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Atlantis Resort Review – A Great Vacation for Water Loving Families

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Looking for a vacation that's sure to please the whole family? Consider escaping to Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in The Bahamas. The resort, located just a few minutes from Nassau, brings the myth and legend of the Lost City of Atlantis to life and features so many activities that boredom is inconceivable! Read my Atlantis Resort review to decide if this Bahamian hotel is the right fit for you.

Atlantis Resort for Families

Atlantis Water Activities

The main draw at Atlantis is the resort's 141-acre Aquaventure water park and 11 swimming pools. At the Mayan Temple, thrill seekers plummet down the 60-foot, almost vertical drop Leap of Faith waterslide. On the other side of this structure, racers zip side-by-side down the Challenger slide. After some initial nerves, my 10-year-old loved the Serpent Slide, which takes riders through a tube in the dark Mayan Temple and into a tunnel submerged in the shark-filled lagoon.

Bahamas Atlantis Leap of Faith and Challenger slides

The Mayan Temple's Leap of Faith and Challenger slides

A number of other rides, including the Abyss, the Surge, the Drop and the Falls, commence at the 120-foot-tall Power Tower. Water park goers who want to experience the Current, a more thrilling take on the typical lazy river, also head to this tower. My daughter was thrown from her tube the first time she went through the Current's rapids and decided to stick to the waterslides after that!

Bahamas Atlantis Aquaventure water park

Aquatic thrills for everyone in Aquaventure water park

Most kids will be content to spend all day in the water park. Parents can either join in on the watery fun or find a lounger by the pool if the kids are old enough to slide alone.

Young children who don't meet the height requirements for the bigger waterslides aren't excluded from the fun. Three pools, including the Splashers Island water playground, were designed just for tots.

Bahamas Atlantis Resort Cove Beach

Walking on Atlantis Beach

Even though the Atlantis pools and waterslides provide hours of entertainment, it's a good idea to take a break at some point and head to the beach as a reminder that The Bahamas is actually an island in the ocean, not a theme park. Set up a beach chair in the powdery soft white sand of Atlantis Beach and dig a sand castle, read a book, play in the surf or just appreciate the ocean view. On a breezy day the ocean waves might be a bit much for young kids, in which case the protected Paradise Lagoon Beach is the ideal spot to set up. There are also plenty of water activities available at the lagoon for a fee including snorkeling and paddle boats.

Bahamas Atlantis Resort The Reef Studio Ocean View

Our Studio Ocean View Suite at The Reef

Rooms at Atlantis

The most difficult decision about your vacation at Atlantis may be where to stay within the resort since there are more than 3,000 rooms available across the lush property. Guests can choose the laid-back and more budget-friendly accommodations of Beach Tower and Coral Towers, the iconic Royal Towers with easy access to the water park, or the sophisticated and ultra-luxurious ocean suites of the Cove at Atlantis.

For more space to spread out, the Reef offers luxury residential-style studios and suites on the beach, or more affordable condominium units in the Harbourside Resort. Regardless of accommodation choice, guests have access to all of the resort's spectacular amenities.

On previous visits my family has stayed in the Royal Towers, however, this time my daughter and I opted for the spacious residential-style units of the Reef. We loved our luxurious Studio Suite, which had all of the comforts of home plus a balcony with an incredible view overlooking the pool and beach. Guests staying in the Cove or the Reef enjoy a sheltered white sand beach practically right outside the towers and have exclusive access to the zero-entry Cascades Pool as well as the Cove Pool, an adults-only pool with an outdoor gaming pavilion and 20 private cabanas.

Bahamas Atlantis Resort Cafe Martinique

Dining at Café Martinique

Atlantis Dining

Deciding where to eat at Atlantis can be a bit overwhelming with 21 on-property restaurants to choose from. There are restaurants in the casino, at Marina Village and in each of the resort towers. From Italian family-style dining at Carmine's to Caribbean-inspired Bimini Road, to the historic fine dining at Café Martinique of James Bond fame—there is something that will appeal to everyone. Just be sure to make reservations in advance to avoid disappointment.

Bahamas Atlantis Dolphin Cay dolphin and sea lion interactions

My family's dolphin adventure and our friends' recent sea lion interaction at Dolphin Cay (Photo credit: Atlantis photographer)

Dolphin Cay Adventures

Dolphin Cay is a unique marine habitat and animal rescue/rehabilitation center where Atlantis Resort guests of all ages have an opportunity to participate in up-close interactions with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and sea lions. My family took part in one of the dolphin interactions several years ago and all four of us were thrilled by our session with a dolphin and trainer.

I had scheduled a sea lion interaction on my recent visit but my daughter was ill and unable to attend. Fortunately, friends who were at the resort took our place and the girls were delighted by the playful sea lions. The interactions at Dolphin Cay are quite expensive but they are the once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience that are worth working into the budget.

Bahamas Atlantis The Dig

Visit the Dig and walk through the Lost City of Atlantis

Additional Activities for Families

If the kids ever dry off and change out of their swimsuits, then they will discover there is just as much fun to be had at Atlantis away from the water park. Guests can test their rock climbing skills at Climber's Rush, enjoy some popcorn and a recent Hollywood flick at the Atlantis Theatre, build a stuffed animal friend at Atlantis Pals, play the coolest video games at Gamer's Reef, or create an artistic masterpiece at the pottery studio.

Atlantis Kids Adventures is the resort's fee-based kids' club where children choose their own themed adventure for morning, afternoon and evening sessions. My daughter and her friends had a great time at the Club Rush supervised “night club” where tweens aged 9 to 13 can enjoy music, video games and group activities. The resort also has a teen club, Crush, for guests aged 13 to 17, which is billed as the “ultimate night club for teens.”

