A Bahamian Paradise


Andrew Perhac, Prospect Staff Writer

Do you think you would love to go to a place with stunning turquoise water and white sand beaches, fine dining, great accommodations that meet the needs of all types of guests and exciting aquatic adventures? If this sounds good to you you should consider going to the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas. This resort has a very interesting history and has grown to be one of the best resorts in the area. 

In 1994, a man named Sol Kerzner went to Paradise Island and was impressed by its beauty.  At that time Merv Griffin, a well-known entertainer, ran a resort on Paradise Island  called Resorts International,  but it was not doing very well. Sol Kerzner purchased it from him and was determined to make it the most incredible  resort in the world.  Tourism in the Bahamas, the largest part of its economy,  had been declining, but in eight short months Kerzner had transformed the area  into a magnificent resort. The resort had the largest marine habitat in the entire world, and spectacular water slides and swimming areas. He also built a 15 million dollar marina which was intended to attract the wealthy international mega-yacht owners. In 1998 the 1,200-room Royal Towers opened which included  the Caribbean’s largest casino.  Millions of dollars were spent obtaining museum-quality art from well- known artists from Europe, Africa, The Bahamas and the United States. Much of this artwork can be found in the casino. In 2007, phase 3 of the project began.  The Cove Atlantis 600 room resort was added,  as well as  The Reef Atlantis 400 Condo Hotel. A 14 acre dolphin habitat and education center called Dolphin Cay was also constructed.  The resort added a 141 acre water park called Aquaventure, the night club Aura, and a huge, luxurious spa called the Mandara Spa.  In addition, 100,000 feet of conference space was built, making Atlantis the largest conference center  in the Caribbean. 

Guests at Atlantis have many choices when it comes to dining. Some hotel rooms such as The Reef include a full kitchen so you have the option of eating in to save money or to make exactly what you want without waiting for your food. The resort offers a variety of places to eat where you can get a quick breakfast, lunch, drink  or snack. One such place is Pita, where you can get a quick poolside snack of Mediterranean food. Another popular place is the Marina Pizzeria. You can also get quick snacks at Plato’s sports bar.  Additionally, you can find casual dining at Sip Sip which is by the poolside near Paradise Beach at the Cove Hotel. There you can get a quick Lobster Quesadilla or blackened beet salad. You can find additional  casual dining at the Ocean Club Clubhouse with its spectacular views of the golf course and beyond. For fancier dining, you might try Olives, which is run by the famous chef Todd English from New York and Boston. People who dine there can watch their meals being prepared in the open kitchen. Other fine dining areas include NOBU, a world famous Japanese restaurant where you can get sushi, Carmine’s famous New York Restaurant, and Fish, whose chef, Jose Andres, is an internationally known chef, author, TV personality, and humanitarian. Other choices are the Seafire Steakhouse and Chop Stix, where you can get contemporary Chinese cuisine. The newest fine dining experience can be found at Cafe Martinique, which is a fancy place for a dinner. It serves Mediterranean  food using local Bahamian ingredients. And let’s not forget Starbucks and Ben and Jerry’s, which can also be found at the resort. 

The Atlantis offers a variety of hotels that provide  great amenities to the guests staying at the resort. The Royal Towers is an iconic landmark of the Bahamas and is centrally located, affording easy access to all activities. The Cove is an elegant hotel between two beaches. It has  600 luxury suites, each with a balcony that provides floor to ceiling views of the ocean.  It is the only hotel that has an adult – only pool with 20 private cabanas. The Reef offers residential style suites and studios, a private pool and access to a private section at Paradise Beach. The Coral is family- oriented and conveniently located close to  all activities. It has  spacious  rooms and suites, and family friendly entertainment including CRUSH, a teen night club,  and the Sun and Ice cream parlor. Harborside Resort is located by the marina, a short distance from the main property; it is best for large groups and families. It has large rooms and full kitchens and laundry facilities.   

         Atlantis also offers a vast array of marine adventures. There is a 141 acre waterpark that is free for guests staying at the resort. It has 8 thrilling high speed water slides, 20 swimming areas, a huge water play fort for kids, and 11 swimming pools. There is also a mile long river rapids ride that includes rolling rapids, and surges of waves. This is a popular place for kids and families. In all Atlantis has 5 miles of white sand beaches with beautiful turquoise water. The three beaches are Cove Beach, Paradise Lagoon, and Atlantis Beach.  Another popular aquatic center is Dolphin Cay. It is the largest and most advanced marine habitat in the world. The  first marine mammals at Dolphin Cay were 17 stranded dolphins and 10 sea lions whose home in Gulfport, Mississippi was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Dolphin Cay continues to be  the Caribbean’s main marine animal rehabilitation center. At Dolphin Cay you can swim, paddle board, or kayak with the dolphins, and play with sea lions.  For a very special overnight experience you can camp out in a luxury tent, go snorkeling at twilight in the Ruins Lagoon, and visit with a sea turtle. But that is not the only marine experience you can have at Atlantis. Throughout the resort are  lagoons, caves, coral formations and underwater ruins where you can see exotic marine life ranging from sharks to rays, barracuda, piranha, eels and even the endangered alligator gar. In fact, Atlantis, Paradise Island, has the largest open-air marine habitat in the world, including 14 lagoons, eight million gallons of ocean water and more than 50,000 aquatic animals representing over 250 marine species!  

If you get a chance to travel to Atlantis you will be amazed by the beauty of the tropical landscapes and the beautiful beaches. No matter what hotel you choose, the amenities will be top-notch. Stepping outside your hotel, there are so many great activities that you can’t miss. Not only is Atlantis a great place for tourists, it is also concerned with rehabilitating  and protecting marine life and marine habitats, and educating the public about them. In addition, it supports the local economy of the Bahamas, promoting tourism and using products and foods from local vendors. Making it one of the finest resort destinations in the world.