According to legend, the fabled “Lost City of Atlantis” sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune.”
Some 12,000 years later, Atlantis Paradise Island shows evidence of enough real fortune to make one wonder whether the mythical city ever disappeared.
The resort, a development of South African hotel magnate Sol Kerzner, rises out of the Caribbean Sea like a sparkling city that has just been discovered. And while the origins of the mythical Atlantis remain open for debate, there can be no doubting the appeal of its modern-day namesake.
For three days this month, my wife Mary and I had the pleasure of exploring Atlantis as guests at The Cove, the 600-suite luxury hotel that opened on Paradise Island in March of 2007. The 15th-floor suite that greeted us upon our arrival had every creature comfort imaginable, from an oversized bathroom with his and her sinks to a sunken living room and two large-screen TV’s. The walk-in closet and private balcony overlooking the Caribbean gave the suite the feeling of openness accompanied by spectacular views.
For any visitor to Nassau in The Bahamas, a trip to Atlantis should be on the agenda. From the warm turquoise waters to the vibrant tropical flora, Paradise Island lives up to its name. So does Atlantis, a 7,000-employee resort that has enough attractions and diversions — spread out over a mile of beachfront property — to occupy and entertain visitors for weeks.
Our personal favorite was Dolphin Cay, an interactive exhibit that enables guests to swim alongside several of the 35 bottlenose dolphins that reside in this sanctuary. Fifteen of these animals were rescued from Hurricane Katrina. If you’re lucky enough, one of these gentle creatures will even give you a push through the water.
Stingrays, manta rays, lionfish, angelfish, moray eels and thousands of other species roam the 2.3-million-gallon aquarium known as The Dig, the world’s largest open-air marine habitat. Located under the Royal Towers, The Dig is one of Atlantis’ most popular attractions.
So is Aquaventure, a 141-acre, 200-million-gallon water park that offers thrills and chills for swimmers of all ages. Steep water slides called The Abyss, The Drop, The Surge and the Leap of Faith beckon the thrillseeker, while the Lazy River welcomes those who prefer something milder. Be forewarned, however: the periodic four-foot wave will easily swamp the unsuspecting tube sitter. Just ask my wife.
Food, entertainment and unparalleled service are everywhere at Atlantis. From the 60,000-square-foot casino to the Ocean Club, which was featured in the 2006 James Bond film Casino Royale, Atlantis offers something for everyone. Smiling attendants are always available to help, and their friendly demeanor is both genuine and relaxing.
Music lovers will enjoy the ever-present concert season, which over the years has hosted the likes of Justin Bieber, Tim McGraw, Ricky Martin, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Sheryl Crow and Lady Antebellum. Mary and I saw rock legend Brian Adams perform his greatest hits in an acoustical set that captivated a sold-out theater.
The conch salad and Caribbean crab were favorites on the menu, but so too was the breakfast buffet spread at The Mosaic restaurant at The Cove — a feast that rivaled any culinary delight we had ever seen or tasted. Care for some coconut French toast with your steak and eggs? The Mosaic offered plenty of that and more.
The great thing about Atlantis, though, is that you can absorb it at your own pace. If you want to go catamaran sailing or snorkel with the swordfish, you can do that. But you can also just lounge poolside at the beach for hours on end, drinking in the ambience of the colorful Caribbean – the real reason anyone would want to travel here anyway.