June 29th – July 6th, 2013

I learned two things on this trip:  You can enjoy all that The Atlantis has to offer, or you can enjoy all that the Bahamas has to offer.  What I mean by that, is, I ventured outside of the Atlantis for a good half of our trip.  Again, I traveled with four people.  Only this time, one member of the gang saw potential for new adventures just over the connection bridge (or under! – I’ll explain later in this post).  Either way you choose, once again, you are in for a real treat.

Leaving on a 7:45AM flight had us arrive to Atlantis at approximatley 11:15AM.  The airport was a breeze this time, and we made it through to our gate in about one hour after arriving.  I still would never chance it, which is why we sat in the terminal for about 2 hours.

Upon arriving, we had to wait until 3:15PM to get our keys, which was as to be expected since they say check-in time is at 4PM.  During the down time, we left our bags in a side-room where the bellmen checked them and gave us a return voucher, and we were on our way in exploring Marina Village.

A simple, kind request could result in nice upgrades, such as this large corner balcony.

As I had mentioned in last years post, I politely asked if it was possible to get an upgraded room, in which they happily accomodated me with a larger corner room with a large balcony.  I strongly suggest requesting corner rooms if you are in a one bedroom.  It makes a world of a difference.

Our room was great.  The food arrived on time from foodstore2go.com, who I highly reccommend.  We were set to go for our trip.  I will not go in to as much detail as my first years post, but I will give you highlights on what we did, and what we strongly urge you to do if you feel up to it on your next visit.

 

 

View From The Lagoon (snorkeling)

First and foremost, if you do not own a snorkel, go and get one.  The beauty of the Atlantis, after all, lies under the sea.  So, visit The Cove beach, bring your snorkel, and enjoy the natural beauty that lies beneath.  From barracuda to angel fish, we had quite the view.  You can also take your gear to The Lagoon, which is another beautiful area to snorkel.  They charge 15 dollars to rent their snorkels daily, but if you have your own, you are welcome to enter The Lagoon.

 

Now, not much has changed since our last visit, but enough to make happy with what you pay in yearly maintenance fee’s.  They added WIFI to every room for your convenience, allowing you internet access anywhere on the property, whereas it used to only be in the pool area.  You can sometimes catch a signal in Marina Village, as well.

Newly painted buildings. Your maintenance dollars at work!

They were undergoing some exterior changes during our visit, including repainting every building.  They have also ordered all new fitness equipment, repaved the pool area, and replaced the pool table.

 

 

 

I would like to talk about Nassau.  I was not very eager to visit Nassau, however a friend of ours encouraged us to explore and enjoy things as the locals do.  Now, I am all about eating some good sushi at Nobu, enjoying a steak at Seafire Grill, and fresh fish at Bimini Road, all which we still did this year.  But this year, I don’t even have words to describe the food I ate and the places I visited.  Here are a list of a few:

Montegu Garden Italian Restaurant entrance.

Montegu Gardens- Ask the front desk to arrange a driver to pick you up and bring you there.  It’s a free service that the restaurant offers!  The area is breathtaking, as it used to be a house, and it’s situated on a lake.  It is very colonial-looking.  People get married there often, and  I can understand why.   The food was amazing.  I ordered Red Snapper, and it came with plantains, beans and rice, two of their signature sides. The fish was freshly caught, and my dish only came to $12.00.  Compare that to Atlantis prices, and you will find you can barely order a side dish for that price.

When you are ready to experience Montegu Garden, just pick up your room phone, dial down to the front desk, and a free taxi service provided by the restaurant will pick you up outside of the lobby!  If you end up getting Oscar as your driver, be prepared to laugh the entire ride to the restaurant – he was great!  As you can see in one of the photos below, the food was great as well. At the end of your dinner, walk around the restaurant and take in the beauty of this historic property.

"Montegu Garden"

 

Rev’s- This was one of the most interesting parts of our trip.  Situated just under the bridge to Nassau (on the departure side), lies Rev’s.  Rev owns a small shack on the bay, and I literally mean on the bay.  You can see the water through the wood floor planks.  He has conch that is still in the shell.  He fishes off of the small deck for small snapper, which he cooks.  There is a menu, but I strongly urge you to let Rev make you a special dish.  Small tip would be to tell him to go easy on making it spicy.  With that being said, he made us two red snapper, freshly caught conch, grouper, lobster tail, plantains, and beans and rice for $10 per person! .I do not even understand where he came up with that price, but it was a good one for sure.  You must try what the locals love the most: raw conch.  I strongly suggest getting the conch salad, which is raw conch chopped up and mixed with peppers and onions in a lime citrus dressing.

Conch Salad

There are no leaves in this salad, just what I had described.  Its delicious.  You will be hooked.  Its an experience you have to try.  You are surrounded by locals, but they were all kind to us.  You can walk the bridge (7 minutes) or take a cab ($10).  The bridge is scenic, so I suggest walking it.  It looks like a workout, but it is just an illusion.  Bring your camera.


