As a change of pace in the content, I wanted to add a little color to things and do some casino, travel and other reviews for entertainment and information purposes. I AM NOT paid nor compensated in any way for these reviews. Just stuff I find interesting or think that my audience might find interesting. Hope you enjoy!
For this review, I am heading to the Atlantis located on Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas…
Arrival & Room
Who doesn’t like to visit the islands from time to time? The difficult part is reconciling the fact that while the water and hotels are so beautiful, you really are in a poor third world country. So, you must have your head on a swivel and be suspicious of everyone who comes your way. It’s an unfortunate part of travel, but better safe than sorry! Any smart traveler can be quite safe on a trip the Bahamas, with a little bit of common sense.
Upon landing at Lynden Pindling International Airport, the journey begins with what is usually a simple stop at customs and then out the door to the Majestic Tours shuttle. Why not a limo or cab?? Once again, in the islands (and other locales) I want to be around A LOT of people. I don’t care how tough you are…you can’t stop a bullet and don’t have a chance against a knife unless you have some weapon yourself. Since you just came out of the airport, your chances of carrying a weapon are small…and the crooks know it. I realize many of you have been to the Bahamas a dozen or more times and never had an issue with a cab, limo or other private transportation. Good for you and I hope that continues into eternity for you! You can find me taking the shuttle with the peasants…and being more comfortable for it. If I am in most parts of Europe or the US…a limo/town car is my preferred choice. In the islands, central or South America, Asia, and the Middle East…I will rent a car or get on a shuttle. No offense to folks from those areas…it’s just a security preference built from years traveling worldwide…and traveling in some borderline war zones. I have been in some close call situations through the years…and my strategies have thus far helped me to avoid unpleasant outcomes. Maybe I can get the drop on someone, maybe not…I like gambling, but not with my life!
The tour from airport to the Atlantis once again reminds you that, no matter how popular a destination the Bahamas might be, no matter how much tourist money pours in each year…not a lot of money trickles down to the everyday citizen. During the ride, I found it interesting to see a KFC and McDonald’s which literally provide you an ocean view while you enjoy greasy fast food.
After a roughly 20 minute tour of the island, the shuttle arrives at the Atlantis to drop me off. For this trip I stayed at the Atlantis Royal Tower…the tower I most frequently reside when visiting. On a previous trip, I stayed at the Reef at the Atlantis and enjoyed the Terrace suite with the sweeping ocean view from the bed in the master bedroom. Despite several trips, I have yet to stay at the Cove…likely coming the next time I go down.
Upon arrival I hurried into the lobby to get ahead of the other guests getting off the bus. I was immediately taken at the front desk. I did travel with family, although for the purposes of this article I will often just say “I”, “me” or “my” for ease. The gentleman at the front desk located an available room of the type casino services set up for me (two bedroom Regal Suite). Perfect! I was given my key cards, maps, brochures, free water bottles and headed to the elevators for my room.
My first visit to the Atlantis was back in 2001. At the time I stayed in the Royal Tower as well. It is pretty wild to see what has changed…and what has stayed the same in all that time! One of the things that might have been good to update since 2001 would be the elevators! LOL! While fully functioning, and thankfully without issue, the buttons have seen better days. The doors could perhaps use a little lubrication too. Again, I am being picky, but for a hotel that is billing itself as luxury…maybe toss a few bucks into elevator renovations.
Anyway, despite the look of the elevator I was taken safely to my floor. I headed out of the elevator, turned the corner and a few steps down the hall was the door to where I would reside for a few days. Oh damn, wait a minute…it’s on the left-hand side of the hall…COME ON…I wanted Oceanview not Harbor view! I did tell the gentleman at the front desk I would accept the room that was available for my category…so that’s on me. It helped that I was too lazy to go back down and complain, plus the room was beautiful. I have enjoyed the ocean view on previous trips, so I figured I would give a different view a shot…or at least that’s what I told myself to ease my annoyance. Again, the room was beautiful…clean, smelled great, crisp linens, nice workspace, beautiful balcony with chairs (a lot of the balconies on the Royal Tower are literally a foot wide, so having one that is large enough for chairs was enjoyable…all good!
After getting settled in, it was time to swing down to the casino to check out the landscape, and see if anything changed since my previous trip in 2021. Nope! Everything was the same, except that a small part of the casino was under renovation, so some games and ATMs had been removed.
