Atlantis Freshens Appeal for Meeting Planners

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Atlantis Bahamas Lobby
lobby, Atlantis Bahamas

A woman in a group of media visitors shares a quick “kiss” with a resident of Dolphin Cay, the 14-acre marine habitat at Atlantis Paradise Island where rescued dolphins and other sea creatures rest and rejuvenate in a vast shallow-water pool. It’s an “awwww” moment — and an important part of Atlantis’ value proposition for groups and others visiting the Bahamas resort. Where else can dolphins, sea lions and stingrays form the backdrop for the brunch buffet at the company meeting? “The resort experience is supposed to take you to someplace you don’t go every day,” says John Washko, vice president of group marketing and sales. Done and done. Atlantis, which is being acquired by Marriott International and will become part of the company’s Autograph Collection in the fall, has freshened rooms and suites in two of its luxury towers and created a new outdoor venue for mid-size groups. Washko talked about group options in one of The Cove’s elegant but understated Sapphire suites, where floor-to-ceiling windows draw in the sublime Caribbean view. The windows also show the enormity of it all: 3,400 rooms and suites in five towers, each tower designed to offer its own distinct experience. “Having a lot to offer is fantastic, but it’s not without its challenges,” Washko says. “We recognize this can be a confusing product to take in. When you [as a planner] look at 141 acres of this property, you say, ‘That’s a lot for me to be able to answer questions about.’” So Atlantis executives are doing what they can to anticipate the questions. They’ve made the meetings section of their website simpler and more intuitive, with an interactive map of the property. They’ve added a dash of fun to personalize the scale of this massive property. A group might be greeted by a scuba diver holding a “Welcome!” sign in an aquarium—or even by the group’s own submerged CEO. The most recent lure for groups arrived in late 2013: Ocean’s Edge at The Cove, the resort’s 22nd outdoor venue. The private beach-side space for groups of 200 or more is flexibly designed to host an executive board meeting as easily as an employee recognition dinner. Atlantis also spent $8 million freshening the décor and amenities of rooms in the Coral and Royal towers of The Cove, which is the “resort within a resort.” The resort’s 21 dining choices include the group-friendly Olives, the signature Mediterranean restaurant of celebrated chef Todd English. It arrived in June 2013 and includes two private dining rooms accommodating 14 or 34 people. Groups also enjoy relaxing in the casino lounge, The Moon Club, where offerings include signature cocktails, extensive collections of wine and craft beer and a choice array of cigars. Several other restaurants are the creations of celebrity chefs, including Nobu (by Nobu Matsuhisa), Café Martinique (by Jean-Georges Vongerichten) and the Mesa Grill (by Bobby Flay). If your group is simply in the mood for a relaxed, family-style dinner, you can’t beat the Italian classics served at Carmine’s. It’s the natural surroundings that really sell meetings at Atlantis, howeever. “Very few of our groups do not utilize some form of the natural space,” Washko says. “You don’t have to worry about dressing it up because we’ve dressed it up for you.”

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