This is a long dissection of the Atlantis resort, but hopefully will assist holidaymakers and Atlantis Managment too! Now read on....
We spent 10 nights here from Feb 13th To Feb 23rd 2013.
First the good bits:
1) The staff. A huge credit to the Bahamas and Atlantis.
99% are friendly, polite and well mannered. Genuinely helpful and chatty, without the surliness or tip-seeking obsequiousness that one encounters elsewhere. Lots of them too, they don't understaff here. The staff are easily the best asset the resort has, absolutely fantastic. No, our gripes are reserved for the owners and senior management - see below.
2) Atlantis is clean, and no bugs or pests either. Except perhaps for the seagulls that colonise the pool areas, and can lend a Hitchcockian aura to the place at times, as well as dropping big dollops of poo on you!
3) Lots to see and do, we did not get bored at all. No sense of the days dragging towards the end of our holiday here which we have had at other holidays. That's a very good sign.
4) Beach has lovely soft, white/gold sand. Clean, limpid, aquamarine coloured water.
5) Aquaventure - one of the few items included in cost of room and great fun.
6) Well equipped gym/fitness centre.
7) Cinema free for guests.
Now for the not so good bits:
1) Expensive. Very expensive. Rapaciously expensive. Gratuitously, venally expensive. Insultingly, mockingly, contemptuously expensive. Food especially, and only poor quality at best (see extensive discussion below of the food quality). Also wifi in rooms is $15 for each 24 hours - total profiteering, should be free. It is mostly a very slow, unreliable connection, that frequently fails to find servers or times out. Not good enough. Also they blocked me downloading Skyfall from iTunes after only 1.5 GB. For $15 a day I should be using a super-fast, super-reliable service and most definitely not have a data cap. At every turn in Atlantis they fleece you. 15% obligatory "gratuity" charged on everything. I just hope that "gratuity" is passed on to the staff.
2) Food again - deliberately limited capacity reservations system for restaurants means they try to force you to commit to booking for a week or more in advance. Who the hell knows what they will fancy to eat every night for the next 7-10 days? This ensures you stay on site and maxes out profit. OK we have seen this before in other resorts but it still rankles. Going out to town to eat is feasible and in our view ESSENTIAL to achieve any quality and atmosphere. Note however that the taxi fares there and back will be $40 or just under, largely offsetting any saving. Atlantis' operators are clever in this regard, as the resort is cut off from the rest of Nassau by a stretch of water and access is via a very long, very high, very steep road bridge. It is walkable, but only in extremis (The resort they run at the Palm in Dubai is even more cut off). You are, to all intents and purposes, a captive market.
3)Food, yet again. It is quite simply poor quality, and a major misrepresentation, irrespective of the rip off prices. Here's why:
Each restaurant purports to offer a cuisine from around the globe: Chinese, Italian, southern American, Japanese, and so on. Yet the food, far from being an authentic gourmet experience of each cuisine is nothing of the sort. They simply cook local style, heavily battered fried fish or jerked meat and dress it up as whatever the theme of the restaurant is. The only thing vaguely Chinese or Italian was the decor. A hollow, cynical sham. It is not even particularly fresh tasting either. Shocking.
You can tell that the chefs are obviously local lads who had some cursory training in each cuisine but who then, I am afraid, simply revert to type. It would be fine if they were properly trained and supervised, but they simply cannot be on our evidence. The Chinese restaurant, "Chopstix", is a good case example: The wonton soup was the worst I have tasted in 40 years of eating out. No flavour and the won tons were doughy and revoltingly textured. There are several fish mains in offer. Fried grouper in very heavy greasy batter. Fried lobster, in the same batter.You can't taste or tell what fish you are having through the grease and batter. Crispy noodles: inedible, dry, uncooked cheap quality noodles. Only the seafood platter escaped being battered to death. But was drowned in a sickly mock up of black bean sauce instead. No Chinese chef can possibly have any day to day input into this restaurant whatsoever. It is a disgrace.
