This modern, luxurious condo-hotel with nearly 500 residential-style units is located on the far edge of the enormous Atlantis complex in the Bahamas. The big studios and one- and two-bedroom suites (many with views) are well-suited to families, and have pullout sofas and fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes. It's one of the priciest Atlantis options (though not quite as expensive as Cove), but families will likely appreciate being able to cook to save money, as Atlantis' 19 bars and 21 restaurants are notoriously expensive. The property has a nice stretch of beach and a large family pool that is exclusive to Reef and Cove guests, and major Atlantis highlights such as Aquaventure are within walking distance. A Starbucks and a convenience store are available in the lobby, or guests can walk or take a shuttle to the resort hub for more selection.
This is a quieter and more relaxed area of Atlantis that's ideal for families and laid-back couples.
The Atlantis mega-resort complex encompasses six distinct resort sections spread out over the massive grounds, each with its own unique feel. Reef guests will find themselves in a tower that is practically tucked away at the end of the huge property in the shadow of The Cove, its near-identical twin (from the outside, anyway). Both towers were part of a major addition to Atlantis that took place in 2007. Reef stands out from the others in that it is a condo-style hotel. If it feels more like a residential building, that's because it is. The people who stay here are a mix of owners and guests, as well as those lucky few who get moved here when the older Beach and Coral towers are overbooked.
Because of the The Reef's removed location and lack of on-site dining options, it's rare to see guests here from other parts of the Atlantis complex -- though some Cove guests do trickle over to get their daily Starbucks fix. Guest at the Reef may face more walking, but the upside is fewer crowds. The main attraction on-site is the quiet stretch of sand called the Cove Beach, as well as the Cascades Pool which is shared with Cove guests. Both stay free of crowds and music. Those who do want a livelier scene can find it at The Cove Pool. Unfortunately for couples staying at the Reef, this is only available to Cove guests.
Aside from the Starbucks, the stylish but basic lobby also has a convenience store, one seating arrangement, and a front desk. This is not an all-inclusive resort, but dining plans are available that cover breakfast and dinner at select restaurants.
The Reef is on the edge of the Atlantis property, meaning fewer crowds but also longer walks.
The Reef section of Atlantis is situated at the tail end of the property next to The Cove -- the chicest address at Atlantis. Staying at The Reef offers more space and kitchens for convenience, but because it is the last building on the property, it is a longer walk to get to some key areas of the resort. That being said, highlights on this end (not too far of a walk) include high-end dining options at The Cove, the Mandara Spa, fitness center, tennis center, and waterslides in the Power Tower. A free shuttle service between tower entrances (as well as the One&Only Ocean Club and golf course) is available. It may be worth considering a rental car to stock the fridge and to explore the island; otherwise, taxis are readily available.
Atlantis is located on Paradise Island, a small island off of New Providence, and it has earned its name for a reason; guests will understand the name change from Hog Island back in 1961 as soon as they get their first glimpse of the turquoise water and white-sand beach. Atlantis itself is sometimes referred to as "Vegas by the Sea." The resort is accessible from the airport by shuttle or taxi service, and it takes about half an hour depending on time of day (traffic can get bad through downtown Nassau). Some drivers will make passengers pay the $1 cash-only fee to get across the bridge to the island, so it helps to have a little cash on arrival.
Chic, modern rooms have lots of space, kitchens, and outdoor spaces.
The Reef is one of the five towers sitting along Atlantis' famous stretch of beach (Harborside is the sixth Atlantis resort, and sits along the marina). The Reef is the only one that offers only residential-style studios and suites. Decor in the nearly 500 units is modern (the building was constructed in 2007) and many units have partial or full views of the ocean from the nearly floor-to-ceiling windows. Each furnished balcony has two chairs and a small table and is a great place to soak in the view, but some units face a garden or the harbor. They all typically have neutral carpeting, white walls, wood furnishings, and bright orange and red accents. Bathrooms are extra spacious with double vanity sinks, small wall-mounted flat-screen TVs, jetted tubs, and separate walk-in glass shower. All units have closets with bathrobes, extra linens for the sofabeds, safes, and laundry bins. Cribs are available upon request.
Studios are the smallest units and have an open layout with one large room. The king-size bed sits across from the flat-screen TV and Bose sound system. The living area has a dining table and two chairs, pullout sofa, coffee table, and sliding glass door to the balcony. Compact kitchenettes sit up against the wall and have granite countertops, mini-fridges, ceramic glass stovetops, microwaves, toasters, cookware, and table settings.
