Chances are if you’ve ever traveled the Caribbean, you’ve been to the Bahamas. Its convenient location and sparkling waters have made it a haven for travelers looking for some fun in the sun close to home. Chances also are The Atlantis Resort is the crown jewel of Nassau, located on Paradise Island. The resort has been the first choice for overnight cruisers, long weekenders and definitely families looking to keep active kids busy. Even I have stayed at Atlantis a time or two with my family growing up, and even in college with girlfriends for a quick getaway. However with newer resorts opening, for me, the Atlantis began to lose a bit of its charm. Something was missing, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. The hotel snob in me vowed my Atlantis days were over, that is until recently when I was convinced to give an old friend a new try. And let me tell you, I’m glad I did!
The minute I pulled up I knew something had changed and I quickly realized what was missing from my previous visits – The Bahamas. Now I know you’re scratching your head wondering how the Bahamas could be missing from a resort in the Bahamas, but let me explain. See, the Atlantis had become just another resort over its decades’ long reign. It was missing that soul, that flavor, that little something that made you feel you were a part of the country. But all that has changed. The Atlantis has brought the heart of the island inside its walls and it has made all the difference. If you’re looking to rediscover the Bahamas beyond cruise ships and cookie cutter resorts, here are a few reasons why this old classic is once again the heart of the island.
One of the first thing I noticed was the change in the staff. Everyone seemed more relaxed and free to be themselves. Accents rang like melodies in the air and smiles and laughs were abundant. Everyone working at Atlantis has a story now. From the greeters at the door to the managers, each employee carries the history and soul of the island with them. I learned about former lives as musicians by the pool, the best place in town to get fried snapper in the elevator (I was told Oh Andros, and let’s just say no lies were told), family tales before playing with dolphins at Dolphin Cay, and even reenacted Good Times scenes with an employee who remembered playing with Bahamian decendant Ester Rolle as a child. Each person I encountered felt like a friend I knew forever.
Everyone knows food is nothing without the love of the person making it, so there’s no way you can convince a guest to love local flavors if you’re not hiring locals with flavor, right? In the property’s Coral Towers you will find the most delicious new addition to the dining experience at the resort, Sun & Ice. The brainchild of Bahamian Chef Wayne Moncur, the ice cream, gelato and sorbet at Sun & Ice are inspired by the flavors of the island. Leaning on memories of Sunday trips for ice cream with his family (see, there go those stories again), Chef Moncur uses fresh organic, seasonal fruits, herbs, teas, spices and seeds found only in the Bahamas to create flavors you have never tasted before and won’t find anywhere else. From Guava Duff, Benny Cake and Soursop to Irie Nuts, Yea Bey and my personal favorite, Pink Flamingo, you will not be disappointed.
You can’t have all these new, fresh, Bahamian vibes running through old and stale rooms, so the Atlantis decided to give one of their best towers a refresh. The new Coral Towers features guest rooms and suites that are wrapped in fresh ocean hues and soft palettes of coral and sandy golds that match their Caribbean surroundings. A brand new pool area features private cabanas and a swim-up bar that will feature locally made gourmet fresh fruit frozen treats from Pop Stop (run by a Black woman becaus ofe…#blackgirlmagic. Oh and try the Rasta Pop). The fun isn’t just for the adults though. There’s also a new Kids Concierge, so you or your child can arrange fun activities throughout the day. There’s also CRUSH nightclub (for ages 13-17) open from 8:30pm to 1:00am, and it is so lit (seriously there are pool tables, virtual reality stations and a VIP section) that I was kind of jealous that it wasn’t around when I was growing up.
It’s impossible to be in a country as vibrant and culturally rich as the Bahamas and not indulge in the culture. During my last visit to the islan,d my friends and I had to make friends with locals to get a little taste of what the real culture of the Bahamas is. Now, the culture of the Bahamas surrounds you. From art work by local artists in the lobby that remind you to love your life and Friday night Junkanoo celebrations that remind you to shake what your momma gave ya, to profound pieces by noted Bahamian sculptor Antonius Roberts that you of the sacrifices made my the island’s ancestors, the spirit of the Bahamas has literally been infused into every fiber of the resort. Atlantis has even partnered with local creatives to form a coalition called ‘Come to Life,” that is committed to storytelling, preserving the oral and visual history of the island and sharing the work of local artists with the world.