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“Terrific Resort Except for the Gouging”

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Atlantis - Harborside Resort
Ranked #7 of 14 Hotels in Paradise Island
NJ
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Terrific Resort Except for the Gouging”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 3, 2007

We just returned from a week at Harborside (1/27 to 2/3). I relied heavily on previous reviews, which were very helpful and probably saved me $500-$800 in food costs. Overall, our trip was fantastic. The only drawbacks were the shameless price gouging for food, the immense difficulty in making a phone call, and the relentless attempts to sell us a timeshare at Atlantis (we are already Starwood owners at another resort).

First impressions: we were shocked at how quiet Atlantis was. It was not crowded at all. The weather was ok at first (low 70's) but warmed up and was in mid-80's by the end of the week.) But the pools were wide open, chairs were easy to find, and the restaurants (which we mostly only walked by) were pretty empty.

Based on previous reviews, I requested building #7 and we got it. We stayed in a 1 bedroom premium, and it was in immaculate condition. We did have bugs and we had the room sprayed twice, but otherwise, everything looked brand new.

Everywhere we went, the staff was extremely helpful and nice. I think we only encountered two people who were not enthused about their jobs and were a bit surly. But 99% of the time, the people were great.

We have 3 small children, so we walked everywhere with a stroller. After finding a few shortcuts, we had no problems at all with the stroller, contrary to previous reviews. (Helpful hint: to go from the Marina to the hotel, stay to the right at the Marina Pizzeria (it looks like you are walking in to a cave) and enter the hotel by the Atlantis Kids Club, make a right, and walk down to the elevators)

The resort itself is just incredible. The pools are great, the lazy river is relaxing and fun with the kids, and the aquariums are fantastic. The resort is kept in great condition and is very clean. The beaches and the ocean are beautiful. We really loved it.

The drawbacks, as mentioned before, are the repeated attempts to get you in to a preview to try to sell you a timeshare. We must have been asked 25 times throughout the week, by staff all over the resort. It's terribly annoying, especially since we are already Starwood owners. We already drank the Kool-Aid, and I think it's a great program. So I don't want to be harassed anymore. I wish they would give us a bracelet or something to identify us as owners so they wouldn't continue asking.

The other main drawback is the well-known price gouging. It's one thing to pay a markup for items on a Caribbean island, but Atlantis goes way past that. Some examples:

$9 for a large bottle of water at the beach
$33 for a large pizza at the Marina Pizzeria
$4 for a QUART of milk at the Sundries store
$10 for 1 day of internet access

As much as you brace yourself for it, it still gets under your skin after a while and really takes away from what is otherwise a picture-perfect vacation.

We prepared for this by bringing 3 suitcases full of water, soda, snacks, and other items, so we made out fine. We ate breakfast in our rooms, packed sandwiches and drinks for lunch, and cooked dinner about half the time, and ate out 3 nights. The Point is pretty reasonable, and we ate at Johnny Rockets one night, which cost us $50 for 2 burgers and 2 kids meals (all of which was very good). But talking to other guests who weren't prepared make us realize how bad the constant gouging really is.

The other gouging is evident in how difficult it is to make a phone call. Atlantis won't let you use outside calling cards at any of their pay phones, so you have to go off the property. Just for kicks, I tried the operator to see how much a credit card call would be, and it starts at $20 for the first minute.

Some other tips:
If you take the grocery shuttle and buy milk, stick with the skim or low fat ($6 at the store). The regular milk tastes like egg nog. They definitely leave a lot more cream in it than they do in the U.S.

Checkout was a nightmare. Don't wait until 10:00 to do it if you have a plane to catch. It's very crowded, you can't get a bellman to help, and a long line forms for the taxi.

The Dolphin Encounters trip is pretty good, but the first thing they do with the dolphin is have him splash everyone (unexpectedly), which scared my kids and kind of ruined the experience for them. It's funny for adults, but scary for little kids, so we were pissed about that.

If you have kids, try to pack beach toys. They gouge you for those as well.

The pool that is connected to the lazy river is warmer than all of the others.

Overall, it's a great place to visit if you're prepared. We loved it and look forward to going back.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — Prices
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
41 Thank challmers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Edmonton
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2007

After reading a variety of reviews on Atlantis and in particular, Harbour Side, I thought I would put in my thoughts and observations as a seasoned traveller.

First of all, if you are on a tight budget, Atlantis is not for you - in fact I would say that most of the Bahamas are not for you and you likely would get far better value at an all inclusive in Mexico or Cuba. The reason I say this is that Atlantis is an exotic, upscale resort which delivers an extraordinary experience - but be prepard to pay for it. If the idea of paying $300 for dinner for a family of five bothers you - then you likely will feel like the Cinderella locked out of the ball.

