Glorified Motel on the Grounds: The Beach at Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas
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To The Point
Atlantis has become a massive resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, and The Beach is the budget option for staying on-site. Pros: The Beach is clean, functional and on-site. Cons: The Beach is older, a 10-15 minute walk from Aquaventure and isn’t bookable through Marriott.
The Beach is the budget option if you want to stay on site at the Atlantis megaresort. I knew this coming into my stay, and expected a glorified motel room — which is essentially what I got. But you’re not visiting Atlantis to sit in your hotel room — and staying at The Beach provides access to all of the megaresort’s activities — here’s what it was like to stay at this property.
If you’re active in the points, miles and elite-status communities, you’ve likely read about how you can get a “free” trip to Atlantis through Caesars Rewards (previously called Total Rewards). My husband, JT, earned Wyndham Platinum late in 2018, so he was eligible to status match to Total Rewards Platinum (now Caesars Rewards Platinum). This match made him eligible for a complimentary three-night stay at The Beach at Atlantis before the end of January 2019. When he called to make the reservation, the agent confirmed us into a water-view room at The Beach.
Although some Atlantis properties are part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the Marriott website doesn’t show The Beach. However, you can stay using Marriott points at other Atlantis properties like The Royal for 50,000 Marriott points per night (worth $400, based on TPG’s valuations) or The Coral for 35,000 Marriott points per night (worth $280).
If you want to stay at The Beach, you can book through Hotels.com/Venture and pay using your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card through Jan. 31, 2020. This will allow you to earn 10 Capital One miles per dollar spent on your room — a 14% return, based on TPG’s latest valuations — as well as a 10% return through the Hotels.com Rewards program. A refundable room at The Beach with a king bed and water view will usually run you around $950 for a three-night stay including taxes and fees. Even the cheapest nonrefundable terrace-view room type will usually cost around $800.
Atlantis is on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Paradise Island is a short bridge away from Nassau’s city center but farther from the Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in Nassau airport than the Baha Mar resort complex. The taxis are supposed to follow a posted fee schedule, so a taxi between the airport and Paradise Island for two people with two bags each should cost $39. The taxi drivers commonly add additional fees though — our taxi from the airport cost $50, and our taxi back to the airport cost $42.
We arrived into Nassau around 9:30am and reached the combined check-in area for the Beach and Coral Towers at Atlantis around 10:45am. The lobby was busy when we arrived, but we were helped by a front-desk agent almost immediately. We planned to leave our luggage with the bellhop and explore the property until closer to the stated 4pm check-in time, but we were given a room immediately.
We’d booked a room with two queens, but happily moved to a one-king room when the front-desk agent inquired if one bed would be okay. We were required to pay a $55.95 resort fee per room per day and a housekeeping fee of $5 per person per day — even on our “free” stay — but at least these fees were disclosed at booking.
We were given Room 9128, a king-bed water-view room in The Beach. The Beach was near … the beach … but was the oldest building at Atlantis and away from most of the resort’s attractions. The Beach’s rooms are best described as glorified motel rooms, but most people don’t come to Atlantis to spend time in their room, and our room contained the basics we needed.
Our room contained a king-size bed with six pillows and a decorative pillow.
Nightstands on either side of the bed each had two deep drawers and a lamp on top.
There was a large cabinet across from the base of the bed with three drawers on one side and a refrigerator and shelving on the other side. On top of the cabinet were a 31.5-inch TV and a tray with an ice bucket, two glasses and two 1.5-liter bottles of water that cost $7 each.
There was also a coffeemaker on top of the cabinet.
Near the patio door was a table with two comfortable chairs. There were two chairs and a coffee table on the patio. The patio was just large enough to sit on comfortably.
Near the room’s entrance was a deep closet with plenty of hangers, a luggage rack, a safe and an iron and ironing board.
Next to the closet was the bathroom. The bathroom was stocked with enough bath towels, hand towels and washcloths for four people. A hair dryer was provided, but it was very loud and ineffective.
The shower wouldn’t pass TPG’s height test, but it was OK for my 5-feet, 5-inch stature. The water pressure was good, and the shower functioned properly. Amenities by Gilchrist & Soames were provided.
A few complaints about the room: There weren’t enough power outlets, there wasn’t any overhead light besides the light by the entrance, and there weren’t many places to hang wet clothing and bathing suits. There seemingly was a clothesline in the shower at some point, but the end that would’ve contained the rope no longer existed.
In terms of view, though, it couldn’t have been much better. From our patio, we could see across the resort grounds and the entire Aquaventure complex. And, when we looked down we could see stingrays and various fish swimming in a lagoon.
Food and Beverage
There were 21 restaurants and 19 bars at Atlantis. The information you were provided at check-in provided price estimates for each restaurant, where $ meant under $15, $$ means $15 to $40, $$$ means $41 to $75 and $$$$ meant over $75. We stuck to the more budget-friendly $ options.
We ate our first lunch at the Cave Grill, since it was conveniently located near The Beach.
I ordered a veggie burger, and JT ordered a chicken sandwich. We both opted for the combo that included fries and a soda cup with free refills. In total, our meal cost $33 including tax. The burgers and sandwiches came with use of the condiments and toppings bar, so we loaded our sandwiches up with lettuce, mushrooms, olives and tomatoes. I thought the veggie burger was surprisingly tasty with a small amount of spice and fresh vegetables mixed in.
We ate our first dinner at The Village Burger Shack in the harbor area. We arrived around 6:15pm and were some of the last customers to be seated immediately.
