Coming across the bridge from Nassau into Atlantis, a massive resort destination on the appropriately named Paradise Island is like stepping into another world. Without being isolated from the city, there’s a marked change in the vibe. Things slow down. People are quick to offer a casual “Hello.” The heat seems to drop off. Nothing changes upon entering the lobby at The Reef either. The resort complex’s residential tower welcomes with an understated, five-star elegance that bodes well for the rest of a stay. Of course, owners know that.
The Reef is the newest addition to the Atlantis complex. Its 497 designer residential suites face a stretch of Paradise Beach tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the resort. To stroll down to the beach and wade into the crystal clear water you’d never know you had neighbours of any kind. If it’s peace and quiet you’re seeking, you’ll find it. Of course, if you feel like a night of clubbing, you’ll find that too.
“This is a global resort destination. Everyone wants to be here — black, white, Jewish, Catholic, European, Asian … We’re able to cater to everyone,” notes Madeline Wilkinson, a Reef sales executive. “It’s a huge draw for families and offshore banking makes [The Bahamas] a business destination.” As with most hotel residences, there’s a rental programme that owners can take advantage of. The Reef doesn’t guarantee returns, but with tourism making up the bulk of the Bahamian economy, occupancy isn’t much of an issue. At present, Atlantis is also the primary destination on Nassau and Paradise Island.
The Reef’s suites are outfitted with a combination of subtle marbles, warm woods and neutral modern furnishings — not a problem when vibrant colour surrounds you on all sides, from water to sand to sky. Junior suites, approximately 525 square feet, are equipped with kitchenettes; one- (975 square feet) and two-bedroom (1,500 square feet) units feature full kitchens as well as private laundry facilities. All suites come with balconies, most facing the ocean. Access to Atlantis’ fitness centre is included but The Reef has a dedicated gym (and business centre and boardroom) for owners, which is off limits even to Reef guests.
Purchases at The Reef include a host of owner benefits in addition to the Bahamas’ standard residency and tax benefits. Residents and owners are entitled to a whopping 90 days of use per year, and access to all the amenities the resort has to offer at the other three hotels. The complex’s Royal, Coral and Beach Towers hotels offer up plenty of family-friendly entertainment — indoor and outdoor — as well as a casino if you’re not lounging in one of the 12 pools. The complex has nearly 40 restaurants from Nobu to a New York style casual deli (Murray’s), standard as well as al fresco dining (Lagoon Bar and Grill is a great option if views of the local ocean life appeal), and a full-service Mandara Spa provides services at a 15 percent discount for owners — at the spa or in your suite. For golfers, the nearby Ocean Club Golf Course offers Reef owners preferred tee times.
But it’s not all gaming, shopping and dining. The Reef and Atlantis have a broad conservation policy toward one of the country’s greatest assets: The Bahamas is notable for its breathtaking natural beauty, reefs and wildlife, and Dolphin Cay at Atlantis is a must-see if you’ve ever been impressed by Ocean Park. Owners also enjoy preferred yacht charter rates for day excursions in the waters around Paradise Island. If excitable kids aren’t your thing — and kids do love Dolphin Cay — the upscale 600-room The Cove is a decidedly five-star hotel experience, from its restaurants, exclusive pools and mobile gaming. Reef residents get to choose from among all of it.
The Reef’s location on Paradise Island, a 20-minute ferry ride from Nassau, could potentially put it in direct competition with the upcoming Baha Mar at Cable Beach. Is Wilkinson worried? Not at all. She’s confident the Bahamas has plenty of appeal to go around and believes Atlantis is a brand unto itself. “Atlantis is well marketed — there are concerts and shows. They can transform the convention centre into anything for any occasion.” True enough, past shows have included live comedy and concerts by Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Rihanna. And Justin Bieber. If you consider that a good thing.
Prices at The Reef range from US$695,000 for junior suites; $1.26 million for one-bedroom suites; and $1.96 for two-bedroom combined units. There is also a property tax exemption for owners in the rental programme.