Five Questions With Atlantis, Paradise Island President Howard C. Karawan

The Coral at Atlantis Queen Room
Coral Towers Queen Room at Atlantis, Paradise Island

As part of our “Five Questions With…” series, Travel Agent chats with Howard C. Karawan, president and managing director of Atlantis, Paradise Island.

Here’s what he had to say about the resort’s new “Come to Life” campaign, the new Coral Towers at Atlantis and other happenings at the resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas

 

1. Please tell our readers all about the new “Come to Life” campaign, and why should agents care? 

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The world has changed since Atlantis first opened. Businesses must now partner with their communities to achieve shared sustainable success. We needed to bring the soul and richness of our location and our people to the forefront.  

It already existed at Atlantis - in our connection to the ocean, the marine life and most importantly, embedded in each of our 7,500 Bahamian associates. The stories were here, waiting to be told. We always knew Atlantis was in the Bahamas, but what we forgot is that the Bahamas is in Atlantis. 

By encouraging our team to share their stories and let their personalities shine, we have seen inspirational moments between the Bahamian spirit and our guests. In doing so we are imbuing our people, and Bahamians in general, with a sense of pride and empowerment. 

“Come to Life” is a visual journey that provides an intimate peek into the spirit of the Bahamas through the soul of 15 Bahamian artists, musicians and designers and is a celebration of the people, the culture, values and heritage – the unique Bahamian spirit.  

We have launched a commitment to storytelling, preserving the oral and visual history of the country and creating a platform for Bahamian makers to share their works with the world. “Come to Life” is the shared mission storytelling platform and the first dispatch of the cultural movement.

Atlantis attracts a wide range of guests - whether it is families, couples, destination weddings, or groups for a meeting or conference – and we have the ability to deliver various experiences that fit each travelers’ needs. We invite agents and their clients to join in on our journey as we embark on our new era. Both agents and their clients can get a good sense of this transformation on our brand new website: www.atlantisbahamas.com.

2. With not only Baha Mar on the verge of opening, but with other new Bahamas resorts such as the recently-opened Warwick Paradise Island - Bahamas, how important is it for Atlantis to stay fresh, especially in this day and age where people are looking for out-of-the-box offerings? 

We’ve taken a step back to look to the future of Atlantis and truly understand what motivates today’s travelers to choose a destination. We are naturally evolving the property to stay fresh and relevant, and provide a sense of place.  

Offering our guests the spirit and culture of the Bahamian people and an immersive connection with the ocean is the core of our product and needed to be the foundation of our impact. We recently launched weekly Junkanoo Bahamian Fest+Feast where guests can discover Junkanoo, a 500+ year-old cultural and meaningful traditional parade filled with dancers and musicians deeply rooted in Bahamian history. Junkanoo is a celebratory expression in music, hand created costumes and dance that represents the “true self” of each participant. 

In March, we started Art Walk, a market every other Saturday where guests can support local Bahamian artisans as well as sample locally grown and made products. Marina Village will continue to feature seasonal festivals featuring performances by Bahamian musicians.

The combination of these tastes, sights, sounds and immersive learning opportunities will allow guests to depart with a true sense of the Bahamas’ spirit and culture.

We also have introduced new morning enrichment experiences at Dolphin Cay, which focus on inspiration for those who love the ocean. These experiences allow guests a unique opportunity to participate in the care, enrichment and conservation of wildlife through participation in programs designed to inspire empathy, education and stewardship of dolphins and other marine life. 

Each experience is designed to allow engagement with dolphins in a meaningful and purposeful way, while inspiring a greater understanding and connection between humans and dolphins such as paddleboard yoga and kayaking. 

Participating visitors take an active role in the resort’s education and conservation efforts through its nonprofit organization, Atlantis Blue Project Foundation (ABPF). A portion of Atlantis marine programs help directly fund field conservation initiatives including coral reef restoration, marine rehabilitation and release, sea turtle conservation and nest protection, marine preserve establishment, marine mammal stranding response, and manatee health assessments.

3. Besides the new “Come to Life” campaign, what is the hottest piece of news going on at the resort? Any new rooms? Restaurants? 

This July, we will unveil the all new Coral Towers at Atlantis. It will cater towards families where fun, education, culture and purpose come together. Reservations are now opened for guests to experience the newly redesigned contemporary rooms, new lobby with a "Soda Fountain" that will serve local Bahamian flavored gelato as well as milkshakes, espresso and coffee drinks, cocktails and patisseries and a new "poolscape" designed by Jeffrey Beers.  

The new pool will feature private cabanas, family-friendly water activities and a swim-up bar serving locally-made, preservative-free frozen treats prepared daily with Bahamian fruit.  

Following this opening, we will reveal the new Marina Village that will transform into the “Best of The Bahamas” with new dining options and offerings to celebrate the culture, taste and spirit of the country. Marina Village will feature local favorites such as an authentic fish fry; the Bahamas’ Best conch salad and craft beer from a local brewery served in a tasting hall. We will be announcing more offerings, programming and renovations in the coming months, so you will have to stay tuned for more updates.

4. Where is your favorite place to travel and why? 

There is nothing more rewarding then spending time with loved ones. My favorite place to travel is anywhere my family and friends are.

5. Where are you off to next? Any personal info or news you’d like to share? 

I currently do not have any immediate travel plans. The Bahamas is my home and Atlantis is my “family room.” I enjoy eating the local cuisine and spending time outdoors here - whether it is swimming in the ocean, biking around the island or strolling around Atlantis to embrace the incredible beauty and nature surrounding the property.

Visit www.atlantisbahamas.com and keep visiting www.travelagentcentral.com for all your latest travel news. Be sure to follow Travel Agent's Joe Pike on Twitter @Travelpike and Instagram @pike5260.

Want more “Five Questions with…” stories? Check out a recent feature we did on Bangu Masisi, president of South African Tourism’s North America Division, by clicking here.

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