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By SamanthaChapnick

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Atlantis in the Bahamas is an ideal resort for a family vacation. Here are a few ideas on where to stay and what to do if you take the kids.



First choice: The Reef Atlantis
The brand-new Reef Atlantis is my first choice because it has contemporary furnishings, access to everything at Atlantis (except Cain, The Cove‘s adult-only private pool), suites that are just right for families, nice views, and a simple walk to the beach and kitchens.

First choice, budget: Harborside Resort

Built as part of their timeshare offering, Harborside is the closest you can get to having an apartment at Atlantis. It’s farther from the main attractions and pools but is more affordable and spacious, and it has full kitchens — best if you are traveling with extended family or want to save on dining.

Second choice: Royal Towers

 Atlantis says the Beach Tower is better for families because it is farther from the casino and tour attractions. But I prefer Royal Towers because the decor is more upscale (no polyester bedspreads), and it is closer to the things that keep young kids amused in the evening: notably the giant aquarium in the lobby.

Second choice, budget: Beach Tower

  If decor doesn’t matter that much and the kids are in bed by 7 p.m., the Beach Tower is the best choice for families with kids because it’s closest to the most activities.


For young families, these are the best attraction options:

Playground pools

  • The newest pool: Splashers water playground near Mayan Temple — a water playground with a tank that regularly dumps water on the kids, a small slide, steps.
  • The River Pool near the Beach Tower has is a zero-entry pool
  • Harborside Pool with a water play features
  • Poseidon’s Kids Pool with animals to climb on and a huge water fountain
  • Ripples Kids Pool — near Royal Towers


  • Dolphin Cay — The very youngest children can experience a dolphin interaction (accompanied by a parent).
  • Lazy River Ride: A gentle current winds guests on innertubes throughout the pool area. There are several places to get on and off, making iteasy for families with young children to try it quickly.
  • Pottery Studio: A paint-your-own pottery studio.
  • Aqua Tots — Five children (over 3 but under 48" tall, toilet trained) per day are selected to do a 20-minute feeding at 2:30 p.m. (every day but Monday). Call far in advance to register: (242) 363-3000, ext. 46363.
  • A marine habitat winds through the property and can be seen in several spots including the lobby of the Royal Towers, The Dig, and the underwater viewing tunnels: 50,000 sea animals including sharks, rays, moray eels, piranha, are kept in a giant aquarium punctuated by archaeological items "salvaged" from the land of Atlantis 11,000 years ago. There are tours throughout the day.


Accommodations: Same as families with young children


  • Dolphin Cay: Older children get a really cool way to be more intimate with the dolphins. They get these "hand-held" scooters  of variable speeds so they can swim right alongside these fast moving creatures, or just glide at the top of the water. Kids must be proficient swimmers, 10 and up.
  • Discovery Kids Adventure: Older kids (6-12) can get deeper into the nature science theme by going to the co-branded Atlantis and Discovery Channel camp. We didn’t experience this personally.
  • Club Rush — From 4 to 7 p.m., kids 6-12 are allowed into the no-adults permitted club for dancing, hanging out, and playing (Xbox, Playstation). There are chaperones, and it’s room charge only, so leave the cash in the room.



First choice — night owl teen: Beach Tower. For proximity’s sake, staying here means the shortest walk down to the teens’ nightclub: Club Rush. It’s also close to the kids club.
First choice — day adventurer teen: Royal Towers (get the kids their own room). Call me paranoid, but I don’t like the idea of my kid being so close to the convention center, and there’s that decor thing again. If you agree, and have the kind of teen who’s more into daytime action, this is closer to Aquaventure, better restaurants, and the shark-filled Mayan Temple slides. It also has the option of the Imperial Club, which includes free continental breakfast (7 to 11 a.m.), afternoon tea, evening cocktails and a dessert bar.

First choice, budget: Harborside

Water features:

  • Aquaventure — Too terrifying for this writer! Two giant water slides, one of which has a straight drop in pitch darkness.
  • Slides — The giant slides of the Mayan Temple are less terrifying but still fun.

Indoor activities

  • Teen Disco — Club Rush is a no-adults-allowed nightclub and hangout for teens. From 8:30 p.m. to midnight, it’s dancing, Xbox, Playstation, and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. There are chaperones, and it is room charge only (no cash)
  • Gamer’s Rush — An arcade.
  • Teen Spa — The YSpa is one of my favorite parts of the Atlantis Teen Program. While most resorts do not allow teens, the Mandara Spa courts them. Teens have their own spa treatment options including "Surfers Scrub" Acne Attack Facial and Sole Mate Pedicure. Cynics will say it’s the same old with a new spin. As a parent who loves doing spa treatments with her kid, I say bravissomo!
  • Atlantis Theater — In the evening, there’s a big-screen theater playing popular movies and a concession stand.

Related Orbitz resources:

Samantha Chapnick is a New York writer who scours international destinations looking for what hasn’t been found.

Tagged: Caribbean, Family time

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