Table of Contents[Hide][Show]
- 1. How to Get to Atlantis Resort
- 3. Is Atlantis an All-Inclusive Resort?
- 4. Make Dinner Reservations ASAP
- 5. Download a Resort Map
- 6. There's a Free Shuttle
- 7. How to Avoid the Crowds
- 8. Take Time to See ALL the Animals
- 9. Check Your Cellular Carrier for Bahamas Coverage
- 10. Yes. There's a Resort Fee
- 11. Tips Are Included ... Kind Of
- 12. The River is Definitely Not Lazy
- 13. Go into Town in Nassau
- 14. Know How to Dress for High-Speed Water Slides
- 15. Know the Current Covid Restrictions
- 16. Pack Like a Pro
- 17. There's a Hurricane Guarantee!
Atlantis Resort Bahamas is a dream Caribbean destination for families. Read on to learn about this premium luxury resort with its stunning views of turquoise sea, miles of private beach, 50,000 animals living on property in the world’s largest open-air marine habitat and 141-acre waterscape packed with pools and thrilling water slides.
This post is sponsored by the Atlantis Resort Bahamas and the writer was hosted.
Planning a trip to the Atlantis Resort Bahamas is a lot like planning a cruise. There are quite a few elements to think through, including international travel (are your passports up-to-date?), on-island transportation (how will you arrive from the airport?), and entertainment (yes, you should make restaurant and excursion reservations in advance).
Join our NEW Facebook Community: Making Travel Easier. We promise to always tell you what we would tell our best friend -- what works for kids, what doesn’t and what you need to know before you go to have the Best. Family. Vacation. Ever. Our group of travel experts are ready to answer your travel questions!
We’ve got you covered with tips, secrets, and tricks to help you navigate Atlantis like a VIP. Hotel choices include The Cove, The Royal, The Reef, The Coral, The Beach and more!
1. How to Get to Atlantis Resort
Book your flight to Nassau (NAS), then take a taxi from the airport to Atlantis Paradise Island. Taxi prices are regulated so you won’t be overcharged. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the resort. Bahamian taxi drivers are courteous and professional.
Some Atlantis Resort package deals include complimentary private transfers to and from the airport. You also can book airport transfers through the Atlantis Resort. This costs a little more but may give you peace of mind to know a ride is waiting.
I would not recommend renting a car. You won’t need it and you’ll pay a daily parking fee at the resort. If you want to explore more of the island, it’s cheaper and easier to hire a taxi. The locals may have some insider tips on places to go, too!
TravelingMom Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking the family to the beach is to hire a photographer for sunset family photos. This is a special gift I treat myself to each year. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer for a photo session right on the beach! Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
2. Which is the Best Atlantis Hotel?
Nearly all accommodations at Atlantis are family-friendly, so you really can’t go wrong! And, no matter where you stay you will want to explore the entire property.
Pools, restaurants and lagoons filled with marine life are spread across the resort. You’ll definitely get some exercise trying to see and do it all.
This is a great option for families because it is close to all the action. The Royal houses The Dig—a free “underground” journey that takes you through the streets and tunnels of the lost city of Atlantis, past huge, themed aquarium displays. Ruins Lagoon, viewable from The Dig, is home to more than 20,000 deep reef and pelagic fish.
Step outside and you will discover the world’s largest open-air marine habitat. You’re not far from the Aquaventure waterpark.
And, you’ll be steps away from Atlantis Kids Adventures (AKA), which offers fun programming for kids. My 8- and 12-year-olds loved attending the club one evening for an outdoor Slumberless Party where they ate sugary treats and played games all night. (OK, the event lasted until 9:30 pm, but that feels like “all night” to kids.)
The Coral has family-friendly rooms and suites. It’s a bit more budget-friendly than The Royal and is still close enough to explore Aquaventure and the many lagoons around the resort.
This is the place to stay if you want to get away from the crowds of the main resort, The Harborside has one- to three-bedroom villas with full kitchens and laundry facilities.
That means it’s also good for larger families and those that like to lounge around in the morning. The full kitchen makes it easy to have breakfast in the room before venturing out for day.
This hotel offers big studios and one- to two-bedroom units with fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. You’ll get more upscale living here.
Thanks to its location, this resort works well for families wanting easy access to the beach.
My personal favorite, The Cove, is where we stayed on our last visit. It’s a luxurious, modern option with suites that boast incredible ocean views. A stay here means you are steps away from the beach.
It’s also closest to the adults-only pool and is billed as a romantic getaway, so many couples stay here.
My kids marveled at the open-air walkways between buildings and enjoyed breakfast each morning at Fish by José Andrés. We were also within walking distance of several pools and Aquaventure attractions.
Are There Adults Only Accommodations?
There are no adults-only accommodations on the resort property. Generally, though, the higher the price, the fewer families you’ll see.
Exclusive to adult guests of The Cove Atlantis is a 9,000 square-foot adults-only pool with 20 private cabanas. The Ocean Club Golf course is an adults-only activity, as are the resort casinos, bars and nightclubs.
