Peter Grace, UK & Europe regional sales & marketing director, Atlantis, Paradise Island
What’s new for the resort this year?
“2017 marks a year of huge change for Atlantis, Paradise Island and this kick started in June with the launch of a fresh new brand positioning. Enhancing the guest experience by focusing on the heritage and culture of The Bahamas, Atlantis has been supporting the local community with its “Come to Life” positioning which aims to nurture and promote the Bahamian creative community. As a platform for showcasing the authenticity of its locale, as well as the oral and visual history of the country, ‘Come to Life’ offers local talent the opportunity to share their work with the world. Atlantis will work with Bahamian artists, musicians and designers to showcase this initiative, working it into every aspect of the resort so that guests feel and understand the culture of the island.
We have already seen several introductions to support the ‘Come to Life’ campaign, one of which is this year’s debut of ‘Discover Junkanoo’, an event dedicated to educating guests on Bahamian heritage and encouraging them to celebrate it. Discover Junkanoo happens every Friday night and families staying at Atlantis are invited to learn its history from enthusiast, historian, and Principal of Bahamian Educulture, Arlene Nash Ferguson. Guests will have an authentic Bahamian meal, partake in a Junkanoo dance lesson and create colourful costumes to express themselves through design. The “Junkanoo Shack” will serve as the hub in which guests can create unique costumes using finely cut crepe paper, wire and cardboard to custom-design a mask or headpiece for the “Rush Out” later that evening. Guests can then join the official Junkanoo parade every Saturday.
Atlantis’ culinary experiences are also taking inspiration from the authenticity of the locale with the two brand new restaurant introductions. Sip Sip is the famed Harbour Island restaurant and it will open its first outpost at the ultra-exclusive The Cove at Atlantis on Paradise Island this November. Bahamian Chef Julie Lightbourn will bring her “Caribterranean” menu – “Bahamian but with a twist” – to The Cove’s brand new redesigned poolscape overlooking The Cove and Paradise Beaches. This exciting news is accompanied by a second restaurant introduction, Fish by José Andrés, which will also open at The Cove at Atlantis in early 2018. This unique seafood-focused concept will celebrate the delectable abundance of fish and seafood from the azure waters of the Bahamas and Caribbean Sea, delivering an unmatched dining experience for resort guests as well as locals.
In line with celebrating the ocean, Atlantis continues its important role within marine conservation, immersing guests in educational experiences that highlight the plight of many endangered species. The resort has partnered with the Sea Turtle Conservancy on a new project called Tour De Turtles, which brings awareness of the dangers sea turtles face, allowing guests to get involved by sponsoring a leatherback turtle. Another popular area of the resort, Dolphin Cay, has also broadened its offering for guests with a range of brand new sunrise activities including relaxing options such as paddleboard yoga, sea kayaking and sea snorkelling.
And last but not least, Atlantis has begun a transformation of its hotels. Each will have its own unique brand proposition and will target a specific audience: from families to couples with uber luxury options. The first hotel to undergo a redevelopment is the Coral Towers, which will fully open in November to become The Coral at Atlantis. Following a £21 million renovation, The Coral at Atlantis will introduce a cutting edge offering with creative amenities to enhance the resort’s status as a top family-friendly travel destination. The hotel will include contemporary rooms and suites, a brand new lobby and a sparkling blue and white pool scape designed by renowned architect, Jeffrey Beers of Jeffrey Beers International.
And all of this is just the start!”
With Baha Mar opening this year, how does the new brand position set Atlantis Paradise Island apart?
“With over 20 years of amazing holiday experiences, Atlantis has certainly evolved and it will continue to do so well in to 2018. We have a brand new vision and that is to take the existing amazing ocean-themed facilities that Atlantis, Paradise Island already offers and intertwine them with a truly authentic Bahamian experience. We want all guests to head home with a sense of having gotten under the skin of the Bahamas and to that end, we will differentiate ourselves from the Baha Mar resort.
It’s also worth noting that Atlantis appeals to a more multi-generational audience – we have something for all tastes and interests. Our offering appeals to everyone from families with young children and teenagers through to wedding and honeymooning couples.”
How do you feel about the competition?
“Baha Mar has been a huge project and it’s been in the making for some time now. We welcome the competition, it adds a new element to the offering of the Bahamas and will certainly work well to attract increased direct flight access and new visitors to the island.
Atlantis, Paradise Island has taken on a new life, we’re repositioning and aim to breathe new life into our amazing resort. This will mean our same fantastic facilities are enhanced with the spirit of the Bahamas. We are confident that Atlantis Paradise Island offers a world class stand out experience and these new developments will only serve to enhance that, immersing guests in a wonderfully enriching environment.
Atlantis doesn’t offer a generic, relaxing holiday, we’re well on the road to moving towards a cultural and truly memorable holiday experience.”
What would be your advice to travel agents looking to sell Atlantis, Paradise Island in the UK?
“The key issue is to understand the Atlantis product offering to the full. As the Caribbean’s single largest resort destination, to many agents it can seem a daunting prospect to sell to clients.