We ordered a cheeseburger, a chicken sandwich, onion rings, fries, a Kalik beer and a soda for $57 including tax and tip. The service wasn’t particularly quick or friendly, but the food was filling and freshly prepared.
We had dinner on our last night at Marina Pizza.
We split an 18-inch Bahamian Spiced Chicken pizza and found that it could’ve easily fed three or four people. The pizza itself was surprisingly good, cooked fresh for us and not very spicy. At $41 including tax for the 18-inch pizza, this was sadly the most cost-efficient dining establishment at Atlantis.
Before heading to the airport, we ate one last meal at the Lagoon Grill. We managed to snag a table in the shade overlooking the lagoon and The Royal, but most tables had good views.
We ordered two types of sandwiches, both of which came with chips and a salad. Both sandwiches were fresh, warm (in a good way) and tasty — the Lagoon Grill would be my choice for lunch at Atlantis, as it provided quality food and nice views and wasn’t much more expensive than grab-and-go options. We paid $39 including tax and tip for the lunch you see below.
You’ll notice that the meals described here weren’t enough for a three-night stay. We walked outside the resort for one dinner and also brought some snacks for breakfast and in-between meals.
Atlantis is a massive resort with many activities and amenities. Each night you can pick up a guide for the next day’s activities and restaurant hours from the concierge. You’ll see a few complimentary activities noted on the activity sheet.
During our visit, there was a large movie theater on the ground floor of The Beach that screened three movies most nights. There was no cost to watch the movies, but you needed to pay for refreshments.
There was a library in The Coral that offered books and some working space. There were also computers here that you could use for a limited amount of time.
There was a 10,000-square-foot workout facility between The Royal and Dolphin Cay. The fitness center wasn’t close to the Beach Tower, so you got a small workout on the way to your workout.
The workout center was well-equipped and seemed popular when we stopped by. There were various workout classes offered, most for a fee, although daily aerobic classes were included.
There were multiple casinos, including the main casino between The Coral and The Royal. When we walked through the casino, we noticed many slot machines and tables with various games that generally started at $10.
The grounds at Atlantis were an attraction in themselves. The daily activities guide listed the times you could watch feedings at the various lagoons and ponds that contained marine life.
Some of the feedings were interactive. At the sea-turtle pond, this meant guests could toss lettuce into the pond.
At the stingray pond, guests were each given a half fish and told to put their hand holding the fish into the water so the sting rays could grab the fish.
Other feedings were simply for watching. We watched a keeper toss seafood to sharks in the Predator Lagoon.
And later in the day, we watched a keeper feed a manta ray.
There were underground viewing areas for the Seagrapes Lagoon near The Beach, Predator Lagoon near The Coral and the large Ruins Lagoon near The Royal.
The Dig near The Royal hosted many different types of species, including eels.
There were also multiple clean beaches with white sand. There were vendors on the beaches, but these vendors weren’t pushy or aggressive.
Most people, especially those traveling with children, come to Atlantis to experience the Aquaventure waterpark near The Royal, The Cove and The Reef. Although the waterpark is very popular with children, we found it approachable and fun for adults as well.
We rode all of the Aquaventure slides except for the kids-only slides in Splashers and the Jungle and Surge slides that were closed throughout our stay.
Luckily, we never waited longer than five minutes to get on a slide. Atlantis is best known for its nearly vertical Leap of Faith slide that drops 60 feet before going through a shark tank, although I thought The Abyss slide was actually more intense.
If you don’t want to do the Leap of Faith, there was a slower innertube slide that went through the shark tank at a more leisurely pace.
Besides the slides, there were 11 pools at Atlantis. Each pool was different, but most included a variety of shaded and sunny chairs. We never had trouble finding an empty chair.
Wi-Fi for four devices per room was included in the resort fee. The Wi-Fi quality varied greatly during our stay. We normally experienced minimally acceptable speeds in the mornings and during the day. A sample test we took one morning showed 2 ms ping, 1.84 Mbps download and 3.89 Mbps upload.
But after Aquaventure closed at 5pm, the Wi-Fi was generally unusable for the rest of the night. The Wi-Fi was too poor to run most speed tests, but here’s one we ran. We defaulted to relying on our Google Fi plans, which got service ranging from H to LTE service at Atlantis in the evenings.
Besides the movie theater, there was not much to do at night at Atlantis if you were not into drinking or gambling. The Wi-Fi was too slow to stream our own entertainment or work, so we resorted to walking the resort grounds — which are quiet and peaceful at night — and going to sleep early.
Atlantis is definitely an experience. Granted, I may be biased because we only needed to pay the resort fees and housekeeping fees due to the Total Rewards (now Caesars Rewards) elite status stay. I’d visited multiple times with my parents as a child, so I wondered whether Atlantis would still be special with all its growth and popularity as a megaresort. But I wasn’t disappointed in Aquaventure and the grounds.
I also wasn’t disappointed in The Beach accommodation — but we had one of the best possible views from our room, and I came in expecting an older, simple property. This being said, a few other guests we spoke with substantial issues in their rooms at The Beach — like an entrance door that wouldn’t lock — so we were lucky to get a room without significant issues.
If you’re looking for the most budget option for staying on site at Atlantis and are OK staying in a simple room — you won’t spend much time awake in your room anyway — The Beach is a reasonable option. Or, if you have Marriott points or free nights to use, The Coral may be a better option at 35,000 points per night.
All photos by the author.
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