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Review The Cove Atlantis, Autograph Collection Hotels
Overview and Pricing
Atlantis, Bahamas is a large resort made up of 5 different hotels, ranging in level of luxury and of course, price. The Cove is the premier tower and is billed as an “Ultra Luxury Hotel.” I’ve seen the prices range from $450-$1,300 per night, typically being at the higher end of the range when my group goes around New Years Day each year.
You can redeem Marriott Points at the Cove at 45,000 points per night with the 5th night being free, so a 5 night booking will cost you a minimum of 180,000 Marriott points. This year they wanted 230,000 points because I booked it late and were limited on award availability. The different hotels range in price and location. Earlier this year, Shawn reviewed the more budget and family friendly, Beach Towers.
Approximately a 20 minute drive from the airport, Atlantis is located on Paradise Island. Once you reach this sprawling resort, to get to the Cove, you drive a few minutes past the main building known as the Royal Towers. From there, you’ll pull into a circular driveway where hotel staff are waiting to take your bags.
Lobby and Check In
The vibe here is much more exclusive and way less busy than the check in area of Royal Towers. They had some light refreshments available, Strawberry Agua Fresca if I remember correctly and some other coffee/tea options. There was no wait at this particular time because we arrived pretty early and luckily a room was available for us. As a Marriott Gold Member, I was hoping for an upgraded room. They were able to give us a higher floor than the standard rooms for award nights. The basic room is on floors 1-3, we got the same room but on the 11th Floor. Our friends who are Platinum members, got the same room but on the 19th Floor and had some upgrades in the room, like a nicer coffee maker and a cute beach bag.
Once you leave the check-in desk you walk down a large open air corridor, you pass a restaurant, a small lounge with minimal gaming options and a couple of stores until you enter another small lobby area leading to the elevators. Normally I wouldn’t spend this much time reviewing a lobby, but my travel companions thought this was the nicest hotel lobby they’d ever seen.
The hallway leading to the room is well maintained and fits the luxury beach resort theme. Upon entering the room you walk into a small corridor with a closet that holds your safe. The bathroom is spacious and luxurious with 2 sink areas, a large soaking tub, separate stand up shower and closed off toilet area. Gilchrist and Soames toiletries are provided throughout the bathroom (my favorite!). The room is nicely decorated, though I felt the decor could have been more sophisticated and updated. The bed was comfy, spacious and well-situated.
There was also a nice sized balcony with breathtaking views of the resort and beach. There are two decent sized TVs in each room, one being next to the bed and the other being in the seating area across from the couch.
I would say the best feature of these rooms is the bathroom, though they’re definitely missing a vanity for make-up, products and hair care storage. Housekeeping service is very good at The Cove and I never found myself needing anything or being annoyed that no one came.
Food and Beverage Options
In a word: Mediocre. The restaurant exclusive to the Cove, 77 West was a big let down. The bill for a group of 4 with limited apps and 1 alcoholic drink each was around $600. The service was horrible despite the fact that we were seated right in front of the kitchen. The 4 of us spent the entire meal trying to come up with something we liked about it, that’s never a good sign!
ChopStix: Just say NO! We sent back two of four dishes and there was something off about the chicken.
For a more gimmicky restaurant, we went to Carmines. The ravioli was excellent but the chicken parm was not, so I’d stay away from chicken dishes there in the future. Otherwise, we enjoyed the experience and the bread basket.
Seafire Steakhouse was also a very expensive meal ($350+) for two of us, but it was good. Our meal is pictured. It was decent, not $300 decent, but I didn’t walk away too disappointed.
There is one good restaurant though, Virgils! If you get the opportunity to visit this no-frill BBQ joint please get the trainwreck fries. It might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. (Pro Tip: You don’t have to go all the way to the Bahamas to eat Virgil’s Trainwreck Fries, there’s a Virgils in Time Square. I’m no tourist, but it’s worth the trip!)
The casual dining options are pretty decent here. There are many places open during the day surrounding the outdoor pool areas. However, the Cove has it’s own places (with higher prices) where you can get burgers, nachos, salads etc. It’s kind of irritating that they charge more for menu items than the surrounding grills simply because they are inside the Cove. Solution: Walk an extra 15 feet to the closest grill outside the Cove area, save around $3 on each item.
The pool at the Cove is why I’m willing to spend the extra money/points to stay here. There are NO KIDS ALLOWED at the Cove pool and it’s only open to other Cove guests. It’s also just a really beautiful place to spend the day soaking in the sun, listening to the DJ and making friends. Did I forget to mention the delicious drinks that the servers make readily available? Those are another reason you might enjoy the pool. There are also outdoor gaming tables located near the pool. I didn’t get to play at these tables much as the limits were higher than I would like for daytime drinks and gambling- $500 a hand for Black Jack just doesn’t feel very relaxing to me. There were days when the limits were more reasonable.
The Casino is probably my favorite place at Atlantis. It’s a huge casino, in fact, the second largest in the Caribbean (was the largest until Baha Mar officially opened.) They have many table games and slots. There is no poker room for daily play, but they do regularly host poker tournaments in their event spaces. Everything here is well-kept and very well regulated. If you happen to go during football season, do not miss the chance to spend the day in the Vegas style Sportsbook. It’s an excellent experience, even if you’re not betting. The bartenders there make a special drink with strawberry puree that is amazing, I don’t think it has a name, but they’ll know what you mean if you ask for it.
The beach here is beautiful. The area by the Cove has much nicer beach chairs and is accessible to everyone. They have servers offering food and drink as well, which is nice.
The water park and slides are really fun and have great variety. There is a long, lazy floating river for people just looking to relax. There are also some wild water slides for thrill seekers. The one you always see on the commercials is actually as high as it looks and it’s really fast!
As for other water attractions like the shark tank and the sea lions, I try to avoid things like that, so I don’t know enough to comment.
There are shuttles that take you to the different hotels within the resort, with the focal point being the Royal Towers. It’s rare to have to wait very long for a shuttle, but occasionally the wait can be more than 10 minutes and I think they should do a better job of making sure there is always a shuttle within 2 minutes for Cove and Reef guests. For the price you pay to stay here, you should never have to wait more than 5 minutes to be taken back to your room. You can of course walk. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the Royal Towers to The Cove, but it is kind of dark and definitely not something the ladies will want to do in their heels. During the day, walking is the best option.
I really enjoy it here and will probably be back. I say probably because we come to the Bahamas every year around New Years, but this year, we’ll be staying at Baha Mar. If Baha Mar is just as nice and the casino sends me better offers, I can’t make any promises.
My favorite things are the amazing adults only pool, the casino and the beautiful beach. My least favorite things are the ridiculous prices for certain things, the mediocre food and the shuttle. I believe they could make the rooms a bit more luxurious and updated but that’s just being nit-picky.
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