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, the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar resort in Nassau and The Cove hotel at Atlantis. Over to Jamie ….
This is our review of The Royal at the Atlantis resort in The Bahamas. The hotel is part of Marriott Bonvoy.
My trip to The Bahamas finished with a stay at The Royal at Atlantis. I’d already spent a couple of pleasant nights at another hotel within the Atlantis resort (The Cove – review here), so was curious to see how The Royal compared.
Originally built in 1998, The Royal hotel forms the two iconic towering central buildings of Atlantis with an impressive arch connecting them together. In fully encompassing the resort theme of the lost city of Atlantis, the 1200 room building is adorned with seahorse sculptures and statues of leaping swordfish.
It is like an enormous lavish pink castle and is certainly a spectacular, if a little overwhelming sight.
The hotel is part of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty scheme and has been rated as Category 7. The hotel website is here.
Inside The Royal Atlantis
It is just as spectacular on the inside. Here is the entrance foyer with its huge domed reception area and ostentatious marine themed murals:
…. and this is the check-in desk area:
We arrived in the evening and it was quiet. There was only one person at the desk but we did not have to wait long to be served. Check-in was friendly and efficient. We had been given a Grand Suite on the 18th floor of the east tower.
As we headed down to the lifts, there was no shortage of Christmas spirit around. Fairy lights and Christmas trees were in abundance:
There was also this marvellous gingerbread house display:
Up on the 18th floor we were greeted by more marine related decor, this time in the form of a charming carpet featuring coral shaped motifs:
Rooms at The Royal Atlantis
This continued along an otherwise unassuming corridor to our room. On entering I was surprised by its size with these suites measuring around 1,300 sq ft. It was also apparent from the modern decor that this was one of the rooms recently renovated in 2020. My first impression was that the designers had done a very nice job.
(For clarity, standard rooms are not as big as this! We were given a substantial upgrade because it was a press trip and were only there for one night.)
Here is the view as you enter the room:
On the left was a half bathroom. Straight ahead you had a dining table and six chairs. Around the corner was a spacious living area with large sofa, coffee tables and flat-screen TV:
Near to the sofa and inset to the wall is a lovely contemporary space to prepare drinks.
There was a fridge, hidden behind a sliding door, which was well stocked with cans of water. Above this could be found a Kuerig coffee maker and designer ice bucket and scoop. On a shelf above that sat six each of champagne, wine and martini glasses so you were well equipped to enjoy a drink or two.
Walking through to the bedroom you transition from a wooden floor to carpet:
Decor and furnishings wise, things had been kept fairly simple but tasteful here. There was plenty of space around the king-size bed which I liked. Random glass sculptures were scattered along the wall above the bed and added to the refreshed modern feel. The bed itself was extremely comfortable.
Opposite the bed was another large-screen TV and a desk:
The desk was a decent size for comfortable working and had a set of electrical sockets underneath. Both TV sets were multi-function, acting as your in-room concierge and information service amongst other things. The TV remote controllers were sealed in plastic bags to indicate they were Covid safe. Wifi was easily accessed and seemed to work well throughout the suite.
To the left of the bedroom was a large walk-in closet containing a safe, robes and slippers:
Opposite this was the entrance to the sizeable bathroom:
I was really impressed with the bathroom. It was elegant and contemporary, bright and airy. The inviting bath tub had a beautifully designed backdrop. There were two wash basins and a plentiful supply of towels stored below them.
A walk-in shower with rain head was situated on the right. It worked perfectly allowing for a hot, invigorating shower. The toiletries provided were by Archipelago Botanicals, the same as over at The Cove.
There were floor to ceiling windows running the full length of the suite, giving the room a lovely warm feel with all the natural light pouring in. The bedroom had a Juliet balcony. Outside the living room area was a full size balcony with seating for four people, offering panoramic views of the bay:
This was the expansive view from one corner of the balcony. You can see the Aquaventure water park in the distance:
Breakfast was taken at Poseidon’s Table, a buffet style restaurant situated within The Royal’s east tower. It is open from 7am until 12pm every day.
