I thought I would write this review specifically for parents with young toddlers (under the age of 3) to help you plan your trip. We chose this hotel based on recommendations from this website and others and it is indeed a good choice. The hotel is clean, very quiet, the grounds are lush and they have a cage with 2 parrots that greet you. They also have a slide and a sandbox, 3 pools and a tennis court. We had a one bedroom suite with a nice living area, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and a private patio. We saved money by cooking our own food. Here are the things you need to know about this hotel and the island in general:
1. The hotel.
The kitchen is not really fully equipped. I would say it had the bare minimum. I would suggest you bring a "starter kit" because prices on the island are twice higher than in the U.S. These are the items we ended up buying: a small sponge and dishwasher soap, cooking oil, condiments, sugar etc...and food items that are not for sale there that you really need/want (in our case, organic cereals)...also as an fyi, tap water is not recommended. We bought bottled water for our toddler. We did drink the tap water for a few days but it does not taste very good. We did not get sick. You may want to bring outlet covers for safety and peace of mind.
2. The island
As of June 2012, Providence Island is a big construction site. I've got to warn you that it starts right at the airport, all along Cable Beach and up to downtown Nassau. It is a mess. The island is booming right now and they want to build a resort to rival the Atlantis on Cable beach. They will move the beach further inland to accommodate all new buildings. Apparently they have hired 2,000 Chinese workers to complete the job by 2014. So, what I am saying is that you want to stay on Paradise Island if you want quietness. If you are the parent of a toddler under 3, activities offered by hotels and tour operators are limited, well actually they are none. The Atlantis has programs for children over 3. These are activities that would work for your child:
The Astrada Zoo (fun show with flamingos, lots of birds, bird feeding, leopards etc....and it will take you an hour only). Blue Lagoon Island: we highly recommend it because it is very shallow and safe, they have water tables out and the site is beautiful. If you want to avoid crowds, walk all the way down to the bridge by the snorkeling area. Tip: to save money, buy the observer package and bring your own lunch ($25 instead of 54). Cabbage beach is the beach to go to with a toddler. If you are fit and willing, the west side of the beach is a 20-minute walk from the hotel. I would recommend bringing your stroller, the sidewalks are good (not like in Nassau!). Once there, if you like snorkeling you may want to walk all the way to the rocks. We saw colorful fish and stingrays. Another great outing are the Atlantis Aquariums called “the Dig”, A must-see! Tip: do not pay for the $45 fee they ask for. Wait until 7PM instead, when they open it up to the public for free. We also walked the grounds, which was good exercise for our child.
One last thing about grocery shopping and food: at this time, you only have one option for groceries and it is the Super Value across the bridge. City Market has closed. It is a 25 minute walk from the hotel or you can also take a cab. I took the stroller and used it as my cart on the way back. It worked out fine. Do not expect to find anything tremendously exciting there…I had hoped for fresh fish and tropical fruit, well they do not carry anything local (their coconut water is from Thailand!!!). If you want fish, do go to Twin Brothers on the right side of the bridge and Potters Cay. Another random item: I ate a great rum cake sundae in downtown Nassau at an ice cream parlor on the main street right across the building that burned down (it is easy to locate). A word about restaurants: If you are on Paradise Island, your choices are very limited. The good restaurants are at the Atlantis but you have to be a guest to have access before 7PM, which does not work well for parents of toddlers. I have heard the MarketPlace is a good bargain and a low key place.
Finally, you may also want to enroll into the people-to-people program sponsored by the Bahamas government. They pair you up with locals to learn about the culture. Our host was really nice, she drove us all over the island and introduced us to great foods (coconut and pineapple tarts, crab dish made by her friends and conch salad on the west side of the island). She even got us a car seat for our toddler. She called us the night we came back home to make sure we made it safely back to the U.S.!!!
Overall, I would say we are glad we chose the Best Western in Paradise Island (Atlantis is a zoo) but we were not prepared for the madness of New Providence. If you are looking for real calm, I would say go to a different island or be prepared to stay on Paradise Island for the entirety of your stay. I hope this helps!
Ask for an upper-level room, you will get more natural light.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.