I've read so much about Atlantis on several message boards and am a little confused.
How much of the grounds can you see without being charged?
Is the beach by the hotel public or available only to guests?
What does the charge of $25 pp entitle you to see or do?
I called the hotel to get some clarification; however, didn't get much information. The first two people were rather rude and passed me onto someone else. The third person was a little more pleasant but didn't give much information. Actually, she seemed as if she didn't want to be bothered.
For the $25 fee you can get a tour of the dig and the aquarium, well worth it IMHO. I'm really not sure what you can see without paying for the tour. Although, unless you are a paying guest there, you can't access the pools or the slides, have heard you can stay at the hotel next door and get all the perks that Atlantis has, but thats a lot more than $25. We ended up doing a ship tour which included a harbor tour and transportation back to the ship, so I thought it was worth the money. I really enjoyed seeing the aquarium, its like nothing else I've seen. I've heard you can just go there yourself and pay for a tour, so thats another option.
$25 gets you into the dig & aquarium, you can get into the casinos, and the public areas of the main hotel, this does not include beach access. Atlantis is a beautiful place to wander around, there are these huge beautiful glass sculptures in the casino lobby that will take your breath away. Great sandwiches at the sports bar!
Taxi to Atlantis is $4pp each way and very easy to get just outside the pier area in Nassau same for the return at the hotel. I too highly recommend taking the tour of the Dig @ $25pp. It was so interesting. You will be able to see some of the outside grounds with the guide, but as mentioned, it does not allow you access to the pools or beach. Casino, restaurants and shops (plus a limited view of the aquarium through the restaurant windows) are easily assessible from inside this beautiful property. Some say there is a day pass now available, but I don't know how or where you purchase it. Sounds like you already tried to get information an weren't successful.
If you are there at night go to Atlantis then as you will not have to pay the fee to see the aquarium and digs. IMHO it is not worth the fee. It is nice to view but I'm glad we went at night and did not pay. During the day you will see very little of those. The security is strict then. The glass sculptures are outstanding indeed and there are also nice shops, rather high end to browse.