the cove beach atlantis bahamas

Visiting Bahamas

It’s been 8.5 years ago since the last time I visited Atlantis Resort in Bahamas. I had fun and I loved it. So, when my husband said we’re going to Atlantis in December, I was really excited. It’s definitely going to be a different experience since this time I’ll be going with my 2 little girls.

It was rainy and stormy in the Bay Area when we left for our Bahamas trip, perfect timing for a warm sunny vacation. We stayed for a week at The Atlantis Bahamas Resort. It’s about 20 minute taxi ride from the airport. A lot of things have changed in the past 8.5 years; the airport, the road and the Atlantis itself. They all look so much better, a lot of  nice improvements and expansions. I love it!

This is my first time visiting Caribbean in December. The weather was really nice, not too hot and definitely not cold. The first couple nights, it was actually a little chilly from the ocean breeze, a light jacket, a hoodie or a cardigan would be just perfect.

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I like the not-too-hot weather but that also means not enough sun and the ocean is really cold. The pools are heated but still not as warm as I wanted to be. Some pools that didn’t get direct sunlight were actually cold. I asked the hotel staff why they didn’t turn up the temperature for the pool, he said the water heater was already set up to maximum. Most of the time the pools rely on the sun, but since it is December, there’s just not enough sun to help heating up the water in the pools. It wasn’t bad though, my kids didn’t even complain about the water temperature at all, so I’m okay with it.

Atlantis is a huge resort.  The hotel part consists of 3 towers; Beach, Coral and Royal, they are all connected. Beach Tower has lots of kids and family activities. The movie theater and the Atlantis Kids Activity Center (it’s like a daycare with planned activities program everyday) are located in this tower. It also has  a kid pool and a lazy river, but it’s mostly for really little kids, like babies. Coral Tower and Royal Tower are connected by a casino and fancy branded stores and restaurants. Atlantis famous water slides in Aquaventure area is located by the Royal Tower and expanded closed to the Cove. The big giant aquarium also in Royal Tower and outside of the Coral Tower area. Other than the hotel, it has The Cove and The Reef. They are both newer than the hotel. The Cove has adults only pool and club and the Dolphin Cay. The Reef is a condo hotel with a living room and full kitchen setup. You can walk to different parts of the resort or take a shuttle from each lobby.

atlantis map

First ride that we try in Aquaventure is Rapids River. It is basically a lazy river with rapids, so it’s not so lazy. It is really fun and my girls asked for it everyday. This is also the only ride that my girls can participate.

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All other rides/slides has height requirement, minimum 48″. My husband and I took turns to go on the slides. I only can take pictures on some slides at the Mayan Temple area, the rest of the slides are covered by lush palm trees. My favorites are the one in the Mayan Temple area: Leap of Faith & Serpent Slides, they both slides through the shark tank, kind a cool =). You can check all the slides here.

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serpent slide atlantis bahamas

challenger slides atlantis bahamas

We also signed up for the Shallow Water Dolphin Interaction at the Dolphin Cay at The Cove; touching, feeding and kissing the dolphin. Our girls are only 3 and 4 so we didn’t sign up for the one that swim with the dolphins, they are too little for that. Ooo, you are not allowed to bring any camera or cellphone when you are in the water, so you have to buy the pictures from them. We think the best deal is the CD, they took about 15 pictures, not too bad and you got them all in the CD and 1 print of 8×10 of the picture of your choice for $ 99.

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For daily free activities, you can check on their newsletter, the Atlanteans. They put it by the hotel elevator. For the kids, everyday, there’s arts & crafts, bingo, and some other games, either by the pool area or in the Beach Tower lobby. It’s fun and it’s free souvenirs for the kids.

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arts crafts kids activity atlantis bahamas

There are kids clubs; Rush in Beach Tower for age 9 – 12 and Crush in Coral Tower for age 13 – 17. There’s a family night around 4 pm – 8 pm at Crush, so if you have little ones, you can bring them there. Lots of games to play, music to listen and dance and movies to watch. There’s a cover fee, not sure how much since my husband bought a packet for dolphin or the hotel room, not sure which one and this thing is included, but the staff said it’s about $45 for 2 adults and 2 kids. Also in Coral Tower, there’s Atlantis Speedway, you can build your own car and do the car race.

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For food, we didn’t buy the meal plan since it doesn’t cover lunch and some restaurants closed on certain days so lots of planning to do if you want to try certain restaurant with the meal plan. I personally like Marina Village by Coral and Royal Tower, it’s an outdoor area where you can walk, sit down and eat with the view of the marina and the yachts that park at the dock. It’s very relaxing. It has more casual eating places like Johnny Rockets, Marina Pizzeria, Quiznos, Bimini Road and Carmine’s (this one always gets full really fast, has to make reservation early if you want to eat there). For fancier one, in the casino, there’s Olives by Todd English and Nobu. My favorite one is actually Virgil’s Real BBQ in Coral Tower. The portion is big and they are meant to be shared. So if you have a big group of people this is the perfect place to dine. I like their BBQ Nachos; it has pulled pork, bbq chicken, cheese and corn chips. It’s just a to die for! Must try! Ooo, the last but not least, FYI, 15% gratuity is automatically added to your bill in all of  the food places.

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Other than resort activities, we also went to Fish Fry area in Arawak Cay to try the authentic local Bahamian Food. We took a taxi there, about $20 from the hotel. Taxi is the easiest transportation and you can get a lot of information just by talking to the taxi driver. Then we also went to Downtown Nassau, $12 taxi ride from Arawak Cay. Downtown is crowded, a little messy and hot. We didn’t stay long there. Not the right place to bring kids with strollers. But we got souvenirs from the Straw Market there. I bargained with the seller for 6 cute little fans, original price was $8 each, I bargained for $3 and got them for $4 each.

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FYI, you can use US Dollars in Bahamas. Conversion rate is USD $1 equals to Bahamian Dollar $1.

After downtown trip, we went back to the hotel. There’s a book reading everyday at the library for the kids. I volunteered to read a Christmas book for the kids that day. After that, we also watched the fish feeding in different pools and lagoons. It’s very interesting.

kids library atlantis bahamas

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Overall, it’s a very fun place for family to go. The only downside is this is not an all-inclusive resort, so I have to think and plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a little inconvenient especially with little kids.

Tips:

– Everything costs money in Atlantis, from food to kids activities. Plan ahead on everything before you go and it will save you some bucks on airline tickets, hotel rooms and any activities. Check out the offers on their site every now and then. They have packages that include certain things, so just choose what would fit for your family.

– This place is a part of the Autograph Hotel. If you are a Gold/Platinum Marriott member, you can get free Wifi, otherwise it’s $20/day. You can also get a late checkout. It also has a separate concierge service to check you in and out for Marriott members, so you have a choice when the front desk gets crowded.

– If you bring kids, make sure that you bring lots of snacks. By a lot, I mean A LOT. Because they play most of the time in the water, it makes them hungry very often and the food is not cheap there.

Hope you enjoy my review, stay warm, have fun and Happy Holidays!!

christmas card

 

 

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