It served up possibly the biggest selection of food I saw during this trip. All the usual hot and cold breakfast items were available including freshly cooked pancakes and waffles, muffins, fruits, cereals, five or six different flavoured yoghurts, eggs benedict, bacon, sausages etc.
There were also dishes much more suited to lunchtime including chicken fajitas, bbq steaks, potato hash and gravy. Bahamian dishes such as conch chowder and popcorn shrimp were available too. There was also a pizza station!
With so much on offer breakfast turned into more of a brunch for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m too embarrassed to disclose what I ate but as a northerner I will say it did involve at least a little gravy.
Here is a view of some of the seating:
We actually found it to be too cold inside so were thankful there were tables available outside. This was a frequent issue with much of the inside hotel space feeling rather chilly due to the aggressive air conditioning.
Whilst I enjoyed the food at Poseidon’s Table, it lacked the more elegant atmosphere of Mosaic, situated over at The Cove. They both cost $40 so if you are looking for nicer surroundings then choose Mosaic. However if you are visiting with children then Poseidon’s Table perhaps has a more varied and suitable choice of dishes.
Restaurants at The Royal Atlantis
There are an abundance of dining options throughout the Atlantis resort. At The Royal, fine dining can be indulged at Nobu or Todd English’s Olives, both of which are centrally located close to the Moon bar and the casino. We had a table booked at Nobu and received a very warm welcome on arrival.
Once seated, we were joined by one of the chefs who proceeded to discuss the menu and how it differed from other Nobu restaurants around the world. There were all the usual classic and ‘now’ Nobu dishes but also some using local ingredients such as conch (of course) and Bahamian lobster. We decided to sample some renowned Nobu dishes including salmon sashimi with nashi pear:
…. and Tuna Tataki with Tosazu:
This was followed by local Roast Bahamian Lobster which came with roasted cauliflower and three different sauces:
As you can see the portion sizes are generous. We also tried sea urchin and rock shrimp tempura.
All the food was outstanding – fresh, delicious and moreish. Service was impeccable and the busy venue had a great atmosphere. All in all we had a memorable evening there.
After dining, we ventured out to explore the rest of the hotel complex, starting with a walk around the bustling casino:
I hadn’t appreciated quite the amount of detail that had gone into the interior design throughout the resort. There were so many little touches here and there, all of which I would assume are bespoke items. I particularly liked some of the light fittings, especially the octopus sculptures which looked like they were keeping watch on the avid gamblers below them.
There were some magnificent glass sculptures by blown glass artist Dale Chihuly on display including this one outside the Moon bar:
For a sophisticated late night drink you can head to Dragons Ultra-Lounge on the far side of the casino:
There is Jokers Wild Comedy Club and an indoor cinema if you prefer the entertainment to be provided for you.
The marina village is only a short walk away and makes for a very pleasant stroll day or night to peruse the yachts and shops or grab a coffee from one of the numerous cafes.
I don’t think you could ever be bored at The Royal at Atlantis as it has an overwhelming amount to see and do. Whilst the focus is on enjoying the complimentary Aquaventure water park with its high octane slides and river rapids, chilling by one of the many sleek pools or discovering the fascinating open air marine habitats and displays (including going snorkelling in the splendid ruins lagoon with schools of colourful reef fish), the truth is you can spend days just walking the paths and beaches to soak up the atmosphere of the resort.
If you’re really lucky you’ll see an iguana or humming bird cross your path. You’ll probably forget about the fitness centre, spa, tennis courts, pottery studio and the theatre. Besides you can save those activities for a rainy day, if such a thing exists in The Bahamas!
The suite exceeded my expectations – it was spacious, comfortable, contemporary and bright. The only downside was that I didn’t get to spend longer there. Not that you needed to spend any time in your room during the day, of course. There was simply too much to discover around the resort. Actually that goes for the evening too!
Rooms at The Royal are bookable with Marriott Bonvoy points, starting at 45,000 for a standard king room. Cash rates start at around $375 including taxes and the $58 resort fee. You can find out more, and book, here.
Many thanks to Maryam and Kate at Hue & Cry Agency for facilitating my stay.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (December 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 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 Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(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.)