Atlantis Bahamas Review: Good and Bad

The Atlantis Bahamas advertising, which seems ubiquitous here in the Northeast from November through March, make this mega resort look so enticing for a winter getaway. The water slides, pools, dolphin encounters, casinos, restaurants, and advertised “great deals” sound like a dream come true. After little debate and glancing at the Atlantis Bahamas reviews, we booked a room at the Atlantis Resort for a multi-generational family vacation over President’s Day weekend.

Our extended family of 14, made up of four families with ages 4-70, booked a four night stay in the Coral Towers and flew in from Florida and Boston for the long weekend. Now I’ll lay out the good and the bad in this Atlantis Bahamas review below, but let me start by saying that we all enjoyed our time together. I’m not going to bash the property with a negative review, but the adults all agreed that we wished we spent our money elsewhere.

That just means that we didn’t fall in love with the Atlantis Bahamas like we have other properties, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t the right choice for YOU. However, if you are looking for a relaxing, laid-back, authentic Caribbean experience, don’t go to the Atlantis.  If you love cruises, mega resorts, water parks, and gambling then the Atlantis might be for you. Read on to find out.

Atlantis Bahamas resort from the lagoon beach

Atlantis Bahamas Reviews

I have done my best in this review to lay out the good and the bad about the resort, at least from our collective perspective. Of course these are our opinions and others may feel differently, so please take a look and make a choice for yourself. The comments below may also prove helpful in making your decision.

Let’s start with the Good

The Waterpark

Atlantis pyramid slide
Pyramid slide at the Atlantis

Included in a stay at the Atlantis is admission to their massive Aquaventure waterpark, which covers 141-acres with Atlantean-themed towers, water slides, a mile-long rapid river ride, 20 swimming areas, a kids water-play fort and 11 swimming pools.  There is so much to do that you can stay busy all day.

You can float down the less-than lazy river, shoot through tubes underwater surrounded by sharks, slide through the dark, or splash down the baby slides. There were quite a few little ones in our group so we staked out chairs near the splash area, but close enough to the more thrilling slides to satisfy the older kids (and adults).

Everyone loved the time we spent at the waterpark, especially the thrill seekers. Although my daughter still holds a grudge about not getting to do one of the thrill slides because she wasn’t tall enough (measured at home before we left she seemed to meet the height requirement.) The downside to the waterpark is the sheer size.

If you are traveling with younger kids, it is really hard to keep track of everyone. It is a lush environment, with pockets of chairs tucked into various areas around the different attractions. It makes for a much more pleasant environment than large rows of chairs, but it can make it more challenging for large groups to find chairs near each other (unless you get out there early) and it is very hard to keep eyes on multiple kids at once.

It is even challenging to keep eyes on kids when you accompany them to various attractions. For example, I took my young nephew to a smaller waterslide and watched as he waited his turn on the slide, but then had to run around to find where the slide emptied out and tried to find him in the crowd.

This is something to be aware of to make a plan on where to meet, how to handle if kids can’t find you, and how they deal with strangers before you go. I would also highly recommend life jackets for younger children. Maybe sometime they will implement a location app like they have introduced at the H2O Live water park at the Margaritaville Orlando.

Marine Habitat

Predator tunnel at the Altantis Bahamas
Checking out the Predator Tunnel

I think one of the reasons why the Atlantis is so expensive is to pay for the upkeep of their marine habitat.  The resort offers 14 lagoons, eight million gallons of salt water and more than 50,000 aquatic animals representing over 250 marine species.

These exhibits are spread throughout the grounds with displays like The Dig (a psuedo-underwater archeological discovery featuring giant manta rays and other sealife), the predator tunnel (where you walk surrounded by the sea’s scariest creatures), and a number of different lagoons offering stingray feedings and dolphin encounters.

