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Trip Report Long Weekend in Atlantis / Trip Report

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We were invited to go with friends to Nassau for a long weekend to celebrate his birthday. He is one of DH's partners, and we have vacationed together before (Scottsdale, AZ in January).

They have a timeshare week at Harbourside at Atlantis. We had never been there, and in fact we'd not been to Nassau for several years. I wasn't in charge of the planning and was told the name of the resort just a day or so before we left. A search for "Atlantis" on this board gave so many varied opinions I was eager to see it for myself.

The two-bedroom, two bath suite/condo/whatever they are calling it was very nice, with good quality appliances, a very do-able layout and large bathrooms. There was a connecting door which stayed closed, and each part was largely self-sufficient. We had a washer/dryer which was convenient because DH and Partner played tennis a few times. The furniture and decor were nice (think Pottery Barn) and there were two flatscreen TVs just for us, with a dvd player and a Bose stereo system. And a very small balcony that held only a table and two chairs.

The Harbourside was very close to the main resort campus, a 10 minute leisurely walk. Busses ran every 10 minutes to each of the main areas. We liked walking past the marina and seeing the yachts that had docked since our last look. There were many families, kids, strollers, grandmas and grandpas, everywhere!

Partner's Wife (PW) was the only gambler, and she played blackjack a few times. Not a high roller, she won and lost until her final tally was -$5. I played one dollar in a slot machine and lost it :)

We toured the spa on our first day but I wasn't that impressed with it, and did not book any services. I considered a spinning class and PW thought about pilates, but that's as far as it got, as we were much too lazy to do anything about it.

Our first evening meal was at Carmine's, an Italian family-style restaurant at the marina. We ordered caesar salad, chicken marsala, angel-hair pasta and eggplant parmesan for everyone to share. The food was uninspired and not hot. The salad was drowned in cheese (too, too much! and the eggplant had not been breaded and fried before it was sauced and baked. We had bread pudding and strawberry shortcake for dessert, and the former was the only really outstanding part of the meal. Warm and moist, with bits of bittersweet chocolate and a warm vanilla sauce, the pudding was GOOD. The strawberry dessert was mediocre; the strawberries were not ripe.

DH and Partner played tennis early the next day. I toyed with the idea of walking on the beach, swimming, going to the fitness center. And then I went back to sleep.... We ate brunch at Murray's delicatessin at the marina. Not great, but acceptable quality, and very expensive for what it was. However, I had been prepared for food to cost even more based on some of the posts about Atlantis on Fodor's and tripadvisor. I didn't find it that different from any other "mega" resort.

We went on the new rapids/lazy river that was just completed this year. It is a mile long, and includes four sets of rapids and a dousing wave, interspersed with slower eddies. We thoroughly enjoyed this, and stayed on it for several trips around. Partner and PW mistakenly went up the sluice for the "power tower." PW does not swim and was knocked off her tube by the wave machine and had a very difficult time getting back on her tube. Even though the water is only 4 feet deep, she kept getting knocked off her feet by new people coming down the sluice and started to panic. She referred to this incident (in jest) throughout the trip as her DH's failed murder attempt. She got off the tower at the top and walked down the stairs and was glad she did, as the tower slide is mostly enclosed and she has mild claustrophobia.

This day (2) was Partner's birthday, and we'd made reservations at the Bahamian Club for dinner. The only time available was 6 pm, as soon as the restaurant opened. The restaurant is lovely, very elegant in dark wood and shades of blue with a maritime feel. DH and I had arranged with the maitre'd to serve champagne as soon as we sat down, to toast the occasion. I do not now remember the vinyard nor vintage of the champagne, but it was very good. After the toast and a cursory sip by DH, I drank his glass also. He does not like champagne :) After asking for emergency clothing advice (and not getting much) before we left, I wore a tropical print silk skirt and black shell with dressy black kitten heel sandals and was dressed very appropriately. As usual, I was the only patron in the restaurant over the age of 10 wearing a headband, but did not let that worry me. Seriously, the dress varied but was nicer than I expected, with men generally looking better than the women.PW wore a cute Pucci print sleeveless dress and Kate Spade sandals, and looked terrific---as she always does. A family near us had two little girls, aged 7 and 9 by the looks of them, who were adorable and dressed alike in long French blue broomstick skirts with shots of silver, camisoles and white jeans jackets. They were blonde and had their hair plaited back off their faces with blue beads.

