I have a confession.
I was a huge Mary-Kate and Ashley fan growing up. Like so huge I literally wanted to be them and had all their movies on VHS (the olden days). One of my favorite movies they’ve ever made was Holiday in the Sun, which is set at The Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The movie made the Atlantis look like the most magical place on the planet. From then on I knew I wanted to go there someday and have an amazing vacation just like Mary-Kate and Ashley.
I’m not just telling you this to embarrass myself. I’m telling you because I actually did go to the Atlantis Resort! The hotel and the amazing marine life were exactly as it was shown in the movie, but over the course of our weeklong stay I realized there was much more to the Atlantis than Mary-Kate and Ashley told me about via their movie.
The good news is I’m here to spill the beans about staying at one of the most well-known resorts in the entire world. Trust me, the Atlantis is like no other resort. It’s basically its own little world that you have to learn to navigate and become a part of for a your vacation. Don’t plan a trip to Atlantis without reading this guide!
The Atlantis Resort is located on Paradise Island which is right off the coast of The Bahamas capitol city of Nassau. Paradise Island is connected to Nassau by the big bridge pictured below. Getting from the International Airport in Nassau to The Atlantis Resort is a mild 30 minute ride, pending traffic.
The Atlantis Resort is made up of six different hotels and buildings all with their own unique vibe and design. The most famous and photographed is Royal Towers (pictured below), but the property also includes: Beach Tower, Coral Towers, The Reef Atlantis, The Cove Atlantis, and Harborside Resort. This seems like an overwhelming amount of choices as to where to stay, but the good news is there is a huge variety in price between the most luxurious (The Cove) to the most budget friendly (Beach Towers).
Things to do
Pools & Beaches
The Atlantis has 3 different beaches. Two of the beaches, Paradise Beach and Cove Beach are in close proximity to The Cove. While Atlantis Beach, is closest to Coral Towers. The Atlantis has 13 pools scattered throughout the entire resort. Six of those pools can be found close to Royal Towers.
Dolphin Cay at Atlantis is one of the largest most sophisticated marine habitats and animal rehabilitation facilities in the entire world. It spans 14-acres and contains nearly 7 million gallons of seawater. Dolphin Cay offers guests the chance to get some amazing one and one time with some of the most loved animals of the sea.
Full disclosure: these adventures can be very pricey. A 30-minute shallow water dolphin interaction will run anyone 4 years and older $135, and the Ultimate Trainer for a Day activity will cost anyone 10 years and older $390.
But if the price doesn’t scare you off you have the opportunity to do some really unique things, all while never leaving your resort. Deep water swimming with dolphins, sea lion interaction, sting ray experience, and even snorkeling through the ruins of Atlantis are just the beginning of the marine life you have the opportunity to explore at Dolphin Cove.
Atlantis boasts an incredible 14 lagoons and more than 50,000 aquatic animals representing over 250 marine species. You can get up-close and personal views of sharks, stingrays, barracudas, sea turtles, and exotic fish just by strolling through the resort.
Water Sport Adventures
The Atlantis’ location on Paradise Island has easy access to some of the best dive sites in the Caribbean. Guests can go on both Snorkel and Scuba diving adventures. Not scuba certified? Not a problem! Atlantis offers the classes needed to become certified! Is scuba diving too much for you but snorkeling is not enough? Not a problem! Atlantis combines the simplicity of snorkeling with the experience of breathing underwater for their Snuba experience (snorkeling + scuba diving = Snuba). The Atlantis does not offer any kind of motorized water activities so if you’re looking to rent a jet ski or parasail, you’ll have to look else where.
Aquaventure is Atlantis’ 141-acre waterpark. You read that right 141-acres! The water park features 18 water slides for guest of all ages.
for the cowardly lion: Try the Serpent Slide, or The Drop
for the daredevil: Try The Abyss or my personal favorite, Leap of Faith (pictured below)
Shopping, golf, tennis courts, rock climbing, a theatre, and a pottery studio can all found at the Atlantis Resort. Rest assured you will not be without something to do.
The Mandara Spa includes everything you need to treat yourself. a huge variety of facials, messages, body treatments, waxing, salon services for men and women, and a nail salon.
The Atlantis Resort is comprised of over 40 restaurants, bars, and lounges all at different price points and with different atmospheres. The resort has several pool side dining options available. You can dine at some of the most expensive restaurants like Nobu or Chop Stix, or keep it casual at Virgil’s BBQ or Bimini Road. I was really impressed with all the food we had during our entire trip. The fine dining meals were just as good as the burger and fries meals in my opinion.
The Atlantis website strongly recommends making dinner reservations well in advance (even before you arrive). They also have a very strict policy regarding no-shows. Anyone arriving later than 15-miutes after their reservation time will be charged a $50 no-show fee. YIKES!
Another thing that can put a big dent in your wallet at the Atlantis is alcohol. You can easily blow $30 on two cocktails on the resort. The Aura Night Club is the hot spot for adults who want booze, music and dancing and is located right inside the Atlantis Casino, which is suitable for guests with all buy-in ranges. And just to prove even more that Atlantis has something for everyone, there is also a teen nightclub for kids age 9-17, called CRUSH.
Make your plans well ahead of time
Your room reservations, the activities you want to do, areas of the resort that you most want to spend time, even some dinner reservations, all of it, plan ahead. I booked our week-long vacation for Mid-March in December. Even that left me with limited options for choosing what building we wanted to stay in.
prepare yourself for how busy it’s going to be
As I said, we stayed for a week in mid-March. It was incredibly busy at this time (duh, the entire world has spring break in mid-March). Because a lot of the people who come to the Atlantis are American, it will also be busier during the winter months in the US.
Know the climate
It should also be noted that The Bahamas has two seasons, not four like we do. The Wet Season is from June to November, this is also hurricane season. Dry Season, runs from December to May and is much cooler and less humid.
Save money on water and booze
Drinks are a huge way to low-key blow a ton of money at Atlantis. Even something simple like a bottle of water may cost you $9. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend my money on fun things, not keeping myself hydrated. Stop at store before getting on the island and stock up on water bottles and booze if you plan on drinking.
Skip the beaches
Never have I ever uttered those 3 words as words of advice to a fellow traveler. In all honesty, the little bit of time I did spend on the beach I was constantly being bombarded by locals who were shoving jewelry and trinkets in my face asking for $20 in exchange. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about buying from local places when visiting other countries, but it was never ending! Trying to read a book on the beach? Good luck! Trying to catch a nap? Not gonna happen. If you really want some undisturbed quality beach time, you’re better off booking a half day trip to a nearby island. We did just that and all fell asleep lazily in hammocks. It was amazing.
You’ll save yourself a lot of time and a lot of headaches if you know your way around
This whole post I’ve been telling you about the extensive options available at Atlantis. This is great for a lot of reasons, but it also means amenities are spread out over the entire resort. It’s highly unlikely you’ll get to expert status of the whole property during your vacation, but I recommend looking at a map of the property before you arrive and familiarizing yourself with the layout. Anyway you can familiarize yourself with the resort before you arrive will save you tons of time wandering and getting repeatedly lost later on.