Sharks at the Atlantis Bahamas from Atlantis Bahamas Reviews from We3Travel.com
Water slide past the sharks

It is like having an aquarium built into your hotel. The Atlantis Bahamas also offers many types of marine experiences from hands-on stingray encounters, snorkeling in the ruins lagoon, walking with the sharks, and touch encounters for little kids. These experiences are add-on premium experiences, but great for animal lovers and adventure seekers.

Dolphin Cay

Dolphin Cay at The Atlantis Bahamas from Atlantis Bahamas Reviews via We3Travel.com
Kissing Echo at Dolphin Cay

If you have ever dreamed of swimming with dolphins or frolicking with sea lions, you can fulfill your dreams at Dolphin Cay. Prepare to pay through the nose, have less time than you hope for, and be totally ripped off if you want to purchase the pictures…but…the smile on your and your child’s face is truly priceless.

We did this experience because of our love for dolphins, but have since become more savvy about the impact of these animal encounters on wildlife. I would encourage you to think about the impact of keeping animals in captivity and also evaluate the ways in which they are cared for.

Currently Dolphin Cay has 17 stranded dolphins and 10 sea lions whose home in Gulfport, Mississippi was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Visits support the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, with a focus on coral reef and habitat conservation, and Atlantis tries to keep interactions educational.

There are a number of in-water experiences in both shallow and deeper water, as well as behind-the-scenes tours available. If you do want to swim with the dolphins, be sure to book early as this is a very popular cruise-line excursion and fills up early.

Something for everyone

Rock climbing at the Atlantis Bahamas from Atlantis Bahamas Reviews from We3Travel.com
Rock climbing at the Atlantis

The Atlantis is a lot like a cruise ship on land…just much bigger.  You really can find something for everyone…teen dance clubs, cooking classes, swimming, waterpark, gambling, kids clubs, game room, water sports, spa, rock climbing, and more. There is even a pottery studio, theater, tennis courts, and day trips and excursions.

In the evenings, guests can enjoy fine dining, laugh at a comedy club, dance at a night club, hit the casino, or take in one of the many live events. Just keep in mind that all this is spread out across multiple towers so it might feel like you have to walk a mile or more from your room to your selected activity.

Now, let’s take a look at the Bad

Girl on throne in the Atlantis lobby
Throne in the lobby

Food & Dining Options at the Atlantis Bahamas

Theoretically, the Atlantis offers great food options, including restaurants from Jose Andres, Todd English, and Nobu Matsuhisa. However, since you will probably only splurge for one meal at these fine dining establishments (unless you win big at the casino), the rest of the food is overpriced and just mediocre.

Since we were going with a large group of 14, we opted to try the meal plan, since it seemed like it offered a cost savings.  What we weren’t told was that not all of the casual dining options were included and that room service also wasn’t not included in the meal plan. Since sometimes those options are just easier when traveling with kids (especially when they get sick), we ended up double paying for certain meals.

The other options, like the chinese restaurant and steakhouse were just average and quite overpriced. The other downside about the food was the lack of Bahamian or Caribbean flair.  Out by the waterpark, all the snack bars offered the same fare.  It was very generic theme park food with hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie wraps, etc.

I left craving conch fritters or something authentic. I understand that now there is a Bahamian cuisine restaurant. However, I wish more Bahamian cuisine was wrapped into the other dining options instead of just creating familiar dining experiences that make U.S. guests comfortable.

The Crowds

The Atlantis is big, really big.  Looking out my window at night was disconcerting.  I was in the Caribbean right? Why was I looking out and seeing hotel towers lighting up the sky? Was this Las Vegas?

But while the Atlantis can hold thousands of people, what you don’t realize at first is that the Atlantis is packed not just with people staying there, but it is also filled with cruise ship passengers or those staying nearby that have bought a day pass to enjoy the Atlantis waterpark and facilities. Scores of cruise ship passengers and visitors from neighboring hotels fill the Atlantis.

Day passes range from $40 to access the grounds to $167 for a full-day water park pass.

