In 1994, Sol Kerzner purchased a languishing Resorts International from entertainer/entrepreneur Merv Griffin. This once-popular jet-set playground on Paradise Island had seen better days, but from the start Kerzner saw its potential. Struck by the beauty of the location, on a lush tropical island with a pristine two-mile white sand beach, Kerzner vowed to build the most engaging and astounding resort the world had ever seen, a place where dreams would be made real and all who experienced it would fall under its mystical spell … whilst having a whole lot of fun in the process.
In 1998, the 1,200-room Royal Towers opened – a major architectural achievement of arches, domes and spires, flanked by soaring towers that appear to have arisen from the sea — based on the myth that inspired them. Millions of dollars were spent commissioning museum-quality art from renowned artists from Europe, Africa, The Bahamas and the United States. The Caribbean’s largest casino was built in the Royal Towers, and contains millions of dollars in art. The most notable of which are Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Sun by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, insured for $1 million apiece. Upon opening, the casino also offered a gaming industry first: a wall of windows – bringing light and the outdoors in.
Following a decade of success, Atlantis, Paradise Island continued its growth as Kerzner International embarked on a third phase of development with its approximately $1 billion expansion in 2007. Adding to Atlantis’ existing 2,317 rooms and the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, the Phase III expansion includes: the luxurious 600-room resort within the resort, The Cove Atlantis; a 497-key condo-hotel, The Reef Atlantis; a 14-acre dolphin habitat and education center, Dolphin Cay; a 63-acre addition to the waterscape, now called Aquaventure and a total of 140 acres; Aura, a nightclub from the operators of PURE, Tangerine and Coyote Ugly in Las Vegas; approximately 100,000 additional square feet of new conference facilities and a total of over 500,000 indoor and outdoor space creating the largest conference space in the Caribbean; and the 30,000 square-foot flagship Mandara Spa.