The Bahamas: Players’ Paradise

Whether your clients are dedicated players or simply want to include gaming in a more diverse vacation experience, The Bahamas is an ideal place to roll the dice.

paradise islandThe biggest name in gaming in the islands is also the biggest name in Bahamas travel: Atlantis. Its massive complex combines several different styles of accommodations, a water park, restaurants, nightclubs and, yes, its mammoth casino that’s bigger than anything else in the Caribbean. But it’s not just size that sets gaming at Atlantis apart, says George Markantonis, president and managing director of Atlantis, Paradise Island.

“What really sets us apart is that we tend to attract a broader range of gamer,” he explains. “We tend to have more resources at our disposal to purchase the latest state-of-the-art games. We make sure our slot flow is always refreshed. Every single year, we change out 20 to 25 percent of our slots with the latest and most modern games.”

For clients who’d prefer to do their gaming while enjoying the tropical sunshine, there’s Cain, an outdoor gaming area set next to the swanky adults-only pool area at The Cove. “That is exceptionally popular,” Markantonis says. “There is no other facility like that in the Caribbean. Over the past several years, we’ve been expanding the gaming space there with different types of games, different music, and we’ve finished the cabanas. Cain has turned into such a popular attraction for The Cove, and we’ve had many more high-profile celebrities trying all the time to get in.” But only until it rains, right? Wrong, says Markantonis: “When it first opened, yes, we closed it for rain. But since then, we’ve put in a bar called Seaglass, and we’ve put tables in a section of that bar. When Cain closes at night, those tables open for a smaller, more intimate gaming experience. So in strong wind or inclement weather, when Cain is closed, players can move right around the corner into Seaglass. They won’t have to go all the way back to the main casino.”

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Naturally, the unique settings and constant upgrades attract some serious players. In fact, Atlantis has the only casino in The Bahamas that attracts a large contingent of guests who travel specifically for gaming. Markantonis says that about 25 percent of Atlantis’ revenues come from gaming, and estimates that about half that comes from money spent by high-rollers, who tend to book rooms in the Royal Tower or Coral Tower. “The casino sits between those two towers,” he explains. “Some people like to be right next to the casino.”

The rest of the players, however, are fitting casino time into a broader resort experience—another thing Atlantis is well-suited to provide. Aside from the casino, guests have plenty to do at night. “Obviously, our nightclub scene is very popular, with our state-of-the-art nightclub called Aura, operated by the Pure group, which also operates arguably North America’s most famous nightclub called Pure,” Markantonis says. “Other evening activities include shopping in the marina village, where we have junkanoo festivals. The Bahamas Tourism Board’s junkanoo troupe comes out every Wednesday and Saturday night and creates a festival for us.” Travelers can also play their vacations around the Atlantis Live series of events, which brings performers like Sheryl Crow, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift to the resort to perform.

And that’s just at night. During the day, guests can swim, slide, float and even rock-climb their way through the resort’s 141-acre water park; interact with dolphins, turtles and tropical fish at a variety of marine programs and aquarium sites throughout the resort; or take advantage of its championship golf course, soothing Mandara Spa, or lessons at its tennis facility. “It’s a full entertainment package; we’re not just offering one element,” Markantonis says. “We don’t just target casino customers; we’ve got something for everyone. This is the only place I know of where you can come with three generations of people and everyone has a good time, and maybe not everyone does what the others do.”

Atlantis’ Summer Celebration package lets clients who book a 4-night stay receive the fourth night free, for travel through Sept. 30; kids also stay and play free with the package. Rates at Atlantis start at $270 per room per night. Rates at Coral Towers start at $320; at Royal Towers, $360; and at The Cove, $505.