We went to the Harborside resort from Jan 27th until Feb 3rd 2013. We were a party of 8 people: 4 adults and 4 kids (age 5 months, 2 yrs, 4 yrs and 6 yrs old). It was overall a good vacation.
I found the hotel adequate. The room size was awesome (2 bedroom lock-off 2724-2725). It was just the right size for 8 people, plenty of room. We wanted to have a full kitchen and laundry. Nice view of the Atlantis resort across the marina. We were in building 1, right in front of the tunnel. I could hear it a bit when we were in the living room/kitchen but there was no noise traffic in the bedrooms or the balconies. I think it could be an issue if you have adults sleeping in the living room. My kids never complained... I was a bit disappointed because the room was ''updated'' but still looked a bit dated. The tiles and grout particularly were stained (especially in the master bedroom shower). There was also previous water damage that were not repaired well and you could see the stains/uneven wall. Other then that, the room was great. It wouldn't be enough to prevent me from going back to the Harborside since the space, kitchen and laundry were great. We also got this 2 bedrooms unit through an exchange with interval and it was a steal!
Tip: bring laundry soap and dishwasher soap. I also found a dish scrubber very helpful (they only provide 2 small blue rag to wash and dry dishes, pretty useless). I wish I a brought a dish rag to dry dishes. They provide a lot of liquid dish soap so no need to bring any from home. They provide enough toilet paper but we ran out of kleenex after a few days and they were not replaced at the mid week cleaning. We requested a roll-a-way bed, a crib and a high chair. I was told there was a fee of 5 $ per day for the roll-a-way bed but didn't get charged at check out.
The staff was always friendly but I felt they were not informed. When we asked about activities for kids at Atlantis, someone told me about the Splashers kids pool. Once we got to Atlantis it was closed for renovation... In fact, 2 out of the 3 kids pool were closed for renovation. I was a bit irritated since I had called Atlantis 2 weeks before the the lady on the phone had insure me that all their pools were open except the one at Harborside. I found the concierges were more interested in making reservations for dinner or recommending some activities that cost money (ex: dress up your our stuff bear at Atlantis for only 25$ per bear) then really helping us figure out what to do with 4 young kids. They also mentioned the tour to visit the time-share but didn't insist when we declined.
There is only 2 computers in the lobby and that was a pain. We wanted to print our boarding passes the night before our departure and my husband was turned away because it was 7:35 pm and the computer station closes at 7:30pm. Printing our boarding passes was also very slow and difficult for some reason...
Food: We had brought tons of snacks, dry soups, spices, cereals, peanut butter, noodles, rice, fruit salads, vinaigrette, coffee, tea, etc in our luggage. We used the shuttle from the hotel to go to the grocery store, there is a liquor store just by the grocery store. The prices at the grocery is a bit more expensive then at home but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. If you are smart about what you buy, you can get away without an outrageous bill. The only thing I would say is to watch the prices at the cash. I find often there is multiple prices on the shelf, it's hard to know how much things cost. Also fruits are often priced by the unit (ex: 69 cents per orange not per lb). We ate in our room for all our meals except once we brought our lunch at Atlantis. Nobody had any problems with us bringing food.
Shopping: Went to the Marina village and also the small craft mall, shopping mall accross the street. Found some cute t-shirts at Pirana Joe in the marina village. Some store were ridiculously expensive. One store was asking 76$ for a baby t-shirt. I can't believe some people would buy that! The sale lady was explaining to me that I would be buying a name and quality... Give me a break, it's a baby t-shirt that a baby can only wear a few months anyways!
Taxi: We used Sandra Ferguson for the cab from and to the airport. Everything went well, she was on time for both trips. We also stopped at the grocery on our way from the airport to have enough food for a few meals until we did out full grocery shopping. I had reserved 4 car seats both trips. She ended up only having 3 so the 6 years old didn't have a car seat but it wasn't a big deal. People didn't drive that fast and I felt safe even if some seat belts were not functional. We also used an other cab downtown (Uncle lew's taxi-cab, cell:427-0522). Nice gentleman, no car seats and I felt fine. I guess there is no head rest for the passengers in most cabs but again, we were not on the highway so I felt it was secure enough. I don't recommend to rent a car since they are driving on the left side of the road! Very confusing!
Atlantis: They have free life jackets for kids and adults! I didn't know and I had brought 4 life vests for the kids from home. Very convenient to have them at Atlantis. It wasn't busy at all and we always had our towels and bracelets right away once we got there. There was also no wait for the slides except the saturday. Also plenty of chairs and spaces in the pool/beaches. We loved all the aquariums. The dig being the most impressive. Sometimes I could almost feel like we were diving! There is also a lot of marine habitats. It's a shame that the Atlantis maps don't show where most of the habitats are... We spent a lot of time searching and asking people to find the turtles for example (off the beach tower). Atlantis is also a pain with strollers. I thought it would be kid friendly but there is a lot of stairs and only a few ways to get around with strollers...
We were disappointed in the lagoon. We have been diving a bit for the past 10 years and we were expecting some nice snorkeling in the lagoon. Yes there is some fish but nothing else (no corals, no habitats), there was a bit of garbage in the water since it was over a pedestrian bridge. I feel Atlantis should clean up the garbage to make it more appealing...
I would say the biggest thing that disappointed me in Atlantis is that there is nothing included. I know swimming with dolphins would cost something but even going on the beach where the dolphins were was 30$ per person! At least, they had an observation deck that was free. On their website, there is suppose to be a free stingray feeding for kids 3-6 years old. They pick 5 kids per day. Once we got there, we learned that this program was discontinued and it was now 29$ per kid to feed the stingray! I also thought that some kids activities at the kids club were free (ex: computer use, games, etc). It was 45$ per kid for a morning OR an afternoon, 60$ for the evening. You had to leave the kids there so it was basically a baby sitting service (an expensive one with 4 kids...). When we went to Cancun, there was a kids club that the kids could play ping-pong, a Wii, DVDs, books, etc so it was a change from the beach and pools. Basically, the pools, the beach, the marine habitats and the slides are included nothing more. We still had a good time and the kids loved it. They asked us to swim with the dolphins but were fine when we told them no.
The Cove beach is the best one to go with young kids, the Atlantis beach is fun to collect sea shells but you can't swim in it it's too rough and steep. We were told that we were not suppose to go the the Cove beach since we were not Cove residents but that nobody checked. The lady at the Harborside is the one that told us to go to the Cove beach since it was the best beach and that nobody screened the people on the beach.
Aquaventure: Loved the current, lots of fun. My husband and 6 years old did the Power tower but I was too scared. There is a lot of fun slides for older kids or adults. I felt my kids were too young for most water rides. They still had fun in the regular pools and small water slides in the kids area.
We also did 1 day in downtown Nassau. We went to the Pirates museum, I personally don't think it's worth the money (6$ per kid, 12$ per adult). The best part about it was an outdoor terrace at the end of the museum where we had our lunch. It was shady and there was a nice breeze, perfect for a picnic. The staff of the museum were very nice to let us eat there. The kids loved the canons on the terrace. We also went to the zoo. We has a lot of fun there and I think it was a great idea to go. Feeding the parrots with apples were the highlight of the visit. Imagine that, it was included with the entrance fee for a change!
Overall, we don't regret our decision to go to Atlantis. The price was cheap since we got it through interval exchange. I felt I had a great deal since we own a 1 bedroom in Orlando. I think I would go back once the kids are a bit older and we don't have any strollers! Harborside is the way to go if you want to visit Atlantis since you have access to the site and have all the space you need for a family
- 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