The bright pink hotel resort right on the beach with temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius, bars in the water and water slides with sharks

Descending through a tunnel that plunges you into a pool of ominous-looking sharks is not my normal idea of ​​fun.

But at Atlantis Bahamas, vacationers line up every day for this experience.

Atlantic Bahamas is fun for the whole family
The Royal at Atlantis Bahamas resort, one of five hotels in the 400-acre Atlantis resortCredit: supplied

This is Leap of Faith, a steep flume and one of the most famous attractions at this fun family resort on Nassau.

Of course, you’ll be protected by a clear plastic tube as you speed through the shark tank – but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying when you catch a faint glimpse of the Jaws-esque fins

However, this is exactly why families come to visit.

After all, where else can you swim with sharks, gamble in a Vegas-style casino and pet dolphins while sunning yourself on a balmy island in the Caribbean?

The vacation spot is so luxurious that A-listers including Beyonce, Jay-Z and Oprah Winfrey have stayed here.

And to top it all off, The Royal, one of five hotels in the 400-acre Atlantis resort, celebrated its 25th anniversary last year with festivities and a big party with performances by CeeLo Green.

My friend Floss and I stayed in a double room at The Royal hotel, a few floors down from the famous $25,000-a-night Michael Jackson suite, named after the singer who opened the resort 26 years ago.

Our spacious room had a Juliette balcony overlooking Nassau Harbor, which welcomed a new mega cruise ship every morning for us to ogle.

The balcony also provided us with an excellent vantage point from which to explore the site, or at least part of it; the size of this place has to be seen to be believed.

With just 4,000 rooms, it occupies a large part of Paradise Island, just off Nassau, and completely overshadows other resorts on the island.

The hotel in Spain has been named the best in the Mediterranean by TUI

Each area is themed and some spots are restricted to certain guests, such as The Cove with its beachside cabanas – a celebrity hotspot – and The Reef, more of a residential area with one and two-bedroom suites.

Both have a higher price than Atlantis’ other hotels, but I’d save your money and opt for The Royal – which is located in the main hub, central to the resort – or The Coral, the most affordable of them all and best suited to families.

One visit to the pool bar at the Coral pool, which serves frozen cocktails with candied cherries at any time of the day, and we immediately fell into holiday mode.

For a sip of something local, be sure to try a Bahama Mama, made with two types of rum, pineapple juice and orange juice.

When our waiter saw our exhausted faces the next day, he just laughed and advised with a knowing grin, “Be careful! The rum is strong here.”

Barely a day went by before we decided that walking around the resort on foot in 90 degree heat was a waste of energy.

There are many options for those who want to delve into Bahamian culture

Instead, we opted to use the River Rapids as transportation around the vast site.

The floating water attraction starts at one end and loops around to the other end with multiple entry and exit points so you can grab a rubber ring, jump on and float to your desired destination.

It’s safe to say that life is incredibly relaxed at Atlantis Bahamas, which is just one of the reasons so many American vacationers come there year after year – and its proximity to the United States.

It won’t surprise you to hear that there are several Starbucks restaurants throughout the resort, as well as a Shake Shack and a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop.

And of course, there are many options for those who want to delve into Bahamian culture.

Underground aquarium

Fancy? Order a tasting menu at Fish by Jose Andres, which serves local delicacies such as conch, a tropical sea snail that you can taste cold in a salad or warm in a sticky fritter.

If you miss home and European food, head to the marina region.

The area, which could easily be mistaken for a beautiful port town on the Spanish coast, acts as a border between the public area and multi-million pound yachts that dock in the harbour.

However, the boats are not staged purely for aesthetics.

Sophie, right, enjoying a drink in the pool with friend Floss
Splash out on the safari slide

We were told that many wealthy travelers, including pop star Nick Jonas, stop here when they sail the Western Atlantic.

Grab a seat at one of the outdoor tables of the many restaurants and spend the evening gazing at the gleaming ship decks and glittering lights.

Just when we thought we had discovered everything the resort had to offer, we stumbled upon a new route back to our room via a huge underground aquarium.

The Dig is home to 20,000 deep reef fish and you can attend free feeding sessions.

If you’re keen to get closer to some of the finned creatures, little ones aged three to six can attend the free Sea Squirts school.

There they can learn about marine life and hand-feed baby stingrays, while brave adults can squeeze into a wetsuit and bubble helmet and stroll across the floor of the shark tank as the sharp-toothed fish circle above you.

During our six-day visit we barely scratched the surface of the vast and strange range of activities on offer.

Read more about the Irish sun

How can I best describe Atlantis Bahamas?

I guess if Disneyland and Sea Life were to have a baby, this would be it.

The relaxing coral pool
Float through a shark tank in an underwater tube

GA: Atlantis Bahamas

GET THERE: British Airways flies direct from Heathrow to Nassau, Bahamas, from £588 return.

The airline is having a sale until May 14, offering discounts on flights in 2024 and 2025.


STAY THERE: Rooms at The Royal Atlantis cost an average of £282 per night, based on a four-night stay in August, including up to $300 resort credit.

A family room at The Coral Atlantis costs from around £187 per night, based on four people sharing.