In 1979, Solomon Kerzner, a businessman and accountant from South Africa,
developed an ambitious resort project in his native country called Sun City. Though
it was beset with controversy due to the country’s then-existing policy of apartheid,
the project proved to be a success. In a span of 10 years, the resort boasted of
four hotels, two golf courses designed by South African legend Gary Player and an
entertainment center that featured world boxing title bouts and performances by the
likes of Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and Liza Minnelli.
The success of the project emboldened Kerzner and his company to expand
internationally. In 1994, the company made its first major acquisition outside its
continent by buying the Paradise Island Resort in Bahamas.
2 Atlantis Paradise Island
Paradise Island Resort used to be a resort hotel with 1,150 rooms. It was already
in bankruptcy in 1994 when Atlantis Resorts, a subsidiary of Kerzner International,
purchased it. The hotel underwent a major redevelopment and expansion as it got
transformed into a 2,300-room resort. It boasts of one of the largest man-made
marine habitats in the world and the biggest casino in the Caribbean.
Guests and visitors in the resort can choose from the following accommodations:
The Beach Tower: This was originally known as the Paradise Beach Hotel.
The Coral Towers: This was originally called the Britannia Beach Hotel.
The Royal Towers: It is considered as one of the most expensive hotels in
the world. Its famous Bridge Suite is available for $25,000 per night, making it
one of the most expensive hotel suites in 2012 as determined by CNN Go.
Harborside Resort: This place is made up of 392 villas. It also has a
restaurant right in front of the harbor. It features other amenities like
a kid’s pool with water fountains, fitness facility, sundry store and 24-hour
The Cove Atlantis: This is an all-suite tower that has 600 rooms to offer.
The Reef: This is a relatively new offering that is made up of condominium
Some of the resort’s main attractions include the following:
Aquaventure: This massive waterscape covers 141 acres and makes use of
760,000 cubic meters of water. It features lazy rivers and rapids, as well as
the centerpiece Power Tower that has four slides. The slides are called The
Abyss, The Drop, The Falls and The Surge. It also has a water ride called
The Current, a mile-long strip with 11,000 cubic meters of water that features
artificial waves and tidal surges.
Mayan Temple Slides: These consist of four slides in the Royal Towers. It
features The Serpent Slide, The Jungle Slide, The Challenger Slides and the
Leap of Faith.
The Dig: The Dig is a series of aquariums meant to give guests a taste of life
in the legendary city of Atlantis. It is the largest open-air marine habitat in the world. It has sharks, manta rays and jellyfishes in its various tanks, as well as sawfishes, barracudas and stingrays in the Predator Lagoon. There is also an acrylic tunnel underwater to give guests a view of the marine environment.
The Marina: The resort’s marina has been especially designed to
accommodate large yachts. It also has a shopping center nearby.
Celebrities have also been regularly doing shows in the resort. Some of the more
famous names who have appeared include Jerry Seinfeld, the Jonas Brothers,
Performances can be staged in either the Imperial Ballroom or at the Atlantis
1 Atlantis, The Palm
Atlantis, The Palm is located in the reclaimed artificial island of Palm Jumeirah in
Dubai. The resort opened in 2008 and features distinctive Arabian elements.
Guests and visitors can choose from the following accommodations:
Royal Towers: This consists of two wings called the East and the West
Towers. It is linked together by The Royal Bridge Suite. The two towers have
1,500 rooms available, all with a private balcony and views over the entire
island and the Persian Gulf.
Imperial Club: This offers exclusive services and a private club lounge. It has
around 150 rooms and suites, all with views of the city skyline and the Arabian
Royal Bridge Suite: This connects the East and West Towers and is located
22 stories high. It offers views of the Dubai skyline, the entire island and the
Underwater Suites: There are two such suites available. Both are three
stories high and offer direct views into the Ambassador Lagoon.
The main attraction of the resort is the 17-hectare water park with its 2.3-kilometer
lazy river ride. Among its features are:
Water Slides: There are seven available, all of which originate from the
Mesopotamian-style Ziggurat temple. The slides stretch up to a height of 30
meters. Two of the slides will lead guests to a lagoon filled with sharks.
The Lost Chambers: This is an underwater exhibit that has over 65,000 sea
creatures on display.
The Ambassador Lagoon: This is a marine habitat that is housed in an
aquarium with over 11 million liters of water. The lagoon has a viewing panel
to allow guests to view the mystical ruins of the lost city.
Dolphin Bay: This is a 4.5-hectare center that aims to educate guests on the
nature of dolphins. There are also shows to allow visitors to interact with the
Beach: The resort also has an inviting stretch of beach. It features 1,900
square meters of retail space.
Restaurants also abound in the resort. There are over 20 eating establishments
offering all kinds of cuisine. Among them are:
Nobu: A Japanese restaurant by the famous chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
Ronda Locatelli: An Italian restaurant created by the renowned Italian chef
Rostang: A French brasserie created by Michelle Rostang. It offers breakfast,
lunch and dinner menus, including the famous Pate en Croute.
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