One-Bedroom Suites have more space than the studios. The first room houses the kitchen, living and dining room, and half bathroom. Three bar stools sidle up against the bar and kitchen area which has a full-sized refrigerator, dishwasher, and more granite counter space than in the Studios. The dining table can seat four people, and the living area has a sofa bed and coffee table. The separate large bedroom has a king-size bed, work desk, large closet, and master bathroom. The balcony in these units can be accessed from either room and stretches the full length of the apartment.
Two-Bedroom Family Suites offer an extra bedroom with two queen beds and can fit up to eight people. Penthouse units are the highest tier, and have the best views from wraparound porches. Guests who stay in these have access to the exclusive Cove Pool.
No all-inclusive packages, but dining plans are available for the numerous eateries within Atlantis.
Restaurants at the Reef are non-existent, mostly due to the resort's geographic location and the fact that all units have kitchens. There is a nice Starbucks in the lobby with plenty of seating areas, and a convenience store for grocery items, though prices are high. Many guests choose to have a rental car or take taxis to a large grocery and liquor store in Nassau to stock the kitchens for breakfast and lunch items. Those who wish to dine out for dinner will find a whopping 21 restaurants and 19 bars across the Atlantis complex. Next door at the Cove is a high-end buffet called Mosaic that suits families well. Mesa Grill is the Southwestern restaurant and steakhouse from celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a space designed by architect David Rockwell. Other high-end options include Nobu in Royal Towers and Café Martinique in the Marina Village. A shuttle can also take guests to One&Only Ocean Club for Jean-Georges Vongerichten's first Caribbean restaurant called the Dune. The hopping casino, Moon Lounge, and Seaglass provide after-dinner drinks late into the night.
There is a dining plan available for Cove and Reef guests only. It is a set price per day for adults and children (under six eat for free) and includes buffet or continental breakfast, and buffet or a la carte dinner at a number of restaurant options, not including gratuity or alcoholic beverages. It might be a better for families with little ones, rather than couples, though it may not be appropriate if Reef guests choose to make full use of having a kitchen.
A secluded beach far from the crowds and a semi-private pool for all ages.
Guests at the Reef have access to nearly every pool at Atlantis (there are 11 options and several kiddy play pools). The closest one is the large Cascades Pool exclusive to the Reef and Cove guests only, which sits between the two towers. It has arguably unattractive dark brown cushioned lounge chairs with awnings that can be pulled up over the head for shade. Though family-friendly, this pool stays peaceful and uncrowded, much like the Cove Beach, which is also set apart from the rest of the towers and provides more seclusion for guests. All beaches on the island are open to the public, but only Reef and Cove guests can use the brown lounge chairs that are here, and there are security guards in the vicinity. The beach stays free of vendors, though an occasional jet ski salesman may wander this way.
During the daytime, guests can dine at a grill and bar for snacks and frozen drinks next to the Cascades pool. The Cove is the hip adult-only pool, where loud music can sometimes be heard. It sits directly in front of the Cove tower next to the beach, but is only available to Reef owners and Penthouse guests.
The Atlantis would not be what it is without the extensive marine habitat (the world's largest outdoor aquarium) and Aquaventure, a 141-acre, 200-million-gallon water park that combines a series of slides (Mayan Temple and Power Tower), a lazy river, and the Current, a mile-long water ride with waves and tidal changes. These two major amenities are free for guests, as is admission to the casino and nightclubs, but that's pretty much where the free ends. Even the 10,000-square-foot gym that offers yoga and cardio classes has a daily fee. This is attached to the impressive Mandara Spa for high-end treatments in a beautiful space with separate men's and women's relaxation areas. The 14-acre Dolphin Cay, which can organize swimming with dolphins, playing with sea lions, and snorkeling with manta rays, is another property highlight. There's a fee for use of non-motorized water sports as well as a daily fee for Wi-Fi, which covers unlimited devices.
Guests arriving to the Atlantis will receive cards upon arrival, which are not just used for room access -- they're also used to charge payments to the room for amenities, restaurants, and bars around the resort. Guests pay this balance upon check-out, and the resort puts a hefty hold on guest credit cards during the stay. Some Atlantis spots do accept cash for payment, but many are considered "cashless", so it's best just to pay with plastic. Guests who are using a regular credit card may have to show ID.
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