All in all, I was back at the Atlantis and very excited to be there…looking forward to my first casino session. More on that at the end. First, let’s go over dining at the Atlantis…
The various food service outlets around the pools would be the location for every lunch I had while at the Atlantis. Food at these outlets included the typical fare you would expect…fish sandwiches, burgers, chicken sandwiches, fries, salads, wraps, cookies, flat breads, soda, water, etc. Nothing exciting. The food offered worked well for an easy lunch, but not exactly something memorable. It wasn’t something that I would go out of my way to get, but it made hanging by the pool very easy. The fish sandwich was actually pretty good, despite the girl cashing me out explaining that she wasn’t sure what kind of fish they used (LOL). I had a burger on another day and it was good enough. Reminded me of the basic burgers you would get at a quick service location in Disney World. Dinners were a bit more interesting.
The first dinner stop was “Frankie Gone Bananas” (CLICK HERE). If you are looking for a quiet location for dinner…this is not it. The band right outside the door is quite loud. I didn’t find the band irritating and it added a nice island flavor…but if you don’t like noise…Frankie Gone Bananas might not be for you. Also, for what it is worth with these dining reviews…I do not drink. We all have our vices; drinking is just not one of mine though. While I will have a champagne toast at a wedding or event, perhaps a pina colada on a rare occasion, alcohol just doesn’t do it for me. My drink of choice at meals is sparkling water, preferably Pellegrino versus Perrier. I know, how exciting (LOL)! For food, I started with the Caesar salad. The salad was standard and as good as a salad can be. I would have the Caesar again next time as a good way to start the meal. For my entrée, there is nothing like fresh Bahamian lobster. So, I went with the Blackened Lobster and for my side…the fried plantains. WOW!! The plantains were some of the best I have ever had. The lobster was quite good too. I did have a better lobster on this trip to the Bahamas which I will discuss below. However, for my first day and to get my taste of some Bahamian lobster, the blackened tail at Frankie Gone Bananas did the trick! I did not have any dessert. In terms of ambiance, it’s a noisy, down home type of restaurant without a lot of frills. The interior design has a lot of the island colors (pastels) and is intended to feel like a casual beach shack/cottage style restaurant. There isn’t really a view from inside the restaurant, beyond just people watching those walking by the restaurant.
TSP Rating: 7/10…food was good and I would go there again. The plantains added 1 point to the rating by themselves.
The reason I did not have any dessert at Frankie’s is because I usually don’t dive into dessert much. I know…not much for dessert and I don’t drink…what a bore! However, the other reason I skipped dessert was because on the walk back to the Royal Tower is a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop. My crew and I headed on in and I grabbed a small “Milk and Cookies” ice cream. I got dangerous and got it WITH mini-M&M’s on top! I know, I am a real wild man, and it was delicious!
TSP Rating: 7/10…tough to screw up ice cream and equally tough to make ice cream a 10 out of 10. Ben & Jerry’s offered a good choice of ice cream, nice flavor and the creamy taste/texture you want.
The next day’s dinner stop was Fish by Jose Andres (CLICK HERE). I wasn’t sure what to expect. Sometimes “name” restaurants at hotels are phenomenal, other occasions they are the equivalent of a Cheesecake Factory or Olive Garden…just quickly produced meals with a lot of butter, cheese and salt for flavor. Well…Fish by Jose Andres did not disappoint. The meal began with Jose’s Cheddar Biscuits. The reason the menu says “first round is on us” is because you will definitely want to buy a second round! These biscuits are like the cheddar biscuits you find at your local Red Lobster…but of course far better. I mean no disrespect to Jose by comparing his establishment to a Red Lobster. LOL! For an appetizer, I went with the grilled conch. Oh my goodness, the flavor was incredible and the chimichurri sauce only amplified it. I always like to have a salad with dinner, so I again went with the Caesar. There’s not much you can do right or wrong with a Caesar salad, so while it was great, it’s tough to make a salad review exciting. For my entrée, I went with the 8 oz. branzino. WOW!!! Perfectly prepared, flaked off with the slightest touch and excellent flavor. Another person in my party got the shrimp and grits…delicious as well. I am a BIG shrimp and grits fan, but they do have to be perfect for me to enjoy. Well, the shrimp and grits at Fish by Jose Andres fits the bill perfectly! Making grits is an art form and many screw it up…Jose did not. I did not partake in any desserts…too full. In terms of ambiance, it is comparable to any high-end hotel restaurant you might find in Las Vegas. The view from the restaurant, which is located in the Cove, is out over the palm trees and toward the ocean.
TSP Rating: 8/10…the restaurant provided a clean & modern look with nice large windows for a good view with nice natural light. The food was excellent and delicious. The one thing that prevented this from being a 9 was that the meal was rushed. The waiter did not time the dinner to allow a little down-time between courses. Even before a course was done, the next one was already coming out. A little better pacing would help…but yes…I am being picky.
