Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas has been closed due to the pandemic up until recently. What’s it like to visit there now that it’s reopened? In this article I’ll explain what our family’s experience was like, what’s new at the resort, which amenities and attractions are up and running, and which are not available yet. We’ll also cover the Covid-19 testing and visa requirements, the accommodations, the dining, the kids club, the marine life, the beach, the spa, the incredible water park and more. Many thanks to Atlantis, Paradise Island for hosting us!
Travel Requirements for the Bahamas
This trip took place in late January, and the first thing we had to do was take a PCR test within five days our departing flight. Just so you know, kids aged 10 and under do not need to be tested. Then we applied for our Bahamas Travel Health Visa online. As part of the application form, we uploaded our negative test results. The visa costs $40 per person for a four-night, five-day stay, or $60 if you’re staying longer. Kids aged 10 and under are free. The cost of the visa includes a mandatory COVID-19 health insurance policy that will cover you for the duration of your stay.
When we got to the airport to check in for our flight, we had to show 3 things:
- Our negative PCR test results
- The QR code of our health visa, and
- Our certificate of Covid-19 health insurance
We were fortunate enough to stay in a 2-bedroom regal suite in the East Tower of The Royal. All the rooms in this tower have undergone a dramatic overhaul recently, with a plush, contemporary look that’s inspired by the dramatic blues of the Caribbean Sea. If it’s been awhile since you’ve stayed at The Royal, it might be time for another look!
The Water Park
Aquaventure is the incredible 141-acre water park at Atlantis. Most of the water slides are located in two distinct areas: the Mayan Temple and the Power Tower. One thing you should know is that right now, Atlantis is in Phase 1 of reopening. During this phase, each of these areas is open on alternate days. The Mayan Temple is open Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun. The rides here include the Challenger, the Jungle Slide, the Leap of Faith, the Serpent Slide and the Splasher Water Playground. The Power Tower is open Tue/Thu/Sat. The rides here include The Abyss, the Drop, the Falls, the Surge, and the Current Rapid River. So keep that in mind as you schedule out your days.
In normal times, there can be a wait for the slides and rides because not only are there a lot of guests who stay at Atlantis, but many cruise ship passengers docking in Nassau get day passes to use the water park here. One nice thing about visiting now, early on in the reopening of Atlantis, is that there are virtually no lines for any of the slides right now. The longest we had to wait for any slide was about 2 minutes.
One great way to upgrade your experience at Atlantis is to book a private pool cabana for the day. The cabanas are located near the Mayan Temple pool, and they come with 4 lounge chairs, a high table and stools, couches, a fridge and a safe to keep your valuables.
Our cabana host Dora was so attentive. Not only did she make sure we always had all the food and drinks we needed, but she even offered to go to a local fish fry off-property and bring us back some authentic Bahamian eats! We really appreciated her kind offer but let her know it wasn’t necessary to go the extra mile that way.
Covid-19 Safety Protocols
The property requires guests to wear masks in all public areas, except at the pools and beaches as long as you’re socially distanced. We were happy to see that mask adherence was really high – I didn’t see any guests who weren’t in compliance. The Nassau-Paradise Island’s tourism board asks travelers to opt in to vacation in place. In other words, you’re encouraged, though not required, to remain property during the entirety of your stay.
Pool seating is at 50% capacity and the lounge chairs are distanced. The indoor dining felt really safe. All guests are required to use hand sanitizer before entering the restaurant, and all restaurants offer QR codes so you don’t have to handle a physical menu. The tables are distanced, and there are plexiglass barriers between booths.
They have stepped up their cleaning and sanitation protocols, with electrostatic sprayers and UV-C light technology being used in all rooms. All the staff wear masks, and they’re tested for Covid every single week.
