It’s been a month since we have been back from our tropical vacation at Atlantis Bahamas on Paradise Island, and it’s already becoming a faint memory. Why does that happen?! I already feel like we need to get away again…which could just be because we are starting to have snow stick to the ground, so it could be that. Either way, I am already finding myself dreaming of the warm air, velvety beaches and that our biggest concern was what we would eat that day. Pretty rough life…
This was our first time travelling with our boys to a tropical destination and for those of you considering visiting the oh-so-popular Atlantis Bahamas Resort, I wanted to share our Atlantis Bahamas review and tips to make your vacation easier! Or introduce the idea of having your next vacation here!
Thank you to Atlantis Bahamas for enhancing our stay! As always, all opinions are my own.
When trying to plan for our vacation, we wanted somewhere warm and tropical with a beach, a place that wasn’t too far of a flight, and somewhere that was Zika virus safe since I was 6 months pregnant at the time. The options were scarce since many of the tropical islands aren’t safe due to Zika, but for some reason, the Bahama Islands hasn’t had one case! It was also only a 3-hour flight to Nassau from Toronto, which was a life-saver with a 4-year-old and a 15-month-old. The flight was more than manageable and only under an hour longer than Florida!
Along with being fairly close, fairly safe and had tropical weather, we also wanted to stay somewhere that would have everything we needed for the week we went away. Being able to have everything you need on the resort, along with many, many activities and things to do, was a huge selling point for us! Not necessarily an all-inclusive, but close enough!
We had heard a lot about Atlantis of course, and the timing worked out perfectly so we booked a last minute trip and took the leap!
The Royal Towers
There are five different buildings you can stay at when going to Atlantis. The main ones with the ‘bridge suite’ you see in all the photos is The Royal Towers. This will be your most expensive option and the liveliest one with many restaurants in it as well as the casino smack dab in the middle.
Then there is The Reef, which is the only hotel with rooms outfitted with a mini kitchen. If we go back, this will most likely be the one we will stay at since preparing our own food would be a much better option cost wise. It’s also close to the main ammenities and the Cove beach.
Beside The Reef is The Cove, geared towards younger adults with an only adult pool and the Sip Sip restaurant that is 18+. Those are both on the far right side of the grounds right by the GORGEOUS Cove Beach, one of our favourite spots on the Atlantis grounds. Another reason we would most likely stay at The Reef next time. Walking around the grounds takes quite a bit of time, so being situated around your favourite spots definitely help with children (especially if you are pregnant haha – let’s just say my Braxton Hicks contractions were at an all-time high the entire trip!)
Then you have The Beach, which will be your most inexpensive option for accommodations. The rooms are very plain and economical…not a lot of bells and whistles but a great option if you are more concerned with just sleeping in the room. This building is situated on the furthest end of the ground opposite The Reef and The Cove. Be prepared your walking will substantially increase to get to the main amenities + restaurants.
Lastly, there is The Coral situated between The Royal Towers and The Beach, this is where we opted to stay. Geared towards being more family friendly but still somewhat central on the grounds.
The Coral rooms are updated and have a great laid-back beachy vibe, with very tranquil colours and decor. We started out in a Deluxe Double Queen Room facing the ocean and it was beautiful! A simple but beautiful room facing the turquoise waters and white sandy beaches, with a perfect view of a lot of the pools and water features.
We ended up being upgraded to a Premium 1 Bedroom Regal Suite. The extra space was amazing! We could put the boys to bed at night and enjoy the rest of our evening in the sitting area, and since the boys couldn’t be out in the sun for too long of stretches at a time, we spent a good amount of time in the room each day for naps and just play time, or watched TV.
The extra space was definitely appreciated and made us all feel a lot more relaxed! We didn’t have as great of an ocean view but the extra space was worth it! We were really able to lounge, relax, enjoy some iced coffee from the Starbucks downstairs & I could do some blogging while Finn napped quietly in the bedroom undisturbed. Usually, this is when Ethan went to the gym. I’d say we had a pretty good rhythm going on!
We got breakfast in bed one morning and it was divine. Why does breakfast taste so much better in bed? haha
If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen this pretty little number that was my #ootd, everyday. Cutest maternity bathing suit ever!
Overall, there are so many things to keep your family busy for a week! There are options for every age! Unfortunately, a few of the amenities dedicated to little ones were closed for the month such as the slow lazy river and a few of the kiddie pools, but there were still lots of options left so we really couldn’t complain.
Levi’s favourite place to go was the Mayan themed water park, Splashers. From the photo below I am sure you can imagine why!
There were lots of water activities to do around Atlantis, like the mile-long rapid river and many high-speed water slides.
Unfortunately, the activities aren’t very conducive to women when pregnant…but with this belly in the hot heat all I wanted to do was lay around anyways haha. No part of me wanted to drop down the slide into ‘the Abyss’; though I would have loved to try the lazy river. Also, Finn was still too small for everything as well, so we just hung out by the pool (…horrible I know!)
I made sure Ethan got to enjoy all the fun things I couldn’t do, so I could vicariously live through him 🙂 He tried all the slides and as you can see, he very much enjoyed the Rapid River!
I think Finn’s favourite part was swimming in the bigger pools with Daddy. He’s definitely my water baby and with all the pools to choose from we always felt like we were doing something new. The nice thing was that most of the pools slowly got deeper into the area in the middle, which was really convenient with kids! They could go up until they were comfortable and play there.