The third day’s dinner stop was Seafire Steakhouse (CLICK HERE) and full disclosure, it is my favorite restaurant at the Atlantis. The seafood is incredible! I can’t say enough about the entire menu. I started once again with a Caesar salad and added three of the jumbo prawns from the Raw Bar to go on the salad. HOLY SHIT!! These are some of the biggest prawns I have ever seen…and they are so fresh and delicious! The combo was quite the knockout. For my entrée, there was only one place to go…the 10oz Bahamian lobster tail. Yep, Seafire has my favorite tail (sounds inappropriate) on the island. The tail was cooked perfectly and was delicious on its own…no butter needed…although I did use a light dusting of butter…more out of force of habit with lobster versus it needing the taste amplification. The seafood at the establishment is impressive in terms of both flavor and size. The steaks at Seafire are equally as impressive in size and flavor based on the response of someone in my party. Once again, we avoided dessert as my crew figured that another Ben & Jerry’s stop for a tiny dish of ice cream never hurt anyone. In terms of ambiance, the restaurant has the feel of a NYC steakhouse. The view depends on where you sit. Depending on the table you get, your view could be anything from checking out the chefs in the kitchen, to seeing people walk by on the walkway or just seeing other tables within the restaurant.
TSP Rating: 8/10…I know an “8” might seem light for what I consider my favorite restaurant at the Atlantis, but I tend to be a tough grader when it comes to restaurants. For a “9” you really have to “wow” me several times. For a “10”, I have to actually have a true foodgasm. The seafood was exceptional, the restaurant provides a big show in terms of their plated entrees. Sometimes a big show looks great, but the taste is not supported or meats/seafood is tough…the big show at Seafire is supported by a delicious experience.
The fourth day’s dining stop was Carmine’s (CLICK HERE). The restaurant is by the same operator and thereby similar to the Carmine’s location in NYC. Just like in NYC, you need to bring an appetite to this restaurant. Dinner is family style, and the portions are almost sinful, especially if you have a small party given the volume of food that goes to waste. Dinner at Carmine’s started for me like most of the others…with the Caesar salad. The size of the salad was enough to feed the entire stables at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Saturday! The Caesar salad was quite good and Carmine’s kindly provided me with the anchovies on the side (my party did not want anchovies on the salad itself…losers!). When it came to the main courses, my party did not get too exciting with the entrée choices as we went with Penne alla Vodka and the Chicken Parmesan. After the monstrous salad, it was probably good we kept things subdued. The chicken parm was crispy and pounded thin, with the chicken cooked nice and moist. The sauce on the Penne all Vodka was not too acidic and not too cheesy…solid taste! Both entrees were quite good. Is this a fine Italian restaurant? No, but the food is light years ahead of most Italian chain restaurants like…as I poke fun once again…Olive Garden. I mean, it is sacrilege to even mention something like Olive Garden in the same sentence. Carmine’s is a fun place to check out, with some great food. However, I did have one gripe (see below).
TSP Rating: 7/10…I almost went 6 out of 10 just because of the volume of unnecessarily wasted food. Carmine’s wants to give you a big show and that “Italian family” experience of lots and lots of food at the table. Charge me the same…but let’s not waste enough food over one meal to feed a small country. It really was sad to see how much would go into the garbage or to the sharks. It wasn’t just my table and crew either. Most had some decent leftovers. However, you are staying in a hotel which makes leftover logistics difficult.
The fifth and final day’s dining stop was at Olives (CLICK HERE). Olives is a restaurant right off the casino in the Royal Tower. I should add that I am a relatively easy audience for food. I know that providing such a preface sounds like there was something wrong with Olive’s and that I am trying to sugar coat it. No, nothing was wrong, but the food is more Mediterranean, and some people aren’t too fond. If you like actual olives…you should be good at Olives! Dinner started with the Olives Mezze and the Calamari Fritti. Both were strong choices. The calamari were fresh, with the perfect texture (no rubber bands) and light breading. The Olives Mezze was a nice offering of olives and various spreads for which to dress up the table’s bread or the crisps that came with the appetizer. Yep…of course I had to order the Olives Caesar to prepare for my entree. I am not big with kale as part of a Caesar salad, which is what Olives does, but the taste still worked for me. I could have done without the kale though. Given this was the last dinner of the trip, the Grilled Reef Lobster Tail was in order. The tail was cooked perfectly and once again…quite sweet and delicious. As I said with my Seafire review, I tend to use only a light amount of butter just out of habit when having lobster, but honestly…you don’t need it for any of the lobster tails I had on this trip. The lobster flavor and texture at Olives is wonderful without it. No dessert at Olives, but you know what is coming…YEP…outside to Ben & Jerry’s one last time…how could we not?!?!