TravelingMom Tip: When booking Atlantis hotels, check for resort credit deals. You’ll get more resort credit the more nights you stay. You’ll also earn more resort credit at the higher-priced hotels. The resort credit is per room, not per person.
3. Is Atlantis an All-Inclusive Resort?
No, Atlantis Resort Bahamas is NOT all-inclusive. But it does offer a meal plan.
Meals, special experiences, and snacks can add up. One way to help save is to buy the meal plan, which allows you to eat at any of the participating venues on your own schedule.
The plan, available to guests staying a minimum of two nights, includes up to $115 food and beverage value per day for adults and up to $35 food and beverage value per day for kids 7-11.
For context, a kid’s nugget meal with Coke for lunch at Shark Bites is $12.50. For adults, a veggie burger with iced tea from Shark Bites is $16.75. Dinners on property, of course, are more expensive, with adult entrées costing closer to $40 or $50 on average. The meal plan can work out to be a great deal for families with younger kids because children ages 6 and under eat free when you purchase an adult meal plan.
If you dine on property, expect to see a Value-Added Tax (VAT) of 12% and an additional 15% gratuity automatically added to each bill. This extra 27% on each meal can add up quickly. For example, a $94 breakfast for three jumps to $119.38 after gratuity and VAT. Note that if you are purchasing a dining plan online, VAT and 15% gratuity will be added to the price of the plan as well.
Stick with water to drink and you’ll save a bundle. The resort provides two refillable water bottles in each room and there are water stations throughout the resort. Skip eating breakfast in a resort restaurant and you’ll save even more.
TravelingMom Tip: You can save money on food by walking to the nearby Village Grocery Store on Paradise Island to stock up on breakfast foods and nacks. Instagopher.com will deliver groceries to the resort as well.
4. Make Dinner Reservations ASAP
For dinner, you will want to enjoy all that Atlantis has to offer. There are some delicious options. If possible, make dinner reservations BEFORE your trip. Otherwise, you’ll run into some wait times or may have to eat very early or very late. Once you arrive, you’ll likely have a message on your room phone asking you to confirm your reservations.
Our favorites for fine dining are Nobu, SeaFire (melt-in-your-mouth steak), Olives (don’t miss the buttery shrimp), Mosaic and Dune at the Ocean Club. Our family-friendly recommendations are Carmines (for family-style pasta dishes with huge, shareable portions), Poseidon’s Table, and Murray’s Deli.
Dinner can cost between $100 and $300 for a family of four.
5. Download a Resort Map
Atlantis Resort Bahamas is HUGE! Download an electronic map to your phone or pick up a printed map to carry with you. Without the map you may miss some of the resort’s hidden gems.
6. There’s a Free Shuttle
The buses circulate around this huge resort, running between The Reef, The Cove, The Royal, Harborside, The Coral, The Beach, Ocean Club and the Ocean Club Golf Course. We only used it to go to dinner and never waited more than five minutes for a shuttle to arrive.
TravelingMom Tip: When we were there, the buses went to different stops, so always ask where the shuttle is stopping before you get on it!
7. How to Avoid the Crowds
Atlantis is a very popular resort. You are likely to encounter crowds, especially if you visit during holidays or school vacations. The best way to avoid crowds is to travel in the low season when most kids are in school.
TravelingMom Tip: Private cabanas offering exclusive poolside access can be reserved throughout the main waterpark area. The private cabanas come with perks, like electronic device plug-ins, a personal safe, and a refrigerator. You can also purchase amenity upgrades, from WiFi to a pre-stocked beverage selection. During crowded months, the expense can be well worth it.
8. Take Time to See ALL the Animals
From Dolphin Cay to Predator Lagoon, there are marine animals living all over Atlantis Paradise Island! Follow the map and make sure to visit every habitat, to see sawfish, stingrays, sharks, alligators and sea turtles.
Dolphin Cay offers opportunities to swim alongside dolphins and meet sea lions up close. Throughout the resort, there are many other ways to discover the local marine life, including optional snorkeling, snuba, and scuba experiences.
If you prefer not to get quite that close, you can visit one of the many marine exhibits showcasing habitats such as lagoons, caves, coral formations and more.
Predator Lagoon is a shark habitat located in The Coral. It is home to Great Hammerhead sharks, Caribbean Reef sharks, Barracuda, and Smalltooth Sawfish. Be sure consult the daily Atlantean for the daily scheduled fish feeding times.
And don’t miss the largest open-air marine habitat in the world at Atlantis, Paradise Island with more than 50,000 aquatic animals.
Visit the Atlantis website before you go to learn more about Blue Project Atlantis, the resort’s effort to save marine species and their habitats.
9. Check Your Cellular Carrier for Bahamas Coverage
There is WiFi access in guest rooms, and at the front desk and lobby areas, but not throughout the resort. Check with your cellular carrier regarding coverage in The Bahamas to ensure you don’t come home to an unexpectedly high phone bill.
WiFi in the rooms serves up to four devices and is included in the daily resort fee.
