The Bahamas’ Atlantis Paradise Island Just Turned 25
I remember when Atlantis’ Royal Towers first debuted. I was 13 years old, and as someone who had already been visiting Paradise Island for much of his life, during the days of Merv Griffin Airport and Swanks Pizza and the Paradise Island Casino, it felt like a new wonder of the world.
The size, the scale, the pyramids; the colors; the sea life. It was bigger than life.
Atlantis’ iconic towers opened their doors 25 years ago as a game-changer for The Bahamas and the wider region: The Royal Towers at Atlantis Paradise Island.
The hotel’s launch would almost single-handedly change the tourism fortunes of The Bahamas, vaulting the 700-island archipelago from a favored travel destination to a major Caribbean tourism power.
Sol Kerzner’s masterwork was an unprecedented hotel in 1998, blending monumental design, an immense focus on the marine world and a new kind of hospitality experience.
A quarter-century later, The Royal, as it’s now known, remains a flagship hotel for the wider region, one that continues to get better — from attracting an unrivaled collection of Michelin-starred chefs to a focus on marine conservation that sets a standard for the Caribbean.
To mark the anniversary, The Royal gathered celebrities, VIPs and media from around them world for a celebration, bringing together everyone from Adrien Brody and Marcia Gay Harden to Katie Couric and Tony Danza.
The two-day event was a celebration of the history and enduring significance of the transformative property, beginning with a kick-off dinner at the Michelin-starred Chef Michael White’s new Paranza restaurant at The Cove and concluding with a birthday cake bash at the new Bar Sol inside the recently-reimagined Atlantis Casino.
The 25th Anniversary comes as the hotel has completed a large-scale renovation of all of its rooms and suites, adding a fresh, modern aesthetic anchored in the marine environment of The Bahamas.
It’s also included a dramatic upgrade of its culinary offering, one that now includes Chef Jose Andres’ Fish; Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack (the first in the Caribbean); Chef Alon Shaya’s Silan, which just opened its doors; Chef Michael White’s Paranza; and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s Nobu, among others.
All these years later, now with two young daughters who see (and worship) the hotel through exactly the same prism, I have a deeper understanding of what Kerzner was going for, what he realized, and what the hotel continues to achieve.
Bigger than life. And it still feels that way.
For more, visit Atlantis Paradise Island.