We went in October to the Reef for a long weekend.
The Reef was absolutely perfect for our family. The front desk (Christopher), the concierge made us feel so welcome and at home!
To me, Atlantis is one part casino, one part water park, one part marine aquarium, with some Las Vegas dining scene thrown in for good measure. You have to be okay with music being pumped out of rocks poolside. But all in all, they do a pretty great job at making everyone happy.
The place is huge, with 6+ properties to choose from. Luckily, we found a calm oasis at the edge of Atlantis–the Reef tower. The Reef has it’s own pool & beachfront–both of which were relatively empty during our stay. The rooms are perfect for families: all have kitchenettes with empty fridge, microwave & 2 burner stove (with a pot & pan–you’re good to go!). It also has a Starbucks on the ground floor, a breakfast essential in my book.
Right next door is the Cove. A bit more exclusive, with it’s own very hip pool for Cove guests only. The rooms here are Miami modern with great views. The Cove has Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill & Mosaic for top of the line buffet meals (if your room includes breakfast, here’s where it’s at).
Beyond the Cove…you’re entering the madness which is Aquaventure. The resorts here are the iconic Royal Towers (with casino) and the Beach & Coral Towers.
I also visited the One & Only Beach Club–lovely property. This, while not a part of Atlantis, does have shuttle service and access to the Atlantis. One & Only, way more subdued, with gorgeous rooms in 1 of 2 floors. Unpretentious elegance. After staying on the Atlantis grounds, our son would have frowned upon this spot–but my husband & I would have absolutely loved it.
All right, back to the action at Atlantis: Aquaventure= (Leap of Faith+the Surge+the Abyss) waterslides +a lazy river=a whole lot of fun.
But beyond Aquaventure, there is a lot of marine life to experience. The Dig is a great mini-aquarium with jellyfish, scary eels, huge grouper, & a “petting” area for kids to feel up close and personal conch, starfish & sea cucumber (eeew). The main aquarium “the Great Hall of waters” area is stocked full of underwater life including huuuuuge manta rays. If you book enough in advance (we didn’t) you can actually snorkel inside the aquarium. There also is a dolphin & sea lion program found at Dolphin Cay. Tommy did a shallow water swim with Cosmo the dolphin. Most of the dolphins, are survivors from Hurricane Katrina, and after the hurricane were moved to Atlantis. Finally, there’s a sting ray experience–here too, we didn’t sign up in time. I guess it’s an excuse to come back! I also recommend doing your research before you arrive & booking activities in advance.
One of our favorite experiences was seeing the Junkaroo band on parade in Marina Village on Saturday night. The band was fabulous–I believe called the Saxons? And we were lucky enough to see them poolside on Sunday as well. A true highlight.
Since we were only there for 4 days, we actually didn’t venture off property. (lame, I know) The property itself was so big, it was really enough. I will say this, the Bahamian people that we met, are their own best ambassadors of tourism! So friendly & kind–we definitely will need to return!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located directly on Paradise Beach, guests enjoy miles of white sand and ocean in their backyard with all the wonder and excitement of Atlantis on their front doorstep. The Reef features studios and one- and two-bedroom suites offering all the conveniences of home with a full kitchen or kitchen area complete with linens, cookware, table settings, refrigerator and private balconies with water views. Guests of The Reef enjoy a semi-private pool, shared only with The Cove Atlantis, Starbucks lounge and are closest to Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Reef Atlantis Hotel Paradise Island
- Reef Atlantis Paradise Island
- The Reef Atlantis Bahamas/Paradise Island