We arrived in the Bahamas on Monday night around 6:00 PM. and checked into the hotel. We stayed in the Royal Towers in a 1 bedroom regal suite. The room was huge. We had a separate living room and guest bathroom for the kids with a fold out couch. The regal suite had a TV in each room with cable channels so the girls were happy to have their Disney channel. The master bathroom was a nice sized bathroom with 2 vanities. I liked the little extras they had such as medium sized shampoo/conditioner/shower gel bottles (as opposed to the little bottles I usually get in hotel rooms) and they even had the bath sponge that I usually bring along. This was the first time I have seen a hotel provide one.
Tip: Set up the fold out couch before you go to dinner or call for turndown service. We discovered at 11:30 at night that the fold out couch did not have bedding on it and it took 1 hour for them to bring up the sheets and blankets for the bed. They were very apologetic but needless to say the kids were tired and so were we.
The next morning we headed out to the amazing pool area. There are so many great water play areas that it is hard to know where to begin. We hung out at the pools by the Royal Towers and The Cove and the Beach at The Cove. Great for kids and no waves.
A number of the fun water rides require you to be 48 inches tall. Jasmine was not quite there yet so she had to sit some of them out. We first went down the tube ride (at least that is what I call it). You go through a dark tube kinda fast and then end up in the glass tube with the fish swimming all around you outside of the glass tube.
The next day we tried the lazy river. Once we figured out how to ride the double innertube with Jasmine it was a lot of fun (if you are under 48 inches you can go on it but you need to wear a life jacket, which the hotel provides). The problem we had with Jasmine is she kept falling through the hole of the innertube. Tip: if you have a small child they may have trouble sitting in the innertube without falling through. Someone finally came to our rescue and showed me how to sit in the back hole and have my legs over the front hole. Then Jasmine sat on my legs in the front hole. It worked great. The lazy river is a lot of fun. You go through rapids, currents and hills. As long as you hold on tight you do not fall off (at least we didn't).
The Cove area also has something called the Tower of Power. There are 4 different slides you can go down. Each one is scarier than the last.
The great thing about this resort is that there are so many places to choose where to hang out during the day. We started out at the Cove Beach. Then we went down the lazy river. Amber took the detour to the Power Tower.
Amber went with her dad jet skiing while Jasmine took her nap on the beach in the covered chair. When Jasmine woke up I took her to the kids' water pool area. She was afraid that the big bucket of water would fall on her but after seeing it tip over a few times she realized she could stay out of the zone of the falling water. She ended up having a blast in that play area with all of the water slides and it became her favorite place to hang out during the day.
Other activities to do at the hotel:
Everyday you get a schedule of the day's events. There are different scheduled times to learn about fish and you actually get to feed them. Amber and Jasmine fed the turtles and the stingrays. They have a club for kids called Club Rush which is a game room for the kids. Kids ages 6-12 can go from 4-7 for $15.00 per kid and kids ages 13-17 can go from 8:30 - 12:00. There are also 2 comedy shows, one for the family and one for just adults. Cost is $15.00 per person. They also show movies 3 times a day in the theatre. The movies are free but you have to pay for food at the concession stand. One night they were showing Surfs Up at 5:00 but we were still at the pool. The hotel also has a rock climbing wall.
Wednesday morning we were scheduled for the dolphin interactive program. They have 2 different programs: one where you can swim with the dolphins which costs around $200.00 per person, and the other one where you go in the water with the dolphins and touch them, feed them, kiss them, etc. for $105 per person. If you want to bring someone to watch you it costs $25.00 for that person. My husband could not get good pictures of us so we bought some at the end of the program. Jasmine was really afraid of the dolphins at first but once she touched them she was loving it and very excited.
In the evening you can go to the Marina Village where there are restaurants and shops. One restaurant has live music where many adults and kids dance in the street to the music. It is a cool vibe. There is also an ice cream parlor there if you want to give the kids a treat after dinner.
Just before entering the Royal Towers Casino (where I had a lot of fun gambling) there is a huge throne that the kids love to sit in. Be sure to bring your camera. In the lobby of the Royal Towers is the most amazing fish aquarium. It is indescribable but the kids love going there every night. There is also a "dig" that the kids enjoy walking through.
There are exercise classes offered in the fitness room. You can use the fitness room for $15.00/day and the cost goes down if you purchase multiple days. I went and worked out in the fitness room. It is between the Royal Towers and the Cove. The Fitness room is great with a lot of new cardio machines with TV. The locker room has a nice shower and a steam room (although the steam room was not working the day I went, or it was not very powerful). I walked through the spa and it is very warm and welcoming. Just walking into the lobby of the spa made you feel so at peace.
After we unpacked we headed straight to the Marketplace Buffet in the Royal Towers. I was forewarned that the food and drinks are very expensive at Atlantis. It costs $45.00 per adult and $15.00 per kid but the food was really great. They had fresh carved roast beef and turkey (my family's favorite) and a Mongolian station as well. Most important (at least to my kids) was the chocolate fountain. The service is great there. They were constantly clearing our plates. Gratuity is automatically included in everything at Atlantis but the service was always so exceptional that we always gave an additional tip.
Our second night we went to the buffet in the Cove called Mosaic. It is much more upscale than the Marketplace. It costs $52 per adult and $20 for kids but it was so worth it. They grill meats right there so if you want something well done or cooked more they are happy to make it the way you like it. The lamb chops were so good. They also had a sushi section with amazing tuna sashimi...I was one happy girl. They had a shrimp dish that was too spicy for my girls so they made shrimp just for them--less spicy--that they both loved. Most of you know how much I love my crepes...they actually had a crepe section set up in the dessert section. The service was once again impeccable. They kept picking up our plates and telling us to "please continue enjoying."
We went to Murrays delicatessen for lunch on Wednesday. They have a kids menu, and both Amber and Jasmine enjoyed their hot dog and hamburger. Michael got the matzoh ball soup and turkey sandwich which he really enjoyed. I got the fried chicken which was so good I couldn't wait to go back for it again. Tip: Murrays does not serve lunch until 11:30 so if you want their fried chicken or soup, wait until after 11:30. Michael just went there and brought the food back to the pool for us since we didn't want to lose any valuable pool time.. There is also a pizza place near Murrays if your kids prefer pizza.
There is food at the pools but nothing exciting. Basically hamburgers/hot dogs/chicken fingers, salads, fruit, and wraps.
We called AT&T to set up international calling on our phone. It is $5.99 per month and the calls then cost $1.99 per minute. We brought our laptop and in the Royal Towers you can buy internet service. The plan we got cost us $10.00 per day. There should be a cable in the room to plug your laptop in but if not the front desk will bring one up for you. You can also use the internet in the room through the tv or the library offers free internet service 15 mintues/day. You can rent a refrigerator for $15/day. The first one we rented made a weird ping sound every 5 mintues. The second one was too loud so we decided to forego the refrigerator. There is a library in the Coral Towers to check out books and games. I brought a great book to read on this trip called The Girls by Lori Lansens so if you are looking for something to read, check it out..
I posted pictures of my trip to the Bahamas in the yahoo group if you want to view them under Bahamas.