Last month Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Voyages and The Bahamas Tourist Board invited us to The Bahamas for a few days. With Rhys literally just back from holiday and Rob and Sinead tied up with family commitments, we were struggling to find someone who wanted an all-expenses-paid 5-star business class trip.
Luckily our occasional contributor Jamie was bravely willing to step up and take one for the team. We have already covered his visit to the Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady ship and the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar resort in Nassau. Over to Jamie ….
This is our review of The Cove, one of six hotels within the iconic Atlantis Bahamas Resort, situated on Paradise Island, Nassau.
It was opened in its current form in 2007 and has 600 rooms, all of them suites. In 2014 the Atlantis Resort joined Marriott Bonvoy and is currently classed as a Category 8 hotel.
The resort is massive in scale and is reminiscent of the sort of structure you might see at Disney World. During the thirty minute taxi from the airport it appeared on the horizon – a dominating set of pink multi storey buildings far bigger than anything else in the vicinity.
As I arrived for my two night stay I was excited but also fearful it may lack elegance and quality.
However, as I entered the hotel I was pleasantly surprised. The gaudy pink exterior had transformed inside into something far more contemporary and refined. The reception area was spacious but managed to maintain a relaxing atmosphere, feeling warm and welcoming. The decor was simple, modern and timeless.
A well mannered and friendly gentleman offered me a very nice Bahamian cocktail whilst waiting to check in. As I enjoyed the drink, I admired a rather stunning Christmas tree in the corner, adorned with ornate marine themed decorations. The warm climate made it easy to forget it was the festive season but this would be the first of many reminders!
As we arrived in a group, I waited about ten minutes for my turn to check-in. It was handled swiftly by another friendly staff member. The friendliness of everyone I met was to become a theme throughout the trip. Every Bahamian person I spoke to (whether in a hotel, restaurant or on the street) seemed delighted I was visiting. Everyone greeted you with a smile (even when wearing a mask, you can see it in their eyes) and on many occasions offered up help or advice, all done with the upmost sincerity.
I was given a west facing room on the 16th floor and headed out to find the lifts.
Whilst the reception desks are in an enclosed room, the rest of the foyer and ground floor is completely open with just the structural pillars of the building in view. The warm air reminds you of the glorious weather you have come to experience.
As you walk through the corridors you are greeted by lush plants. Water features follow you every step. It was all very Zen and had a lovely calming effect.
Rooms at The Cove, Atlantis
Up on the 16th floor I quickly found my room, half way down what felt like a fairly unremarkable corridor, considering the environment I had left behind downstairs.
I had been given an Ocean Suite with a king size bed. On entering, there was a porch area with the bathroom on the right, a walk-in closet next to it and the main bedroom space straight ahead. Beyond the bedroom was a lower floor living room space and balcony with floor to ceiling sliding door.
Here is a photo looking back at the entrance door.
There was a decent size desk with two wall sockets situated in front of you. There was also an ethernet connection box on the desk which had a USB charging point. The desk had an integrated tube type lamp which would be useful for reading. Tea and coffee making facilities are on the left on this desk.
A large flat screen TV was positioned on the right which can be viewed from the bed. The TV shows a multitude of channels including endless American sports channels. You are also able to order room service through the TV or view the various activities going on throughout the resort.
This was the sleeping area:
The decor was ok and inoffensive. The bed linen was crisp and clean. The bed itself was very comfortable and provided a good nights sleep. Electrical sockets were located either side, under the minimal bedside tables.
This was the view from the lower living space:
There was a two seat sofa and single arm chair with coffee table.
On the opposite side was a small table and two chairs. Another large flat screen TV adorned the wall directly facing the sofa:
To the side was a set of cupboards housing a fridge containing two cans of water. This also formed a table top space for the bed room area.
Within this area were an assortment of gifts. These included a branded woven beach bag containing his and hers flip flops:
…. and two vacuum insulated reusable water bottles:
The bottles are standard gifts throughout the resort as part of a drive to reduce plastic water bottle usage. I was also left a plate with nut and coconut based nibbles and a small bottle of locally made rum:
Due to the nature of this promotional trip, I can’t be sure if all of these items were standard gifts. I do know the water bottles are given to all guests as part of the resorts Blue Project Foundation conservation drive.