That night we headed to Nobu for dinner, where we were fortunate enough to enjoy a tasting menu that gave us a great overview of their specialties. Nobu of course has over 30 locations across the world, including a couple in OUR hometown of New York that we go to pretty often, but this location in the Bahamas may be the only Nobu in the world where you can order a variety of conch dishes. They have conch ceviche, Nobu style crack conch, and there’s even a special conch maki roll. All three were terrific, so definitely don’t miss out!
Located in the Marina Village section of the resort, Seafire is a tradition al steakhouse with a warm, clubby feel. Serge and I started with the seafood tower and shared a porterhouse for two, while the girls ordered steak and fries from the kids menu. Our server Shean was such a delight. He made the evening so much fun, and surprised us with two epic desserts!
Dinner at Olive’s ended being probably my favorite meal of the whole trip. The girls love a good caesar salad, and this one really hit the spot. Serge and I shared the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, which was really tasty, with a bit of heat. I had the pappardelle bolognese which was fantastic, and Serge had the seared tuna, which tasted so fresh and was perfectly cooked. If you’re planning on visiting Atlantis, I’d highly recommend that you have dinner here at least one night.
The Kids Club
One thing many people don’t realize is that in addition to the amazing water park, Atlantis has some fantastic kids programming through their kids club, Atlantis Kids Adventures. Our daughters got to try out their signature Mermaid Experience. They learned how to swim like a mermaid, how to blow bubble rings under water, and they learned about the secret tunnels the mermaid uses to get back to her home in the ocean!
Right now due to Covid, Atlantis is only operating outdoor kids programs like this one. In normal times though, there’s a full schedule of indoor and outdoor activities to choose from.
We took a glimpse inside the kids club and it’s a gorgeous facility. For the little ones, there are several imaginative play areas like a grocery store, a Victorian dollhouse, a wizard-themed area, and a LEGO zone. For older kids, there’s a kitchen where they can learn to cook, a performance room where they can jam out, a game room, a computer room and an arts and crafts room!
If your kids love marine animals, definitely check out the programming at Dolphin Cay. There are a variety of outdoor programs to choose from, everything from swimming or kayaking or paddleboarding with dolphins, to being a junior trainer for a day.
Mandara Spa is beautifully designed, with a Balinese feel throughout. They have a full-service salon where you can get manicures, pedicures, and hair styling services. In the locker room you can enjoy warm and cold plunge pools, as well as steam and sauna rooms. And of course, the spa offers a full array of body treatments, massages and facials.
Serge and I booked a couple’s massage, which was super relaxing. The therapists wore both masks and face shields, so everything felt very safe. For us, they recommended lowering our masks to our chin while we were face down during the massage, to make breathing easier. But when we lay face up, we pulled our masks back up to cover our nose and mouth.
One area of Atlantis you should definitely explore is Marina Village. If your kids love boats, they’ll really enjoy getting a close up look at the gorgeous yachts in the marina. There’s a lovely shopping/dining area with really pretty, colorful buildings. You can find a variety of retail stores, including Versace Jeans Couture, Dooney & Bourke and Pandora. And an assortment of dining options, everything from grab-and-go options like Starbucks to more formal restaurants like Seafire Steakhouse. When we were there, a lot of the stores and restaurants hadn’ t reopened yet. I expect we’ll have to wait until phase 2 or 3 of the reopening for that.
If you’re staying more than 4 nights in the Bahamas, you’ll need to take a rapid test on day 5 of your stay. The U.S. now also requires a rapid test within 3 days of your flight returning to the U.S. So if you’re staying no more than 7 nights, you can use the same test for both purposes.
Atlantis makes all of this super easy by offering two free rapid tests per room for registered guests! PCR tests are done at the Royal Tower, where we stayed. While the rapid tests are done at the Beach Tower, just a few minutes away by shuttle. The results are sent to you by email.
Family Fun in the Bahamas
We had an incredible time at Atlantis, Paradise Island. Even during a phase where not everything is up and running again yet, the resort has so much to offer in terms of entertainment, dining and family fun!
About Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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