Peachhead™ Approved Vacations: Bahamas and Florida - Atlantis Resort, Sheraton, Lago Mar Resort, Homewood Suites
Did you ever have one of those vacations where it seems like everything that can go wrong will go wrong??? That is how our trip to the Bahamas started (but luckily it didn’t end that way). We usually like to travel off season when things are not so crowded but with Amber in middle school it is difficult to pull her out now, so we went during spring break. We like to fly into Miami and spend a couple of nights there. Our flight arrived on time but when we went to get our car at Hertz (we are #1 gold members, so they are supposed to have our name on the board with the car reserved for us) our name was not on the board and there was a huge line of people waiting with the same problem. Their response was “it’s spring break and we are short cars.” It reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry makes the comment “you can take a reservation, you just don’t know how to hold a reservation.” An hour later they finally gave us a car but it was not the type of car we had reserved…at that point we just wanted to get out of there.
We made reservations for Benihanas so we headed straight to the restaurant. We had a great dinner there and the kids always enjoy the show. After dinner we went to our hotel, the Lago Mar Resort . We always love staying there as they have a private beach, shuffle board, miniature golf, life-size chess game, and pools. When we checked into our room we noticed the bed was a queen bed and not a king bed. I called to the front desk and they said they cannot guarantee the size of the bed. Not sure if this is true for all hotels but it is something I will look into in the future. They finally moved us to another room with a king bed after insisting they didn’t have any. This room had a fold-out couch but it was a single compared to a double, so they brought us a roll away--but I guess that is something to ask in the future (what size pull-out bed). Once we were settled in the room, we went to a restaurant on A1A called Spazzio and listened to a really amazing guitarist. The next morning it was a cloudy day (just our luck) so we took the kids to Wannadocity (their favorite place) and I spent the day shopping at the outlets. After a day of fun and exhaustion, we went to Las Olas for dinner and more shopping. There is a great candy/ice cream shop the kids love to visit there called Kilwin Chocolate and Ice Cream .
Due to the fact that we had an early morning flight we decided to stay at a hotel near the airport in Miami. We stayed at the Homewood Suites by the Miami airport. It was a nice place to stay. The girls slept in the separate living room on a pull out couch. The room has a kitchen and they will even stock your refrigerator for you ahead of time. Breakfast is included. We had an early morning flight to the Bahamas so we dropped off our car the night before and Homewood Suites provided us a shuttle to the airport in the morning. Things could not have gone more smoothly. We were even able to do curbside check in even though it was an international flight. We arrived in the Bahamas in early afternoon. On the way to the hotel we stopped at the grocery store to stock up as it is much cheaper than shopping on the property.
We stayed at the Atlantis Resort . We have stayed there previously and have always had a great time. They have an amazing water play area with slides, lazy rivers, rapids, and more. This time we stayed in the Reef Tower. It is one of the newer towers. We got a one bedroom suite with a full kitchen. Things to note: the washer/dryer that comes in the room does not work well. It is a combo washer/dryer and after trying for 2 days to dry our clothes we were finally told by the maintenance guy that these machines are not to be used for everyday laundry as it can only handle a few pieces of laundry at a time. They do have a very nice laundry room on the 2nd floor which can be used for free (just bring your own laundry detergent) and there were plenty of machines so it worked much better than trying to use the one in our room. The only other big problem we came across was their shortage of bath towels for the rooms. They only had 2 bath towels in our room when we checked in. I immediately called for extra towels (and received a couple more) but the next day there were only two towels left in our room again. I kept calling for more towels and they finally showed up with a bunch of hand towels and told me they were out of bath towels due to the large crowds for spring break. The rest of the trip we joked around with everyone as to whether or not they were lucky enough to get bath towels in their rooms.
The hotel has a lot of fun things for kids to do. They have an amazing water park with water slides, river rides, pools and more. Here is link to all of the water fun. I especially love going down the glass tube on the inner tube where sharks and fish swim around you as you float down the inner tube. Please note that you need to be 48” to do most of the slides. There is also a water play area for the younger kids with the big bucket of water that pours out on everyone. With it being spring break I was really surprised at how easy it was to get inner tubes for the lazy river and how quickly the lines moved for the water slides. The lazy river is a lot of fun with rapids and waves to really make it more exciting. They even have two big slides….one called the challenge and the other one called “the leap of faith.” Amber and Jasmine both got up their nerves to do “the challenge” slide on our last day and were so excited (I, on the other hand, would never attempt it). We ended every night by taking a walk through the Marine Habitat and The Dig in the Royal Towers. The marine habitat is Atlantis’ celebration of the sea: 14 lagoons full of more than 250 species and 50,000 live creatures from the oceans of the world, including giant rays, sawfish, piranha, barracuda, rainbows of tiny tropical fish and, of course, sharks.
They also have the Club Rush for kids. Club Rush is a “No Adults” private club in the Beach Tower - it has been created for teens and ’tweens to enjoy a dance floor, lounge chairs, snacks, supervised internet access, the latest video games, a movie screen, and more. Children ages 6-12 are invited to join the fun from 4 to 7 p.m. before the teenagers, ages 13-17, take over from 8:30 p.m. to midnight.
A new kids club was opening later that month called Atlantis Kids Adventures (AKA). Resort guests ages 3-12 are able to choose their own adventure at AKA, with staff Adventure Guides available to help with culinary lessons, interactive electronic art, theater and outdoor play – playing to all interests. AKA is THE place to let your imagination run wild...you never know what you will learn and discover! Proof of age is required.
We enjoy eating at buffets so we ate at both the Marketplace Buffet in the Royal Towers (carving station, Mongolian section, variety of foods and desserts--including the chocolate fountain) and the Mosaic at the Cove Towers. The Mosaic is more upscale than the Marketplace. They have sushi, a great cheese section, and most important, they grill steaks, lamb chops, and fish constantly so it is fresh off the grill. Both buffets are on the pricey side (and kids ages 12 and up are considered adults). After dinner we went to the Marina where there are shops and restaurants and live music to enjoy. There are different places spread out amongst the pools to order lunch. There is a great bbq place by the big slides. Some of the places have a great lunch special for $8-$9 which includes a hot dog or hamburger, fries, and a drink.
We left the Atlantis and headed to the Sheraton in Cable Beach to spend our last few days. We got 2 connecting rooms on the first floor which leads right out to the pool and beach. The rooms have free wired internet. Trying to use my iphone for the internet on the beach was not great as the service was very slow. The hotel does offer free wireless in the hotel lobby and even has a few computers you can use complimentary. The Sheraton is connected to the Wyndham and therefore you have access to their pools as well. The Wyndham has a pool with a water slide and a pool table at the pool bar. The Sheraton has 3 different pools as well as Jacuzzis, a life-size checkers set, and different activities going on at the pool (including hula hoops and games). The beach also has kayaks, large water bikes, rafts and more that are free to use for hotel guests. Amber and I had fun going kayaking in the calm water. They also show dive-in movies at the pool at night.
We were told for real Bahamian culture to go to The Fish Fry for local Bahaminan dining. We had dinner at Twin Brothers and enjoyed the Bahamian culture.
Leaving the Bahamas was a breeze…you actually go through customs and immigration at the airport in the Bahamas so you don’t have to deal with it when you get back to the US. This was definitely a fun vacation and we can’t wait to return.
Disclaimer – I did not receive any compensation for this review, but I did receive a discount at some of the hotels to facilitate this review.