I started coming to Atlantis, quite by accident, the year it opened in 1998. We were staying elsewhere on Paradise Island, and they were letting people use the waterpark for free while they continued to build the property. Two years later, I came with my husband, and that was no longer the case. So we stayed in a room for a night to play in the park. We came back several years later and stayed at the Comfort Suites where you are allowed access to Atlantis. We stayed at the Reef 5 years ago which was pretty but its beach is all coral and the building is a long way from the interesting parts of the resort. This time, we booked 5 nights in the Beach Tower, knowing it was nearest the good beach on the property. The room was a good size, but the wallpaper in the bathroom was peeling off. While they have flat screen TVs, their signal is analog, so the picture is terrible. There is no minibar, but they leave bottles of water in the room they charge $7 each for. There is complementary coffee making facilities, however. We paid for a water view, which was pretty, but it overlooked the family pool, and like ALL OTHER POOLS on the property, very loud dance music with a heavy bass blasted all day until about 6 pm, making it impossible to have a nap as the music comes through the glass on the balcony doors. Apparently April is also when the laughing gulls mate, and they were congregating on the Beach Tower lobby's flat roof below us, so there was always noisy birds screaming all morning and afternoon as well. Our room was never made up before 3:30 in the afternoon, so when I beaned my foot on a water ride, I had to sit on the balcony for a half hour while the maid cleaned the bathroom and made the bed.
The fact that there is absolutely no spot on the property that is quiet was really an issue. If you want to have FUN FUN FUN all day - screaming children, dance music everywhere - then that's fine. But if you'd like to lie by the pool and relax, it's impossible because even the "adult" pool in front of the Royal Towers had dance music even though it was not supposed to. We tried to escape to the beach, but there are Bahamians renting jetskis to tourists even though they are not authorized by Atlantis, so you have the smell of diesel exhaust, the noise of the jetskis, and then the waves created by these jerks going back and forth the length of the beach, so you can't even lie on your back and enjoy the ocean blocking out the sound. Just miserable.
We did enjoy snorkeling the ruins, with Athena, the 10 foot wide manta ray swimming below us, but otherwise, it was just an unbelievably expensive, tedious experience. Atlantis bought the nearby strip mall called Hurricane Hole which had a small grocery store and several restaurants that weren't ridiculously expensive and tore it down, which pretty much forces you to eat on property unless you cab it into Nassau. And for dinner, if you don't make a reservation in advance - I mean, way before you come - then you'll either be ordering room service or waiting a very long time to eat. We had one very expensive meal - $300 for two appetizers, a bottle of $85 wine (the second cheapest on the menu), two entrees and a side (no sides with the entrees at Cafe Martinique), but the rest were sandwiches and salads. Most meals came to about $50 and we never ate breakfast. For 4 days, we spent $800 on food and drinks. Ridiculous.
As for the water park, it is really extensive, but there were some problems this time. Even on the slower ride, the Lazy River, there were children (and one adult) who didn't get into the intertubes you ride on the current, but were rather walking through. The lifeguards said and did nothing. These children were, of course, loud and often in the way. The Power Tower, the newest structure for the aquatic park (about 5 years old now), is really an abusive ride. Unless you're a small child, you are going to sink into your intertube, and after you've been taken up a conveyor belt to the top, you are going to get slammed into the slide from the force of the ride on the way down. I got an enormous bruise on my rear end from this. I didn't go back on The Power Tower. And The Current, the snaking mile-long intertube ride that brings you to the Power Tower, can be very frustrating as the current itself will strand you on one of the man-made beaches, or in a whirlpool. There is also a spot that most people need the lifeguard to pull them into a turn. There was no one there when I got there, and it took me a half hour to get back into the ride from being beached by the current. That was no fun.
They show free movies in their theater every day, and we did catch a couple we hadn't seen. But it's not a giant screen and the lens had water spots on it I could see on the screen throughout The Hobbit. The seat are also quite uncomfortable and stupid people and their stupid children will walk in the side door throughout the film, exposing the auditorium to their talking and the noise outside the door. It was very distracting.
That being said, Atlantis is really fabulous the first time you go there. The architecture is spectacular, the massive tanks of fish everywhere are fabulous, and the weather in the Bahamas is lovely. It's an impressive resort, and the mythology they've created is fascinating. But this being my 5th visit in 15 years, I think I've finally had my fill.
The resort is in the process of being sold, and I don't know what that means for the quality of the place or the price. I would recommend visiting there once and taking advantage of the free fish feedings (there is a small ray pool in back of the Beach Towers where you can feed the rays by hand for free at 1 or 2 in the afternoon Tues - Sun as they fast all the fish on Mondays). Walk the entire place to see all the pools. There are turtles by the Beach Tower, baby sharks by the Flamingo Villas between the Beach Tower and the Coral Towers. Walking underneath the sharks in the Predator Lagoon is fabulous, as is eating beneath the giant shell. The staff is all very nice but hardly anything is included in the price of your expensive room (at least booking through their website, you pay for the housekeeping, energy fees, taxes, etc. up front).
Now that flying is so terrible (it took 12 hours from Chicago because the airline canceled our original flight, booked us on a later one that was delayed, added another stop, and then we missed both of those later flights because of the lateness of the first and then it took 12 hours coming back because American's computers went down for 4 hours!), I am not keen to fly anywhere. We missed half a day because of airline incompetence.
We went to Atlantis to relax and have fun, but all we got was headaches from the noise and bruises from the rides. And a great whopping bill for eating decent but not spectacular food.
- 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 double 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, Club Rush, Earth & Fire Pottery Studio, Gamer’s Reef arcade, River Pool, Atlantis Theatre and the Conference Center. ... more less
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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 Bahamas/Paradise Island