But if you are the type that wants quality over quantity, then be prepared to eat like a king with some of the finest food and service you will ever come across. More on the restaurants later.

I couldn't help but to think about what my father, who is the type of guy who has been ordering his free seniors coffee since he was 57, and would have passed out at the idea of paying $100 for a light lunch. He loves all inclusives, where you can shimmy up to the trough and eat as much as you want and wash it down with all the drinks you want.

To tell you the truth though, I absolutely loved Atlantis for the exact opposite reasons. I've worked hard for my money, and I don't have any illusions about being buried with it. I would rather spend my money on a first class vacation at Atlantis then a third of that at a resort where quality and service was not as important - and the important element to remember with all upscale ( read: expensive ) resorts is that the price of entry goes up - so it effectively weeds out the type of guests that can ruin a vacation at a more affordable resort. With that said, here are some tips and observations that I thought I would pass on.

Restaurants
Although Atlantis has food ranging from hot dog stands to 5 star gourmet fare, it really specializes in the high end food and falls short in more traditional family dining. We gave it our best shot to try all the restaurants, and made it to 17 out of 32 in the week we were there. Notiables include the Bahama Club, where the food was incredible but the service average ( $260 for dinner for two with a bottle of wine and tip ) Fathoms was also a terrific restaurant with the best lobster of all the restaurants we ate at. Ask for a table by the aqauiums for maximum effect. We took the kids to this one, and the bill was $350 plus tip with two kids meals and the service was excellent. By far the best restaurant we ate at was the Seafire in the Marina villiage where we had prime rib and lobster with terrific bottle of wine and the best service of any of the places we ate at. The prime rib cut was easily 20 ozs and not only was the best meal we had at Atlantis but very well may have been the best meal I have ever had period. Bill was $250 plus tip for two.

A note about tipping by the way - your bill automatically gets 15% added on and you have the option of tipping on your receipt, but that money only gets pooled among the servers - so if you want to tip your waiter, use cach and give it to him directly.

One of the drawbacks about staying at Harbour Side is that you are across the harbour from the main resort which means LOTS of walking or waiting for the shuttle. Our feat took a beating but it was a nice walk, although watch out for the time share hawkers at the small " land or " resort between harbourside and the marina villiage. There is a short cut along the yaugh moorings where even though it says it is only for registered boat owners, no one will say anything if you walk along the board walk to the marina.

The rooms at harbour side are first rate - clean and well kept. Anyone who says different is either impossible to please or a competing resort loading bad reviews into this site. They are big and well care for with first class facilities including a nice pool. The one drawback is it closes at 5, when the life guards have to clear out the pool. But once they are gone, everyone goes back in and none of the other staff seem to care much.

The staff at Atlantis are amazingly nice - and I found it ironic that some people here have been critical of their service. I have been all over the world and stayed at many of the finest resorts and have never experienced a finer, overall approach to customer service. The Bahamian people are extremely friendly, and I challenge anyone to show me a place anywhere in the US with happier people.

On a final note, my kids, aged 6, 8 and 13 all said they liked Atlantis better than Disneyworld last year - and I would agree. A week is barely enough to do and see everything that is available to see and do.

PS. Don't ever get suckered into a time share when you can just rent someone elses for the cost of their maintenance fees at one of the many websites you can find simply by googling " time shares for rent "

Stayed January 2007
Helpful?
57 Thank webcanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Syracuse, NY
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2007

My family, 2 kids, 2 parents and 2 grandparents, just got back from a vacation Januray 13-20 at Harborside. Read many reviews before you decide, I can't even begin to figure out the few negative ones that are posted, this is an amazing place.

I should mention that the airport is really run down, not what you'd expect, but when you get to baggage and find the bar with free rum drinks it all seems just fine.

We booked Harborside through a website where you can buy individual timeshare weeks, it's cheaper than renting from the resort. The weather was absolutely beautiful and the crowds were light which surprised me because they consider January high season. We never made a dinner reservation and never had to fight for a spot at the pool.

We stayed in Bldg 7 which was not brand new but still in great condition. We were on the fourth floor in a two bedroom lockoff with an outstanding marina view. The yachts are beyond description! Buildings 7 & 1 have the marina views and are closest to the shuttle and buildings 2 & 5 are closest to the pool and still have water views. Other buildings probably don't have great views, and there is a highway that cuts through Harborside that I'm not sure I'd be thrilled to look at. Also, Harborside is really right off the bridge so there was a lot of traffic as you exit which I didn't expect.

The Harborside pool is awesome. All the pools are amazing, many are zero entry which was great for our two year old. The kids pools are great too, my 6 year old loved the one with all the small slides and spray stuff near the Royal Towers.

