The hulking, coral-pink fantasy castle of the Bahamas’ only megaresort is visible from miles away (by land or sea); the towers don’t just dominate the Bahamian skyline, they are the skyline. In terms of size, glitz, and hype, billionaire developer Sol Kerzner’s property dwarfs every other in the commonwealth: the main resort has some 2,300 guest rooms, a massive casino, a 63-slip marina filled with luxury yachts, 40-odd restaurants and bars, and too many activities and entertainment options to count (did we mention the 63-acre waterpark?). It’s Disney on the Caribbean, and there are plenty of folks—especially families with kids, and even visiting high rollers like Michael Jordan and Britney Spears—who are just fine with that. Those wanting access to the snazziness without being in the middle of it will prefer The Cove Atlantis, a separate resort within the resort that opened in March 2007. The glamour here is lower-key, with 600 elegant, clean-lined suites (as opposed to the tropical whimsy that prevails at the main resort). The cavernous Mandara Spa, and the fact that no kids under 12 are permitted in certain areas, make this the one part of Atlantis where you’ll feel relaxed rather than dazzled.
Tip: If you tire of the uppity cuisine (and prices) at on-site restaurants like Nobu and Mesa Grill, go for a pastrami on rye at the goofy, New York-esque Murray’s Deli.
Room to Book: If the knockout Bridge Suite (featured in the film After the Sunset) is out of your price range, head for rooms in the Reef Atlantis complex, which is right off the beach.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.