This epic Atlantis Bahamas review shares tons of helpful tips you need to know before you go, plus all the best things to do there. It's everything I wish I knew before I went myself!
I visited Atlantis Bahamas for a long weekend wedding with friends. Although I was there for such a short time, I experienced a lot, plus I got so much feedback from my friends who stayed in different towers, did other activities, and ate at other restaurants. Plus, I did a ton of research before I left to make our stay worthwhile.
So, this Atlantis Bahamas review really has it all from accommodations to dining, things to do both on and off the resort, helpful tips, and what to pack.
Atlantis Bahamas Review
Atlantis in the Bahamas is known for its massive on-site water park, aquariums, marine exhibits, live entertainment, and casino. With its beachfront location and countless options for accommodations, dining, shopping, and activities for all ages, as well as its proximity to the Conventional Center, it's a one-stop vacation for everyone.
Atlantis Bahamas Map
Below is a map of the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. They also give you a hard copy of this map when you check-in.
For now as you read this Atlantis Bahamas review, I wouldn't worry too much about studying the map. It's really easy to get around and figure out the resort once you get there.
As a general guide to help you decide where to stay and plan what to do, the lowest left-hand section of the map features the Convention Center. Upward and to the right of that is The Coral, which is the most family-friendly section of the resort.
Towards the top left of the map is the Harborside Resort, which offers villas for larger groups with lots of room and full kitchens. However, as you can see on the map, it's fairly far outside the main resort area.
Towards the middle of the map are the main two adjoining towers of The Royal, where you will find the main lobby and most amenities like the casino, spa, and water park, plus lots of pools, aquariums, dining options, and beaches.
Hotels & Accommodations
Next in this Atlantis Bahamas review, let's talk about your hotel options.
One thing you will want to note about all of these options is that a resort fee, as well as other charges, are added after you select your room type. You will see all of these fees before you book, but it still helps to know they are coming, so you can plan accordingly and be prepared for a higher final total. (Check the current fees.)
You will also want to be aware of any minimum stay requirements.
Before I talk about the types of rooms you can book, I do also want to note that the grounds of the resort are meticulously maintained and are both lush and breathtaking.
I also want to note that we generally found service to be fairly mediocre, but the staff to be extremely friendly and polite.
We stayed at The Royal, the two iconic towers (adjoined by a bridge containing a luxurious suite where Michael Jackson stayed) that may look most familiar to you from advertisements.
We booked a standard room via the block of the wedding we were attending. Our room contained a king bed and a nice view of the main beach, as well as things like a chair and table, a coffee maker with coffee and tea, a large closet with lots of hangers, an ironing board and iron, plenty of dresser space, and a large bathroom with a tub, shower, and separate toilet. It was really easy for my husband and me to get ready at the same time, which always helps when traveling.
The pros of The Royal are that it was reasonably priced and super close to most of the action on the resort. I did also appreciate the size of the bathroom. And since we were doing a lot during this trip, it was nice to have a central location.
The cons of The Royal are that some rooms are somewhat worn and dated, and not up to the modern standards of a luxury resort (my understanding is that it's only partially renovated at this time). My husband found the water pressure to be bad and the common areas in the hallways and elevators to not be extremely well kept. Also, while we technically had a balcony, our door wouldn't open.
Overall, I found it to be a pretty good value for the price we paid, as well as really effective in enabling us to do a lot at the resort without long walks.
The Cove is a private luxury hotel within the Atlantis resort, and it is absolutely stunning. Although you are *technically* only supposed to be there if you are staying there, we attended a wedding there, so we got to spend time there.
If we returned to the Atlantis, we would hope to stay at The Cove for sure. The pools and beaches are private and very high-end, with views overlooking the beaches, bars, outdoor gambling, meticulous koi ponds, and so much more. It truly felt like the most relaxing and peaceful oasis.
The rooms are spacious suites with an open floor plan including a step-down living area with a sleeper sofa, and they have outdoor balconies overlooking the beach as well.