The Rooms

Even with the amazing “deals” the Atlantis offers, the rooms were still over $500 per night in the non-centrally located Coral Towers. For that price, we expected something more. We knew we weren’t getting a beach view, but I expected a much nicer room.

The rooms we stayed in were very bland and in need of a renovation.  They were spacious but more inline with an old Marriott or Hilton, not those of a luxury hotel.

From what I understand, the rooms are better in the Royal Towers and the Cove, but those rooms are even more expensive. Bottom line is that for $500 a night, we expected something nicer.

The Beach 

Atlantis beach
The small Atlantis beach

There are certainly more pools than you can swim in during your vacation but if you come to the Caribbean, you probably would also like to spend some time at the beach. There are three ocean beaches at the Atlantis — the Cove Beach, Atlantis Beach, and Paradise Beach. There is also a Lagoon beach on the manmade lagoon in the center of the property.

There are apparently five miles of beaches, but we found the Atlantis beach to be quite small and under-serviced at the time that we visited. If a gorgeous beach is your priority, I would pick Beaches Resort Turks & Caicos over Atlantis.

The Bottom Line about the Atlantis Bahamas

The kids absolutely loved the Atlantis — especially the water park — actually mostly because of the water park. Now that our group is made up of teens and tweens, I think they also would have been a bit more discerning about some of the other aspects of the resort. But in general, whenever the cousins have time to play and relax together they are happy.

The eight adults of the group all felt that the Atlantis Bahamas was overpriced for what you got, too big, and too commercial for our tastes. This is probably why we picked the Four Seasons in Costa Rica for our next multigenerational trip.

What about you? Have you been to the Atlantis? Did you love it, hate it or in between?

Looking for other family-friendly resorts in the Caribbean?

Be sure to check out our review of Beaches Turks and Caicos, Club Med Martinique, Eden Roc at Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, and the Grand Velas in Riviera Maya.

You may also want to consider alternates like Bermuda or Hawk’s Cay in the Florida Keys.

PIN THIS FOR LATER

The Atlantis in the Bahamas is a large family-friendly resort in the Caribbean, but as beautiful as it is, it also has some drawbacks. In this Atlantis Bahamas review we go through the good and the bad of the resort. #atlantis #hotels #bahamas #caribbeanhotels #caribbean #familytravel #luxuryhotels

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48 Comments on “Atlantis Bahamas Review: Good and Bad

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  1. Was not even aware of another Atlantis and always thought the Atlantis in Dubai was an original. The bad review however with the crowds and the beach will probably make my husband choose the Dubai Atlantis. Thank you for a good review.

    You didn’t mention anything about the “hospitality centers” where you wait well over an hour to store your belongings in the park. This is horribly inefficient waiting in line instead of just renting a locker by providing change or a credit card at the locker and taking the key. The line was very calm, but most of the vacationers were getting sarcastic and irritated in the heat. This one aspect being the first impression probably isn’t what the venue intends.

      I’m not sure if those weren’t a thing when I was there or we just didn’t use them because we were staying in the hotel but good to know.

    […] Breeze Caribbean cruise in March was a day trip to Atlantis during our port of call in Nassau, Bahamas. Ever since watching a Travel Channel episode about the Paradise Island resort — with its […]

    this sums it up nicely. I felt the food was Disneylike, and overpriced as well. You left out the staff is not that friendly. I paid $12 for a chicken sandwich but another .29 cents would have gotten me a drink cup and a bag of chips, well cashier didn’t mention anything, would have been nice, when I tried to cancel order and get a meal for $12.29 she refused in a very nasty way. Also overbought a one day pass to waterpark, which counter lady said she could do nothing for me, non refundable and said I should ask people on the line to buy it from me. humiliated and mortified, I did just that only to find out all ppl preordered tix. she refused to give me extra bracelet I paid for unless I had a wrist(person) to put it on. worst part of my cruise was Atlantis. DO NOT pre order your ticket. Pay more but get on day of your visit. Overpiced and over rated.