View From The Bridge!

 

One of the many local restaurants situated in The Fish Fry.

Fish Fry - Downtown Nassau.  Take a cab ($21). Fish fry is not the name of the restaurant, but the name of the strip of restaurants that they lie in. We ate in two places: Oh Andros and Twin Brothers.

These two places were the most talked about by the locals when we would ask where to go to eat.  They were right.  If you want a smaller, more local-friendly place, go to Oh Andros.  A couple buildings down is Twin Brothers.  Go here for more of a mix of locals and tourists.  Both were fantastic.  Remember, these places are offering food between $10 – $15 for their specialties!  You must try one.

 

The Poop Deck. Who is your favorite celebrity? They’ve been here…

Fresh Grouper at The Poop Deck.

Choose your own fish!

Poop Deck – This place is something else.  It is located just after the Nassau bridge, on the Nassau side, facing Atlantis.  I never had such a delicious grouper before in my life.  $14, and you will leave stuffed.  The plate is completely filled.  You will always hear a local suggest the Poop Deck.  It is a mix of tourists and locals. You can personally choose your fresh snapper if you order it.  The fish comes in off the dock a few times a day. Don’t be surprised if you see a celebrity enjoying their dinner right beside you.  It’s a favorite to Danny DeVito.  Do not pass this one up. It’s too close to not try, and there is something for everybody.

Besides the amazing food we had experienced, we also ran through a couple of local art galleries, one where the artist happened to currently be at.  We bought a few prints off of him, which he graciously signed.  Their artwork is beautiful.  The colors speak the Bahamas without even knowing it came from there.  They are now hanging in my living room, and people love them.

Not much more to touch on.  The weather was great.  85-90 degrees every day.  It only rained on day one.  Clouds come and go, but thats to be expected, being its their rainy season in July.  Rain comes and goes with the clouds, as well, so don’t dwell on the fact that you see dark clouds moving in…It’s only the matter of time until the sun burns through those clouds to give you another beautiful day.

July 4th, 2013 Celebration

July 4th was once again amazing.  The fireworks were great.  We were not aloud to sit on the beach this year, as we did the year before.  But thats okay, we still had great views of the fireworks over the Royal Towers.  Celebrity P. Diddy (Puff Daddy) checked in to The Cove during our week, and we saw him several times throughout the week.  Apparently Beyonce and Dave Chapelle visited just months prior, and Richard Gere had just checked out of the royal towers bridge suite ($30,000/day, minimum of 3 night stay required).

Fireworks

More Fireworks!

Now you know how to act like a local, all while enjoying the amazing benefits and amenities of The Atlantis and your award-winning home resort, Harborside!

We’ll be in touch!

-Brett

June 30th – July 7th, 2012

 

Trip: June 30th – July 7th – Arrival to The Bahamas 10:24am

During this month in the Bahamas, you would typically expect to have rain every single day that lasts for approximately one hour, and then clears to beautiful, sunny skies for the remainder of the day.  Lucky for us, we did not get a drop of rain.  Just clear, sunny Bahama skies every day.  So, lets get started…

First, and absolute foremost; please arrive early to the airport. It sounds repetitious, but it really does become second nature for us to delay ourselves in getting to the airport 3 hours early.  We barely made our flight since we arrived just under 2 hours early.  If it wasn’t for customs, we would have been just fine, but you never know how long customs will be.  This especially proved to be true on our return trip from the Bahamas.  Customs only had two lines open, and it wrapped around the door.  People were, without a doubt, going to miss their flights.  Now, on to the fun stuff!

night view of Harborside Lobby

Upon arrival, we had to wait for our room which was provided during their 3:00pm check-in time.  Our room was in building 5.  Building 5 has a great view of the bay (not of the Atlantis), and it was just perfect.  I strongly recommend requesting a balcony.

The step balcony. It served its purpose and enhanced our vacation experience.

We were given a step-balcony, which is basically a balcony door, opening up and allowing you one full step on to the balcony.  It gives you just enough to take in that great morning Bahama air with a hot mug of coffee in hand.  We liked it so much that we didn’t bother asking to move.

It was a unique balcony, and every morning, I’d wake up with just the white shades across the door, allowing me to see the sun glistening off of the water (and the million dollar yachts that kept passing by).  And no, we did not hear any of the boats during our stay.

Within the half-hour, as promised, www.FoodStore2go.com provided us with our requested groceries.  Nothing was left out, and it was ordered a month ahead of time online. We thought about stopping at the grocery store in Nassau on our way to the resort, but we opted out of that idea so we could just settle in faster upon arrival, which is exactly what we did. FoodStore2go also stocked the fridge for us and insisted that they do it since we are on vacation and should not lift a finger. Of course we reached for our wallets to provide them with a nice size tip, but we are on the islands and we were prepared to be tipping out-the-ass.

