There are so many great things about being an East Coast Girl. One positive is that we can just pop down to the Caribbean and literally be in paradise in a little over 2 hours. This Christmas my boyfriend and I decided to celebrate separately because his parents live in Italy. Instead, we had our own “Holiday after the Holiday” at the Atlantis in the Bahamas. It was super fun! Here is a recap of our trip and some tips if you are planning on visiting the Atlantis or the Bahamas for a winter vacay.
We booked a vacation package with flight and hotel through Expedia. We paid a little extra for the Vacation Waiver Plan as well. My boyfriend is an international business guy so plans can change on a dime. In this case, that is exactly what happened. We had to push the trip back one day because he had a last minute can’t miss meeting . We used the waiver to get a one time refund from Expedia and re-booked our flights on Southwest. The plane tickets were not refundable through the airline, but with this plan, Expedia provided the refund to us directly. I can’t remember the exact price, but I think it was around 150 bucks. I recommend it, especially, if you or your partner have a crazy schedule.
I definitely think it’s advantageous to fly Southwest for short and inexpensive trips. Other airlines that are low cost or have a cheap ticket will tack on a bunch of extra charges for the seat, bags, and to change the ticket. With Southwest you get two free bags, a free seat and can move your flight at any time for a year.
Tip: Calculate the extra hidden cost with low cost carriers. It might be more convenient, comfortable, and cheaper on a flight with a higher up front cost.
I absolutely love visiting Atlantis Bahamas. I was really torn between staying at the Atlantis or the newer, posh Baha Mar or SLS. I finally picked the Atlantis for the combination of the vibe and access to amenities. Even though it’s not as new, the Atlantis Bahamas is still pretty posh too.
The Atlantis Bahamas has such great energy. It’s full of bustling people walking around and having fun on the property. It some how manages to have a ton of activities for kids and not feel like a kids hotel while simultaneously having a casino, lounges and a nightclub and not feel like a drunken Vegas party. There is honestly something for everyone at every age. The adult and kid worlds could ostensibly never collide, if you desire it to be that way.
The size of the Atlantis Bahamas is really like a small city. It even has shuttle buses that take you back and forth to different areas of the property. If you have a family, the older Beach property is the best for children. There is an arcade, lazy river, and children’s pools. If you want to be with only adults, the very sexy, and the most expensive Cove Atlantis is on the opposite side of the property and has an adult only pool. Only people staying at the Cove hotel can use that pool. However, there are many pool options (almost a dozen others), two huge private beaches and a water park. Also, no need to pack beach towels, they will have those for you.
We stayed at the Beach property and loved it because it was an easy, quick walk to the casino and marina. There are also several other hotels on the property like the Reef and Coral. All hotels give you access to the pools, water park, nightclub, restaurants, etc. Despite the Beach being the cheapest option, it does not mean it looked or felt cheap. Everything at the Atlantis is luxurious. If you are looking for the most affordable option, the Beach is honestly wonderful.
There are a few things about the Atlantis Bahamas that make it stand out above the others in my eyes:
- The Current river ride is really fun for adults and a great way to get around the gigantic property and water park in an inner tube.
- Luxury shopping at stores like Gucci,Versace, Tory Burch, YSL and others are located directly on the property.
- There is a huge and lively casino (with free cocktails!) surrounded by a few lounges and a nightclub for adult entertainment. The casino is open 24 hours which is perfect if the weather is bad or you just like to gamble a lot ( like me).
- There is a ton of awesome sea life like turtles, sharks, and stingrays on the property as well as gigantic aquariums everywhere. There are also excursion options for a cost.
- There is a marina area with a good variety of restaurants and shops surrounded by beautiful world class yachts. You can charge any food or drinks in this area to your room.
- The landscaping and architecture of the hotel are really breathtaking. It feels luxurious just to walk around.
Tip: Make sure you bring enough funds for the incidentals. Atlantis charges almost 200 per night and you must pay it all up front. You can use your room key like a debit card while you are on the property and will be refunded the remaining balance of your deposit when you check out. I would also recommend buying your own alcohol from a local store if you plan on drinking a lot. Everything on the Atlantis property is fairly expensive.
Royal Towers Lobby
Royal Towers Lobby
Royal Towers Lobby
Out and About in Nassau
Bae and I love to take a scoot around different cities. It’s cheaper than taxis if you want to see many places, easy to find parking and you can see so much out in the elements. Just be careful! In the Bahamas they drive on the left side!For this trip we rented a scooter from J&S Scooter Rental. It was about 180 bucks for 24 hours.
We made two noteworthy stops. One stop was downtown and the other at the John Watling’s whiskey distillery. Downtown Bahamas is really set up for tourist coming off of cruise ships. Still, because downtown is so close to the Atlantis, it’s worth a stroll (or scoot through). You can literally see gigantic ships from all over docked at the port. The Straw Market has a plethora of souvenirs. Most are cheap and cheesy but there are a few handmade things sprinkled throughout. There are also plenty of luxury and jewelry stores which could be worth your money since you won’t have to pay the VAT. I got a Gucci bag there a few years ago. I will note that there are a lot of hustlers and hagglers downtown. They are not scary. Bahamas’ main businesses is tourism so people are just overly looking to make money, not to be mean.
John Watling’s distillery is a touristy spot as well but still worth checking out. It’s only a few blocks from downtown. I was excited because I was able to get a big sampling of 4 large whiskeys for 10 bucks. The landscaping also provided the perfect island vibe to sit out on the porch and sip whisky with my love.
What I wore
Whenever I travel I bring an entire wardrobe. I love having a lot of options I can mix and match together. Plus, I honestly just love clothes so much. I just want them all around me! Winter months in Nassau are the coldest time of the year there. One day it was over 80 degrees and the next day we had on jackets and scarfs. I brought a few light leather and jean jackets for the cooler days and the evenings. I also had plenty of time in the sun in my bikinis and mini skirts. If you are into the nightlife, there a few lounges and posh restaurants on the Atlantis property like Nobu and Aura where you can dress up in full glam too. I would pack like it’s early fall or late spring If you plan on traveling in January. At the end of the day, it’s island life so pretty much anything goes.
Tip: Pack a jacket no matter what time of year you travel because inside the hotels and casino, the air is blasting!