Prices for most items, like bottled water, are shockingly high
The Beach Tower is further away from most of the main attractions
The Terrace Rooms have undesirable views of the roof or parking lot
The beach area can get busy with jet skis and vendors
Not all restaurants and bars are open at any given time
The pools shut down early at night
Some complaints of crowded elevators that are out-of-service at times
Fees for use of Wi-Fi, the fitness center, and non-motorized water sports
The "cheap seats" property of the Atlantis (though no part of the resort is cheap) has approximately 500 rooms in an aging retro structure dating back to the 60s. Renovations to these family-friendly accommodations include clean tropical decor with flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, mini-fridges, and coffeemakers with free Starbucks; bottled water, however, is not free, and is the first indication of just how expensive the resort is. Take it for what it is, though: Guests at the Beach Tower have access to 11 pools, including a lazy river and large pool next to the property, and a long stretch of white sand beach, as well as free admission to the 141-acre Aquaventure, marine exhibits, nightlife, and casino of the greater Atlantis resort. It’s a lot of walking to get around, but it has less crowded environs and a shuttle service between towers. Expect to be aggravated by restaurant prices and fluctuating hours of operation. Water-view rooms are highly recommended.
Family-friendly surroundings that stay free of crowds (due to a lack of nightlife)
Formerly the Paradise Beach Hotel from the 1960s, this section of the resort, like its neighbor the Coral Towers, has not changed much from the outside -- it's a bit of an eyesore –- but once inside, guests will find a spacious lobby void of crowds. The lobby bar has either just a handful of people present, or sometimes nobody at all, hence its fluctuating, not always reliable, hours. It may take a while just to find an open spot to have a beer, which is why many choose to walk to the nearby grocery store and buy water, alcohol, and basic food essentials just to save a little money and energy.
Families more than couples tend to stay in this section -– mostly because of the lower prices, and on-site amenities like a game room, pottery studio, and build-a-bear shop. Beyond this entrance is the path to the pool and beach. There is marine life and feeding times here with turtles and stingrays -- great for kids. This area leads to the lazy river ride, a kids' pool, and large adult pool; just beyond, is the spectacular beach with free use of beach chairs. In the afternoons a deejay will play next to the beach bar, and guests can use their key card to order lunch and drinks, but this scene (like the pool) closes around sunset.
Indoors, a long hallway connects guests with the next door Coral Tower and along the way is a movie theatre, convention center, shops and more restaurants. Marina Village can be accessed through the entrance of Coral Tower and down a set of steps for more selection of food and drink, or guests can continue walking through the hallways to get all the way to the casino and Royal Towers, and eventually the Cove and Reef.
Since all the resort's pools and outdoor bars close in early evening, most guests are confined to the nightlife closest to the casino area, which offers nightclubs and lounges that are a bit far from the Beach Tower, hence its quieter surroundings. While parents might like this, young adults under the age of 21 may be disappointed with a lack of nightlife for their age.
Prime spot along Cabbage Beach -- a half hour drive from Nassau International Airport
It isn’t called Paradise Island for nothing and guests will understand the name change from Hog Island back in 1961 when they get their first glimpse of the turquoise water and practically perfect white sand beach. "The Vegas by the Sea" can be accessed from the airport by shuttle or taxi service, and it takes about a half hour depending on the time of day (traffic can get bad through downtown Nassau). Some drivers will make sure that passengers pay the $1 cash-only fee to get across the bridge, so it helps to have a little cash on arrival.
Once checked-in, guests at the Beach Tower can use a free shuttle service between tower entrances, or opt to walk through the extensive grounds. The Beach Tower, though further away from the Atlantis' main attractions, does enjoy close proximity to the Lazy River Ride, River Pool, Atlantis Theatre, Gamer’s Reef Game Room, and Seagrapes restaurant.
Though the exterior is nothing to look at, rooms are quite clean and comfortable.
Nearly 500 rooms take up the Beach Tower alone (there are six separate sections of the Atlantis) and these rooms have two different view types: Terrace or Water. Thankfully, most rooms have some sort of view of the resort grounds with the iconic Royal Tower structure in the background, and/or the sea. The Water rooms also have the benefit of the sound of waves crashing when the sliding glass doors are open. The higher the room, the better the view, so it does not hurt to ask for this upon check-in. The Terrace view rooms are less expensive, but tend to look out over parking lots and rooftops.
Rooms have either two queen beds or one king bed, and have been renovated with bright carpeting and curtains, white linens, and tropical accents. They are clean and comfortable with indoor sitting areas and sliding doors that lead out to small balconies with tables and chairs. The rooms have sitting areas, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, mini-fridges, and safes. Coffeemakers come with free Starbucks and Tazo tea, but bottles of water are extremely pricey. Bathrooms have tub/shower combos, spacious countertops, and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries.
High prices guarantee free access to the water park and marine exhibits
The Atlantis would not be what it is without the extensive marine habitat (the world's largest outdoor aquarium) and Aquaventure, a 141-acre, 200-million gallon water park that combines a series of slides (Mayan Temple and Power Tower), a lazy river, and the Current, a mile-long water ride with waves and tidal changes. These two major amenities are free for guests, as is admission to the casino and nightclubs, but that's pretty much where the freebies end.
Guests arriving to the Atlantis will receive cards which not only allow access to the rooms, but can also act as payment for amenities, restaurants, and bars around the resort –- hence a hefty hold on the credit card during the stay. Some Atlantis spots do accept cash for payment, but many are considered "cashless." For key card purchases, a receipt will print out; guests have to print and sign their name, and write down the room number. Guests who are using a regular credit card may have to show ID.
The Atlantis has an endless supply of food and beverage options both inside and out. Breakfast is offered at Seagrapes buffet and at casual outposts such as Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts. For lunch, most eat at one of the many pool bars and grills located around the resort selling the usual sandwiches and snacks. For dinner, there are some casual options like pizza and subs, mid-range options like Chopstix and the Lagoon, and some gourmet options like Nobu, Mesa Grill, and the Dune Restaurant at One&Only Ocean Club. For those on a budget, there are three dining plans offered to guests for breakfast and dinner, but they have to booked online at least three days in advance. They are not available for purchase in-person.
A regular and free shuttle service between towers is offered, but these simply pick-up and drop off at each entrance. Walking to key points in the Aquaventure and to various pools can take more time (there isn't a shuttle in the front of the resort), but there are clean bathrooms around the resort. If children and parents get separated, there is a lost and found area.