Partner had lobster thermidor, PW the New York strip, and DH and I did the Chateaubriand. Ours was perfectly prepared at the table, accompanied by crisp cooked carrots, new potatoes, baked garlic and shallot, and asparagus. I did not eat half of what was on my plate, but it was marvellous. We had no appetizers but everyone had a salad with a spicy peanut dressing that was very good. I drank Cosmopolitans throughout dinner and do not have any idea what anyone else had.

Partner wanted to go to the movies as he says he rarely gets the opportunity to go. There was a full theater just a few steps away from the restaurant, so by prior arrangement we left and went to see Knocked Up (do not recommend it!), and then went back to the restaurant for dessert and coffee. Partner had peach crisp, DH and PW had a warm chocolate cake with fruit something on the side, and I had coconut creme brulee with milk chocolate ice cream, which was just TOO much of everything. After our dessert hour, we went back to the theater to watch Next, with Nicholas Cage. I had seen this before and liked it, but the surfeit of food and drink kept me dozing throughout this second feature. We were out shortly past midnight and took the shuttle back to Harbourside.

DH and Partner played tennis again the next day. Again, I carefully considered the beach, the gym, finding a church service (it was Sunday), and decided to go back to sleep :) After the guys came back we ate lightly at Jamba Juice (juice bar with very limited menu)and went on to the beach. The beach was excellent, with pristine sand and the alternating deep marine and vivid turquoise of island waters. DH and I swam (or bobbed, lol) for about an hour. We collapsed on our beach chairs and fell asleep. Partner and PW went on a long beach walk, came back, and fell asleep. DH and I went to look at the aquarium areas of Atlantis, including the predators, which DH enjoyed. I like looking at fish for about 10 seconds, but realize that puts me in the minority, so I sat quietly while DH enjoyed the marine life.

We went again on the lazy river/rapids, going around three more times. We really enjoyed this water feature, much more than either of us anticipated. There was something mesmerizing about the current, and it was wonderful to be in the water and moving but having to do nothing to achieve the motion oneself. (This was a very lazy vacation.) There were two very tall slides and a tower of chutes that seemed very extensive (all completed within the past year) and a wonderful kids' water playground with a structure rising up from the pool that featured climbing areas, slides, mini-waves and fountains. It was teeming with kids having the time of their lives.

We went back to Harbourside and took another nap, showered, and had dinner again at the Bahamian Club. DH and I had exactly the same thing as before. The Chateaubriand was outstanding, as was everything else. This evening I wore white silk capris and a sleeveless black silk double-collar silk blouse with the same shoes, and I felt overdressed as the crowd was different. I don't remember what PW was wearing, and DH always wears the same type of thing he has worn since our college days, button-down shirts and khakis and bluchers. Trying to wake up, I drank water, coffee and Cointreau on the rocks with dinner. We'd begun our meal at 8:45 pm and left about 10:15, going back through the casino. I had already lost my dollar and did not play. DH believes that, if you want to lose money, you should simply put it in an envelope and hand it to the casino owner, eliminating all the work of losing it :) , so he obviously did not play, either. This was not a high roller casino; the priciest blackjack tables looked like $500 bets, but there could have been other areas we did not see.

Sunday we had a nice breakfast at Starbucks in the marina, and packed for home. We hadn't used the kitchen at all except to make coffee in the morning, but I think these condos would be a very good choice for families with young children. The ride to the Nassau airport was about 30 minutes by taxi, and the cost was about $40 for the four of us. Our Delta flight was overbooked (no, really?) and they were begging people to take a flight the next a.m. with a complimentary hotel room, replacement ticket, and $600 cash. They got no takers and had to select two people to remove from the airplane. The couple were NOT happy about being made to get off the plane, and---regardless of what excuses or reasons airlines have for this absurd business practice---think the airline should have to pay a huge fine when they miscalculate and have to do this to a passenger.

We arrived to a rainy Atlanta airport and about 70 degrees, a far cry from the sunny high 80's in Paradise Island. My overall impression of Atlantis is that it is a typical "mega" resort, very showy. It is not elegant, but I don't think anyone would go there for that. It is a combination of Disneyworld, Vegas, and cruise ship---and it is what it is. We enjoyed our few days there, spending time with our friends, and catching up on sleep, and had two very memorable meals (or one, twice) at the Bahamian club.

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