Stayed here the first week of December, right after the Thanksgiving crowd left, and right before the Holiday crowds arrived. The resort itself is amazing. Where else can you enjoy such an assortment of activities, pools, slides, spa, casino, nightlife? The reviews concerning how expensive this place is are all valid. However, with some careful planning and knowledge, you can have a wonderful time at this 5 Star Resort, at a fraction of the cost. We stayed in a Studio Suite at the Reef. What's great about this room is that it has a kitchennette with a stove-top, refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher. All the amenities such as pots and pans, dishes, glasses, etc. If you want to have a totally relaxing vacation and money is not an object (after all you work hard all year so you deserve some R&R), then opt for the meal plan. It cost about a hundred dollars a day for an adult, less for kids, and includes 3 meals a day that can be used at most of the restaurants at the Atlantis, including Bobby Flay's restaurant Mesa Grill and Carmine's, a great family style Italian restaurant located in the marina.
However, don't rule this place out if you are on a budget. Since there is a refrigerator, stove and cooking utentsils, you can actually dine for a few dollars more than you do at home. On your way to the resort from the airport, ask the taxi driver to stop at the local super market. Groceries that are easy to cook and less expensive to buy are eggs, cheese, breakfast meats, cereal, milk, hot dogs, hamburgers, bagels, tortillas, potatoes, mac & cheese and pasta. Having the driver stop on the way to the resort saves the cost of a taxi there & back on a subsequent trip. Also, if you are a drinker, have them stop by a liquor store to buy your alchohol, wine & beer. Remember, you have a refrigerator, so you can keep things cold. A handle of Bacardi rum only cost about $15, so if you like rum stock up. Don't forget the mixers. Bring spices in little zip lock bags from home so you don't have to pay an arm & a leg for them at the grocery store.
Rather than spending a fortune at the restaurants at the resort, if you are athletic, you can walk (or take a short taxi ride) over the bridge and eat where the locals do at one of the shacks at Arawak Cay. With a host of seafood restaurants that serve delicious fried fish and the delectable conch salad with Kalik beer (feel free to bring your own beverages), brewed on New Providence Island itself, a visit to this place makes for an unforgettable experience at a fraction of the cost of the resort restaurants. The conch salad is prepared fresh and made tableside. If you go in the morning you can actually buy some fresh local fish that you can take back to your room and prepare for dinner. Pan seared Grouper is easy to prepare and a wonderful dish to enjoy out on your private balcony.
A little further in town is another great place ot eat - Potters Cay (a short taxi ride) – Bahamian food with fresh fish/vegetables from the market. This is a great spot to watch locals eat, drink, and do business in the marketplace at a fraction of the cost of the resort restaurants.
Downtown Nassau has some great spots for Happy Hour & the Straw Market where you can barter with the locals for your souvenirs and fake designer luggage. The Nassau Water Taxi (which you can get under the bridge for around $3 per person) provides a cost effective and highly visual alternative to traditional road transportation (taxi). Each boat offers a guided tour of the surrounding area.
We actually splurged (cost about $60 a person) one night and ate at Mosaic, which is located at the Cove. It is an upscale casual mediterrean style restaurant with serving stations that include steak, lamb chops, chicken, fresh prepared fish, a pasta station, salads, a fabulous assortment of sushi and some wonderful desserts. Delish.
All in all we had a wonderful vacation staying at this 5 star resort on a 3 star budget, and will definately be back.
Feel free to contact me for information on how to get substantial discounts on room rates at The Reef.
Room Tip: Request a room at the end of the hall and you will be right by the Ice Machine.
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Ocean View at the end of the hall by the ice machine.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.