I’ve admitted that until I was invited on the Jet Adventure trip I never had considered taking a beach-resort vacation of this type. Which of course means now that I’ve had the chance to do it the $60 question is whether I would do so again at the Atlantis Resort and on my own dime.
My answer to that question is, well, possibly, yes.
That said I do have some definite ideas about what kind of vacation I would plan with my family, with the goal not only of having the most fun, but also of spending my money wisely. Were I to return to Atlantis I would:
- Stay at the Beach or Coral Towers, which have smaller rooms that cost less to book than the Royal Towers. There are several reasons I would do this. I liked that side of the resort, which is a little quieter since it is away from the water park. The public spaces in the Royal Towers are opulent and ornate and definitely worth a look. Happily, they are also accessible to anyone who is a guest of the resort. The rooms at the Royal Towers are more centrally located (they are right next to both The Dig and the AKA Club). But that can be a disadvantage too – on the Saturday night of our stay a reggae band played disco music (no I’m not confused – it was most certainly disco reggae – Y.M.C.A. and all) at the pool outside our room. They stopped at 10 p.m., but I have no need to be close to that center.
- Purchase the more expensive of the two meal plan options (called “Casual” and “Gourmet”) so that I could be sure to eat at some of the higher end restaurants – the buffets just wouldn’t do it for me. And I’d budget either for in-room babysitting or a few evening sessions in the AKA Club so that Matt and I could enjoy a few evenings out without the kids.
Take as much advantage as possible of the considerable amenities that came with the price of our room and which are unique to the place such as the gorgeous grounds and pools, the beaches, all of the aquariums and lagoons, and the water park.
One tip about how best to do so: since the pools don’t open until 9 and close at 5, Teddy and I found that early in the morning and after dinner were wonderful times to explore. It often felt like we had our own private resort because there were so few people around. Seeing The Dig after dark, when it is illuminated, was especially spectacular.
Avoid the temptation to spend money on extras like race cars, stuffed animals, spa treatments, shopping, and gambling (not that the last two hold much allure for me). Since I can hop in my car and do any of these things within ten minutes of my house, I don’t view them as critical components of a fun vacation.
- Get online and on Twitter and dig for information about the best local hangouts for Bahamian food – and make sure we visited a few of them. I’d also plan to spend some time exploring Nassau.
I would also consider budgeting for any package deals that had the children playing with LEGOs, swimming with dolphins, or getting a behind-the-scenes look at the aquariums and marine life. That includes the LEGO Fantasy Camps and some of the AKA Club programs.
This wouldn’t be a cheap trip by any stretch of the imagination, but we could save some money by traveling at off-peak times and taking advantage of companion airfare packages. By way of example, we could get to Atlantis for five days and four nights this summer and pay $1000 for a room in the Beach or Coral Towers. The Gourmet Dining Plan would be another $1650 for all four of us. We’d be eligible for free companion airfare, and assuming we could find a flight that worked we’d be looking at $530 per day – and that would be before we’d had lunch, swum with any marine life, hired a babysitter, or had one fruity alcoholic drink.
Teddy is certain that we will return to Atlantis and talks about it all the time. And Tommy, who is a candidate for sainthood for the grace and equanimity he has shown in the face of a brother who swam with dolphins, would like to go there too.
I’m not sure that a trip there fits with either our family’s budget or our typical vacation style. But I’m not categorically ruling it out either. Which is why I like to travel – one trip can change your mind and your perspective in ways you didn’t expect.
This post is part of a series I wrote about my tip to the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island Bahamas. If you enjoyed it, you might also be interested in:
Almost all of the expenses for my trip were paid for by LEGO, JetBlue, and the Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas. But I was under no obligation to write about my experience, was not compensated for this post, and the opinions it contains are (you guessed it) my own.