Families with children can stay at The Cove, but you must be over age 18 to use their private pool.
The Coral towers are marketed towards families, as they are home to a family-friendly pool, the CRUSH teen nightclub, and the Sun & Ice ice cream shop.
The Reef is a tower that contains residential-style suites and studios. Our friends stayed there and said they had a kitchenette (but you can also get a full kitchen), and the room was lovely. Guests of The Reef also have access to a private pool and beach.
Harborside Resort is a waterfront property along the marina that is technically outside of the Atlantis resort. It contains villas for larger groups, with extra room, plus you can get laundry and a full kitchen.
Dining & Restaurants
Next in this Atlantis Bahamas review, let's talk about dining recommendations and tips.
The most important thing to note at the outset is that all food and drinks at the Atlantis are extremely expensive, plus 15% gratuity and 12% VAT tax are added.
It is NOT all-inclusive; however, you can purchase a meal plan, which allows you to dine at certain restaurants.
The food is generally good to very good but definitely not exceptional, especially for the exorbitant cost.
There are 21 restaurants and 19 bars and lounges, with everything from grab-and-go snacks at the pool to fine dining.
Reservations are recommended, but we almost always ate without a reservation, even at a popular and busy restaurant on a Saturday night.
We dressed "business casual" for dinner, but most people were dressed fairly casually.
Below are answers to FAQs about dining at the Atlantis followed by some specific restaurant recommendations.
A can of beer at Atlantis Bahamas currently costs $7-10, plus 15% gratuity and 12% VAT tax.
Restaurant Reviews and Recommendations
For breakfast, we ate at Starbucks (there are a few on site), Plato's (which is a cafe near the lobby in The Royal where you can dine in or take out things like breakfast sandwiches and pastries, and Poseidon's Table (which is a full service breakfast buffet also near the lobby in The Royal).
I enjoyed all three places where we ate breakfast, but I will note the buffet at Poseidon's Table was absolutely fantastic -- one of the best breakfast buffets at which I have ever dined! It was expensive (I believe $45 per person), but it included anything and everything I could imagine (including steak for my husband!), and it was all very fresh and delicious. So many of my friends ate there too during our long weekend and everyone raved about it.
For lunch, we grabbed food at Shark Bites near the pools outside of The Royal, and it was expensive ($20 for a veggie burger), but had good casual options like wraps and burgers. While Shark Bites had tables and chairs to sit outdoors, as well as full service and a bar, there are tons of grab-and-go casual dining stands that offered the same or similar food (and cheaper) throughout Aquaventure (the water park).
(You can also order a kids' meal at these stands for really reasonable prices.)
Upon a recommendation, we also ate lunch at Pita, which is a small Mediterranean stand (i.e., chicken shwarma, hummus, tabbouleh) in a fairly private location near The Cove with tables overlooking the beach. This is my favorite type of food, and it was quite good, plus reasonably priced. My husband and I shared a platter with several types of food for $20. If we stayed at Atlantis longer, we would probably go back there every day for lunch.
For dinner, we dined at Cafe Martinique on the marina, which is a newer fine dining restaurant. I describe it as feeling like a Bahamian steakhouse and my husband describes it as feeling like a French Bahamian restaurant. Either way, it's one of the prettiest restaurants at which I have ever dined. The food is seasonal and vegetable-forward, with many high-end options. It was extremely expensive ($300+ per couple) and very good; however, none of the six of us who dined there absolutely loved it. It's more about the ambiance and experience. I do recommend it, but with the caveats mentioned.
We also dined at Olives, for which we had received a few recommendations, including friends who dined there during our visit. It's located inside the casino and serves casual and higher-end Mediterranean dishes by chef Todd English, from flatbreads to steak and fish. The food and drinks were pretty good overall, and we loved the complimentary focaccia bread they served. It was still expensive, but more reasonably priced, so I would definitely go back there.
