The Atlantis resorts in the Bahamas and Dubai boast a level of ingeniousness, creativity and passion for detail not seen outside Disney and Universal Studios theme parks. The creator is South African entrepreneur Sol Kerzner, a modern day Walt Disney who doesn't just imitate what's already out there, but seeks inspiration from primordial nature itself. 'Blow away the customer', that's Kerzner's core value No 1 as stated on his website. And he does.
The Atlantis Bahamas Paradise Island Resort is worth the trip from anywhere in the US and even worth risking deep vein thrombosis on flights from Europe and Asia. Why? Because you will feel like a kid again as you explore this surprise-filled hotel-turned-theme park.
Look! Here's a rope bridge dangling perilously above a pool filled with hammerhead sharks. And whoah! Check out this tunnel beneath the bar which goes through a massive, barracuda-infested aquarium. And hey! There are stingrays lurking in the pool next to the hot dog stand! And look at the water slides in the Mayan Temple over here! No wait, there are even crazier ones in this futuristic looking tower! Let's slide the dark one. Wow, that was fast! Where am I now? Trapped in a pool in an underground cave with more hidden aquariums. Phew, back to the hotel lobby, but what are the giant Mantay Rays doing there? Listening to the conversation of passers-by: 'Did you swim with the dolphins already?' 'No, I just did the shark pool slide!' 'The slow one or the fast one?' Oh! Wow! Hey! Argh! Man!
With the sheer amount of attractions and brilliant water slides you might forget that there is a beach and a casino as well. However, unlike in Atlantis Dubai, you have to be a resort guest to access the aquariums and water park features. But it's worth the investment.
The Atlantis resorts are the best themed water parks in the world and beat even the Disney water parks in their opulence. Hopefully Sol Kerzner will turn to another tax-free jurisdiction to bestow a third Atlantis resort on us. If he built one in Antarctica, I would go.