If you come here, wise up and eat off-site in the evenings. It will be far better, and far cheaper, and a far more atmospheric and a genuine experience. Just avoid the Fish Fry on West Bay Street though - find a more "local" version. Please see my separate reviews on TripAdvisor of the independent restaurants in Nassau, for a guide and recommendations.
4) Long, slow queues for watersides in Aquaventure at busy periods. Compounding the overcrowding is the fact that the water slides are only open 1000 - 1700, compressing high demand into a short day. The pools are open 0900 - 1700. We feel both attractions should be open throughout daylight hours, or at least 0800 - 1800. Again this is a major failure when customers are paying top dollar. We also found that the main pool (and slides that feed into it) in the Aquaventure was closed for a whole day because "the water level has got too low". How can they mismanage something so fundamental? Furthermore, any hint of a breeze and both the higher slides and sea bathing are red flagged. Numbers at Aquaventure are swollen daily by cruise ship folks buying day tickets.
Also, why do they assume everyone wants to hear the relentless thump thump of loud, amplified, popular music all day by the pools?
5) Gym is $15 a visit which is too much, although some charge is desirable (just less $) as it keeps out dilettantes who would otherwise go in and block the equipment. There is not enough (i.e. virtually none) free floor space to do floor exercises on mats. The whole place is crammed with machines. I think they could lose some machines, create more floor space and not compromise the facility.
6) Not really the resort's responsibility, but a tip: DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO GET YOUR HAIR BRAIDED by the beach women. Or if you do get the price agreed first and WRITTEN. My wife was told $50 for our 10 year old daughter - only for them to demand $150 when it was completed. Claimed she "misheard" 50 instead of 150.....yeah right.
7) Beach Towers is the "cheapest" part of the resort and is visibly the oldest and tiredest. You certainly are reminded at every turn that you are in the low rent section! Whereas in the upmarket areas of the complex the Atlantis theme is structural and architectural, here in Beach Tower is is merely decorative and superficial. Furthermore, the decor is dated and overall Beach Tower has an empty, ghost-hotel feel to it. This is epitomised by the lobby which is no longer functional as such and is crudely lit, understaffed, uncarpeted and poorly furnished. The whole Beach Towers has a feel of being a neglected corner of the resort. It has no atmosphere at all. The rooms are ok but need updating and are disappointing for the cost. Even the pink paintwork on the exterior is a cheap, nasty shade compared to the other Towers.
8) Photos - Atlantis staff take photos of you frequently and then sell the results to you. That's fine, but not at the shocking prices. The profit margin on this activity must be 3500% at my conservative calculation. The Dolphin interaction is the worst for this because they know that you and your kids will absolutely want some souvenir pics and that there is no alternative. The cheapest option is 70$ for a handful of small unframed prints. No data file. It is extortionate, pure and simple.
9) The aquarium, while undeniably impressive, is now looking it's near 2 decades vintage, and is a long way behind cutting-edge aquaria elsewhere in the world. The range and numbers of fish are limited, even when compared to their sister resort in Dubai. The glass is looking micro-scratched due to age, impairing the view.
I summary, at Atlantis you are paying super-luxury prices for mediocrity too much of the time. No matter how wealthy I might or might not be, I don't appreciate being taken for a ride...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With the beauty of the Atlantis beach just steps away, the Beach Tower delivers a true Caribbean feel in a laid-back environment. Guestrooms have one king bed or two queen beds, full balconies with water or terrace views. Beach Tower is perfect for young families and budget conscious travelers, and is closest to the beach, many marine exhibits, the Lazy River, Seagrapes Restaurant, Earth & Fire Pottery Studio, Gamer's Reef arcade, River Pool, Atlantis Theatre and the Conference Center. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Atlantis Resort Bahamas
- Beach Hotel At Atlantis
- Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas
- Beach Hotel Paradise Island
- Atlantis Hotel Paradise Island
- Atlantis Paradise Island Beach Tower
- Atlantis Paradise Island Hotel
- Atlantis Island Resort
- Atlantis Royal Tower
- Atlantis Beach Tower, Autograph Collection Bahamas/Paradise Island