    Do you have any idea what the cost is just to go into the hotel to see the aquarium in the lower level? We were there on a cruise and took the water taxi where we were able to walk to the Atlantis. At the time, there was no charge to get in and just walk around 2009, but I heard there is a cover charge now. Our cruise isn’t offering an excursion to do that so I was wondering if you noticed. We also stopped at a beach on the way back to the water taxi that was a free beach within sight of the Atlantis beaches. I wonder if that is still available….anyone know?

      Hi Diana, it has been a while since we have been but hopefully this link will help: https://www.atlantisbahamas.com/daybooking

      We just stayed at the Harborside 2 weeks ago. We are now owners! I would never pay $500+ per night, so I won’t be staying on the grounds, ever. This was my second trip to the Atlantis, first time with kids. First trip we stayed at Comfort Suites. They have continental breakfast!!! Harborside has a kitchen, so we went to the grocery store so we could make some meals and have snacks and beverages. We weren’t wasting money on high-priced mediocre food. The meals plans were very expensive and were either all week or not at all. We ended up taking a ferry to the port and then a taxi to Fish fry. Food is amazing, and affordable. Don’t let the taxis take advantage of you though! It is also in walking distance but our 4 and 6 year olds had fallen asleep. We also walked over the bridge one night and ate sushi. I would do this again! Next time we would also hit the little huts under the bridge, where the locals eat. That’s where you’ll get the good, fresh conch salad!
      Also, Junkanoo Beach is a free Beach. It was super busy and loud and dirty, since we were there over Spring Break, but the sand and water is beautiful! We knew we were heading to better beaches at the Atlantis so we just stopped briefly to let the kids get their feet wet.
      Like I said, we will go back, but only because we talked to some locals and found out some great tips.

    I took my 4 young daughters to Atlantis a few years ago. It was so awful that I make sure I write a review every year or so. We went at Christmas. What I was promised was all inclusive and all of a sudden Christmas dinner was not included. It was $600 and not good. They tried twice to give us an inferior room. The staff yelled at my kids when in the food line, and I mean yelled!!! The guys driving the dirty towel buggy around ran into us many times!!!! My belief I feel they hate Americans. Today I would worry about child trafficking because of the lay out of the facility

      I felt like they hated us there that day as well. I would not go back. Just have to say that staff is very unhappy, unfriendly and undertrained.I have been to Cancun and Punta Cana where the staff just can’t be any nicer, they practically kiss your feet. Atlantis was not a great experience at all.

      I feel like they have ZERO INCENTIVE to give good service. They are guaranteed their 15% mandatory gratuity and the “State” gets 12.5% VAT. Why would they care about the customer when they are getting a guaranteed outrageous tip for making an overpriced mixed drink for you. We found this to be true about 25-40% of the time.

    Hi! Our family of 3 was one of the many cruise ship passengers that enjoyed the day at the Atlantis. Honestly, I’m glad we did it that way for all the reasons you mentioned. We had a fantastic time at the waterpark (my 6 yr old was in heaven) but I can see how staying there would be costly and probably not worth it. I even commented how irritated I would be with all the cruise people if I was paying the high dollar to stay there. We got best of both worlds… an awesome day at a world class waterpark but not the high price for everything else. It’s definitely something to see… just be ready for everything else 🙂

    Just left Atlantis today, 5/3/2017. Here is my take, plain and simple. The resort is nice. But they will RIP you off, every chance they get. with unknown charges daily. not to mention winning at the Texas Holdem table and after being paid out by the dealer and 2 managers. the pit boss says ,” THAT’S NOT RIGHT, Take their money back”. And it was a sizeable win ( straight flush) progressive. after talking with management, they said they would credit my account 1oo dollars. a far cry from what I won. they didn’t. long story SHORT…Pun intended. We will never be returning to ATLANTIS again. you ONLY get One chance to impress me when it costs that much to stay there.