A few of my friends also dined at Fish by Jose Andres, which is located at The Cove, and they were really disappointed by the service, food, AND cost. They really didn't say anything positive about their experience.
Lastly, the "husbands" in our group grabbed late-night slices at Marina Pizzeria near The Royal on our way back to our rooms, and they enjoyed it for a quick bite. There were some really fun options, and it was great to grab and go.
The food served at the wedding we attended was a large buffet and very plentiful and tasty. The most popular food seemed to be the grilled lobster and the guava bread pudding served for dessert, which everyone raved about.
Things to Do
An Atlantis Bahamas review wouldn't be complete without talking about things to do, as there is no shortage at this resort! Plus, we ventured off the resort a bit and can offer a few tips for fun outside the Atlantis as well.
Things to Do at Atlantis
Below in this Atlantis Bahamas review are some of the free and paid things you can do at Atlantis. Please note, though, that the "free" options are generally for people who are staying at the Atlantis.
If you are staying at Atlantis in the Bahamas you can do the following activities for free:
- Relax on the beach.
- Swim in a pool.
- Take a ride on the rapids river in Aquaventure water park.
- Take a ride on the water slides in Aquaventure water park.
- Visit The Dig aquarium.
- Explore the property with its lush greens and outdoor marine exhibits.
- Watch a movie at the theater.
- Visit the library at The Coral tower to borrow a book or board game.
- Work out in the fitness center.
Paid Things to Do at Atlantis
- Play golf at the beautiful 8-hole par 72 championship course.
- Get pampered at the Mandara Spa.
- Shop stores from small boutiques on the marina to high-end fashion designers in the casino.
- Gamble at the casino.
- Rent a private poolside or beach cabana.
- Swim with the dolphins at the Dolphin Cay.
- Play tennis.
- Visit the Joker's Wild comedy club.
- Attend a live event.
- Party at Aura nightclub.
- Snorkel the ruins of the Atlantis.
- Have a hands-on experience with the stingrays.
- Release sea turtles.
- Scuba dive.
- Walk with the sharks.
- Do a water sport, like kayaking.
- Take a class in the fitness center.
Note: If you are traveling with kids, check out the Kids Concierge for additional activities and information. They can hang out at the Atlantis Kids Adventure kids club (a drop-off facility for ages 3 – 12) and visit the arcade, the pottery studio, and more.
What We Recommend Doing at The Atlantis
We spent a lot of time riding the lazy river (about a 20-minute ride), as well as the water slides with our friends. They were a lot of fun! I would note that they were fairly fast and scary, and best for preteens, teens, and adults, not very young children.
There are also pools everywhere and we enjoyed lounging at them. You are bound to find one that feels like a relaxing place for you to cool off. There are lots of chairs, umbrellas, towels, and nearby food and drinks no matter where you go.
Although there are storage lockers, we left our belongings on our chairs and felt safe doing so. Just note that you need to bring your room card or get a wristband before you go on any rides.
I was also really unexpectantly taken by the marine habitats. They were so cool to see in real life, and they made a huge impact on the experience as a whole.
We also spent a lot of time on the beach, relaxing, swimming, and turning the pages of our beach reads. We thought the main beach near The Royal had the most expansive view, the whitest sands, and the bluest water.
The groom at the wedding we attended golfed, and the championship course was beautiful.
Another friend snorkeled and loved it.
Some of our friends also rented a cabana at The Cove, and they found it to be extremely expensive. I think it seems best for a larger group that is splitting the bill.
Beach read recommendation: I love to combine travel with literature, and my favorite book set in the Bahamas is The Golden Hour by the popular suspenseful historical fiction author Beatriz Williams. If you love Royals, I think you will like this one, as it's based on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor!
Things to Do Off the Atlantis Resort
Next in this Atlantis Bahamas review are a few things you can do outside the resort.
Book an excursion, such as an island tour or swimming with the pigs and turtles.
