On Location: Atlantis

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The serene open-air lobby at The Cove at Atlantis, perfect for an upscale group

For more than 20 years, the iconic Bahamas fantasy resort, Atlantis, has managed to go against conventional wisdom and do what they say you can never do: Make everyone happy. That applies to groups as well.

For incentive and high-end corporate groups, The Cove at Atlantis will not disappoint, with richly decorated luxury suites and the newly reimagined Lapis concierge-level club located on the 22nd floor.  

A tub with a view in one of The Cove’s Sapphire Suites

There are a variety of restaurants by Michelin-starred chefs—Chefs Nobu Matsuhisa, José Andres and Michael White—to choose from. While visiting in March, we were able to dine at Matsuhisa’s Nobu and Andres’ Fish in a single three-night trip, and even had a chance to shake hands with Chef White and Chef Matsuhisa, who were on island during Taste of Paradise, Atlantis’ two-week culinary celebration. A single word sums up the experience at all three restaurants: exquisite.

A picture-perfect ending to our dinner at Nobu

Ideal for incentives that welcome children, the resort also offers The Reef Atlantis, with one- or two-bedroom suites and a private zero-entry pool. The highest level of exclusivity is available on the beach by renting a private cabana for the day, complete with its own elegantly appointed living room and bathroom and concierge service, and just steps from the sand. And, of course, the Mandara Spa is also steps away, with facial and body treatments featuring Elemis products and massages combining Eastern and Western methods. Or attendees can choose an alfresco massage with the ocean as a backdrop.

Fascinating sea life surrounds guests at The Dig.

For groups that want to be in the center of the action, there’s The Coral and The Royal (whose East Tower will be fully renovated by the end of this summer and West Tower by late next year), the hub of Atlantis and home to the casino and the lost city-themed indoor aquarium, known as The Dig. In this 2.7-million-gallon marine exhibit, you will find everything from neon jellyfish to fantastical sea horses to monstrous groupers. A 30-minute snorkeling experience lets visitors get up close and personal with its inhabitants. 

Atlantis is a resort of extremes, and the east and west towers of The Royal overlook the world’s largest open-air marine habitat. There’s nothing like the thrill of spotting stingrays, sharks and sea turtles in the lagoons right below your bedroom window. There are hours of entertainment just steps away, including no fewer than 8 water slides, topped off by The Abyss, a 200-ft body-slide that sends risk-takers 50 feet straight down into a lagoon. 

Swimming with Canela the sea lion at Atlantis’ Dolphin Cay

We were able to tour the back of the house to see the attention that goes into the care and feeding of these sea creatures, as well as a hospital that is used to rehabilitate sick and orphaned fish, reptiles and crustaceans. The resort ‘s 14-acre Dolphin Cay, located right on property, is also the Caribbean’s top marine animal rehabilitation facility. We met some of its first-ever inhabitants, who were brought here when their home in Gulfport, Miss., was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and will never forget our sea lion swim, which also educated us on these sweet and lovable mammals.

Best of all, a portion of the revenue from each swim helps fund the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to sustaining and protecting marine life, coral reefs and the surrounding oceans. 

As massive as this resort is, so is its event space, with 500,000 sf of indoor and outdoor options, including the 50,000-sf Imperial Ballroom for groups of up to 4,000, along with 30 other meeting rooms and 5 boardrooms with bright and beautiful Caribbean motifs. Groups can use a different outdoor venue every evening for dinner or receptions, with 21 different locations along the beach and nestled among the waterscapes.

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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.