The fantasy kingdom or Atlantis — Photo courtesy of AtlantisThe collection of amenities at Atlantis resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas continually sets standards, dazzling guests to a such a degree they often can’t see the dollar signs. The aquariums alone drop jaws, particularly the shark tunnel you walk through. It was the first of its kind when the resort opened, but of course has since been replicated. The newer Dig attraction builds on the resort’s Lost World of Atlantis premise with an aquarium experience that imagines an archaeological mission to discover the mythical underwater city. Disneyesque though it may be, it overwhelmingly amazes lovers of marine creatures and mystery.
Over-the-top amenities & restaurants
Like the myth that gives the resort its name, Atlantis is larger than life. Take its water features – 140 acres of slides, lazy river, rapids, fountains, pools, and unique marine animal interactions: Atlantis doesn’t skip a beat. Everything is superlative. Its insanely state-of-the-art CRUSH teens club makes adults want to hang out there. Adults only The Cove has poolside casino games, and the main casino has its boastful Chihuly sculpture and celebrity-bling Aura nightclub.
And then there’s the name restaurants, the stellar shopping, the affiliation with top luxe One&Only Ocean Club and its golf course. For vacationers with unlimited bank accounts or once in a lifetime fantasies, Atlantis is the ultimate in destination vacationing. They can sequester themselves in the fantasy world and not face the financial damage until their suntans have faded. Then they understand the true meaning of a sunken world.
Atlantis on a budget – is it possible?
For those on a budget or even those looking for a taste of Bahamian culture, Atlantis is all wrong. You may be able to find deals that soften the ka-ching ringing in your ears, but any way you cut it, it will cost you. A discounted room rate or airfare credit won’t make much of a difference, because once you are there the add-ons begin. And really, what is the point of staying there if you don’t take advantage of all the extras such as dolphin experiences and golfing?
The celebrity restaurants further break the bank, but even the casual eateries and poolside grills are expensive. You can save money and taste true Bahamian cuisine by eating locally on Paradise Island or taking the water taxi to downtown Nassau. Compare prices in the duty free stores there with those at Atlantis.
Or you may want to consider doing it the other way around. Stay elsewhere in Nassau or Paradise Island (the Comfort Suites next to Atlantis offers access to the water park and other amenities). Then sample Atlantis first by visiting the casino, restaurants and shops that are open free to the public. The beach here is one of the destination’s best, and you can access it from the main road just on the other side of Atlantis.
With kids, you may want to look into day passes, which range in price according to the extent of access they allow. Then spend the rest of your vacation experiencing the sites and beaches of the rest of the island. Your dollar will stretch much further.
All that said, with the upcoming opening of the mega-resort BahaMar on Cable Beach, tourism folks are predicting that Atlantis may have to drop its prices to remain competitive.