Visit The Ocean Club, a Four Seasons resort next door. You can get there by a quick walk on the beach, and it is absolutely breathtaking with the most luxurious Caribbean views you can imagine. We had happy hour there at Dune, whose chef is the famous Jean George, and it was one of the best travel moments of our entire lives dining with expansive views of the brightest blue waters and whitest sand.
Beach read recommendation: The Ocean Club is where part of Casino Royale was filmed so you can watch the movie and/or read the book if you are a James Bond fan. There's even a martini bar inside the main building where you can get your drink "shaken, not stirred."
Tips for Traveling to Atlantis Bahamas
Lastly in this Atlantis Bahamas review are some tips I want to share with you so you have a great experience, including FAQs, what to pack, and more helpful tips.
When you stay at Atlantis in the Bahamas, you are given refillable insulated water bottles. There are water stations on each floor of the hotels, as well as all around the resort (inside and outside) for you to refill your bottle at no charge.
What to Pack for Atlantis Bahamas
My husband basically packed swimsuits, shorts, t-shirts, button-downs, and khaki pants.
I'm a fan of Lilly Pulitzer and my personal beach travel philosophy is to pack as much of this brand as possible because it's all really light to carry and goes together. For example, I pack one Lilly Pulitzer pair of heels, one pair of flats, one purse, one set of earrings, one cardigan, one beach hat, and then a bunch of casual and dressy wear. A lot of Lilly Pulitzer clothing can also be machine washed, so I love that fact as well.
Now let's talk about a best-selling product with my readers heading to Atlantis!:
The biggest packing tip I can give you is to pack water shoes, especially if you plan on doing water activities. The one best thing I packed were these specific Speedo water shoes from Target. It's really hot and painful to walk around otherwise, even on the beach, plus they offer support for navigating the large resort. My friend said if she did just one thing differently, it would be to pack these water shoes! These water shoes have since become a best seller with my readers too.
I also think it's a good idea to pack a waterproof case for your cell phone and/or room key, credit card, etc. This made it SO easy and stress-free for me to do water activities. You can also get some great pictures and videos this way too!
Towels are provided and they are plentiful, so you do not need to bring any.
Lastly, you may wish to bring your own snacks and/or drinks from home, the airport, or a nearby grocery store, so you can save some money at the resort.
Related Post: Best Beach Bag Essentials
More Helpful Tips
Finally, get more helpful tips in this Atlantis Bahamas review.
Google whether a travel visa is required to enter the Bahamas a few weeks before your trip. We needed one, including a negative COVID-19 test.
If you need to take a COVID-19 test before you return home, book it is early as possible, as the time slots can fill up fast. It's really easy to do on-site at Atlantis.
Make sure your passport is valid.
There is a hurricane guarantee.
There is a shuttle that runs around the resort.
You can arrange for a ride from the airport when you book, but taxis are readily available. We hopped in a large one and paid $55 for four people. The ride was approximately 30 minutes from the airport to the Atlantis.
If you arrive early, there is a large restroom area where you can change and/or freshen up.
There is free WiFi in the rooms and pool areas.
Check your cell phone carrier for any extra international service you may need.
There was a 15% gratuity and a 12% VAT tax added to purchases at the Atlantis, including restaurants.
At the time I visited, Atlantis was a cashless resort, so there is no need to bring Bahamian currency (or any currency). You can charge everything to the room.
Each tower has a small Sundries shop with things like snacks and medical supplies, and they are reasonably priced. I purchased a small pack of band-aids for ~$1.
Starbucks at Atlantis does not allow you to use your Starbucks card, rewards, or gift cards.
We were told by many people to arrive at the Bahamas airport three hours before our flight's departure. I believe that was because we went through customs BEFORE we arrived at the Bahamas and not at home (the United States). However, we personally went through check-in, security, and customs in about 30 minutes.
That concludes my full Atlantis Bahamas review. I hope that it was helpful and that you enjoy your trip as much as we did.