The Bahamas is an excellent family-friendly destination, particularly with the Atlantis complex, but there are a few resorts better geared toward hosting little ones. So, Oyster reporters headed to the Bahamas to explore the destination’s top hotels for vacationing families. We spent our days lounging by the pool, walking along the beach, dining at the restaurants, and then resting in the rooms, all to see how each hotel stacked up against the competition. Here’s a list of our expert picks for the best kid-friendly hotels in the Bahamas.
If the Atlantis is the "Disneyland" of the Caribbean, consider the One and Only Ocean Club Atlantis' older, more refined sibling (it is, in fact, its sister resort). More exclusive and hush-hush than some of the other big resorts, the One and Only Ocean Club will make you feel upscale, but not so upscale that the kiddies can't participate. There is a family pool so younger guests can have fun while the big kids have quiet time at the nearby adults only pool (don't worry, it's not too near). The beach provides some great waves for body surfing, and lifeguards are on duty make sure everyone's safe if the surf gets a little too strong. And just around the corner at the Atlantis are all the great amenities like an awesome waterpark, movie theater, and delicious dining with kid-friendly options. The One and Only even provides guests with free transportation to Atlantis!
With 600-plus rooms, the comfortable Coral Towers (formerly the Brittania Beach Hotel) is a section of Atlantis that appeals to mid-range travelers -- mostly families. It's cheaper than the Royal Tower but 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 sits next to the harbor (some rear-facing balconies have views of it), and offers easy access to Marina Village for more choice in restaurants, shops and after-dinner strolls among the yachts. The most notable Atlantis features include its extensive marine habitat (the world's largest outdoor aquarium); and Aquaventure, a 141-acre, 200-million gallon water park that combines a series of slides (Mayan Temple and Power Tower), a lazy river, and the Current, a mile-long water ride with waves and tidal changes. Access to both of these is free for guests.
When most people think of Atlantis, they immediately envision Royal Towers -– the massive, pink, now-iconic structure that opened in 1998 and houses over 1,000 spacious rooms. It sits along a near-perfect (if it weren't for the vendors) stretch of beach in Paradise Island. Atlantis has six separate sections, and Royal Towers is the mega-resort nerve center; guests staying here will find themselves within easy walking distance of the best pools, a luxury spa and fitness center, the 141-acre Aquaventure for incredible waterslides and river rides, and activities at Dolphin Cay.
This modern, luxurious condo-hotel with nearly 500 residential-style units is located on the far edge of the enormous Atlantis complex. The big studios, one-, and two-bedrooms units (many with 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 Cove), but families will likely appreciate being able to cook to save money, as Atlantis' 19 bars and 21 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 Atlantic highlights such as Aquaventure are within walking distance.
Smack dab between Atlantis Resort, Riu, and the One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, this hidden gem offers 26 units ranging in size from one-, two-, three-, four and even five-bedroom options. Decor varies depending on the owner's taste, but these spacious villas all have fully-equipped kitchens, coffeemakers, sofa beds, and patios at generally great prices. Guests can walk to the aforementioned neighboring resorts for restaurants and nightlife, or rent a car for more island freedom. Lounge chairs are never a problem at one of two pools, but do not miss out on having private access to Cabbage Beach; since the entire stretch of sand is completely public, guests can grab a beer from Archie's stand and choose the party vibe in front or walk further down for near isolation. Sunrise's on-site restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and offers occasional live entertainment (that can stay loud late).