Over the summer, my very funny friend from Mississippi took a trip to a resort I have been dying to go to. I asked her to tell us a little a bout it – not only did she let us know all the wonders of the Atlantis, but she threw in a bunch of useful tips too. Thanks Ashlei!!
Champagne taste on a beer budget.. Ok maybe imported beer budget
I am just a girl from South Mississippi… I read the blogs of super mommy’s like my super fabulous friend Rebecca and think.. How did they do that? I am a super sarcastic working mom, with just one fabulously smart, sharp tongued, 10 year old girl Pookie. I am a former Catholic schoolgirl married to a lovable Hubby who we call Boog, and I love my family and friends more than anything. I don’t cook, and I certainly don’t clean my own house. Does this make me a slacker? I think it makes me really efficient, or at least this is what I tell my hubby… I do however, LOVE LOVE LOVE to vacation. As the old saying goes, I have champagne taste on a beer budget. Okay, so maybe it is an imported beer budget. I don’t rough it, don’t think of terribly clever things for my kid, but I do manage to get us out of the house. Pretty good for a slacker, right? Our latest adventure takes us “out of the country”, as Pookie likes to say. She thinks it sounds glamorous. Well 90 miles outside of Miami, but it does require a passport.
Out of the country it is. Off we go to …. Drum roll please… Atlantis.
Are they serious?
We started this surprise vacation as a plan to go to Universal for Pookie’s 10th birthday. But we were lucky enough to find a FABULOUS deal at Atlantis for $99 a night (courtesy of a travel blogger ) . $99?? Seriously? I was just sure it was one of those tricks where there are only 5 rooms at that rate… but hey what do I have to lose? Wait, it’s real!! We upgrade to the Reef, after MUCH research because they have a private pool and beach where the cruise passengers cannot go.. Now wait. I’m not hating on cruise people.. I’ve been a cruiser. I’m just saying I DO NOT fight for pool chairs on vacation. PERIOD. In fact, one criteria in selecting hotels is if they offer beach chair AND umbrella setups. No setups, no deal. I have officially retired from schlepping beach chairs, etc.
The Reef is FABULOUS.
So being frugal, I book a harbor view room, rather than ocean view. I read review of watching the cruise ships coming in, and how nice the view is. I get in my room, and my view is sort of harbor view but I am staring over a roof. Hmmm. Not feeling very happy. So I convince my Hubby to go down and work his charming magic to see about an upgrade (but NOT for tons of moola). He happily comes in and produces keys to the 20th floor looking over the ocean. $50 bucks. That man is my hero.
Check out the photo!! It is what brochures are made of!! They offer unbelievable customer service, fabulous grounds, upgraded bedding, and there is a mini kitchen in your room. Boy are you gonna be glad you have this after you see the price of food at Atlantis.. Urban legend is true. IT IS EXPENSIVE. We used ours to store drinks, make some simple breakfast like waffles , and oatmeal, and warm up some leftovers (see the Carmine’s “is this thanksgiving?” incident). Now, I am of the “why pay for the room if you’re never going to be in it” club if I am truly NEVER going to be in it… This is not the case if you are traveling with children who are under the age of being left in it alone. Time to step the beer budget up to the import beer here ladies… Oh wait! I forgot to tell you… Starbucks downstairs. Not sure about your coffee addiction but this is ALWAYS a selling point for me.
This place is basically a watered-down version of Disney on a beautiful island. Tons of children, families, and WALKING. They do offer shuttles to take you around. Use them. The paths may seem logical and close, but it’s a mirage. Trust me on this one. The Reef is close to the Aquaventure (water park), and Dolphin Cay for the Dolphin encounters. Off our pool is a private beach, where you will happily find setups, bar service, and snorkeling. PARADISE. Did I mention bar service?
When to go?
Simple. You go when they are offering a deal that makes you think “are they serious?” Check out the rentals in the timeshare portion of the resort, Harborside Resort at Atlantis. You’ll get an entire APARTMENT for your family which includes a full kitchen, washer and dryer, whirlpool tubs and separate bedrooms. Many timeshare owners will rent their units out for crazy low prices, so be sure to try and go on the off season as that’s when prices are best. Okay, make sure the weather is warm enough to get in the fabulous water. If you have children, you may want to wait until they are 48 inches tall. Most all of the waterpark requires 48 inches to slide… they do have lots for little people but it is not much more than your local waterpark… If you have big ones and lil ones, you definitely need a divide and conquer plan.
What to bring?
Bring what you would to your local waterpark, and DOUBLE check you have it all. I say this because that one extra bottle of sunscreen you forgot to pack will now cost you…. Are you holding on?…. $28 big ones. See what I mean? Bring your water shoes (it’s hot!), sunscreen, hats, snorkel gear, goggles, etc. We just discovered swim shirts on this trip. Being from the Coast, we are always on the water, but this was a HUGE lifesaver after being in the Bahamian sun for 5 days (and some pretty fast waterslides). Bring a big beach bag. One your husband doesn’t mind carrying. I put this shout out in for my hubby. I have a BIG Scout bag that I LOVE, and he hates. It is in fact so great that people stop me to ask me where I got it. He just doesn’t get it. Love you honey. Here’s a big perk. Unlimited towels every time you look… if you have kids you know what I am talking about. And you don’t have to wash them!!!!!