After four years, we made another trip to Atlantis Bahamas this summer as our big family trip and I’m so excited to share the details! I remembered much of our last trip since it was the trip of our dreams for the last couple of years when traveling back there just wasn’t possible due to the pandemic. But this year, we finally felt like we could make the trip, and despite some hurdles, we did make it!
We had booked four days at the Atlantis resort in Bahamas during a President’s days weekend flash sale, so we had months to plan. But due to this pandemic, I never had a concrete feeling that we were going until literally the night before. The Bahamas dismissed any Covid requirements just days before we left. And the US did the same early in June.
Our last trip had been in 2018 when the girls were 3.5 years and 2 years old, and Abbas and I had planned that if we were ever to return to the Bahamas for a vacation, we would stay at the Reef. And we were so glad that we did! Check it out…
Stay at the Reef, Atlantis Resort
Last time we had stayed at the Royal, mainly because we had wanted to stay near all the kids activities and traveling with a double stroller was easier access to the waterparks. But that’s about it, the Royal towers were outdated and not packed with many amenities.
The Reef is a little bit of a walk from the main waterpark, but very doable. We liked that it’s far enough away that it’s a bit quieter and less crowded. It’s newer, and the amenities included kitchenettes fully stocked in all the suites and free washers/dryers for use of Reef guests.
Dining at Atlantis
So when we stayed the last time, we had no idea how much we’d actually spend, but we had read about dining not being cheap. So we brought a bunch of snacks and a box of cereal that the kids ate everyday, and the cutlery/bowls in the room helped so much. We also really enjoy eating at the buffets, and at Atlantis, children under 3 eat free at buffets. So what we ended up doing was having a buffet for either breakfast or dinner, and skipping out on lunch. There are two buffet restaurants at Atlantis: Mosaic and Poseidon’s, one located at the Royal (slightly more affordable) and one at the Cove.
Atlantis is known for its fine dining, but we didn’t want to overspend and kids don’t really eat much anyway, so we only ate at the one restaurant we wanted to visit again which was Chop Stix, and it was delicious. We also visited Sun & Ice at the Coral a couple times for their yummy gelato.
The last time we had stayed, we had been given a $200 dining credit for booking and after that, we ended up spending $800 for five days, but then again both our kids were 3 and under. Now with four persons eating, we spent close to $1,000 for four days of dining. There were more affordable options of eating out that we just didn’t get time to try, and it was more convenient to sit at a buffet and quickly get food because wait times were long when we ate at a sit-down.
We didn’t try any of the halal dining this time around, just stuck to vegetarian or seafood. The kids mostly ate pasta, pizza, bread and salads every night. Overall, I don’t think the food is a problem, yes it’s pricey but if you know that ahead of time then you can work it into your budget!
Fun Activities at Atlantis
When I compared the daily activities list to four years ago, the resort now offers way less than it used to. The resort shows movies at the theater and by the pool at scheduled times daily, and excursions like swimming with dolphins which we did not try. We stuck to a pretty consistent routine of breakfast, beach, pool and waterpark then back to the room for rest/movies/snacks then dinner. Besides that we walked around the resort plenty, admiring all the sea life and even saw a shark feeding. We rode the resort shuttle bus and walked down to the marina. It was kind of nice not having to rush to anything like dining reservations or excursion appointments.
Post Covid Feels
I’m trying to think of how our vacation was affected post pandemic, and it was mainly in the delays at the airports both flying in and out. For many reasons, the airplanes arriving are always delayed, making our own flight delayed also. When departing from Nassau, we arrived very early using the ground transport recommended by Atlantis, and we were one of the first ones to arrive at the airport.
Tip: Check in before arriving at the airport, so that all you need to do is bag drop. We skipped a huge line because we checked in everyone ahead of time.
We never felt that the resort was too crowded, or severely understaffed either. The only time we had an unusually long wait time was while eating at Chop stix. It seemed to be a full staff, but the service was incredibly slow. The Reef seemed to have a lot more families with a bit older kids, but we did see plenty of smaller children families as well as adults only since the Cove is right next door. It was extremely hot in June, the sun was blazing and whenever it was cloudy it did not rain for more than 10 minutes.
All in all we had an amazing time and so happy that the kids enjoyed it much more this time around since they were able to actually use the water slides at the waterpark. They enjoyed every part of the resort, even the constant walking and exploring. I would definitely recommend the Reef if staying with family!