TSP Rating: 7/10…I was between 6 and 7 here…closer to 7. The menu is rather limited if you don’t have a deep palate. If you are more for traditional fare, Olives takes it up a level with a more Mediterranean slant to the menu. However, if you are open to the idea of Mediterranean, then Olives is definitely worth a shot.
Mock me if you like, but I cannot get enough of the spa when I am traveling. I love a good massage, and any other services that seem interesting. However, for some unknown reason, I had never tried the Atlantis spa before this last trip. Well, if I am going to do a proper review, I MUST give the Atlantis spa a try. The Atlantis “Mandara Spa” (https://www.atlantisbahamas.com/things-to-do/spa) is located on the walkway between the Royal Tower and the Cove. Pretty convenient to get to the spa from the Royal Tower. The spa is everything you would expect from a spa upon arrival…running water, light music, stimulating aromas, etc. Check-in was rather easy. Right to the counter, give your name and then on to the men’s locker room. The men’s locker room is standard in style, smaller than I expected, and not quite as luxurious as I thought based on the rest of the spa. Still, the locker room was more than sufficient.
The men’s locker room/waiting zone had a room with small tables and seats, along with a TV. The spa provided a little refreshment center that was stocked with some walnuts, granola bars, apples wrapped in plastic (I liked the sanitary setup for the apples…too many people are disgusting animals) along with waters, coffee, and teas. Proceeding further into the men’s locker room and you find a room which has showers, a hot tub and small pool along with some lounge chairs. It is in this pool/shower area that I was instructed to sit and wait to be called for my massage. The lounge chairs were quite comfy as I almost fell asleep while waiting for my technician. The showers, which I utilized after my massage, were clean and very nice with an attached dressing room and hooks for my robe and a towel. Much better than many spas I find in Las Vegas. As I relaxed on the lounge chair, I was taken by one of the attendants up to the spa service waiting area. I had scheduled a 90-minute Swedish massage with a female technician. I was taken up a floor to the official spa service waiting lobby. It was a decent sized lobby where both men and women in robes waited to be called by their technicians for whatever services they chose. A little different from most spas where men and women are segregated. I waited a few minutes in this upper spa service waiting area. My technician called my name, I hoped that this was the last step of the process, and it was. We arrived quickly at the massage room. The room itself was your standard massage room with table, sink, towel & stone warmer, cabinets, etc. with that typical spa music playing lightly in the background and the lighting just right. The massage was excellent and quite aggressive which I am a big fan of when it comes to massage. I want you to get in and rip that tension out of my muscles. I also added the bamboo upgrade. With this upgrade the technician uses bamboo poles of various sizes and sticks them up you ass! WTF kinda place is this?!?! Just kidding, she uses them like rolling pins on your muscles. Very aggressive, but really loosened things up. I was able to avoid crying which was good. My wonderful technician did a great job! At the conclusion of the massage, I was taken to the checkout desk to add any gratuity and have the attendants try to sell me a variety of products…I passed. I then walked myself back to the men’s locker room, took a quick shower and out I went. A great way to start my day!
TSP Rating: 7/10…the maze of steps from check-in to getting into the massage room was a little unnecessary and the product sales attempt at the end took a little away from the relaxation…but I would definitely visit every time I am back at the Atlantis. Remove the sales step and jazz up the locker room to better fit the ambiance of the spa along with a more efficient process of getting from check-in to the massage and I would move this to an 8.
No trip to the Atlantis would be complete without checking out the dolphins in Dolphin Cay. We didn’t get too crazy on the first try, we just did the “Dip & Discover”. On this adventure you get all dressed up in a wet suit and wade into one of the three Dolphin Cay pools. The pools have a waist deep section which then drops off sharply to the deep part of the pool where the dolphins mingle. The “Dip & Discover” experience takes place in the waist high water at all times. So, it works well with younger kids. The experience begins with meeting your dolphin trainer who will take you and your group into the pool. The trainer will have your team’s dedicated dolphin do a variety of tricks for the reward of a fish or two. The experience allows you to have a splash battle with one of the dolphins, along with petting the dolphin on multiple occasions. The experience gives you a few good Kodak moments including a few holding the dolphin’s body and tail. The dolphin does not seem distressed at all by the experience with guests which was good. I am sure the fish rewards that are freely given after each trick and human interaction are helpful. The cost per individual taking part in the Dip & Discover is $200 and the session lasts 1-2 hours. If you think that is high for a wet suit rental and some dolphin petting, where they really get you in the wallet is on the photos. You will of course want photos of your memorable experience…and the Atlantis knows they have the monopoly here. Well, the cost for photos is $150 to $250+ depending on the package. Is it worth the cost? Absolutely not. Is it a purchase you should make? Yes, because you do get some nice shots of your experience to keep long into the future.