      Next time check out renting at HaRBorside! You will love it! Very cost effective! See my comments describing why. We are owners . Our family loves it there. We also rent out, if we are not using it.
      Staff is terrifc!

    Going next week with some doubts. Went to the Rui last year in aruba- amazing and stunning beach/weather
    Went to Cancun earlier this year and weather was not good

    Down at the cove pool and the fighting has already started over chairs.

    We are at Atlantis now and very disappointed .. We went to olives for dinner and could not get waited on. Server were just standing there waited 10 min so we left. We returned back to the club level and told them what happened. Nothing has been done at this time. We can afford to go anywhere for dinner but someone who can’t has to sit and wait. We also asked to put our names on a cabana for the week. Found out that they didn’t put our name on the list. We are staying at the cove . Our room is 2500 a night. The food is just alright. The pool at the cove is beautiful but I didn’t expect romper room. The sign say 18 and over. I was a bartender for many years and would card have the people and 20 percent would be 15 to 17 years old. One mother even let it slip that here twins were 17. They were there with 6 of there friends. We have been to Atlantis many times and will not return.

    Hands down the best resort for the whole family. I agree with everything you said except for the beaches. If you stay at the Cove or the Reef the beaches are awesome! Very secluded and hardly any waves, which was great for my 2 year old in 2012, that’s the first year we started going there. My kids never wants to come home when we’re there…

    Been to Atlantis 3 times and heading back in July. Me and my two daughters absolutely love it and can’t wait to return. We stay in the Royal Towers and yes, it is pricey, but I wouldn’t stay anywhere else. You can find decent food, not too expensive if you look around. Check the cruise ship schedules to find when it’s not so crowded and plan your day accordingly.

    I am curios, and not knocking you in any way. However, were there negative reviews on this place before you decided to make arrangements to go. I was thinking about taking my family, but with more investigation, and your blog confirms everything else that i have heard. I am having a lot of second thoughts in regards to spending the money to go.

      I’ve always heard mixed reviews as I think it depends on what you enjoy and what type of vacation you are looking for. This was booked by my in laws and we were there with extended family so I didn’t have a choice on the destination. The idea was to find something that would make everyone happy, especially the kids.

    If price is the main concern go during non- peak times. Also its not really Advertised but stay at Comfort Suites right next door to Atlantis. you get all the amenities and passes as if you were staying at Atlantis.
    Example: 12/14-12/18 stay with all taxes and fees

    Atlantis Beach Tower – $1197.26
    Comfort Suites – $866.69

    I only visited as a cruise ship passenger and would not want to stay in the hotel that allows the day passes! (one “plus” if I may (or at least the excitement) was to meet the celebrities. I ran into Halle Barry and Rudy Giuliani on separate day visits)

    We have been staying at the Cove at the Atlantis for the past five years….with a meal plan and we love it. We have been to many other islands but nothing compares to the beauty and service at the Atlantis, yes it is expensive but you get what you pay for, Cove is the only way to go.

    Here now, and trying to find a plus about the room in Royal Tower West. I would settle for a comfortable bed! The water parks are great as well as the kids activities.

      Oh no! I’m sorry you are not in a good room. I also found the rooms to be not nearly what I would expect for that price.

    Thanks for the great review, Tamara. Thinking of going to the Bahamas with my kids but I’ve got some concerns about if the Atlantis is the right place for us, so I was happy to hear both sides for the story. Thanks!

      Glad to help! It definitely depends on what you are looking for.

    I visited Atlantis with my family for 5 days and absolutely agree with EVERYTHING you said in your review. Many thanks for that detailed and true review!

      Thanks for coming by and leaving the comment Cleo! It can be a great place for a family vacation with so much to do it just depends on the experience you are looking for and who much you want to pay for it. I think I prefer something more intimate and laid back.

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