I can't stress enough how big the resort is. And when people say it is not stoller friendly they really aren't kidding. Just know there will be times when you just pick it up so bring a lightweight umbrella type. You'll learn the best paths to get where you want to go. Also, my father had some trouble navigating the steps, many of which didn't have a handrail. (This place would never pass ADA inspection.) Part of the charm is the many levels, but it can pose a challenge. Also, because of our limitations, we really had to plan out where we were going each day. The shuttle from harborside was terrific. When we were without kids my husband and I prefered just to walk to Atlantis.

The casino is fantastic. We gambled a little and had tons of fun people watching since Michael Jordon's celebrity golf event was happening so there were some famous sports types.

Food... yes, the restaurants are really expensive. If you are traveling with children and aren't looking for fine dining there are plenty of options. I did take the grocery shuttle on Sunday morning at 8:30. Decent mid-sized grocery store. We did pack some things but there was no way I was going as far as freezing lunch meat and the prices at the grocery didn't justify going to such extremes. I found the things that you couldn't have packed anyway (like milk) to be the most expensive, while some of the items I brought, like cereal, weren't that much more than home. At least bring all the toiletries and medicines you might need and laundry detergent and coffee, filters, etc.

Restaurants...we loved the Pointe, wish we hadn't waited until the last day to go or we would have gone multiple times. They have a small menu with entrees at about $22 including salad and dessert. Great, casual atmosphere. We also loved Carmines in the Marina Village, ordered 3 entrees and still had tons of leftovers. Ate at Murrays deli a couple times and liked it, again, big portions. We ate at Atlas off the casino - if you sit in the back you have a great view of the water looking back to Harboride and you are away from the casino noise. We tried one buffet, Water's edge, which was ok, but for the money it really didn't have much atmosphere. We also had one breakfast at the Club Land 'Or next to Harborside which came to $50 including tip for all 6 of us. Not goumet, but good! They have a dinner as well but we didn't try it.

We did go to the timeshare sales presentation which took about 1.5 hours but was fairly low pressure and was worth the $150 credit.

Shops... lots of shopping that we didn't take advantage of but I do want to recommend the Plait Lady and the art gallery in the Marina Village.

Beach...much of the beach was closed off as they are preparing to open the next phase of the resort. We were not that impressed with the beach that was available - steep and narrow -and it was windy so the current was strong. The lifeguards wouldn't let you go in very far because of it.

Staff...everyone was amazingly friendly and helpful, better than Disney. Engaged the kids, offered info they thought we might be interested in, just great.

Marine life...can't even begin to describe this. The Manta Ray at the Royal Towers is awesome. Everything is fascinating and everywhere you look there's more.

Just go!

  • Stayed January 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
32 Thank CyndiSyracuse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
shrewsbury ma
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2007

We stayed in a 1 bedroom unit in bldg 7 ground floor Jan13- 20. We had a wonderful stay. We are starwood owners and was able to trade for this week. The unit was clean..no bugs, as another poster had said they had a problem with. Everyone we met was friendly and very well mannered. The shuttle was right outside our door, and our balcony overlooked the marina and Royal towers. The pool on sight was very nice, and the only hot tub to be found is on the premises, none at Atlantis. Atlantis is great, lots to do and see. I packed alot of food and took both Frozen meats and veggies. All arrived still frozen even after being packed in coolerbags in suitcases for over 8 hours. We ate most of our meals in the room, which saved alot!!!! Food is outragious. I didn't pack enough "snack" type of food, and that was the most expensive thing. Oreo's were around $7.00 per pack, chips, taco chips, were all around $6.00. Cheese nips were also around that price. Soda and beer were also very expensive, 2.50 a can for beer and soda. I brough a case of pepsi and lemonaide singles to put into water. Water bottles ran about $7.00 for an 8 pack of 8 ounce bottles. A loaf of bread went for about $4, a qt of milk also around $4. Rum was cheaper than in the states. We bought "virgin" drinks at the bar and added our own, otherwise look to spend about $9 per mixed drink, and about $6 for beer. Bring as much of your own food as possilbe. Try packing snack foods in tupperware, bring cans of beer, soda and water. We ended up spending about $400 for the week, and that was on drinks and snacks by the pool. We only ate out once. Atlantis is a no-cash resort, meaning that your room card is what you use to buy almost everything. This makes it hard to remember how much you are spending, but I did check our tab out and found no errors. We got a blow up bed for our room which was suppose to be an extra $25, but they did not charge us. They do have a nice pull out couch, but my kids refused to sleep in the same bed. The trip was really great. I found all staff to be helpful and very polite. The timeshare people do try to get you to take a tour with them, but we already own in Florida, so we did not have to go, I just kept saying no. The timeshare sales reps in the hotels of Atlantis are pretty relentless. I was getting a little tired of saying no thankyou by the end of the week HOpe this helps any of you, I found the hints of previous posters very helpful.