TSP Rating: 8/10…a fun experience for kids and adults. You get to interact with a dolphin at a very low intensity level and grab some pictures to take those memories home. After experiencing this dolphin activity, I would definitely look to do the more involved experiences in Dolphin Cay on a subsequent trip. Either paddle boarding among the dolphins or just a straight swim and snorkel among the dolphins in the Dolphin Cay pools.
The Atlantis calls their pool and waterpark area the “Aquaventure” (I’ll use “AV” for short). The AV is quite expansive and very clean with a number of different slides, pools, kids areas and a lazy river that is not all that lazy. There are a ton of areas to sit that provide shade and other areas for those who love the sun. I will say that a healthy number of the umbrellas in the AV could use a redo…but they are functional. Access to the AV is part of being a guest at the Atlantis. Every day of your trip you need to visit one of the towel shacks to obtain a wristband and towels. The wristband allows you to get more towels and lets the lifeguards at the slides know that you are allowed to be there.
I am not one for water slides, but I did try a few and all of them were fun. However, I am no longer in my 20’s, so being jarred around on a tube does wonders for the back, neck, or the bruise I obtained on my foot when I used my leg to rebalance myself on the tube during one slide adventure. Still, despite hobbling around the AV with my injuries, the slides were enjoyable.
My favorite attraction in the AV is the lazy river. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy just sitting back and riding. However, unlike most lazy rivers, the lazy river at the Atlantis provides a more intense experience. Starting at the beginning you are dealing with what is basically a wave pool that launches you down the river with wave after wave that is generated. Some of the waves are pretty large at certain points of the “lazy river” and as a big kid I enjoyed riding them out. Other sections of the lazy river involve faster paced rapids. The ride takes about 20 minutes from beginning to end and I would hit it at least 2-3 times per day.
One problem with the AV are the cruise ship guests. During most days at the Atlantis, thanks to my harbor view room, I could see 3 cruise ships in the dock. Well, all these ships offer their guests a paid excursion to the AV. So, the addition of all these people can make the AV a little packed at the peak time of the day. However, once 3:30 to 4pm hits, and people start heading back to the ships, the water park is wide open and lines for slides are almost non-existent. Only problem is that by that time in the day I am exhausted.
All in all, the AV was a nice way to spend the mid-morning and early afternoon. You grab some lunch, hit the lazy river one more time and then head to the room around 2pm to shower, take nap or hit the casino.
TSP Rating: 8/10…a lot of slide and entertainment options at the AV. The right number of towel and food outlets so that even at peak times, the lines for either are not long at all. The AV offers a variety of slides and experiences from low intensity to high intensity. There are plenty of pools and seating areas, so there is minimal running like idiots to try and secure sports when things open in the morning. Even showing up late in the day will still allow you to find a quality location (with shade or not…should you chose) near a pool.
What would a TSP review of a hotel with a casino & sportsbook be without a discussion of the gaming areas?!?!
The casino at the Atlantis bills itself as the largest casino on the island. Compared to a Las Vegas or dedicated casino/hotel, the Atlantis casino is not very big. However, the casino was large enough that when it was packed at night it didn’t have a “too packed” feel to it. There were still spaces at tables and plenty of available slot machines.
My casino games of choice are craps, baccarat and blackjack…in that order. My goal for this review and trip was to assess the comp value the Atlantis provides to gamblers. To analyze, I wanted to use a set bankroll and see what would be provided for that level of action. I didn’t want to go ridiculously high because then of course everything will be comped. I felt the average gambler vacationing in the Atlantis would spend $500 to $1,000 per day on gambling. So, I decided to use $1,000 per day. Based on this action I would then see what the casino would give me by the end of the trip. Also, while I have an edge betting sports, I know the mathematics of the casino will eventually crush me on table games. So, while I don’t mind dedicating decent amounts of money to sports wagers, dumping ridiculous money on tables is not something that excites me. It’s just a product of being in the gambling business and seeing what table game mathematics does to people…and their money. There’s my PSA about being in control of your table games wagering. Still, I do enjoy playing craps, baccarat and blackjack in a reasonable fashion.
