Which Atlantis Is For You? An Expert Breakdown of the Massive Resort

The iconic pink Royal Towers at the Atlantis Bahamas.

One of the biggest resort developments in the Caribbean, the Atlantis Bahamas compound on Paradise Island can be more than a little overwhelming -- at first glance, it can even be exhausting to comprehend. There are also a few misconceptions that come with the Atlantis Bahamas. You might think of the resorts here and picture images of screaming kids, endless crowds, and charmless decor. However, that's not even close to the truth. The fact is that the Atlantis Resorts offer something for nearly every type of traveler. While there are a few things to keep in mind — like the fact that there are no Atlantis Bahamas all-inclusive resorts — you'll find everything from chic boutique-style hotels to kid-free zones here.

So which Atlantis Resort is right for you? The Atlantis Bahamas has many sections, each with its own distinct feel. We're breaking down the six most popular below, and they are anything but generic. The Atlantis Bahamas resorts have one of the prettiest white sand beaches in the world with some very cool history (hint: The island was once owned by a Swedish entrepreneur and has hosted Zsa Zsa Gabor). You'll also score an almost endless list of amenities. All guests have free access to Aquaventure — the massive Atlantis Bahamas water park — and the largest outdoor marine habitat in the world, not to mention dozens of pools, a casino, plus 19 bars and 21 restaurants including Nobu, Mesa Grill, and Dune by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Is your head spinning yet? Don't worry! Here we've broken the resort's sections down by amenities and rates, starting with the cheapest to the most expensive.

1. Atlantis – Beach Tower


The view from the Atlantis Beach Tower at the Atlantis Bahamas.

Best For: Laid-Back Families and Couples on a Budget

Formerly the Paradise Beach Hotel, the least pricey of the official Atlantis properties is all the way at the end of the development in an aging retro structure from the 1960s that’s a bit of an eyesore. Take it for what it is, though: Guests at the Beach Tower will stay in nicely renovated rooms, and have easy access to the beach, a lazy river, and large pool next to the property that hosts live DJs in the afternoons. Sure, it’s a lot of walking to get to the hub, but the Beach Tower sees far fewer crowds and shuttle service is available to the main Atlantis features. The spacious lobby is nearly always peaceful, and there’s a contemporary buffet restaurant, pottery painting, and build-a-bear workshops available as well. At night, partying guests head for the casino area — so The Beach Tower is great for families and couples who prefer to hang back. Those who are lucky enough to get a waterside room can sit out on their balcony and have a front row seat of the entire resort as it lights up at night.

2. Atlantis – Coral Towers


The marina at the Atlantis Coral Towers.

Best For: Comfort Zoners, Yachties, Convention Goers, and Starbucks Fans 

Another ’60s-era hotel, the Coral Towers appeals to mid-range travelers and a crowd that skews a bit older. Rates are cheaper than the Royal Towers, but the Coral Towers are closer to the action (and crowds) than the budget-friendly Beach Tower. Though decor and amenities are similar to the Beach Tower, Coral offers larger room options, such as the Regal Suite, which has two full bathrooms. It also sits next to the harbor (some rear-facing balconies have views of it), with easy access to Marina Village for more choice in restaurants, cute shops, and after-dinner strolls among jaw-dropping yachts. The lobby is bustling with lots of action from not only the overnight guests, but also convention attendees and daytime cruise ship guests who get dropped off here. There’s a great pool called Blu, as well as non-motorized water sports, the Atlantis Library, and a popular Starbucks. Guests with little ones can easily reach the Lazy River Ride, but those looking for quick access to Aquaventure highlights may want to consider staying at the Royal Towers (detailed below).

3. Atlantis – Royal Towers


The Aquaventure water park at the Atlantis Royal Towers.

Best For: Gamblers, Water Park Lovers, and Families Wanting to Be in the Center of It All

For many, Royal Towers is the only place to be at the Atlantis Rersorts, especially first-timers or those who view the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In fact, when most people think of Atlantis, they immediately envision the massive pink — and now-iconic — structure that serves as the mega-resort’s nerve center. Guests staying here will find themselves within easy walking distance of the best pools, a luxury spa and fitness center, a stylish casino, the Nobu restaurant, the best waterslides, river rides, and activities at Dolphin Cay. Contemporary rooms are larger (and pricier) than rooms at the Beach and Coral Towers, but most have French balconies with standing room only (unlike the seated balconies next door). In an architectural sense, it lives up to the hype, and it’s impossible for arriving guests not to get caught up in the excitement while being led through a massive covered walkway and into a grandiose lobby with soaring ceilings and murals. However, this is one of the busiest parts of the resort (and its most family-friendly), so if peace and quiet are what you’re after, you may want to consider other areas of the Atlantis (like the Harborside Resort).

