alone the entire Caribbean, because frankly, the attractions number in the hundreds. Even if you were Bill Murray in Groundhog Day you’d still have trouble doing everything at Atlantis Resort.
I’m not here to tell you everything about the resort, just some of the highlights. I’ll leave the rest for you to discover because that’s half the fun!
So let’s start with where to stay in the Bahamas.
Staying outside the action
I know what you’re thinking. “Don’t you want to be close to all the water slides and boutique shopping outlets?”
Of course staying on the 17th floor of The Cove Tower or in the Michael Jackson suite is glorious, don’t get me wrong, but there are other resorts in Paradise Island and what I like most is the peace and quiet of Harborside Resort. Picture a colorful Caribbean village along the water. What Harborside lacks in ostentatiousness, it makes up for in calm island vibes. And it’s just down the road from Atlantis – a 10 minute walk or 5 minute shuttle ride.
Harborside offers condos not hotel rooms. So your family would get a kitchen, living and dining room, and a washer/dryer.
Dining with celebrity chefs
You’ve probably heard of Bobby Flay, you know, the Iron Chef. But you might not have heard of Nobu Matsuhisa or Todd English. These three chefs are among the best in the world and they have one thing in common. They all have restaurants at Atlantis Resort.
Nobu’s Nobu really knows how to do Japanese. And he puts a Caribbean spin on his Japanese training. Some highlights of Nobu include the Bahamian Lobster Cocktail, Sashimi Tacos, Wood Fired Black Cod with Miso, and Waygu Beef with five preparation choices.
Todd English, a renowned chef and television icon, serves contemporary Mediterranean at Olives. I would highly recommend trying the flatbread pizzas, especially the Jerk Shrimp if you’re a seafood lover.
Keep it casual
You don’t have to dine at these big name, high caliber establishments to enjoy great meals. Atlantis has a whopping 21 restaurants and 19 bar-lounges to choose from.
Here are my favorite casual alternatives. Check out Carmine’s for family friendly Italian, the Point Restaurant and Bar for sunset dinners, and the Mosaic for a high-class, quick-serve buffet.
Atlantis offers two dining plans. Value, which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner with A La Carte at just three restaurants, and Atlantis, which includes all three meals with A La Carte at 13 restaurants – the high end ones among them.
Where kids are VIP
Rooms are stocked with every video game imaginable, a teen clubhouse and dance floor, a stuffed-animal workshop, a class where toddlers get to play with sea creatures, and a full movie theater for rainy days. If I were kid – okay I still kind of am – I would be in heaven at Atlantis Resort. They literally have activities that cater to every interest and age from toddlers to pre-teens and beyond.
Just know this is how it will go down. Your kids won’t want to go at first, but then they won’t want to leave. It’s always hard to convince them to hang out with a bunch of other kids they don’t know, but once they get a taste, they’ll be in heaven.
You’ve reached the end of your splurge budget. Atlantis has four distinct shopping areas that cater to both kids, parents, and couples.
If you’re the Tommy Bahama, Ferragamo, Versace type then the crystal court shops is where you want to go. If you like sports apparel then head to the pro shop. For collectable t-shirts, post cards and stuffed animals themed after the resort, the Logo Stores have what you need. And for fine jewelry, watches, crystal, and clothing, the Marina Village carries it all.
Godzilla of water parks
I’d like to highlight three slides at Aquaventure and one thing that’s better than all of them combined. These infamous slides – and by infamous, I mean how many famous water slides can you name off the top of your head – are “Leap of Faith,” “Abyss,” and “Challenger.”
Rather than spend an essay on each. I’ve reduced these behemoths to little baby tweet-sized blurbettes.
- Leap of Faith: Temple of Doom meets Shark Week meets 90-degree free fall.
- Abyss: Plummeting thru darkness. “Where am I!” and then splash, you’re in a cave pool with an aquarium.
- Challenger: Race your lover, friend, or kid. See who’s better with streams of water and gravity.
These slides are great, but my true favorite attraction is the mile-long lazy river ride that takes you through whitewater rapids, tropical forests, and rock caves. Staying at a resort with a water park is always a great choice, especially when traveling with kids.
All on red!
That’s my only gambling strategy and I’m sticking to it. Yes their casino is amazing, it’s everything that Vegas has to offer, but without the seedy vibe of Sin City. I made sure to visit this place once during my stay. I’m glad I did, but once was enough for me to get my fix.
Living a legend
I love Atlantis for the same reason that I love Las Vegas and Disney World. When I’m there, I surrender to the power of the story that the place is trying to tell. And it’s not just one thing that does it. All the attractions come together and make something fictional feel alive.
Out of everything that tells the story of the lost city of Atlantis, one takes the cupcake. The Dig is one of the most stunning aquariums in North America. This super aquarium has specialized exhibits with exotic fish that swim among the ruins of Atlantis. The whole thing makes you feel as if you’re actually in a sunken city.
A tribute to marine life
There are so many different aquariums, lagoons, and coves that it’s hard to list them all. Many of them are actually built around the slides themselves, including the famous Mayan Temple lagoon, which surrounds you with a shark tank as you zip down the ride.
If you can budget for it, I’d highly recommend swimming with the dolphins at Dolphin Cay. You can also hug a sea lion, kiss a stingray, or lounge on the private beach of Dolphin Cay and watch the dolphins playing just a few feet away.
Golf like a champ
Golf Digest recognized Atlantis’ 18-hole par 72 Tom Weiskopf-designed course as the 8th Best Resort Course in North America and the Caribbean. The course, which is set along the Caribbean, also plays host to the Michael Jordan Invitational.
Rates for golfing here can be expense, but are cheapest from July 1 – October 31. You can also take advantage of Twilight Rates after 1 pm and save up to an average of 50% for each booking.
Paradise in a nutshell
Atlantis is truly one of those resorts where your family doesn’t have to leave. This can be overwhelming to some since there’s so much to do in one place. Plus, sometimes I just want to escape and explore the local culture. But, if you want to sit back and let the activities at the resort fill your itinerary, then you’ve come to one of the best places on Earth. It’s the same amount of excitement as Disney World, but much more affordable and without even having to think about transportation, crowds, or two-hour lines.
- Get the right room size for you family
- Research the best dining plan for you and your kids
- Book activities in advance and look for special deals and packages
- Release all worries and let the resort take care of your family vacation!
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