I decided I would gamble in the late afternoon when the casino was quieter (2pm-5pm ET) and then in the evening (8pm-10pm ET) when the casino was more packed. The Atlantis casino provides all the games you would expect. There are a variety of slot machines denominated from $0.01 to $100 along with video poker. Table games offer the usual stable with Blackjack, Baccarat, Craps, Roulette, Three Card Poker, and Texas Hold’em (the table game, not a poker room). There is no poker room at the Atlantis. The Atlantis casino also offers video roulette and video Big 6 (“the big wheel”) for your enjoyment.
Table limits are very reasonable with $15 limits on most tables throughout the day. I would tend to play craps and it is rare to see $15 limits in the evening at most Las Vegas casinos. Maybe a Las Vegas casino will have one $15 craps table, with the rest being $25 and above. At the Atlantis, every craps table was $15 minimum. I was somewhat surprised, but this also told me that while the Atlantis was a casino, most of its patrons are lower level players. The craps table did not have any of the exotic Big/Small/Boom/Bust wager options. Just your standard craps table including hop bets.
The staff in the Atlantis casino was very upbeat. From the pit bosses, to the boxmen, to the dealers themselves. Most of the dealers were into the game, engaged with the players and everyone was having fun. I have been at “locals” casinos around the country and some of the dealers are just nasty with one another, let alone snide with the players. Makes for a less than enjoyable experience. Actually, if the dealers are downers, I am usually off that table. Thankfully, I did not have any such experience with dealers in the Atlantis. All of the casino staff were a pleasure to deal with…except one! There was one douchebag boxman that I did experience during one session. The boxman was clearly working with a new dealer. Craps is a fast game and I would not want to deal it. God love this soul, but he was green on the game and not quite ready for the action at a busy craps table. So, the boxman was stressed by the issues with this dealer and then took it out on the players. Completely unprofessional and unnecessary! However, this was the only individual during the entire trip that would get a negative review from me. Everyone else I had an experience with in the Atlantis casino was beyond pleasant.
My only gripe with the games is that baccarat tables were limited on some nights. Some nights there were plenty, other nights just one open. Another smaller gripe is I like full baccarat tables (players can touch and deal the cards) versus mini-baccarat (no touching cards). All the tables that were open at the Atlantis were mini-baccarat. It is likely due to the fact that again, while the Atlantis does get larger players (those buying in for $2500 to $5000+ per session) they are very few and very far between. The average player at the Atlantis is buying into the tables for $200-$300 in my experience.
The most important thing I can tell you about the casino at the Atlantis deals with the ATMs. In a previous trip to the Atlantis, the most the ATMs would let you withdraw in a 24 hour period from one card was $500. Sure, most banks limit ATM withdrawals to $500 or $1000 per day, but that’s not what I am talking about. Even if your debit or credit card would allow $2500 or $5000 in ATM withdrawals in a day, the ATMs at Atlantis were programmed to only allow a $500 withdrawal per card, per 24 hour period. It was quite odd for a casino to be so restrictive on withdrawal limits when even your bank would let you withdraw more. Perhaps the Atlantis was trying to get patrons to pay the high fees for doing above limit advances at the cage? I don’t know, but it just seemed silly for a casino to limit the money you could give them. Well, a year later and the ATMs have no such restrictions. However, because of my 2021 experience, I am just giving you a heads-up should you be planning to use ATMs for your casino funds. You just never know what ATM programming you will get at the Atlantis. So, bring some cash with you. Just be aware, if traveling with over $10K that you have to declare it with Bahamas customs and if you still have it on the way back…with US customs…or they can confiscate it and provide you a lengthy process to get it back. The easier method to cash, if you are a larger player, would be to setup a credit line or send front money. If sending front money, just contact Atlantis casino services and they will provide you with wire instructions. Of course, before you go you can also apply for casino credit. I would suggest applying for credit BEFORE you leave for the Atlantis so you can ensure it is setup properly before you leave. Again, the casino will also process cash advances off of debit and credit cards, however these carry substantial fees compared to just a standard ATM withdrawal.
One of the things I did like about the casino is it has WINDOWS! LOL! Not a lot, but enough to allow some nice sunlight in during the day and a view of the palm trees swaying outside to keep you nice and relaxed as you wait for the hard 8 to cash!
TSP Rating: 8/10…As a craps player, it was awesome to see they opened plenty of craps tables every night. If you wanted to play, there was definitely an open spot somewhere. The same could be said for blackjack and baccarat (most nights). The roulette tables would get a little packed, but were mostly manageable for those looking to get some red/black action. The staff was pleasant…there’s always one though and I found him as the boxman at craps one day. Overall, the casino experience at the Atlantis was a lot of fun.
