Living in New Jersey, or anywhere in the northern United States, our winters can be long and cold. So, it is typical for us to find warmer climates to vacation during this time. However, for us traveling in 2019 was somewhat limited since we had worked on remodeling our house during the year.
Originally, we had not planned to take any trips. But, in early November, we decided to book a last minute escape from the cold for Christmas. Our search began…
Since we had not planned to travel, we hadn’t really saved up for a trip. Luckily, because of business travel, we had airline miles and Marriott rewards we could use. We were partially set!
But, where to go?
This timeframe was a couple months after The Bahamas were ravaged by strong hurricanes. And, once we started our internet search, we kept getting ads for The Atlantis, as they really were promoting they were open for tourism.
We have been previously to The Bahamas, but only to an island owned by the Holland America cruise line (Half Moon Key). And, Atlantis has always been a resort we wanted to checkout. So, we booked a week-long stay at The Cove at Atlantis — plus, Atlantis is part of the Marriott Collection.
We arrived on December 26th and took a taxi from the airport. Driving through Nassau, our driver was so friendly. He shared stories about his family’s opening Christmas gifts the day before and the food they had prepared. He shared that Bahamians are the nicest people we would ever meet in the world — and, after a week, we would agree.
Our taxi took the bridge over to Paradise Island, and the resort came into full view. It’s hard to miss the main structure of the Royal Towers standing tall against the backdrop of the Caribbean.
Quick history of the resort… the original resort was called the Paradise Island Hotel and Casino which opened in 1968. After a couple of sales and remodels, in 1994 a massive remodel took place along with the construction of adjoining buildings (the Coral Towers and the Beach Tower) officially opening in 1998 when the property’s name was changed to Atlantis with the opening of the iconic Royal Towers. Finally, in 2007, a luxury hotel The Cove Atlantis along with another hotel The Reef opened — giving Atlantis five hotels on the property (3,805 rooms in total).
Part of deciding where to travel, was also deciding which resort in Atlantis to stay? A quick search online can be a bit overwhelming which to select. A concern we had was the resort being crowded given the number of rooms. But, all of Atlantis stretches across Paradise Island – so, this definitely helped with the crowds. Plus, the recent hurricanes may have turned some away.
We still had to decide which resort to stay. At first, we thought the Royal Tower would be our choice – after all, when one thinks of Atlantis, this is ‘THE’ structure on the property. We had more research to do…
Our selection process…
- The Beach Tower is for more of a casual stay located closest to the beach and resort pools.
- The Coral Tower appeals to the ‘mid-range’ traveler looking to be close to the swim-up bars and pools
- The Royal Tower is in the center of the property (therefore, we thought it would be busier aka crowded)
- Harborside Resort consist of villas and sits along the harbor-front (we wanted to be closer to the pools)
- The Reef is the newest hotel and was our second choice
- The Cove won out being classified as a luxury hotel that typically doesn’t attract families with kiddos
We spent most of our days in the pools. A couple days where the temps were a little on the cool side, we toured the property with its many aquariums and sea life swimming the the various pools.
Our nights were spent shopping and enjoying the dinners at one of the many restaurants. Dining can definitely eat into a traveler’s budget for sure (nice pun there). But, like any trip, you can make the most of it as you would like. Whether you choose all meals at the higher-end places, or take the courtesy bus to the harbor area for more relaxed places – the choices are aplenty.
RECOMMENDATION: plan where you want to eat dinners during your stay and make reservations. This will make life much easier, especially if traveling with a larger group or kiddos.
In all, we enjoyed our time at Atlantis. The highlight for us was the fireworks display on New Year’s. We decided to enjoy the night from our room because we had the perfect view of the show as the fireworks blasted above the Royal Towers.
Again, we enjoyed our stay. Got plenty of relaxing time in. The food and people were fantastic — but, our goal was to escape the cold winter. We learned that the next time we plan a trip for that reason, that we will go a little further south, as the temps were still a bit chilly at times.
But, for sure, this resort is on the best named island in The Bahamas… Paradise Island.