The bed was very comfortable, clean, and inviting.  We may not have had maid service every single day as you would next door at the Royal Towers, but if you just spend an extra 1-2 minutes daily, on your end, to take care of your room, you wouldn’t know the difference.  This bed is 4 days later with no maid service:

Keeping your place clean reduces stress (that is, if you have any at all during this stay!)

As you can see, its spotless. The bed provided 5 pillows. They do not have pillow cases on them, so please do not forget to bring them. Hygiene is important, and you always want to be careful when in hotels.  To make things even better in your own personal bedroom, there is a fan above you which we had set to spin at its slowest speed, but just enough to feel it on your skin.  It truly does make a world of a difference, and is just another perk of staying at Harborside.

 

 

Sink

The sink was beautiful.  Marble-top, holding all of the amenities that you would find in any other hotel.  To your right, a hair-dryer is provided, and has been rated as completely acceptable by women needing to use it during their stay.

Also, against the wall is a 5x circle mirror which lights up along the outside of it.

 

 

The toilet performed up to its name….It flushed. Enough said.  Above the toilet, on a rack, holds 3 shower towels and 3 hand towels. Obviously this is not enough to take daily showers with and hold on to until the first maid service comes (approximately 4 days later). However, we are living in a “green environment” world and there is nothing wrong with hanging them up and using it for the next few days until the new ones are provided by the maid.  If you are that desperate, you can simply go down to the pool and take up as many as you would like.  Easy enough.

The jet tub was a great perk.  The jets were strong, and the water felt as if it were massaging you.  Its also a huge, deep tub, which allows for a more comfortable jet-tub experience unlike other tubs which you just want to get out of after 5 minutes.

 

So, we had a total of 4 people staying, and we decided to play a little game prior to leaving for our vacation.  Each person had to pick out a movie to show on the family room TV during one of the 7 nights of our trip.  One that had great ratings and would be enjoyable as a group.  When we had arrived, we picked a number from a cup, 1 through 4, and that was the order of the movies to be presented at night time.  So we picked four days out of the seven to watch them.  No one knew what the film was until the opening scene was presented. We would watch the film in the family room on the couch, make popcorn, and enjoy the film.

The Bose System that is shown in the picture is absolutely incredible.  It created that same bass surround sound that you would expect to hear from a movie theater.  It was honestly a great part of our evenings when we had some down-time.  Simply, another way to make the most out of your vacation.

An update on the beach:  There really is no words to describe the beauty of this island’s beaches.  If you want to make the best of the beach, you have to get there no later than 6:00am in order to get the beach chairs with the optional cabana.  Regular beach lounge chairs are plentiful.  If you get your beach chairs this early, do not be foolish by thinking you can now leave the beach, go to breakfast, and return with your beach chairs where you last left them: inches from the water, towels perfectly placed, and that one sandal still sitting on top, reminding all beach dwellers that these chairs are without-a-doubt taken!  You will return to no chairs, and maybe…just maybe… you will be able to retrieve your sandals. If people do not take your chairs, the people who make tips off of bringing you chairs, umbrellas, etc… will take them…even if they were the ones to bring them to you in the first place!  Just a small tip I thought I could share.

Now for the vendors…

Can you handle them?  I personally can.  I feel like it is part of my trip.  Its the same people year after year, and for the most part, they are all respectful.  However, I had a few days where I decided to leave “Front Beach”, which is the beach in front of Royal Towers, and wander off to Cove Beach (you guessed it, in front of The Cove).

At the Cove, you will have absolute peace and quiet from the vendors.  They simply are not there.  You will have a beautiful beach surrounded by some rock formation jetties.  You will notice the water is just as beautiful, with the exception of small reef formations in areas of the water.  This makes for outstanding snorkeling. Its without a doubt, a worthwhile decision to make if you cant handle the same man coming up to you and trying to sell you the same coconut for the 5th time.  Worth considering…

food, games, drinks, and more during the July 4th extravaganza

Now, for July 4th…I have seen firework displays in the past.  I’ve seen every one that Disney has ever put out.  And I have been to places that have outdone Disney.  I have never seen such a display overlooking the Royal Towers as I had on this July 4th, 2012.  We had the best seats in the house…the beach!  Front Beach, to be exact.  And fireworks were being blasted off from the beach within 20 yards of us. Every time a firework exploded in the sky, the ocean lit up as if the sun came back out for a short second.  It was so amazing that I quickly made my next reservation over July 4th for 2013! Consider your next July 4th to be at the Bahamas.  They truly put on a wonderful time for all of us, with food, drink, games, and fireworks…and this isn’t even their Independence Day (theirs is July 10th 1973). Close enough, but still, it was a very memorable time.

We spent 8 great days on this island, and can’t wait to return next year.  We can honestly say that our decision on becoming a part of this vacation club was indeed a good one.  We understand why our maintenance fee’s are higher than at other resorts, and we clarified to ourselves that its absolutely worth every penny.  Higher maintenance fee’s are a must in order to keep up with the beautiful grounds, tanks, plants, and experience that Atlantis offers you, and it will only enhance and ensure many successful future visits to this resort.