Various marine habitats are scattered throughout the resort property. The Dig is a walk-through marine life exhibit depicting the tunnels of the lost city of Atlantis. View a multitude of sea creatures and fish including stingrays, eels, and jelly fish. There's even a touch tank with conch, starfish, horseshoe crabs and sea urchins.

It's easy to see why so many families love Atlantis Resort, whether for a weekend getaway or a longer family vacation. The resort offers an escape from reality where everyone can enjoy the sun, the sea and non-stop fun.

Bahamas Atlantis Resort Marina

The Atlantis Marina

Tips for Visiting Atlantis Resort

  • Dining Reservations can be made online once a stay is booked. It's a good idea to make meal reservations as far ahead as possible because prime dining times disappear quickly. Anyone who is sensitive to smoke would be advised to avoid the restaurants located around the floor of the casino.
  • The resort offers three separate Dining Plans that can be purchased in advance to cover breakfast and dinner at specific restaurants. Children 6 and younger eat free with the purchase of an adult dining plan, however, they must eat from the children's menu. Purchasing a dining plan has the advantage of fixing the cost of meals but it might not make financial sense for all families—crunch the numbers to determine whether it will save your family money.
  • You can make Dolphin Cay Reservations online and view how many spots remain in each time slot. Reservations can't be cancelled but can be rescheduled if there is another time available.
  • Be sure to pack swimsuits and sunscreen in a carry-on. Transit lounges with lockers, bathrooms, and showers are available for the use of guests on the day of arrival and departure.
  • A passport or other photo identification as proof of age must be shown the first time a child is signed into Atlantis Kids Adventures, Club Rush or Crush. It's good to know this ahead of time to avoid having to trek to the other side of the resort to retrieve your ID.

Want to learn more? Read our picks for the top 20 things to do at Atlantis, check out reviews of the resort on TripAdvisor, or book your vacation directly with Atlantis now!

Is a trip to Atlantis Resort on your family's wish list? Let us know in the comments below!

All photos by Lisa Goodmurphy unless otherwise noted.

About Lisa Goodmurphy, The Spunky Travel Mama

Lisa Goodmurphy is a lawyer turned family travel writer and a mom of two daughters. She grew up in small town Northern Ontario and now resides near Toronto, Canada. Badly bitten by the travel bug years ago, she considers herself fortunate that her family is equally enthusiastic about her mission to explore the world—one trip at a time. Lisa shares her travel adventures on the blog that she founded in 2011 and now contributes to many online media publications as well. You can read about her family’s travels on her blog, Gone with the Family, on Google+ or on Twitter as @GoneWithFamily.

Comments

  1. Ellen Lanin says:

    It might be difficult to know what restaurant to make reservations for when you first arrive. Can someone give you advice?

  2. Ellen, it is difficult to decide which restaurants to eat at when there are so many choices! I imagine that someone would be happy to advise you upon arrival, however, it’s been our experience that it can be quite difficult to get reservations after arriving unless you are completely flexible about where you eat and the time that you eat.

    What we did before our recent trip was review the restaurant descriptions online and decide which we wanted to try. We made our reservations 2-3 weeks prior to our trip and there were already some times that were no longer available. If you aren’t able to obtain a reservation at your preferred restaurant then there is the option of checking back with them each day after 4pm to see if there have been any cancellations. I like the security of knowing that I have a reservation at a time that works for us at a restaurant that I want to eat at so I make the reservations as far ahead of time as possible.

  3. Ellen Lanin says:

    Thanks, Lisa. Good advice. I wouldn’t have expected a problem since there are so many restaurants.

  4. What a fabulous place for kids (and big kids). I want to go!

  5. Gorgeous photos, Lisa! The Reef residence room looks a wonderful retreat from all the ‘water mayhem’ happening below. At least I assume it’s ‘water mayhem’, with 3,000 rooms/visitors! Atlantis looks like like an adventure video game for all five senses. I’d love to jump in!

    • Thanks, Lesley! There’s a lot going on at Atlantis but, surprisingly, it doesn’t feel as crowded and chaotic as one would expect. The Reef is definitely a lovely escape though and I think that you would also appreciate the adults-only area next door at The Cove – it is definitely a luxurious retreat!

  6. Thanks for these great tips, Lisa! A trip to the Bahamas is on my short list of family travel destinations, and we hope to make it there sometime in the next year or two. I’ll be referring to your article when we plan our trip! Any tips on finding affordable fares at Atlantis? Do rates vary much seasonally? Thanks!

  7. Hi Katie, rates at Atlantis do vary seasonally by quite a bit so if you can go when it’s not high season then the rates will be much lower. Also if you are only going for a few days it is less expensive to go on week days than it is on the weekend. I have also been told that guests of the Comfort Suites next door to Atlantis are able to use the facilities as well so that’s always an option if you want to reduce costs by staying off-site. Personally, I would be too worried to go that route in case the policy changed between the time of booking and the time of my stay – I don’t think that my kids would ever forgive me if they were staying next door to Atlantis and couldn’t join in the fun! 😉

  8. I really want to go to Atlantis — looks like so much fun! And I love aquariums…

  9. What a fun trip! I’d love to visit this resort.

  10. How are the lines at the waterpark? Do the kids need to spend a lot of time waiting in line?

    • Hi Chris, I think generally the wait times probably vary depending on how busy the resort is. Having said that, we have only visited during our spring break which falls mid-March when the resort is quite busy and haven’t found the lines to be particularly long. The biggest slides also tend to have the longer waits. According to my 11 year-old, she doesn’t recall waiting more than 10-15 minutes in line for any of the slides. She also thought the wait times were shorter than other water parks that we have visited.

  11. Could you provide the website address where you can make dinner reservations and dolphin reservations?

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