We visited The Reef in February last year during a non-school vacation week. We had been prepared that it could be very crowded but we were very lucky and had the place practically to ourselves! This is a beautiful resort that is almost a city unto itself. The Reef and the Cove are the two newer hotels and it shows! I felt the decor in the Reef was far superior to that of the other hotels on the property.
THE ROOM: Our studio room in the Reef was ample space for us and our 2 children as we left the room at 8 am, came back to change for dinner and then back to sleep - we were never in it! When we were, everything was brand new, clean and comfortable. Beds were great and bathroom was beautifully appointed. Great views of ocean and harbor where my kids got a kick out of watching cruise ships come and go. One note -- there were not ample towel hooks in the bathroom and there was no outdoor lighting on the terrace which made it impossible to enjoy at night when the kids were sleeping.
REEF LOCATION: We liked this particular hotel because it was newer and while it was a bit of a walk to the water park, we enjoyed the walk. The Reef is a quiet hotel away from the rest of the resort, which we have heard can get quite crowded with day and cruise trippers. The Reef shares a private pool with The Cove and during our stay there were never more than 3 or 4 other families at the pool. With such low occupancy, one would think pool service would have been amazing. It was not - had to search out staff to help with chair set up, often there was no one to take food or drink orders so you had to go to the bar area to order yourself. There is no excuse for this lack of service ever but especially when the resort is empty.
WATER PARK: was great for kids. We had no waiting in line which was amazing. There were a few rides that my smaller child could not do due to height requirements but the lazy river was a hit as was the water playground. One day we hopped a shuttle to the other side of the resort - we had been told the Beach Tower had its own lazy river and my kids wanted to try it out. It took us almost 45 minutes to get there and after we'd been dropped off and made our way through the Beach Tower lobby to the outside, we noticed it was empty. It turned out The Beach Tower and one other hotel were closed down due to low occupancy so all attractions and restaurants here were closed. It would have been nice if concierge at the Reef or the shuttle operated had communicated this to us knowing where we were going. We wasted almost 1 1/2 of our day going back and forth for nothing. Pools are great throughout the resort (although we never experienced decent pool service at any of them) and the beaches are beautiful - although the water temperature in February was quite cold which was disappointing.
FOOD: we bought the meal plan for my husband and I and our children were free. Food here is pricey and the meal plan was well worth it in my opinion. We ate every breakfast at Mosaic in the Cove because we couldnt imagine it any better elsewhere. It was a very pretty, bright and uplifting place to eat. Huge choice -- made to order omelettes, pastries, cereals, fruits, oatmeal, pancakes, french toast etc. Lunches were tougher with children. There are only a few poolside bars serving food and the offerings are limited. No chicken nuggets. No pizza. Our children had difficulty finding something to eat which is not pleasant to deal with. Dinners were mixed. We ate at Carmines twice - being from NY - and it was just as good. The portions are huge so we brought back to the room and our kids had leftovers for lunches two days which worked out well. Mesa Grill was very good and we went there twice as well. Bahamian Club was mediocre at best and Casa' D'Angelo was fine. Service at all were fine.
KIDS' CLUB: Our children wanted to check out the kids' club and begged us to go after seeing it. We have never left our children in a kids' club situation before and were apprehensive about doing it; however, the staff reassured us and told us exactly what they would be doing. They were to play in the indoor camp for a bit, go to a cooking class, get a behind the scenes tour of the sea lions habitat and then go swimming. Seemed like a nice schedule for 4-5 hours so we made an appointment for the next day. When we dropped our children off, we brought several bottles of water because our children do not like juice. The staff said they had water and it was not necessary. When we arrived to pick up our children we were shocked by what had transpired: they had stayed inside the ENTIRE time (we did not go to the Bahamas from NY in February to have our kids inside for an entire afternoon). They did not have a cooking class, did not going swimming and did not see the sea lions. Furthermore, they had not been given any water to drink in 4 + hours and one child had a pretty nasty gash on his hand and no one was quite sure how it happened. We were terribly disturbed by this experience and voiced our complaints to the director of the kids' club. Later that day, we received an apology with presents for the kids in our room with an offer for a complimentary visit back to the kids' club. We obviously passed.
THE SPA: While our kids were at the kids club we had the concierge at the Reef book us a couples massage in the spa. When we arrived the receptionist quoted us a totally different price than what the Reef concierge quoted us (of course in the spa's favor). We spent more than half an hour going back and forth with the reef concierge on the phone and the spa trying to work it out. The spa staff was very rude about it and in the end, they made a compromise but did not honor the price that the concierge from the reef quoted us. It was a very poor display of customer service. The massage was fine but the whole experience was tainted.
Be sure to visit the Atlantis Racetrack - the kids had a blast playing with the remote control cars. We also enjoyed the rock-climbing wall and we swam with the dolphins which was definitely a highlight of our trip.
Overall, we had a great trip to the Reef in Atlantis and would return again in future however wont be using the kid' club or the spa.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.