It's Not Perfect, But We Can't Wait to Go Back !!! A review of The Reef Atlantis
Yeah, the food is expensive, and the service isn't always the best, but it's the Bahamas, mon! Take it in stride, sit back and relax, and get ready to have a great time.
Atlantis has always never been cheap, so if you're on a tight budget, this may not be the vacation for you. It's been several years since we last visited Atlantis, and the growth is absolutely amazing. One thing my husband never liked was the "cattle car" feel of the Royal Towers, particularly when the cruise ships were in port. Staying at The Reef is an entirely different experience. One of the bellmen told us that many celebrities stay at The Reef and its sister building, The Cove, so security is really tight. You have access to all of the Atlantis resort, but if you're not staying at either building, you can't get past security in the lobby. It makes it feel more exclusive, safer, and dramatically cuts down on the traffic through the common areas. Even over the New Year's holiday, things never became unmanageable. Service at The Reef and The Cove also seemed to be a cut above the rest of the resort.
There will be times that you don't feel like getting up and going out for breakfast, and having a refrigerator with limited kitchen facilities is a godsend. (They also have a FULL Starbucks cafe in the lobby.) When I'm on vacation, I have no intention of cooking, and don't really get the idea of a one/two bedroom suite with a Sub Zero refrigerator, GE Monogram oven, and full washer/dryer. The four of us (two adults and two children) stayed in what they call a "junior suite", and had more than enough room. The bathroom was incredibly spacious, with a small flat screen TV that you can watch from the tub or when doing your makeup. On the second floor they have complementary (free!!!) washers and dryers that only guests at The Reef can use. (I hate getting home from vacation and having to do the laundry. This way, my husband and kids had clean socks and underwear when it came time to deal with reality.)
We booked an ocean view room, and lucked out when we assigned to a junior suite with a wrap around balcony that overlooked the Dolphin Encounter, Royal Towers, water park, Cove, and of course, the ocean. The view was spectacular, and clearly the finest vantage point in the entire resort. (Our friends had the same room several doors down, and didn't have half the view. The wrap around balcony really does make a difference. My only complaint is that there should have been a lounge chair.) When the kids went to sleep, we would sit out on the balcony with a bottle of wine, and just admire the view. When the kids got up in the morning, they'd go out on the balcony and watch the dolphins with their trainers. (Make sure to bring a good set of binoculars, and ask for one of the "902" rooms on a high floor.)
Just accept Atlantis for what it is, and enjoy your time in Paradise (Island).