My picture threads consist of images I have taken that focus on the architecture, landscape architecture, planning, design, and theming of the facilities highlighted. They may also contain short descriptions and commentary, but will not focus on construction progress or special events or memorabilia or food selections or my traveling companions. Hopefully these threads are a good introduction for those who have not seen these places yet. All killer, no filler!
Atlantis photographed in December 2009:
This large imaginative resort is a fantasy recreation of the mythical lost civilization first described in ancient Greece that was reported to be a technologically advanced society situated on an island that sank into the ocean. The resort is composed of multiple themed hotel and condo towers as well as a casino, shops, large aquariums and lagoons filled with fish, swimming pools, a waterpark, a swim-with-dolphins park, a marina, and convention facilities; all of it set amidst lush gardens and along several beaches on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, connected by short bridges to the nearby New Providence Island and the country's largest city, Nassau. Much of the resort is nicely themed and detailed, and many of its aquatic attractions are among the best of their kind. The design architect for much of the project was Wimberley Allison Tong and Goo, a large firm specializing in resort properties; theme park fans may be most interested that they designed Anaheim Gardenwalk, Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, and the Venetian Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. They have also designed the newer Atlantis property on Palm Jumeirah in Dubai.
The grounds are dominated by five separate hotel tower clusters (one with condos) and a majority of the resort's rooms are located in these. Two (the Beach Tower and Coral Towers) are rather plain modern structures that predate the resort and were renovated and rethemed on the interiors before being folded into the property. Another two (The Cove and The Reef) are recent additions that simplify and modernize the theme. The central cluster is the showpiece Royal Towers, two highrises connected by a high bridge that is a hotel suite. This building acts as the hub from which the grounds and other towers radiate, and to which the casino and shops and marina and the major aquarium attraction connect.
Great Hall of Waters:
This rotunda and adjacent arched room is the main lobby of the Royal Towers and features aquarium windows into Ruins Lagoon on its lower level.
The large casino is centered around the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon, with glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly. An adjoining bar called Dragons features large seahorse sculptures.
This extensive aquarium attraction is entered from the Great Hall of Waters and is centered around a very large 2.7 million gallon habitat for fish, rays, and sharks called Ruins Lagoon which is partially viewed from the lobby as well. 13 smaller aquariums line the dark passageways that compose this wonderfully themed set of exhibits which inhabit recreated chambers of the lost city. The fantasy backstory is that it was first discovered by archaeologists in the 1920's but their efforts came to an end and were forgotten during the Depression. When the resort began construction in 1997, they rediscovered the passageway to the original dig and its well-preserved discoveries. Now it is open for touring, and is filled with lavish detail; ancient Atlantean artifacts that prove their advanced technologies line the hallways and rooms as well as the interiors of the aquariums. After exiting the main interior portion, upper walkways surround the top of the Ruins Lagoon for surface viewing. Theme park fans may be interested that this exhibit's show designer is a firm called Olio that also designed some of the wild signage for the Universal Citywalks in Hollywood and Orlando as well as many of the signs in Disney's California Adventure's Hollywood Pictures Backlot.
The scenic Lagoon Bar domed canopy leads to underwater views and a tunnel through this large lagoon with sharks and other large fish in another part of the resort. At the far end of the lagoon is Predator Falls and Rope Suspension Bridge which crosses the habitat. Elsewhere on the grounds are 8 other shallow lagoons viewed from surface walkways for smaller sharks, rays, and turtles.
Royal Baths Pool:
There are three formal swimming pools at the resort, including this one located at the end of a formal landscape axis from the Royal Towers that includes a raised fountain with a flying fish sculpture group.
Typical of the six lagoon style swimming pools is this one that is in an area that also includes a small lazy river and surrounded by some of the aquatic lagoon exhibits.
Aquaventure Swimming Pools:
Three other lagoon style pools are located in the resort's waterpark area called Aquaventure, including The Baths Pool (dotted with Atlantean columns), Grotto Pool (with a large rocky waterfall backdrop), and Mayan Temple Pool.
The Current and Climber's Rush:
Aquaventure also features an exciting not-so-lazy river where riders are propelled by waves and sent down small rapids and through caves on a large looping circuit that also connects to a few of the pools. A themed structure that generates the waves for The Current doubles as a climbing surface called Climber's Rush.
Aquaventure has two centerpieces, one of which is this themed structure that playfully recreates what the lost city's energy generation center may have looked like. It is actually a stairway up to platforms for the beginning of four thrilling waterslides that include several with uphill water-propelled sections. The show designer for this attraction was also Olio.
One of the splashdown areas for a Power Tower waterslide is in a subterranean cave from behind a waterfall into a pool surrounded by two aquariums with exotic river and lake fish.
The other centerpiece of Aquaventure is this tower reached by stairs that features four more waterslides, two of which plummet through enclosed clear tubes inside a large aquarium filled with sharks. Two children's pools and play areas are located nearby with a similar theme. It is a nicely detailed attraction but is at odds with the rest of the resort's theme.
The resort's swim-with-dolphins attraction is a restricted-access 14 acre area of 3 large lagoons, reached through an entry building adjoining the rest of the grounds.