My wife and I just returned home from a trip to Paradise Island. It was our first time to the Bahamas, and we stayed at the Harborside Resort. Like most reviewers, I found the positive and the negative feedback true in most cases. The most obvious drawback is the cost, which my wife and I were prepared for. We packed a suitcase of snacks and some other items, supplemented by a stop at the grocery store on the way to the resort from the airport. We bought fruit, soda, and a few other things which allowed us to eat breakfast and lunch in the room on most days. Most reviewers have also suggested that the portions you get at the restaurants are fairly sizable, and can be shared, which is absolutely true. Carmines in the Marina Village is a great spot, that serves their meals family style. We split a flat iron steak sandwich at Bimini Road (also in Marina Village) with an order of conch fritters, and had more than enough--it was really very good, too! We probably did a little more eating in than most, but we were pleasantly surprised when we checked out and settled our bill, despite being fairly liberal at the Point Bar and Atlas Bar and Grill in ordering cocktails and beer. So, the one real negative can easily be mitigated with a little planning, I think.
We don't have kids, so we intentionally planned our trip for after the Labor Day holiday. We had a great time spending time at the beach (Paradise Beach and the Cove) as well as taking advantage of the the lazy river and waterslides. It wasn't crowded at all despite having two days of the largest cruise ships in the world in port (Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas). We didn't wait more than 5 or 10 minutes to get on a slide, and never had to wait for a tube. However, if you have kids and the financial means to put this together, I don't think you would regret it. It's a great value, despite the cost, and everything except the casino is designed for kids and families.
Harborside was fantastic. The rooms are clean, the pool is a nice distraction from Atlantis if you want to get away from that scene. Everyone on the island, and at the resort especially, seemingly goes out of their way to make you feel welcome. As an example of their understanding and willingness to help, I lost an item at the water park on our last afternoon there, and everyone from the lost and found to the security team, was very helpful in finding and returning what I'd lost. We found the people at Harborside, and everywhere for that matter, friendly and helpful. The only unfriendly or rude experiences we had were from other tourists.
* We booked a half day snorkeling trip with Stuart Cove through the concierge at Harborside. Stuart Cove did a great job, and we had a blast.
* I'd suggest the City Market if you plan to stop at a grocery store on the way from the airport.
* We bought beer at the liquor store across the street from Atlantis, next to Anthony's restaurant. The prices there are relatively reasonable, and my wife brought a small collapsible cooler, which we filled with a couple of beers and sodas each day prior to heading to the pool or beach. It worked great.
* We took the ferry one day to the straw market. With the large cruise ships in port that day, it was a little crowded. We didn't spend a lot of time there, but if you're into bargaining and looking for something unique to take away from your trip, there is plenty of opportunity for that.
* The tipping is a little inconsistent in it's application. When you eat out or go for drinks, the tip's included, but the guys on the ferry, for example, acted as our 'tour guide', and expected a tip in return. I felt bad that I forgot to tip the Stuart Cove guys--my wife asked me on the bus ride back to the resort...I had forgotten. Maybe it's just me with the tipping issue, but I felt personally that the gratuity thing was a little confounding.
* We booked our airport transportation through Sandra Ferguson. They were awesome, and I definitely concur with the other reviews here--really a good job done by Sandra and her daughter getting us to and from the airport.
In all, it was a great vacation, even if it was just my wife and I. Don't let the prices get you down. The cost can be managed as much or as little as you want with a little planning.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Inspired by the natural wonders of warm Caribbean breezes, blue crystalline waters and sparkling white-sand beaches, Harborside Resort offers Atlantis guests a vacation filled with beauty, relaxation and excitement. Situated just across the marina from Atlantis, you have access to a wealth of private amenities combined with the home-away-from-home extras that only a spacious, private villa can offer. The Harborside Resort is just steps from a harbor front restaurant and pool area, a children's pool with fountains, a fitness facility and more ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Atlantis - Harborside Hotel Paradise Island
- Harborside Resort Paradise Island
- Harborside Hotel Paradise Island
- Harborside Resort Atlantis
- Harborside Resort At Atlantis
- Atlantis - Harborside Resort Bahamas/Paradise Island