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A Trip to Paradise

Posted Nov 13 2011 12:00am

I feel like I have been traveling a lot, but it’s been mainly weddings.  Besides a long weekend in Puerto Rico, our recent trip to the Bahamas was our only vacation in 2011.

After marathon Monday, we headed to the Atlantis for a few days of sun and relaxation.  The Atlantis is a big resort in the Bahamas, which I kind of expected to be an adult Disney World, but was surprised that there were almost as many kids at the resort as we saw in Disney World!  The Atlantis had is benefits and drawbacks, but we had a lot of fun and enjoyed the quality, work-free time together.

The good: 

The FISH!

I loved seeing exotic fish, sharks, sea turtles and sting rays everywhere we looked!  I couldn’t get enough! I just hoped that they were happy and had enough space, they seemed to be enjoying themselves!

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Dolphin Interaction

Yeah, the free shallow water dolphin interaction was the entire reason I agreed to go on this trip. My childhood dream was fulfilled when I met Mikai and fell in mammal to mammal love.

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It was everything I had dreamed it would be.

Special Dinners!

We definitely treated ourselves to some nice dinners, two were exceptional!

The first was at the One and Only Ocean Club’s Courtyard Terrace.  When I booked the reservation, I didn’t know the restaurant was not at the Atlantis, but the same person owns both resorts. Side note: Physique 57 offers 4 night retreats at the Ocean Club in the Bahamastreat being the key word!

When we arrived at the Ocean Club is was like we were in a different world, it was lush, the ocean was crashing in the background, there decor was tastefully rich but not overdone. 

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Warm bread with tomato pesto and oil

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Watermelon feta saladpretty small portion for $17, but at least it was good.

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Bohemian Grouper

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Lobster, scallop, mussels and shrimp over risotto with a special reduction sauce.  So heavenly!

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Very happy diners!!

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It was a wonderful evening with the best service of the trip!

We were too full for dessert, but not to full for a long walk along the ocean path.

Our other special meal took place at Cafe Martinque.

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Another delicious meal…

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Finished with Coffe Martinique served tableside!

First you rub the rim with lemon

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Then you warm the glass

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Rim with brown sugar and pour in some brandy to flambe

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Add coffee, fresh whipped cream

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and serve! A culinary highlight for sure!

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Amazing!

Activities

When we weren’t eating we were enjoying massages at Madara Spa, relaxing by the pool, water sliding, kayaking or trying our luck at the casino.  We also enjoyed strolling around the marina village (gorgeous) and checking out the straw market in Nassau! Lots of time was spent walking around the grounds and seeing the different hotels.  The Cove was definitely our favorite.  It was sleek, modern and zen rather than super opulent.

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Weather and Water:

The weather was very nice while we were there, while a tropical storm meant the beach was closed almost the whole time, we did enjoy one stroll along the most beautiful aqua water I have ever seen.

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Our final suit up before returning to winter coats:

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The less good:

There were things about the Atlantis that were less than ideal, which is why I wouldn’t whole-heartedly recommend it.

The Service (or lack there of):

The service was pretty bad or maybe the best word is disinterested.  I wasn’t expecting Disney World service,but I hoped for at least eye contact over eye rolls.  Often there were lots of people working, but few willing to actually help or answer questions, even at the concierge desk.  Often employees seemed downright unhappy to have to deal with us.  The best way to put it is this: not a single person seemed at all interested in making our experience enjoyable. I won’t elaborate, but it was disappointing and the main reason I can’t really see myself going back despite the fact that we did have a good time.

The Value (or lack thereof):

Even by New York City standards the Atlantis was astronomically priced.  The fast food was a bargain, but anything involving a vegetable was triple the cost. Internet was $15 a day, the gym (which was a 20 minute walk from our hotel) was $15 a day, sunscreen was $40 for 3 ounces!!!  It’s not a total dealbreaker, vacations tend to be expensive, but it’s something to consider before going there.

Short Hours:

The pools and the beach closed at 5PM.  Actually the beach was closed the first 4 days we were there. It would have been nice if one of the many many pools was open a little later.

Long Lines and Long Walks:

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE walking, but the Atlantis was so enormous that we spent a lot of time walking from place to place rather than spending time at that place. It took us 3 days just to get the pool! I felt like a lot of time was wasted just navigating the space.  On the same token, it was nice that we could walk through almost the whole resort inside or outside and we never had to go to the gym.  The lines were the other thing that decreased the value of the hotel.  People spent a lot of time waiting to check out or register instead of enjoying their vacation.  Again, related to the service situation.

Overall, I think the Atlantis can be a very fun time, if you are prepared to forgo quality service and can handle sticker shock.  The Bahamas is beautiful, excursion opportunities abound and there are many opportunities to get up close and personal with ocean life everywhere you turn.  I was often delighted when I would suddenly see a turtle or hammerhead shark just appear out of nowhere.  Our days were as busy or as slow as we wanted them to be and exploring the grounds was a great time.  Often random bands or dance parties would break out at the marina giving the trip a carefree flair. Now I refreshed, free of the post-marathon soreness, and ready to tackle the work week ahead!

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