After reading Carol's trip report to St. Martin(great report), I thought I'd better get my trip report in.
The trip was an incentive/business trip I had earned thru my business, so I had really no choices when it came to flights or hotel accommodations. The company I work with paid for the airfare for my wife & I & we had to purchase a ticket($380) for my son Evan( 3 1/2yrs). Our daughter Lauren(who will be 2yrs in November) got to fly for free for the last time. My parents also came along as they are both retired now, love to travel & gamble, and wanted to spend some time with their grandchildren. It worked out great for my wife & I as we had company functions to attend on 3 nights of our 6 night stay and having my mom & dad there to watch the kids made us feel better than hiring a babbysitter from the resort. 3 nights were paid by my company & we received a reduced nightly rate of $200/night for our other 3 nights, which was pretty good when I saw what the normal rates were($315/night).
We also started very early in the AM to make our 7AM flight out of Indianapolis to Orlando & then on to Nassau. We flew Delta to Orlando and after a 4 hour layover(nice scheduling), we flew a twin prop Comair plane for the last 1 1/2 hrs to Nassau. I will say though that Orlando's airport was very good for us in keeping our children entertained as they had a great play area & plenty of places to eat. They also had some Disney stores(go figure) close by to allow shopping & passing some time. My father & I also managed to find a bar(anyone surprised?) so we could catch ESPN's College Gameday show & drink a few cold ones (we are on vacation afterall).
Upon landing in Nassau we quickly got our luggage, got thru customs grabbed a taxi & off to Atlantis we went. The ride to Paradise island from the airport was OK, but not too much to see. I had never been to the Bahamas before so I don't know what I was really expecting, but I guess I was expecting something like Grand Cayman. Well IMHO it's not quite as clean or nice as Grand Cayman, but my opinion is only based on my ride from the airport to Atlantis. I didn't get a chance to investigate the rest of the island.
When we arrived at Atlantis, I as well as everyone else in my party were very impressed. This hotel is one of the most beautiful hotels I've ever been in. It reminded me of something I would find in Las Vegas. Our rooms were in the Royal Towers wing & just as we had requested we had connecting rooms with my parents. The rooms were very nice, spacious, & comfortable. Not spectacular, but very nice. I had hoped for a nice balcony, but with our children I suppose it was probably best that ours was a french balcony. I believe all the "regular" rooms in the Royal Towers have french balconies, except for possibly the suites. We had requested a refrigerator & a roll away bed & both were delivered very promptly. The room also had a seribar with drinks & snacks at the "usual" servibar rates.
We ordered room service that night due to everyone being a little tired from our travel day & early AM start. The food was excellent & service was prompt & professional. After everyone had eaten and was settling in for the night, I ventured off to the casino.
The casino is not as large as what you will find in Las Vegas, but certainly as nice as what you will find in Vegas. I'm a blackjack player & I don't mind betting a few bucks per hand, but if things aren't going my way I like the option of lowering my bets until things turn around. Well, both(2)$10 tables were packed, they had several $15 tables also packed, quite a few $25 tables also heavily populated, but I was able to get on. Things were going good for me initially, but soon turned the other way, so I got up while I was even & made it an early night. This casino definitely caters to the high roller crowd. My dad won about $1000 playing quarter slots & I think my mom also won a couple hundred. My wife & I weren't that fortunate, but we won't go into that.
The next few days were spent at the beach, the pools, & the waterslides. The beach was very nice, the pools & waterslides were awesome. My kids loved the pools & waterslides. I cannot imagine another resort with these kinds of water activities. The zero entry pools are great for young children & they had waterslides that were easy for my children to handle(sometimes with my wife & I assisting of course). The "leap of faith" waterslide & inner tube waterslide were also a lot of fun for us adults. My wife & I and another couple rented waverunners for an hour & rode them around Paradise Island! I am glad to say I did it , but I wouldn't recommend it. It was pretty rough! The pool near the beach & the Royal Towers also had a very good band play everyday, which added to the festive atmosphere. There were also plenty of "drink carts" around to keep me happy. Lunches were pretty basic. Burgers, fries, chicken, conch fritters, etc but served in large portions.
My children also loved all of the aquariums & underwater exhibits. They are truly remarkable & must be seen to be believed. The expense that must have been involved to produce these exhibits is truly mind boggling, but I think I know how they are paying for them.
The food & drink(ouch!) prices are on the high side(putting it mildly), but if you want something you've got to pay what they charge so I'm not going to complain. Besides I think vacationing is the worst way in the world to save money, so I say "live it up once in a while".
I had read varying reports regarding the level of service at this resort & I can only give my own personal opinion.
The service was 100% OUTSTANDING. I have never been treated this well anywhere. The staff at the Atlantis was the best I have ever come across. I've had excellent service in other places, but never this good. Everyone was very helpful, friendly & really went out of their way to make your stay enjoyable. It made it easier for me to accept the amount we were paying to eat & drink.
We ventured off the property just a few times to eat at Anthony's Caribbean Grill(twice) & the Blue Marlin restaurant(once). The menus were large & the food was good
and reasonably priced.
We had great weather, but it was very humid this time of year. We never ventured into Nassau(I'm ashamed to say) due to the heat & humidity. We walked around with our children early one morning to visit some small shops & returned drenched in sweat. After talking to some other people who had been into Nassau for some shopping, the reviews came back with "hot & crowded" so we passed.
All of that being said, I would only return to the Bahamas & the Atlantis to spend a "Vegas weekend" with my wife or to let my kids play in the pools & waterslides for a week instead of a Disney vacation. I really prefer smaller hotels & smaller islands like St. Barts, St. Martin & Anguilla. I enjoy getting into the feeling that you are a resident of those islands even if only for a week. I didn't get that "island" feeling at the Atlantis, but that doesn't mean we didn't have a great time!