Recently, my husband had a business trip to Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas. I was fortunate enough to be a tagalong. The resort was beautiful and offered a lot for guests to do. Hearing I was going, several people have asked for tips regarding Atlantis so I thought I’d share my thoughts here in one swoop.
Before You Go
· There is a 15 percent gratuity on just about everything, from your hotel room to take-out food. Be prepared for this additional cost.
· Also, if you’re not traveling with a group, you could be responsible for a $200 deposit for each day you are staying. One woman we met was very surprised to find this out.
· The resort is enormous. And you will not find any shortcuts across the hotel and pool areas. As one staff member said, “There are no shortcuts at Atlantis.” In fact, most paths weave in and out of the resort (with awesome views), causing more steps to be traveled. We witnessed many unhappy little ones who refused to walk anymore. And some older folks who had to sit down at the many chairs located throughout the resort to catch their breath. It is a hike from the lobby to the hotel rooms to the pool to the restaurants.
· Atlantis is busy with lots of hustle and bustle. I loved it, however, one friend who calls me an action-kind of gal, thought it had too much commotion and preferred Ocean Club (a quieter part of Paradise Island).
· Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen. Resort prices are double and sometimes triple what you would pay for these items at home.
· Be prepared with bottled water (depending upon airport security) and snacks. Pack bottled water and snacks in a carry on suitcase with wheels. (You don’t want to actually carry this as it will be very heavy.) This will save you some money, especially if you have the family with you. Tuck a soft-sided cooler in your luggage. You can fill the cooler with ice and take it to the pool with you.
· Making calls to home. If you must call home, consider adding International calls to your cell phone plan. However, your cell phone might work, but then again, it might not. You can buy International calling cards (.51 a minute at press time) from a machine located near the casino to use on the public phones.
The meals were delicious throughout the resort and Marina Village. I can honestly say we never had one bad meal. Dinners at Atlas Sports Grille were probably the most reasonable of the restaurants we dined. Carmen’s serves family style with large-sized portions. Fathoms has lively entertainment (a fire eater and Bohemian dancer) scheduled at various times throughout the evening. Take your camera in case someone with you becomes part of the show. In the hotel lobby of the Royal Towers, you walk down the steps into the main restaurant. The atmosphere here is spectacular as you view the world’s largest aquarium. Only breakfast and dinner are served. Murray’s has awesome deli sandwiches (under $20 each) and one can actually feed two people with smaller appetites. The best “food” bargain of the resort is at Shark Bites Express. This is take-out and located poolside near the Mayan Temple. You can get 5 pieces of Grouper and fries for under $10.
· The Ferry. For six dollars round trip per person, you can ride the ferry from Atlantis to Nassau. This gives you a great view of Paradise Island, some of the million-dollar homes and the beautiful landscaping. Take your camera.
· Straw Market. You can pick up any souvenirs you could probably think of at the Straw Market. Ask prices of items you’re interested in first to gauge what is really a good price. Don’t take the first price offered. Try to go to the Straw Market first thing in the morning, before the cruise ships pull into Nassau.
· Nassau dock. You’ll find several women selling bottled water and sports drinks for $1.00. This sure beats the $5.00 a bottle price tag at the resort.
· Nassau’s tourist shops. Take a trip to Nassau early in your stay to stock up on beverages, snacks and any forgotten item. The prices here are much cheaper than at the resort.
· Movie nights. Every night Atlantis plays newly released movies.
· Million-dollar yachts. Take a walk down to the marina during the day. You’ll see some of the most beautiful yachts that cost from $2 to 22 million dollars.
· Village at the Marina. Stroll down to the village at night for live outdoor entertainment. There’s plenty of seating available to sit down and watch.
· Atlantis Activities. Check the daily activities schedule. There are many activities, games and such planned each day for adults and children.
· Wave runners. You can rent these for 30 minutes, 1 hour, or more. And Mom, dad and a little one can get on one wave runner and it should cost about $100 for one hour. You can ride out to the smaller islands, which is fun. One of the islands is nicknamed Gilligan’s Island as that was where the shipwreck was filmed so I was told by a local. Also, you can take a ride to Ocean Club’s golf course (for a water-side view) where Barry Bonds has a house and Michael Jordon owns two lots. One word of caution, avoid riding a wave runner on a red flag day. Or you’ll feel like you were riding a bucking bronco.
· Mayan Temple. There are several slides here at the Mayan Temple. The coolest one drops 60 feet straight down and sliders go through a tube through the shark aquarium. You’re on it a matter of three to five seconds. Sliders must be 48 inches tall and must take off all jewelry and glasses. For first-timers, don’t look down. Look up is the advice of a staff worker. The drop is overwhelming and can scare the daylights out of you. Make sure someone takes pictures as you’re going down. On the other side of the straight drop is a double dip slide and not as daunting. Then, there’s the raft slide. This slide is lots of fun and you end up in a tunnel through the shark aquarium, too.
· The Dig. Stroll through The Dig to view the breathtaking fish in the aquarium.
· Property Tour. This fascinating tour gives a ton of information about the many things located throughout the resort (more for adults and older children).
· Snorkeling. The water is so clear. If you can’t sign up for a snorkeling trip, you can snorkel on the man-made beach at the resort. Atlantis offers lessons for guests on snorkeling, too.
Tips To Know
· Poolside. Get there early to get lounge chairs, especially if you want one with a top to shield the sun. Be sure to put something personal like a shirt, book or beach bag on it if you plan on saving it for later. A pool towel will not work. People move them and scoop the chair.
At Atlantis, you can be as busy as you want or you can kick up your feet and relax. The choice is yours.
Copyright 2007 Mary Jo Rulnick