  • Liked — condo
  • Disliked — n/a
  • Stayed January 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
17 Thank teach21566
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florida
Level Contributor
69 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 19, 2007

The Harborside at Atlantis really exceeded our expectations. We read the reviews on TripAdvisor before we went and they were very helpful as to restaurants, etc. We stayed in a one bedroom unit with what they called "limited kitchen" but it certainly served our purposes for eating breakfast and snacks.

While staying at the Harborside you have full access to all the amenities of the Atlantis. Also, it is close to the ferry to Nassau and excursion boats. This is a great resort for every age group.

We liked everything about this resort!

Stayed January 2007
Helpful?
8 Thank Southland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
PA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 3, 2007

We were there July 06. Nice facilities, service somwhat mixed, plan on problems and delays at registration. Overpriced, so if you're on a budget, choose another destination. Food poisoning seems to be a serious concern here. We stayed on the compound, and ate only at Atlantis. All 4 of us experienced bouts of nausea, severe vomiting, and one had diarrhea for 3 days. People in the room next to us also had a bout of poisoning. While at the casino, someone sat down next to me and told me her husband was up in their room with food poisoning. My wife saw someone vomiting in the lobby bathroom. Customer service people were of no help, saying that they were unaware of any food poisoning complaints. I filled out a complaint, they failed to investigate it. Unfortunately you have no recourse. This type of thing would not have been tolerated in a US hotel. It really marred what would have been a wonderful vacation. Most healthy adults can tolerate a day or so of vomiting and diarrhea (my wife had 3-4 four days of persistent nausea). I would NOT go with infants, young children, older (60 or older) adults, or anyone with underlying health problems - food poisoning may have more serious consequences with them. However, if you feel lucky, the facilities are nice. I personally will never return. Why they seem so blase about the food poisoning puzzles me - perhaps the 2005 hurricane season had a serious impact on their earnings, and they trying to cut corners.

  • Liked — nice water activities
  • Disliked — bouts of food poisioning, poor service
  • Stayed July 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
18 Thank noparidiseatatlantis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix,AZ
Level Contributor
92 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 1, 2007

December 22, 2006- this is the 3rd Christmas at Harborside and the 4th to the Bahamas at Christmas.

We stayed this year in building #7(reception area-shuttle bus stop). This is the old building and it shows a little, but the convenience of the shuttle won out to moving rooms. We have stayed in the "newer" buildings. We did have a few maintanence issues, but the Harborside staff made sure they were attended to promptly. We are not owners, just choose to rent by the night each time we stay.
Love the whirlpool out by the pool at the Harborside. It is a large one. Couldn't find any whirlpools at the "main" Atlantis resort.

I brought non perishables in my suitcase and this is totally worth the weight. Weigh suitcase after stuffing. Has to be under 50 lbs, I think. Ours weighed in at 41 lbs. I put bottled water, juice pouches, bagels, snack items, microwave popcorn, etc.
I took a taxi to the grocery store after arriving and checking in to Harborside. I spent around $35. for milk, eggs, OJ, butter, soda,etc. for 3 people. Just a hint, bring a pan to cook eggs. I never remberered this until this year.

Most rooms have a ceiling fan in bedroom & living room areas. Living room has a sofa bed. Master bedroom has a King bed. TV in bedroom as well as living room. There is a safe in washer/dryer area that you program yourself.
Cook top has 2 burners, dishwasher-soap provided, dish soap provided., Frig. has an ice maker, toaster, coffee maker, microwave is also a convection oven. Paper towels provided and a dish rag. No scrub brush is provided for stuck on foods. Bathroom towels are provided as well as hair shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.
Only had a VCR in Living room, newer units have DVD players.
We ate breakfast in the room everyday but the last. The last day we ate right at the Point(Harborside). The price for the American is about $11.00. plus 15%.
We love having the kitchen and especially the washer & dryer. Just bring powdered soap in suitcase and a stain stick.

We love the Bahamas and the people are so very friendly.

We will go back to the Harborside unless the Turnberry Residences(condo hotel opens prior to next visit)-hopefully they will have kitchens and laundry in the room??
Hope this helps you decide to stay at Harborside.

  • Liked — The space to move around, king bed, washer/dryer, kitchen.
  • Disliked — older unit
  • Tips/Secrets — all in my review, I think!
  • Stayed December 2006, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
26 Thank Phoenixreviewer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Atlantis - Harborside Resort

Property: Atlantis - Harborside Resort
Address: 1 Casino Dr, New Providence Island
Location: Caribbean > Bahamas > New Providence Island > Paradise Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Romantic Hotel in Paradise Island
#3 Family Hotel in Paradise Island
#3 Casino Hotel in Paradise Island
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Paradise Island
#5 On the Beach Hotel in Paradise Island
#5 Spa Hotel in Paradise Island
#6 Luxury Hotel in Paradise Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Atlantis - Harborside Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 392
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

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