I did a lot of research before I booked The Reef hotel at Atlantis for our family vacation. That research definitely paid off. There are a lot of complaints about the pricing/cost at Atlantis, here's what you need to know the Carribean is EXPENSIVE it doesn't matter where you stay, it is just extremely expensive, some places more than others. Any island including Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket needs to ship everything there by plane or boat which makes things expensive. If you are looking for an economical vacation the carribean isn't the place for you. That being said, if you are looking for a splurge Atlantis is it. Here are some pointers and highlights:
I think the meal plan is worth the price, it costs $100 per adult per day and approximately $30 per child per day. This includes breakfast and dinner. Included in the dinner option is an appetizer, entree and dessert per person. In order to get your money's worth, you need to make all your dinner reservations ahead of time, so that you can get into the best restaurants and take advantage of the meal plan. Our absolute favorite restaurant was the SeaFire Grill it was spectacular, we ended up eating their twice. Our least favorite restaurant by far was the Bahiamian Club. The service was horrific and the food just so so. We hit it off with the waiter, Bradley at the SeaFire, and secured him for our second night, he was so friendly and great with the kids.
I also want to add that I like that this is not an all inclusive resort, I find there are way too many drunk people at the all inclusive resorts and I thing people are much more careful with their alcohol intake when they are paying $10+ dollars a cocktail!
The spa is a must if you can fit it in, some of the best spa treatments I have ever had. They have private bath rooms for couples that you can book, just lovely.
The Reef is a great choice for families because they are spacious suites with full kitchens. We booked a two bedroom ocean view suite. The view was absolutely incredible. We had three full bathrooms and the master bath was so large, we put a blow up bed in it for our 2 year old to sleep on. You have a private pool and beach that none of the other resort guests can utilize, which is nice because you then avoid the cruise ship day trippers invading your space. The only day there are no cruise ship people on property is Thursday as there are no ships that come into port that day. That makes Thursday a great day for the water park. You can pool hop to any other pool except the Cove Adult only pool if you stay at the Reef.
The water park is amazing, yes the lines for the slides can be long, but they are at ANY water park I have ever been too, including Disney's water parks. The key to this water park is that there is a rapid river ride where there is never a line. The kiddie pools and play areas are just incredible here. To reaffirm what one contributor said below the height requirement for all the water slides is 48 inches which is very high for a water park, therefore my 5 1/2 year old couldn't go on any of the slides, but my 9 year old twin boys could. She could do the rapid river and the kiddie slides in the kiddie pools.
We spent two mornings at Dolphin Cay we did the shallow water encounters for both the Sea Lions and the Dolphins. The shallow water encounters allow for kids of all ages so even my 2 1/2 year old could participate. I have done discovery cove in Orlando and this is just as good. I found the animals to be in good condition and the facility to be clean and well kept. These are rescued dolphins from other marine parks not dolphins taken from the wild and animals that were born there. These encounters are expensive as are the pictures if you chose to buy them, but again all these types of places are expensive.
The resort is so well decorated and the groundskeeping is wonderful. We ate breakfast ever day at Mosaic at the Cove hotel next door as they have the closest buffet. The food was incredible, fresh fruit, omeletes or eggs made to order and the staff was friendly.
We found the beach attendants to be excellent, great food and drink service at the pool and the beach. One of the attendants played football with my boys one afternoon and they had a blast.
TIP: get extra towels at the end of the day to take back to the room with you then use those to place on chairs on your way to breakfast. There were always plenty of chairs, but if you have little ones who you need to keep a close eye on you will want the front row chairs at the waters edge.
TIP: Get to the airport 3 hours early the immigration lines are LONG!
TIP: Kids Adventure is wonderful and I spoke with the manager about my soon to be 3 year old (he was two months shy of 3 when we visited last week) he is potty trained and she was willing to take him as long as we took a pager so that if there was an issue we could head back. So they are flexible on the 3 year old requirement for the kids club..
TIP: Keep your eyes open this place is a celebrity mecca. We saw Buddy from Cake Boss and various members of his family, two NHL players and Dennis Rodman when we were there.
Truly a fabulous family vacation with breathtaking views of that aqua water from everywhere you looked!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located directly on Paradise Beach, guests of The Reef Atlantis, Autograph Collection enjoy miles of white sand and ocean in their backyard with all the wonder and excitement of Atlantis on their front doorstep. Our Bahamas resort hotel features studios, one and two bedroom suites that offer all the conveniences of home with a full kitchen or kitchen area complete with linens, cookware, table settings, refrigerator and private balconies with water views. Guests of The Reef Atlantis, Autograph Collection enjoy a semi-private pool, shared only with The Cove Atlantis, Autograph Collection and a Starbucks lounge. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- The Reef Atlantis Hotel Paradise Island
- Reef Atlantis Paradise Island
- The Reef Atlantis, Autograph Collection Bahamas/Paradise Island