This was the impressive view from the balcony:
The balcony wasn’t huge but had room for two chairs. As I had a west facing room I did get to enjoy the sunset whilst getting ready for the evening activities.
This was the entrance to the generous bathroom space:
Straight ahead was a bath tub with basins either side:
To the right was a walk-in shower:
Bathrobes were also provided. The toilet was situated in a separate room to the left. The toiletries provided were from Archipelago Botanicals and came in ample sizes.
The shower itself was disappointing. On two occasions there was no hot water. On one of those times it stopped providing water altogether and I had to wait several minutes for it to start flowing again. Perhaps I was simply unlucky with my timings and other guests got to the hot water before me. But do hotels of this calibre really run out of hot water? It was frustrating whatever the cause.
Next to the bathroom was this walk-in closet.
It contained a safe, iron and ironing board plus room to hang clothes and store luggage.
Wifi is freely available throughout the hotel and connecting in the room was straightforward. The quality was good although on one afternoon it did stop working for an hour or so.
Restaurants at The Cove
There is no shortage of dining options throughout the resort with over thirty venues to choose from at various times of the day. If you want to stay close to the Cove hotel you have the outdoor Cascades Grill, indoor Sea Glass bar and outdoor Sip Sip open during the daytime. Sip Sip is next to the glamorous Cove pool which is reserved for Cove guests aged 21 and over only. We enjoyed cocktails and canapés here on the first evening.
Fine dining at the Cove is available at the well regarded Fish by José Andrés. Buffet style dinner is available at Mosaic. You can also visit any of the other restaurants around the resort.
Breakfast is also available at Mosaic. It is buffet style and is not included as standard with your room. It costs approximately $40 so isn’t cheap.
There was a huge choice of dishes served, heavily influenced by the primary guest market of North Americans. There were fresh fruit stands, cereals and cold cuts.
There were egg stations and freshly made pancakes, waffles and pastries:
There were also all the usual hot items you would find in a full breakfast plus grilled ham and pineapple and a selection of sushi. Finally there were quite a few additional local dishes such as coconut French toast and chicken souse. I enjoyed a full English type combination, the quality was excellent and you may find there is no need to bother with lunch.
I was told the coffee was good but I was too busy choosing from the twelve different varieties of tea on offer.
What can you do at The Atlantis Resort Bahamas?
Atlantis is a huge resort and there is no shortage of activities. Fitness fanatics can attend various classes such as HIIT and yoga or work out at their own pace in the 1,000 square foot gym. There are tennis courts, basketball hoops, golf and countless swimming pools (including a land lap pool). In keeping with the marine theme, there are large open air seawater habitats that you can walk around.
In these you can observe rescued turtles undergoing rehabilitation or see critically endangered sharks that have been bred in the resort as part of coordinated conservation efforts. There is ‘The Dig’, an Atlantis themed aquarium where you can snorkel through the ruins of the lost city and come face to face with many species of marine life.
Hotel guests also have access to Aquaventure water park and its many slides including the famous ‘Leap of Faith’ with its near vertical drop taking you through an aquarium in a clear underwater tube surrounded by sharks.
They are several private beaches and Paradise lagoon for snorkelling.
The hotel can also organise trips to neighbouring islands where you may get the chance to see the famous Bahamian pigs swimming in crystal clear waters.
Evenings can be spent fine dining at restaurants such as Café Martinique or Nobu. The Marina Harbour and Village is a pleasant short walk away with luxury shopping options, cafes and views of dreamy private yachts. There are numerous bars, two nightclubs and the centrally located casino for those who like to carry on late into the night.
I really didn’t know what to expect when I saw the towering Cove at Atlantis appear on the horizon, but I thoroughly enjoyed my stay.
The good sized suites provided a comfortable experience with a dramatic balcony view. The room decor was perhaps a little unmemorable but the amenities provided were perfectly satisfactory. The hotel communal spaces are nicely designed and created a feeling of well being with a touch of luxury.
You can book an Ocean Suite using 80,000 – 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points depending on availability. You will also be liable for the daily resort fee which is currently $67.14 at the time of writing.
Cash prices start at around $600 per night including service charge, taxes and the daily resort fee. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.
Don’t miss my review of The Royal, one of the other hotels at Atlantis where I stayed for my final night in The Bahamas.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (January 2022)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.
You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)