We recently spent a week in Reef Atlantis during the March break. We had a great time. I struggled to rate the experience between 4 stars and 5 stars, if we have 4.5 stars that will be it, but at the end our overall experience over shined the issues/problems so I give it a 5 star.
We stayed in an ocean view studio. The room is spacious and clean, well finished (nice doors and nice thick counter top, with attention to finishing touches on details) and decorated. The bed linens are top quality. The sofa bed is not good quality, and the linens come with it are not as good as on the main bed, it has seen it better days. The bathroom is one of the best I have seen (and I have seen good ones in past travel)--it is big, it has separate shower/bath tub, 2 sinks, and a toilet behind a glass door. All the towels/bath robes are soft and thick puffy to make you feel at home--it feels great. It has a very small kitchen, but it's adequate to prepare a quick meal -- it has 2 cook tops, a microwave, a dishwasher, a small fridge.
The ocean view is great, it's as good as it gets, you see the pool first and then beyond pool it's the forever impressive ocean. It's even better here in the reef setting that you can see the ocean when you brush your teeth in the bathroom.
We had most breakfasts in Starbucks and some in Mosaic buffet, lunches by the pool and dinner at the restaurants. Atlantis is expensive, no question about it. But not everything is outrageously expensive. Starbucks is not too bad, tall latte is at $4.10, Croissant at $4.50. The lunch can be bad in terms of cost, hot dog is at $6.5 and a chocolate ice cream bar is at $7.00, but the salad is fresh and big size at $13. We had 2 dinners at Nobu, which was fantastic! If you are a foodie, you must go. The reason we went there twice is precisely because it's that good. The first night it cost us $320 because we ordered a lot. The second time was at around $250. We had a dinner at Court Yard Terrace, we enjoyed the food/service/ambiance all around. The food was top notch, the service was impeccable, and the setting was magical. You should walk around the grounds of Ocean club, it's truly amazing. If you want to stay away from all the noise in the Atlantis, this is where you should stay. We had a dinner at Bimini Road, which was bad, I would not recommend it at all, it's nothing special but easily cost you $150. We had other dinners at Mosaic buffet, which was great considering it's a buffet. There are a lot of varieties, so everyone can find something they like. It worked best for our daughter as she could see what's there and picked the things that interested her.
The water park is busy and exciting--our daughter loved it. There were lineups it seemed all the time, we tried early morning but so did many others especially for the big rides like Leap of Faith and The Abyss.
We also did the shallow water dolphin interaction. it's $150 pp for half hour close interaction with dolphins. Our daughter loved the experience. But I honestly wouldn't do it for myself, it was a very quick and shallow experience -- a group of you (10) lined up to take turns to pose with dolphin for photos (hugging, kissing, shake hands). You are better off to pay a bit more to do the deep water experience with the dolphins.
The property is huge and confusing. We don't mind--I enjoyed walk/joggling in the early morning--but even by the end of the stay I still didn't figure out all the paths/routes. It's a lot of walking from one place to the other. There is a shuttle, but you have usually have to wait for a few mins and it only stops at certain points. If you are looking for a tranquil, quiet boutique hotel for your retreat, this is not your place. But if you have kids and the kids need actions, this is a good compromise place. The beach and pool on the Reef/Cove side are quiet, so you can get some down time, and you can find top quality food in this resort.
Oh the dig, it's truly one of the kind, the imagination of the sunken city of atlantis inside the aquarium is outstanding. You will be humbled by how amazing it is.
Where I struggled to give it a full 5 stars? It's expensive, but we were prepared to pay a lot here, so that was not the issue. The issue was after you have paid so much, and you still have to line up for more than half an hour to get your lunch by the pool ( Cascade restaurant by the Reef/Cove pool), that's an issue hard to swallow. It felt like you are in a fast food restaurant, not a 5 star resort. The service at the Reef and all the restaurants were fantastic, but on the grounds when you were walking around you would encounter a few not too happy workers and they were not interested in helping you.
Overall we had an awesome time, and I don't think it's fair to give it 4 stars, so 5 stars it is!
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