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Paradise Found: The Cove Atlantis on Paradise Island Harbors
a Romantic Bahamian Escape
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by Bernard Burt, SpaGoer columnist and author, September 2007

Forget everything you've heard about the Atlantis Resort.

With the opening of The Cove last spring, Atlantis rose to new heights of luxury and romance. The legendary family resort and casino now sports Paradise Island's first adult-only pool at The Cove, plus a pristine beach. With our teenager Sara in tow, we went tubing at the aquatic adventure whitewater rapids. Evenings were for culinary adventures by Bobby Flay at Mesa Grill, sumptuous buffet at Mosaic restaurant.

Adding a new dimension to the Bahamian resort created by South African hotelier Sol Kerzner, The Cove, a 22-story all-suites hotel, plus 495-unit Condotel developed by Turnberry Associates, appeals to adults as well as families.

The Cove Atlantis became our private world. Set amid lush gardens and waterfalls, the all-suite hotel is decadent with creature comforts, bold in design and totally service-oriented. At the adult-only pool, a Bahamas beat heats up action, or you can retreat to a luxe beach cabana. Amenities go over the top at The Club, a concierge level with lounge overlooking the ocean, where 12 is the minimum age. The split-level suites have twin showers in glass enclosures, full-size bathtub, wall-to-wall marble (slippery when wet), flat-screen TV and DVD player.

Whisked from Nassau's Lynden Pindling Airport by deluxe limo, we unwound at first sight of the turquoise waters surrounding Paradise Island. No matter how many times I return to the Bahamas, the colors of the ocean dazzle, erasing stress. But the panoramic view from our suite's floor-to-ceiling window wall was almost surreal: a jungle of palm trees and flowering hibiscus surrounds mystical towers, a river for floating rapids, swimming pools and picture-perfect beaches.

For romantic couples, Mandara Spa at Atlantis provides an exotic hideaway for body and soul in a dramatic new villa. Brilliantly designed treatment rooms and hydrotherapy pools reflect the romance of Bali and the Bahamas. Two years in the making, Mandara Spa's new flagship has been a labor of love for Nassau native Youlanda Devaux, Regional Vice-President of Mandara Spa Bahamas Ltd. Working with her corporate design team in Florida, Youlanda saw dreams materialize as carved wooden furniture and hand-made fixtures arrived from Bali to enhance the two-story structure. A forest of bamboo was sculpted in acrylic to grace the water feature that frames the entrance. The new nail salon glows with colors of the island. Steps away, an air-conditioned fitness center features adult-only lap pool.

Introducing YSpa for the tween generation, Mandara Spa at Atlantis treats young spagoers while parents relax. According to 14-year-old Sara Thacker from Maryland, treatments were 'fab'.  As well as Dolphin Cay, where for $200 you can swim and interact with amazing dolphins at a marine mammal study center supported by the Kerzner Foundation. Afternoons were for tubing Aquaventure, a 63-acre waterpark with raging rapids and water slides, climbing wall, shark-filled aquarium.

Tapping into this tropical energy, Mandara Spa treatments meld indigenous island fruits with European beauty expertise. Think lime-ginger face masque. Opt for a private villa suite for two, and enjoy a full or half-day of holistic treatments. The two-level spa has a salon for hair and nail care, soaking pools, color-themed relaxation lounges aglow with acrylic-sculpted bamboo, waterfalls, marble floors and hand-carved Balinese woodwork. It was the best of both worlds, a fusion of East and West with Elemis products in the caring hands of island native Christine Gomez. Our inner sanctum featured a jetted hydrotherapy tub, rainfall shower, twin massage tables, and even a private bathroom - total privacy. My treatments began with an Oriental tradition - ”weary travelers' feet are soaked, scrubbed and relaxed. As I drifted off to spa bliss, Christine worked on me from head to toes. The finishing touch: lavender-infused bath, followed by herbal tea and fruit.

Exploring Atlantis by free shuttle bus, we strolled a Bahamian village of shops and restaurants at the yacht-filled marina, tried our luck at the Casino, and enjoyed a close encounter with dolphins at the resort's new marine mammal habitat, Dolphin Cay. For a taste of tradition, The Cove concierge arranged dinner at the elegant Ocean Club, plus treatments at Mandara Spa's garden villas, exclusive to this One&Only resort.

It was the best of both worlds.

About the Author: Founding director of the International Spa Association (ISPA), Bernard Burt's publications include '100 Best Spas of the World' for The Globe Pequot Press. His SpaGoer column appears in Healing Lifestyles & Spas magazine, Spa Management Journal, and on the Web: www.SpaGoer.com

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Contact:

Bernard Burt
 Biburt@aol.com

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Also See: China's First Heavenly Spa by Westin Creates Oasis in Beijing Wall Street / July 2007
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