4. Atlantis – Harborside Resort


The poo at the Atlantis Harborside Resort.

Best For: Peaceful Families, Boaters, and Travelers Who Like Some Independence

Like a basket of Easter eggs, this attractive time-share property across the marina from Royal Towers is distinguished from the five other sections of Atlantis by its series of colonial-style, pastel-colored buildings — and its lack of direct beach access. This would be a good option for guests who want to avoid the Atlantis mainstream while still having access to all the amenities, and for those who have arrived by boat (docks are literally right outside some of the units). The condo-style units (with one, two, or three bedrooms) are popular with families thanks to their additional space, kitchens, and laundry facilities. This section is quieter than the others, though the kid-friendly pool with water fountains and lawn games offers some atmosphere. There’s virtually no nightlife, but guests can walk over to Marina Village for more action, or take the shuttle to Royal Towers or The Cove.

5. The Reef Atlantis


A suite at The Reef Atlantis.

Best For: Upscale Families Who Want Direct Beach Access

This modern, luxurious condo-hotel tower (new as of 2007) offers residential-style units on the far edge of the enormous grounds. Big studios, one-, and two-bedrooms units (many with stunning views) are well-suited to families, and have pull-out sofas and fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. It’s one of the priciest Atlantis options (though not quite as expensive as the Cove), but families will likely appreciate being able to cook, as Atlantis’ bars and restaurants are notoriously expensive. The property has a nice stretch of beach and a large family pool that is exclusive to Reef and Cove guests, and major Atlantis highlights such as Aquaventure are within walking distance — though it’s a bit of a hike and paths are dark at night. Those who stay here are a mix of owners and guests, as well as the lucky few who get moved here when the Beach and Coral towers are overbooked. Another plus: the stylish lobby has a convenience store and Starbucks, though some amenities like the fitness center are for owners only.

6. The Cove Atlantis


View of the beach and pool at The Cove Atlantis.

Best For: Partiers, Jet-Setters, and Design-Savvy Travelers

This most fashionable address at the Atlantis displaced Royal Towers as the best, and therefore most expensive, section when it opened in 2007. Chic open-air surroundings, oceanfront suites stocked with Bombay Sapphire Gin, and an air of exclusivity attracts families and couples who prefer to be slightly removed from the thickest crowds. The property shares a separate beach and large family pool with the neighboring Reef Tower, but only Cove guests have access to the adults-only party pool called Cain at the Cove, with private cabanas, outdoor gambling, and bumpin’ DJs — it’s quite a scene. Meanwhile, the open-air lobby is graced with Asian-themed ponds decorated with floating water lilies, and it becomes a veritable runway with stylish couples and families walking along to lounge music and a wafting tropical breeze that adds to the sexy ambiance. At dusk, bathing suits are replaced with evening attire (all Atlantis pools close early) as guests make their way to Mesa Grill or one of many restaurants around the property and then continue with drinks at the Seaglass Lounge or other clubs near the casino.

Alternatives to the Atlantis Resorts That Are Also on Paradise Island:

1. The Ocean Club, A Four Seasons Resort


The Grounds at The Ocean Club on Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Best For: Big Spenders and Honeymooners Looking for Romance

The Ocean Club is hands-down the most luxurious hotel on Paradise Island — and one of the nicest in all of the Bahamas. Expansive manicured grounds feature two outdoor pools, a romantic garden, and statuary modeled after Versailles (a dream for weddings), as well as an endless stretch of white-sand beach and turquoise waves. Health and wellness nuts are spoiled for choice with daily yoga facing the ocean, an indoor/outdoor fitness center, and a Balinese-style spa with private villas — there’s also an incredibly popular 18-hole golf course. After a day in the sun, your butler will deliver champagne and strawberries to your room — a favorite detail of past guests. Even if you’re not staying here, a visit to Dune restaurant and bar should be on your list — it has a fun cocktail crowd at sunset.

2. The Warwick Paradise Island

The Beach at Warwick Paradise Island - All-Inclusive

Best For: All-Inclusive Vacationers Without Kids

The truth is that, with few exceptions, there aren’t too many areas at the Atlantis Resorts that are adults-only. And there are also no Atlantis Bahamas all-inclusive packages available within the resort compound. That’s where the Warwick Paradise Island comes in. Overlooking Nassau Harbor on Paradise Island, Warwick Paradise Island is an upscale adults-only resort. It has a small white sand beach as well as a lagoon pool with plenty of seating. The all-inclusive package includes tips and covers a wide variety of a la carte and buffet restaurants — everything from pan-Asian fare to pizza is on offer. Wellness facilities are extensive, with a gym, tennis, basketball, and the lovely Amber Spa. The cheerful, modern decor also helps make this one of the most up-to-date spots on Paradise Island. Just keep in mind that kids under 16 aren’t allowed.

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