January 30, 2019

Family Vacation: A Guide to Atlantis, Bahamas

Atlantis Bahamas Family Vacation from Finding Beauty Mom. What you need to know to book a trip to the Reef. Traveling with Kids. Bahamas Vacation review. Mom Style. WHat to wear to the Bahamas. SUmmer style

The Bahamas is a destination that has been on my radar for quite some time. I haven’t been to many spots in the Caribbean and more and more I hear of families visiting the island.

I’m so excited to share this review of our family trip to Atlantis. There is a lot of ground to cover in this post and I want to make it as helpful as possible.

How did you select the Bahamas?

We go away with Jeff’s family every year around Easter. Usually to Florida {check out this post and this one}. This year, there are two pregnancies in our squad and it was cutting it close to the travel cut off, so we traveled in January. Since we were changing things up, we discussed a new location. We started exploring non Zika options and all agreed the Bahamas would be fun!!

Why Atlantis?

L Space Color Block Bikini Top + Bottoms | Beautycounter Sunscreen

The two main factors: keep everyone in the group entertained and minimizing travel/transportation.

There are 4 kids under the age of 5 so we wanted a family friendly environment. After seeing the Aquaventure, Aquariums, Dolphin Cove, beachfront, and multiple pools, we knew this would be great for the kids and adults.

Also, we LOVE to go to amazing restaurants. On the premise is Nobu, Fish by Jose Andres, Carmines, Virgils – all of which we walked to. The only night we left the property was to eat at DUNE at the Ocean Club at the Four Seasons.

Where did you stay on Atlantis?

We stayed at the Reef, which is the most family friendly option on the property. To be honest, there are so many subdivisions, it can be super confusing reading reviews and figuring where to stay.

We had 8 adults and 4 kids on the trip. Two rooms shared a common entryway and luckily all our rooms were next to each other. We had a mini kitchen with a stovetop, sink, serving ware, cups/glasses, dishwasher and refrigerator that came in VERY handy. There was even a laundry room on one of the floors.

Our room set up was great for all the kids to be in one area while my pregnant sister in laws took turns watching the kids. {Thanks Ann and Ellie!!}

We were given bracelets that allowed us to access all areas of the property. Yes, some visitors come from cruise ships and other hotels to enjoy the Aquaventure, but do not have access to all areas like the Reef pool anch beach.

The Reef is very close to the Cove, which we walked through many times. The Cove looked really nice, but geared towards an adults only vibe. So the Reef was the better option for us.

Favorites of the Trip

First, the water is just breathtaking. All the gorgeous shades of blue are so beautiful to look at. The beach sand was so soft and powdery, it reminded me of Anguilla, one of my favorite places. It’s pretty shallow for the kids to play in. One of my favorite times was sitting on the lounge chairs in the surf, during sunset and watching the kids dig in the sand.

Next, the fine dining restaurant options I mentioned before. DUNE may have been my favorite, especially with the dance party afterwards.

The Rapid River was a big hit. Sam loved it! And all the adults enjoyed it as well.

And being with everyone and having an amazing time together of course! We don’t live in the same town as everyone so its so nice to see Sam and Marielle share experiences with their aunts, uncles, cousins and grandma.

Additional Tips + Information On Staying at Atlantis

A few considerations before booking your stay…

  • Friendly PSA: you and your kids need passports to travel. That process can take up to two months.
  • Make sure you understand all the pricing of the stay. There are extra taxes and fees beyond that first price you see. Knowing that upfront will eliminate the surprise when the bill comes.
  • Also, while we stayed at the Reef, there are many other options at varying price points. Same for restaurant and eating options.
  • Atlantis is part of the Autograph Collection for Marriott. Jeff did most of the booking and mentioned it was a little confusing. For example, you book through Marriott, but for specific stay questions you go directly to Atlantis. Things like requesting adjoining rooms or baby cribs should be through Atlantis.
  • Adding to that, if you are a rewards member, you have the ability to earn points for your stay. While we were not able to redeem points for the Reef, I believe other properties at Atlantis allow it, so check with Marriott.
  • Expect to walk. This wasn’t a problem for us. We like the exercise and would rather walk than travel outside the resort. You’ll see lots of strollers and I even saw one mom bring scooters for the kids.
  • Shuttles: there is a shuttle that takes you to the different properties and drops you off at the lobby. It will also take you to other hotels. We used it to go to the One and Only.
  • For travel to the hotel, we simply used a taxi at the airport while the others booked a car service. Both options allowed us one stop at a grocery store or liquor store. We stocked up on breakfast food {fruit, milk, yogurt} and drinks to minimize our day cost and for convenience.
  • It takes about 30 minutes to get to Atlantis from the hotel. If you are traveling around 5:00 PM, especially on a Friday, you will hit traffic in downtown Nassau. Also, the driver may want to take you through the city center to show you the local sights and to avoid driving through some rougher parts of town.
  • I packed a small suitcase with just snacks and food for the kids: oatmeal, cereal, granola bars, pirate bootie, nuts, and crackers. No fruits or veggies, or you will get stopped at Customs.
  • There is a Starbucks and a Sundry store in the lobby as well. Our rooms included a Keurig with Starbucks coffee pods.
  • For lunch, we typically ordered by the pool/beach. It’s not completely terrible, but it’s not great. Your kids will be fine. You’ll get sick of the options after day two. I did like the veggie burger, the fish sandwich and the fries at Cascades.
  • Adding to that, not every food stand has the same offering. Cascades, by the Reef pool was our favorite. We also spent time by a nearby pool, but the servers told us they had to go to three seperate locations for an order of fries, chicken fingers and a burger. Not sure why it’s so complicated…..
  • If amazing restaurants are your thing, book on Open Table before you go.
  • We went out for adults only dinners to Nobu and Dune. The kids were with us at 5:30/6:00 PM reservation times at the other restaurants. You’ll see that you’re in good company with other parents at that time slot. Fish does not have a kids menu
  • For the kids, they need to be 48” tall to go on the water activities. Sam and Marielle were able to go on the rapid rivers and lazy river, it the one year olds on the trip were not.
  • We broght puddle jumpers, but life vests are available at the pools of you need it.
  • There are lots of fun dolphin experiences at Dolphins Cove. The prices here were a little outrageous. We took the kids to the observation deck to see them for free which was perfect.

Last Thoughts

This was one of my favorite family trips. The Reef at Atlantis has my complete seal of approval. Even though we experienced a crazy torrential rain downpour one day and it was really windy after, I still rank it at the top.

Jeff asked me if I wanted to go back. With the kids or as a family trip, hands down I would do Atlantis again. The balance of finding something for everyone with the convenience made it perfect.

That said, if Jeff and I were to return without kids, I would want to check out another hotel on the island – maybe the Ocean Club, maybe somewhere in Baha Mar.

I hope this post was helpful in planning your next vacation! Please let me know if you have any questions or want to know more.

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