10. Yes. There’s a Resort Fee
The daily per-room resort fee differs by hotel. In April 2021, the resort fee is $59.30 per room per night added on to the cost of room at The Beach, The Coral and The Royal. The daily fee is $67.14 for The Reef and The Cove.
While we are never fans of resort fees, we mind less when the resort fees cover impressive amenities like the Aquaventure waterpark. At Atlantis Resort Bahamas, the resort fee covers:
- Daily access to Aquaventure
- Wifi in guest rooms and lobby areas for up 4 devices
- Two reusable water bottles per room
- Daily access to the fitness center for 2 people. Cardio studio, universal and free weights are included; tennis, fitness classes and personal training sessions are not.
- Dive-in poolside movies 3 nights per week
- Daily access to The Dig and Marine Life Exhibits
- In-room coffee and tea
- Resort shuttle service
- Local phone calls
At The Reef, the Daily Resort Fee also includes exclusive access to the Cascades Pool.
For The Cove, the Daily Resort Fee also includes exclusive access to the Cascades Pool and the adults-only The Cove Pool (ages 18 and over only).
At Harborside Resort, guests do not pay the resort fee. Instead, they pay a utility service fee of up to $16.95 plus a $2.03 VAT charge per-person each day.
11. Tips Are Included … Kind Of
Atlantis charges mandatory tips, much like cruises. According to the resort website, all guests ages 12 and up pay a gratuity ranging from $5 to $100 per-person per-day depending on their accommodations. This fee will be added to your bill at checkout, so it’s best to look up how much it will be before booking so there are no surprises.
In addition, a 15% gratuity is automatically added to all food bills. You can choose to add an additional gratuity when signing the bill.
12. The River is Definitely Not Lazy
The Current has that name for a reason. It’s a mile-long river ride with high-intensity waves and rapids, guaranteed to keep you cool and laughing.
The Current is similar to a lazy river, but without any laziness. It can take up to a half hour to float along the twisty path, but you’ll have fun along the way riding waves and bumping over rapids. My family did this over and over again.
13. Go into Town in Nassau
No visitor to Atlantis should miss a chance to venture off property for a meal or shopping to explore all The Bahamas has to offer. You’ll get a more authentic Bahamian experience.
Hire a cab to take you to the “Fish-Fry”—the cabbie will know what you mean. It’s an area on the beach with seafood huts and cheaper drinks. During Spring Break, though, it can be a bit rowdy, so keep this in mind.
14. Know How to Dress for High-Speed Water Slides
One complaint I often hear from friends and family members after a trip to Atlantis is that they got bruises from the high-speed slides like the Leap of Faith, The Abyss and the Challenger.
I recommend rash guards and board shorts to protect your skin. String bikinis are a no-no unless you want to end your ride without your suit.
15. Know the Current Covid Restrictions
As of May 1, 2021, international visitors who are fully vaccinated are exempt from required testing for entry to The Bahamas. All unvaccinated international visitors to The Bahamas age 11 and up are still required to have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken no more than five days prior to their arrival date in The Bahamas. The day you take the test is considered Day Zero.
Once you have a negative test result, you must apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa for every member of your travel group, including children 10 and under. Complete the health visa application online as soon as possible because it can take up to 48 hours to process.
The fee for the Bahamas Travel Health Visa is $40 per person for a four-night stay; $60 per person for more than a four-night stay. This fee covers mandatory health insurance. Children 10 years and under are free but still require a visa.
After arrival in The Bahamas, you will receive a daily Bahamas Health Travel Visa via email. All travelers age 11 and up are required to complete this short five-question survey each day of their trip, starting on their arrival date. Parents can complete the survey on behalf of their children.
If you stay in The Bahamas more than four nights, you will need to take another government-mandated Rapid Antigen test on Day 5 of your stay.
Before returning to the United States, all travelers age 2 and up will need a negative Rapid Antigen Test. Atlantis provides two free tests per room for registered guests of The Royal, The Cove, The Reef, and The Coral hotels. Additional tests are only $20. Testing is done inside the hotels, but you will need to make an appointment. Be sure to do this upon arrival, so that you can take the test within three days of your planned re-entry to the U.S. Test results are returned within hours, so this process is not stressful.
16. Pack Like a Pro
You may be trying to pack light for carry-on luggage, but you’ll save in the long run if you bring your own beach essentials. Also, note that Atlantis is currently a cashless resort, so there is no need to bring Bahamian currency.
17. There’s a Hurricane Guarantee!
While hurricanes are rare in The Bahamas, the 2019 Hurricane Dorian did a lot of damage there. But booking an Atlantis trip even during hurricane season doesn’t have to be worrisome.
The Atlantis Resort Bahamas Hurricane Guarantee promises: “In the event that a hurricane watch or warning is issued by the United States’ National Hurricane Center within fourteen (14) days prior to your date of arrival for either your travel origin city or for New Providence, The Bahamas, guests with confirmed reservations can cancel your reservation up to the moment of scheduled departure. You then have the option to rebook your vacation without penalties for a stay to be completed within one (1) year of the original arrival date, subject to terms and conditions.”