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Atlantis Resort in Bahamas expands

Atlantis guests ride tubes through a series of rapids along the new Aquaventure Current ride at the Atlantis resort hotel, on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
Atlantis guests ride tubes through a series of rapids along the new Aquaventure Current ride at the Atlantis resort hotel, on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.Tim Aylen / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

Atlantis, Paradise Island is known for its water slides and fantastical pink towers, and is consistently rated by travel magazines as one of the Caribbean's most child-friendly resorts.

Now the mega-resort is catering to more grown-up tastes with a new hotel, The Cove Atlantis.

Set apart from three interconnected hotel towers, The Cove has an adult-only swimming pool, a nightclub-inspired cabana area, and sleek interiors with lighting and music that shift throughout the day to capture different moods.

"The idea here was could you have a level of privacy and sophistication and still enjoy the amenities of Atlantis," said John Conway, the Cove's general manager.

The 600-suite hotel, which opened March 28, is part of a $1 billion expansion and brings the number of rooms at Atlantis to nearly 3,000. Atlantis covers three-quarters of Paradise Island, an 800-acre island just off the capital, Nassau.

The Cove's exterior has the familiar, scallop-like decorations from the original resort, but inside it emphasizes design more than its sister properties, where the arcade-style spaces are filled with boutiques and restaurants. The suites overlooking the ocean range from $735 a night to $15,000 for the penthouse, including a private maid and butler. (Rates are lower at the Atlantis, Paradise Island.)

Amenities at The Cove include celebrity chef Bobby Flay's first Mesa Grill restaurant outside the United States. The new 32,000-square-foot spa offers manicures with a copper-hued Essie nail polish currently available only at The Cove.

Playful new additions at the resort including a swim-with-dolphins attraction and a water park called Aquaventure keep up the theme of Atlantis as a fantasy land, modeled on the legendary lost continent.

From chic to rustic, expensive to affordable, tourists looking for some sun and sand can find what they're looking for in the Caribbean.

Atlantis is billing Aquaventure as one of the largest water-themed attractions in the world, at more than 20 million gallons of water over 63 acres. The park includes a mile-long river ride and a 120-foot tall tower with four water slides.

Aquaventure is an addition to the resort's original waterscape, which includes saltwater lagoons, pools and aquariums that are home to more than 50,000 marine animals.

Launched by South African developer Sol Kerzner in 1994, Atlantis employs 7,800 people, making it the largest private employer by far in the Bahamas. The government approved the plan for the expansion in 2003, agreeing to operate fire and ambulance facilities on Paradise Island and extend casino tax concessions for more than a decade.

Atlantis is the flagship resort of Kerzner International, which develops and operates casinos and hotels. It has stakes in five resorts in Mauritius, one in Mexico and manages a resort in Dubai.