Anything & Everything

March 3, 2010

Four Days In Paradise: The Atlantis Resort, Bahamas

Filed under: Family,General Stuff,Life,Musings,Writing — Susan Morgan @ 10:01 pm
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I’ll admit I had my reservations about this trip before we left. I hadn’t heard good things about the Bahamas and service. The trip wasn’t cheap and I was worried about how much more we’d spend once we arrived. What’s more, I was traveling with a party that ranged in age from 10 to a 75 — all with their own idea of a fun vacation.

Luckily, not one of these reservations was realized. The trip was one of the best we’ve ever taken. By far, the most startling thing about our Atlantis experience was the service — the way we were treated by EVERYONE in the complex. Anyone you passed, day or night, was smiling and ready with a genuinely friendly greeting. Service everywhere was fast, efficient and always delivered with a smile and a pleasant word. Hospitality was clearly a priority for every employee and it showed, making us feel welcome and very comfortable.

Note to Atlantis management — the staff make this place… these people work hard, treat them well and you’ll be making a smart investment in your own success.

As to packages and pricing… I’ve seen a “Stay 3 nights get the 4th night free“, and this is plenty of time to enjoy all Atlantis has to offer, without feeling rushed. Going in, you should know that this is NOT a cheap trip, but that does not mean the money you’re spending isn’t worth it. There are gratuities (well earned), cover charges, snacks and forgotten essentials at resort prices. Swimming with the dolphins is extra, depending on the type of encounter you choose, though well worth the price. Don’t miss the gift shop at Dolphin Cay, and account for the cost of buying professional photos of your time with the dolphins — this is also extra.

We were told the best prices are offered mid summer, when it’s VERY hot there, maybe hotter than many of us would find endurable. The natives are somehow able to remain blissfully untroubled by temperatures on either end. You should know the resort is HUGE so there’s a lot of walking, especially if you stay in one of the hotels on the outer edges of the property. We were in the Royal Towers, 15th floor, and the location was ideal.

For older people, wheelchairs and other motorized vehicles were able to move about just fine. There was a lineup of carriages outside the restaurants we visited, which shows you how wheel friendly this place really is. There are also plenty of places, benches and cool carved chairs, to sit, relax and take in the scenery.

As for the kids, they loved the water slides and didn’t run out of things to do during the day. The pools and waterfalls kept them entertained while parents could soak up the sun, order a drink, or flip the shade on their lounge chair to stay shaded and comfortable. The kids could go off by themselves, there were lifeguards all over. We saw one sharp eyed guy dive in to rescue a toddler-age girl who’d been unexpectedly tossed overboard, separated from her mother — that guy was in the water like a shot, before the little one could even be scared. Made us feel totally safe.

My husband and I even found time to enjoy a drink and reflect on our stay at one of the bars… quiet and comfortable, though there were plenty of nightclubs, and gambling, if we’d been interested. The casino was huge, loaded with slots and tables, and open day and night. Great if you can’t sleep. Or if you like to people watch.

When it came to food, the variety was amazing, and the presentation just lovely. Better than I’ve seen in many places, even cruises. We had purchased casual dining plans, and this was a good strategy — gave us enough to eat, choices to satisfy all tastes at reasonable prices, though gratuities are based on the actual price, not the meal plan price. We had access to a nice variety of restaurants for breakfast and dinner. A luxury dining plan is also available, offering a larger selection of restaurants — for us, casual was just fine. Drinks like soda, milk, juice, coffee, tea and such were included in the price of the meal plan — alcohol is not. And this is outrageously expensive, though delicious. Casual drinkers will be fine, heavy drinkers need to budget accordingly.

If you’re trying to plan a trip around school vacations, I’d suggest April for maximum warmth and sun. There are online sources of information on temperature and rainfall.  In February our temps were lower (though still plenty warm) than I was expecting from the Bahamas. It was incredible to be able to wear sandals and bathing suits, comfortably in February, even if the sun wasn’t always out. None of the kids had any trouble getting wet or going on rides.

Hope hearing a bit about our recent experience at The Atlantis Resort helps anyone looking to enjoy a few days in paradise. It was a wonderful, memorable trip… I was sorry to leave.

Would I go back? In a heartbeat.

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