The sportsbook at the Atlantis is managed by William Hill. I am not a fan at all of William Hill as a sportsbook. William Hill is quick to limit or remove bettors who show any bit of potential as a winning gambler. So, I wish Atlantis would have gone with a better option, but it is what it is and I made due. Each day I used the kiosks to place wagers in the book.
In Las Vegas, most sportsbook kiosks will allow a maximum of a $300 wager without putting in a player’s card or needing the bet to be approved. So, I wanted to probe where William Hill set their limits. Well, William Hill at the Atlantis is still scared of even the $300 level of wager!
One day to test out their limits, I placed a small $300 parlay on tennis and MLB. The parlay payoff due to a tennis underdog was $3200. Not exactly big either in risk or payoff in sportsbook terms. Well, I guess it is for William Hill because I had to wait about 30 seconds at the kiosk for the wager to be approved before the ticket was printed. Seemed a little silly to me. On another day I tried a $200 parlay of similar design (tennis and MLB) and did not experience the delay. So, it appears either the $300 risk level or, more likely the $3000+ payout level is where William Hill’s Atlantis security settings are set.
Straight bets above $2000 also seemed to trigger this review delay…with one wager (tennis) being denied altogether! Again…it’s why I am not a fan of William Hill sportsbooks. I did not test out serious action at Atlantis because there was nothing going on to warrant a major wager while I was there. I will perhaps have to test limits on an NFL weekend sometime and see how they scrutinize larger wagers at both the windows and the kiosks.
Taking away my bias against William Hill, the sportsbook did provide a large menu of wagering options. For most bettors who are in the Atlantis and just want to screw around with <$250 parlays and <$1000 straight bets, you won’t have any problem. On a future trip I will test out the limits Will Hill will take on a wager at the Atlantis for NFL or NCAAF. For now, I just wanted to probe the book’s defenses a little…and those defenses are pretty tight.
Expanding on something from above…I was shocked that William Hill did not offer in-play tennis at the kiosk. The option was in the system, but when I went to look for live tennis lines in the menu, nothing was listed despite several matches going on at the time. So, that seemed a little weak to me.
At the end of the day though, if you are looking to bet some sports just for fun in paradise, the book at the Atlantis will do the job.
TSP Rating: 5/10…just having William Hill run the book is a negative to me. The lack of tennis in-play options on the kiosks was a weak look. The need to have a review for a lousy $300 parlay with a $3200 payout…for a billion dollar company was weak. HOWEVER…it is nice to have a sportsbook at the Atlantis, even if it is William Hill and I was able to place wagers there. So, it isn’t all bad and can fill your sports betting fix while on vacation. I did enjoying firing some pizza parlays to test things out. I’ll further test the limits on a future trip.
When you arrive at the Atlantis Casino, you can use your room key to get rated by the casino, or you can visit the player services desk within the casino to obtain a player’s card. I went with the player’s card option on a previous visit and now use my card on every trip. Makes it easy and convenient.
How is the Atlantis when it comes to comps? I give them an A+. As I said, my goal to test out the comp value was to only use $1,000 per day for casino wagering. I know for some bettors $1,000 is a lot to dedicate to each day of gambling, and for other bettors it is nothing…and that’s the purpose of using that amount to test the Atlantis. At the Atlantis, the $1,000 per day level makes you a “high roller” by comparison to roughly 70-80% of the bettors in the casino. I didn’t want to assess comps as though I was a little old lady playing penny slots for $100 or $200 per day, but I also didn’t want to drop $5000 in a session because of course everything would be comped at that level. I wanted to find out where the sweet spot was where I could get everything comped, but not spend five figures in the Atlantis.
Once again, here are the parameters for my action…$1,000 per day, table buy-ins would be whatever I had left in my starting $1,000 daily bankroll when I got to the table. I would wager $15-$100 on the craps table at any given time across my session…depending if I was up or down. Average wager was $75. Be aware the Atlantis DOES NOT rate you based on place and come odds bets in craps…common policy for most casinos. I played roughly 20 hours (about 4 hours per day…usually 2 hours in the afternoon, 2 hours in the evening) at the tables.
So, $1,000 dedicated each day…$75 average bet…4 hours of play per day. By the way, you don’t get credit for sportsbook wagers when it comes to comps.
Based on the above action, my “theo” (Theoretical Loss) would be roughly $450 per day. Casinos vary on what sort of percentage they give back on theo. Some go as little as 10% others as high as 30%. Given these numbers I could expect as little as $45 in comps to as much as $135 per day.