Now MY favourite part was definitely the beach. We went to the one set on The Cove and it was beautiful! The turquiose waters + velvety white sand …it was our little piece of paradise.
With kids, it’s hard to just lay out and soak in hours of sun and calm…but you still want to relax and enjoy your surroundings, which Atlantis gave us! The grounds are HUGE and it is all beautifully landscaped with so many water features filled with sea life, like a lagoon full of sharks just casually swimming around, the rescued sea turtles or the river of stingrays..it was beautiful!
They had little caves to walk through along the grounds that had huge glass windows to see all the sea life down below. I saw my very first swordfish in real life…they are massive!!! We were all in amazement. You could walk around for hours on the ground and there were always things to look at, not even mentioning the gorgeous turquoise beach to walk along!
Finn took many quick naps just walking around the grounds so he was never overtired!
& that’s just outside!
On the inside, they have multiple aquariums to see the amazing sea life, shops, restaurants, a game room for children and a theatre!
The only downside was the casino smack dab in the middle of the main hotel. We had to walk through it every day to get to the pools on the opposite side of the grounds. It wasn’t ideal with little ones, especially since smoking was allowed in the casino.
They also have lots of little shops and restaurants outside by the marina. Our favourite place to stop was at Ben & Jerry’s! My favourite ice cream in the whole entire world is Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream and they had that flavour! Which was incredible since I haven’t been able to find a pint of it at home for years!
We call that face ‘ice cream drunk’ haha!
If you are going to Atlantis, the pricing for food is an expense you want to prepare for – you will read many reviews warning of the high cost of food BUT there are a few things to know before you completely close the door on this. That being said, to be completely honest, the cheaper options at the hotel will be a lot less healthy ‘fast food’ and not quite as good as the restaurants…but you need to give and take a little!
When booking through hotels.com, all the rooms came with a $60 credit per day to spend on food. When we came to the hotel we learned we could only use it on lunch (as you can buy meal plans for breakfast and dinner). This worked out well as Ethan and I were about $20 each and the boys shared a meal together (the portions were a good size!) plus a drink or two…$60 covered us! So that was lunch already taken care of!
They provide Starbucks coffee in the room so you can have your morning coffee for free, another bonus. Though there is also a Starbucks in the Coral tower which was nice when we craved an iced coffee! We tried a few different options for breakfast but decided to go to Anthony’s across the street. It was definitely one of the best decisions we made in regards to food. We didn’t want to travel too far off the grounds but Anthony’s was literally at the end of the hotel driveway. We weren’t extremely keen on leaving the grounds, but the restaurant is literally right beside the hotel.
Since Ethan is an intermittent faster, he doesn’t eat until noon, which just left me and the two boys to feed. We shared the ‘breakfast sampler’ which came with Two eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, ham, 2 pancakes and 2 pieces of toast for $18. It was more than enough for the three of us, with there being one leftover pancake and one slice of bread to make a half jam sandwich for them to snack on later in the day. It was good food, good portions and the price was hard to beat!
We did this every morning once we tried it and it really helped the bottom line. The first morning we got 2 breakfast sandwiches from Starbucks that cost more than that, so it just made sense! We never went to Anthony’s for lunch or dinner, but I highly recommend it for breakfast!
Our room also came with a $250 credit to use during our entire stay which could be used on activities and food, as well! We used in on food which again helped our bottom line!
When researching our trip I came across a lot of perks and extras that the hotel provides to its guests…some were true, some weren’t. So here are some of the things we experienced as extras that might help you prep for your stay!
Of course, the hotel rooms provided towels, but it was nice to know that there were fresh towel stations around the entire grounds and near all the pools and beaches. Towels take up so much room in your suitcase and you don’t want to necessarily take your shower towels from the hotel, so this was a huge perk!
Another thing we were pleasantly surprised at were the stations of free life jackets for our use. These were situated near all the pools and water slides that went from Size 3 to Adult. Finn was too small for them (so it was a good thing we brought a Puddle Jumper) but Levi fit in them perfectly!
To say purchasing water is expensive would be an understatement. They charge almost $8 US per water bottle which is insane, but they somewhat make up for it by giving us water tickets for 2 free water bottles per day our entire stay. They also have water refill stations around the grounds to refill your water bottles. I read some reviews where a lot of people just drank from the tap in their hotel room sinks, but being pregnant and with little children, I wouldn’t risk it.
For the families who like to have the option of putting their kids in activities and adventures for parts of the day, this would be perfect! Separated by age category, you can sign your kids into activities throughout the day like baking classes, make your own stuffed animal plus much more! This looked like such a fun thing for them to do! This gives you time to lounge kid-free while they have fun with other kids! Levi really wanted to do this so we may have to try it next time!
I know I have mentioned how much walking there is at Atlantis, but there is another way! Atlantis provides shuttle buses between all the hotels. If you are over at The Beach and don’t want to walk all the way over to The Cove you can take a shuttle. Mind you, they come every 15 minutes. It might take that long for you to walk, so I wouldn’t necessarily say it always saves you time, but it defintely saves your energy!
I am just going be honest and say, a super relaxing, carefree vacation with kids is kind of an oxymoron. Especially with one who is under two, while also being pregnant! But, if you plan for the vacation and manage your expectations, you can have a fun family getaway!
Minus the casino-vibe of it all, I would definitely recommend staying at Atlantis Bahamas with kids. Between the slides, pools and rivers, there is absolutely no shortage of things to do around the grounds! And if you want to lay on the beach all day, every day you can do that too!
Until next time, paradise.