Adults-only hotel; one of the few all-inclusive resorts in the Bahamas
Walking distance to Atlantis’ Aquaventure, casino, and nightclubs
Contemporary rooms have balconies, coffeemakers, and free minibars
Beautiful ocean setting along Cabbage Beach (though there are crowds)
A lively outdoor pool with swim-up bar
Jet skis, banana boats and parasailing within easy reach
Tasty buffet spreads and free 24-hour room service
A la carte restaurants offer Japanese, steakhouse, and fusion cuisines
Renova Spa for treatments and massages, plus free use of sauna
Daytime activities and nightly entertainment
Free Wi-Fi in the lobby and rooms
Vendors roam this beach area
Lively atmosphere and loud music at pool (pro for some)
Long lines for a la carte eateries (no reservations allowed)
Some rooms have two twin beds pushed together to make a king
Occasional maintenance issues
The upscale Hotel Riu Palace Paradise Island, located next door to mega-resort Atlantis, is one of the few all-inclusive resorts in the Bahamas. At this adults-only property, guests can expect crowded pool and beach areas (saturated with vendors), plus loud music and occasionally rowdy groups. On the plus side, the 379 rooms and suites were renovated in 2017 with fresh decor, and have stocked minibars with liquor dispensers and furnished terraces. The buffet spreads change often, and four a la carte options -- steakhouse, Japanese, gourmet, and fusion -- help stave off all-inclusive monotony. All beverages, nightly entertainment, and use of a sauna are also covered. Renova Spa offers couples' massages and treatments. For a less lively stay still near Atlantis, consider the Sunrise Beach Clubs and Villas, which has affordable units with full kitchens.
Lively (and somewhat alcohol-fueled) hotel for adults-only, next to the Atlantis
Having previously been the family-friendly Riu Palace Paradise Island All-Inclusive, the hotel underwent renovations in 2017 and changed to an adults-only all-inclusive resort. Renovations brought a fresh, contemporary style to common areas, where beachy white and blue hues dominate. The lobby is done up with silver wingback chairs, geometric head sculptures, and moody purple lighting, while rooms have a more traditional look with wooden furniture, poster beds, and floral artwork. The overall design is attractive, if a bit uninspired.
It stays calm and quiet indoors during the day, as most people are outside crowded around the pool with a swim-up bar or lounging at the beach, just beyond. Loud music playing and occasionally rowdy groups create a party atmosphere that won't suit all types of travelers. The beach has less of a party scene (only because it is farther away from the bar), but this is a busy area for vendors since the public access to Cabbage Beach is right next door. Note that Spring Breakers of any age are not allowed at this property.
This hotel stands out for being one of the few all-inclusive properties in the Bahamas, but beware that reservations can't be made for the four a la carte restaurants, which often translates to long lines at dinner. After dinner, guests can head to the nightly entertainment show or back to their rooms' balcony -- and make use of the free liquor dispensers. Couples may want to consider Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort & Offshore Island, which offers more dining options and features.
A beautiful setting along Cabbage Beach, but not very peaceful
Riu is situated next to Atlantis' Beach Tower in the Bahamas. The property can be accessed from the airport by shuttle or taxi service, and it takes about 30 to 40 minutes depending on time of day (traffic can get bad through downtown Nassau). It's located on Paradise Island, which has earned its name for a reason; guests will understand the name change from Hog Island back in 1961 as soon as they get their first glimpse of the turquoise water and white-sand beach.
Some taxi drivers will make passengers pay the $2 cash-only fee to get across the bridge to Paradise Island, so it helps to have a little cash on arrival. Once checked in, guests do not tend to stray too far from the property -- as is typical with all-inclusives. Taxis can be taken to get to other areas of the island.
Atlantis itself is sometimes referred to as "Vegas by the Sea", and many guests choose Riu because it is typically more affordable but still within walking distance of Atlantis' large casino, nightclubs, and shops. Guests can also pay for day passes to Aquaventure for access to the water park and marine exhibits.
Local vendors offer jet skis, banana boats, parasailing, cigars, hair braiding and kids toys, which may be a nuisance to some, and contributes to the noisy atmosphere.
Contemporary rooms with free minibars and 24-hour room service
Rooms and suites were renovated in 2017, resulting in a contemporary take on traditional decor. Dark-wood furniture, including poster beds, light-wood flooring, and floor-to-ceiling windows create a clean look, while bed runners, floral-print curtains, and floral artwork in mauve or purple add some character. All units have furnished balconies or terraces, many of which offer lovely sea views.
Standard amenities consist of free minibars with liquor dispensers (refreshed daily), flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, coffeemakers, electronic safes, and tables. Attractive marble bathrooms have rainfall showers, hairdryers, and toiletries. Suites are available, adding extra bedrooms, bathrooms, and balconies.
Note that some rooms have two twin beds pushed together to make a king.
Two outdoor pools, a spa and fitness center, and nightly entertainment
Many guests choose the Riu partially for its proximity to Atlantis. Guests are able to purchase day passes to use Atlantis’s Aquaventure and marine exhibits, and there is no additional fee to use the shops, casino, or nightclubs in any of the Atlantis towers. The entire length of Cabbage Beach on Paradise Island is public. Lounge chairs and umbrellas are provided for guests. There are plenty of vendors selling jet ski rentals, parasailing excursions, banana boats, and paddleboards.
There are two outdoor pools here: one larger pool and an infinity pool with a swim-up bar. Relax-minded guests tend to hang around the former, while loud music during part of the day at the infinity pool draws a livelier bunch. Ample loungers and umbrellas are available.
The Renova Spa has a variety of available treatments, including some for couples, and an outdoor plunge pool. A sauna is free for guests to use. The modern fitness center has a good array of equipment and walls of windows that let in lots of daylight.
A good food and beverage program, especially considering the location and price
Neighboring Atlantis has a notoriously expensive food and drink program, and many choose the Riu for its more affordable all-inclusive plan. Dining options aren't extensive, but they cover several cuisines. The main buffet restaurant is called Atlantic, and it offers both indoor and outdoor seating areas. Spreads include international and local cuisines, and themed dinners are served three times per week. A poolside jerk chicken stand is open for lunch and receives great reviews.
There are four la carte restaurants included in the all-inclusive price. Krystal Fusion restaurant serves contemporary cuisine (this is a Riu resort staple), while other options include Tengoku Japanese restaurant, Sir Alexander French gourmet restaurant, and Bahamas, a grill and steakhouse. There is a minor dress code (no short sleeves and no shorts for men). Although reservations aren't required for any a la carte restaurants, this can mean long lines and wait times for dinner.
There are a few bar options spread across the resort and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are covered. Room service is also available 24/7.
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