Opened in 2007, the Reef is one of the two newer room towers at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort. Yet unlike the adult-oriented Cove, the Reef is family-friendly. The style is condo-residential, with kitchenettes that better help mom and dad budget and organize. All have private balconies, but the deluxe options have full ocean views and are steps from the beach. Reef guests share a private pool, called Cascades, and a section of beach with guests of the Cove, many of whom—to the benefit of Reef families—have little interest in it because they are there for the party action at the Cove’s adults-only Cain Pool. While the Reef sits at the far end of the Atlantis property, with almost no dining options of its own, all of the resort’s attractions and activities are only a short walk, or free shuttle ride, away.
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While gambling built Atlantis, the resort’s water adventures are what draw many people to the Reef. Guests often feel no need to leave Paradise Island during their Bahamas stay. The focus of the adventure is the Caribbean’s largest waterpark, to which all Atlantis guests have free admission. The park includes waterslides, river rides, and a kids' water-play fort. For a great educational component, get the kids to the marine exhibits, displaying over 50,000 aquatic animals from green sea turtles to hammerhead sharks. And to electrify even the most digitally focused teens, casually ask if they’ve ever wanted to swim with dolphins and rays or spend the day training them.
Need to Know
Rooms: 497 rooms, including 190 suites. From $535 low season, $839 high season. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options:Although the only food outlet at the Reef is a much-loved Starbucks, all the 21 restaurants of Atlantis are near at hand. The possibilities range from fine dining at such celebrity-chef restaurants as Nobu Matsuhisa’s gourmet Japanese Nobu and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s classic French Café Martinique to kid favorites Ben & Jerry’s and Johnny Rockets. Spa and gym details:As do all Atlantis guests, those at the Reef have access to the resort’s spa, Mandara, whose inspiration is Balinese, and its fitness center ($15 day pass), both located near the Royal Towers.Spa hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fitness center: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Who’s it for: Families who want accommodations that are a cut above the older towers, and visitors who appreciate that its location, at the far end of the resort, makes it less hectic. Our favorite rooms:For anyone with a large family, and oodles of money, the two- or three-bedroom penthouses, with wraparound terraces and such perks as complimentary limo transfers and access to the Cove’s Cain Pool (just so the grown-ups can check it out) would be ideal. Sitters available: Who doesn’t love young kids? But for those times when it is necessary to love them at a distance, hire a resort-vetted in-room babysitter and make dinner reservations for two knowing that children under six cannot be seated at Nobu, Mesa Grill, or Casa D’Angelo after 6 p.m., or at Café Martinique any time.