Well, the Atlantis casino comped all my food (roughly $1500), comped my room (in advance of the trip) and covered the cost of my spa service. The only things left on my room bill were the gratuities, the cost of the Dolphin Cay experience and the Dolphin Cay pictures. It was a helluva deal! I could take 10 times that amount of money to Vegas and not get as comped as well as I was at the Atlantis. OK, maybe saying 10X that amount is being a little over the top, but Vegas comping has gotten awful over the past 15 years. I’ll have a review on this issue with Vegas coming up in the future. Thankfully, the comp value you can get from the Atlantis, at just a modest level of action, is quite solid!
TSP Rating: 10/10…I realize $1000 a day may be a lot for some bettors, but in the whole scheme of casino wagering, it is rather small. However, for this little bit of action, I had $1500 worth of food comped, $300 in spa services and a beautiful comped suite. That’s a hell of a tradeoff. You can buy in for $10,000 in a single table session in Las Vegas and it is like pulling teeth to get a buffet pass for you and your guests (sarcasm…but not much)! So, when compared to how cheap and stingy Las Vegas has become, the Atlantis is incredibly generous with their comps.
The Last Word
The Atlantis provides a wide array of fun for a wide array of traveler. From the vacation goer staying at the lower cost Coral Tower, to the $10-$15M yachts that some guests anchor in the Atlantis harbor. The hotel brings all types to paradise.
While I would not wander off property in the evenings, the hotel itself was clean, comfortable and safe. The hotel provided an excellent family experience with a lot for kids to do during the day, and then a few things for the adults to enjoy at night. Adults could enjoy the casino, bet and watch some games in the sportsbook, there’s also a small night club and some shows and events on select evenings.
The restaurant selection on the Atlantis property is wide ranging both in cuisine and style. The small shopping area (“Crystal Court Shops”) state they “offer the finest in women’s and men’s fashions, featuring Amici, Cole’s of Nassau, Michael Kors, Gucci, Tory Burch, David Yurman, Versace and more.” While the Crystal Court Shops at the Atlantis are hardly the Forum Shops at Caesars, the shops do allow you to grab some higher end products if the casino treats you well.
Paying out of pocket for the Atlantis can be a bit pricey depending on what room and tower you select. The prices for food or even a bottle of water in the shops are quite high compared to US prices. However, it is an island, so most of the goods have to be shipped in at higher costs. The good news is, if you plan to gamble, the comp value provided by the Atlantis was some of the best I have seen out of any casino I have visited…and that’s a pretty long list.
TSP Trick: As I move forward with these reviews, I will look to provide a little tip or trick based on the location or product. Here’s what I found for the Atlantis. I like to have a couple bottles of water in my room at all times. The obvious option to buy bottles of water is to go to the shops in the lobby and buy 3-4 bottles for the room. The cost of the bottle, depending on the size is $8-$10. It means simply getting four water bottles per day can run as high as $40. Over a five day trip this is $200 out of your pocket…because the casino doesn’t comp you for purchases in the stores…whether they are food or not.
However, the casinos do treat all purchases at quick service food locations and places like Ben and Jerry’s as 100% “food” purchases…which are eligible to be comped. Well, all these locations also sell bottled water. So, I would simply grab 2-3 bottles of water at the nightly stop to Ben & Jerry’s and charge to my room.
By doing it this way, my water purchases would be considered a food purchase at a restaurant and are able to be comped by the casino. If I bought those same water bottles at the shops at the Atlantis, I would not be able to be comped on the purchases.
So, if you want chips, cookies or water for the room, buy them at a quick service food location (i.e. Ben & Jerry’s or locations around the pool) and charge them to your room. The purchases are then able to be comped by the casino. If you buy the same stuff at the stores, the Atlantis casino can’t comp you for the purchases and you have to pay out of pocket. Again, it’s not a lot…but it is the difference between paying $200-$300 over the course of a trip for water and snacks out of your pocket versus having them “on the house”. I am always about maximizing my value at a gambling establishment…whether in the bets themselves or through other methods. LOL!
Bottom line…if you are looking for a place to go in the islands, the Atlantis would be a good stop for the traveling gambler. Relax by the ocean or pool during the day, enjoy some afternoon or evening craps and look out over the beautiful blue ocean as you wind down for the night in your room. A great time and a completely different Bahamas from what I saw back in 2001 on my first trip to the Atlantis.
Overall rating for the Atlantis is 7 out of 10. Given I trust nobody and assume everyone in life has bad intentions, the Bahamas themselves are a little sketchy between airport and hotel. The need to be extra vigilant does take away from the “relaxation” while on vacation. However, once you get to the Atlantis, the food is great, the casino is fun, the comp value is solid, and the place is very relaxing. It’s a regular stop for me.
Safe travels and good luck!