I have always considered myself a full-fledged “beach person.” Give me the sand, the salt water, and the gentle crash of waves on the shore any day over the chlorine-scented, cement-tiled surfaces of a pool. There's no way you'll find me lounging by the pool if a beach is nearby. No sir. That is, until I spent the weekend at The Cove at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas.
The all-suite, 600-room resort opened in March as part of the property's $1 billion, Phase III expansion and is a sophisticated area that includes Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill restaurant (the first outside the U.S.), ocean views from all rooms, and of course that breathtaking pool.
As I walk through the open-air, covered walkways of the hotel out into the adult-only pool area, I immediately feel transformed. The space is supremely social. DJs spin music as guests sit at the bar, play Craps in the outdoor gaming area, or lounge on the red daybeds located right in the center of the water. I park myself on one of the in-water chaises and soak in the scene. Although the beach is just a few short steps away, it is the farthest thing from my mind.
The Cove, which is ideal for high-end, small incentives, is just one of the many new additions to Atlantis. The Phase III expansion also includes the new 30,000-square-foot Mandara Spa, offering 34 treatment rooms; Aura, a posh nightclub; Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's Nobu restaurant; Dolphin Cay, an interactive, 11-acre lagoon where groups can meet dolphins rescued from Hurricane Katrina; and the Marina Village, a dining and shopping plaza with spectacular views of private yachts owned by the island's wealthiest residents.
In addition, as part of the billion-dollar investment, all existing guest rooms received an upgrade, and the casino (already the largest in the Bahamas) got an 8,000-square-foot expansion. Atlantis also added a new 50,000-square-foot ballroom to its conference center and a new banquet kitchen capable of accommodating up to 4,000 guests. The conference center expansion brings the total amount of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space to more than 500,000 square feet. As if that were not enough, fresh off its facelift, the resort is already planning a Phase IV expansion.
Encompassing roughly 80 percent of Nassau's Paradise Island, Atlantis is truly a small city in and of itself with every amenity just a leisurely stroll (or short shuttle bus ride) away. While it is easy to hail a cab and experience the rest of Nassau, most guests will probably find themselves as I did: at the end of my stay wishing for more time to experience everything this sprawling property had to offer.