The Atlantis Resort- My Honest Review
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The Atlantis Resort- My Honest Review…
Sooooo, this is not my favorite post ever. Like not even close. In my 6 years of having Addison’s Wonderland on Facebook, my 2.5 years of blogging and across 312 published blog posts, I have NEVER written anything negative. Yes, I have blogged about personal struggles, weight issues and other difficulties, BUT I have never published anything negative about anyone or anything other than myself and my personal life. Ever.
So let’s start with a disclaimer. Or maybe like ten. First things first, as a business owner myself I really struggle in writing this post. In our 13 years of having our kitchen/bath company, we ALWAYS strive to make things right. If not the first time, which we always shoot for of course, then definitely immediately thereafter. And referrals have ALWAYS been our main source of business. So writing anything negative about another company pains me.
But then there’s my current business focus… my blog. I am a blogger. I write about things. You guys have followed our personal lives, every second of our home restoration, my outfit suggestions and even our vacations for quite a while now. I have blogged them all thus far. Every single family vacation. And what have I learned? That you guys have grown to trust me. I think. To trust my suggestions and to trust my advice. And I hold that very dear to my heart. And I strive to be real. To not make everything look fabulous and amazing when it really isn’t. To be myself and to just be honest.
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So typically when I don’t love something I don’t buy and/or I don’t share it. Maybe I order a dress I don’t love, I send it back and never share it with you guys. Maybe I purchase a rug and decide it isn’t what I hoped it would be, I return it and never blog about it. But a vacation… This was a tough one for me. But I just had to do it. I had to be honest. I had to share my brutally honest review. It pained me to think that maybe just maybe you guys would see our vacation pictures on social media and decide to go there. And waste A TON of money.
For the next rambling disclaimer, I think it’s important to share that Mark and I have travelled A LOT. Like I would rather travel than eat. I mean basically. We both caught the travel bug young and started waisting away too much money traveling the world in our early 20’s. Kidding… I honestly don’t regret it one single bit. We have been to 13 countries together plus quite a few spots in the UVI’s and BVI’s and have stayed at A LOT of places. I am simply noting this to share that we have a lot to compare our experience to… a lot of places, a lot of people and a lot of customer service.
And last but not least I would like to say that we actually really did have a GREAT time. Although the place totally sucked (excuse my language), we honestly did have a blast. The kids loved every second and we enjoyed our time together so so much. I simply decided on day one, literally, to be honest. To not take those “staged-ish” photos that we bloggers take and make the resort look more amazing than it actually was. To make you guys think that we loved it and make you want to go. And THEN after I realized that they really don’t give a darn AT ALL about our stay and experience, I decided to write this post. Because to me, it isn’t so much about the problems, it’s all in the way they are handled.
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Whew, I think that about covers it. And if you think my disclaimers were too long, Mark agrees. Hehe. I just feel bad y’all!!!!!!!
So here we go… our trip to the Atlantis Resort…
The Atlantis Resort… So I kind of always wanted to go. We had stopped there and toured the resort literally over a decade ago on a cruise but I didn’t remember much other than it seemed huge and kind of fabulous. We have a really really big trip coming up this Summer (which I will share SOON!) so we wanted to do something a little “cheaper” for Spring Break. So when Mark received an e-mail that he could get four nights free from several guy’s trips to a casino in Cherokee, NC, we thought that sounded AMAZINGGGGG!!! Given that we have a bajillion credit card points to cover airfare, we thought it all sounded way too good to be true. So we booked the four free nights and then paid for two additional to extend our stay. I say all of this to accentuate the fact that we knew going into the trip that out of all five of the Atlantis “buildings or properties” that we were staying in the cheapest of them all. Which was totally fine. All buildings have equal access to the resort amenities so it seemed like a no-brainer.
Upon arrival, everything seemed pretty nice. Our building was a little dated but no biggie. I remember while Mark was checking in, I scooted over to the kid’s activity desk to inquire about what they had that our girls might be interested in doing during our stay. It struck me as a little odd that the lady literally said nothing until I asked her if she had a brochure. The sign above her head had pictures and ads all about their “kid’s club” but she handed me a map of the resort and still said nothing. Not a word and not a smile. So I glanced at it and asked her again. She then pointed to a lady over by Mark and said “ask her” so I walked away. I thought “hmmm maybe she is just having a bad day”, so I walked to the lady she pointed to and asked again if she had information or a brochure on the kid’s club thing. She said and I quote “I am busy right now please come back later” and handed me yet another map of the resort. OOOOOOOKAY…
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So we headed up to our room and like I said before, I wasn’t expecting a Ritz room or anything. And it definitely was not. It looked like it was decorated in 1980, maybe, and there were dirty socks sticking out from under the first double bed (that stayed under the bed our ENTIRE stay I must add). But whatever. We had an ocean view and we were at the beach. HOWEVER, I would say that our “ocean view” was more like an 80% old roof view from the lower building in front of us with a million pieces of trash and bottles thrown down on top of it and 20% ocean view. But whatever it was free and we were excited! (picture below was not our view, just a random pic I took)
So let’s take a second and chat about the layout of the resort if you have never been. The resort is HUGE and has five main buildings. So looking at it from the oceanside and starting from left to right, there are the Beach Towers, the Coral Towers, the Royal Towers (that’s the biggest one with the bridge looking thing you always see in advertising images), the Cove and the Reef. And as far as I know they are priced from low to high from left to right. We stayed in the Beach Towers. The “good” thing about the resort is that it really doesn’t matter where you stay because you can use anything in any building at any time. The “bad” thing about the resort is that if you are paying $700+ per night to stay in the nicer buildings, you are sharing everything with everyone all the time. You are literally just paying more for your room and beds. That is all. More on that later…
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So we put away our luggage, threw on our bathing suits and cover-ups and headed down to take a little tour of the property. Once again, I totally knew our particular building was dated and cheaper but walking through the exterior areas and aquarium tunnels it became more and more obvious that it wasn’t just older but not really well taken care of either. The aquarium glass is so foggy and scratched that it looks like the fish are all swimming in murky waters. It was kind of gross actually. We made our way to the first outdoor eating area we could find and ordered some lunch. I was kind of surprised at the menu but thought maybe it’s just this little spot in our building that only serves hot dogs, hamburgers and fish sticks. We ordered some food and Mark and I each got a margarita. Once again I was kind of surprised at how rude the staff seemed. Coming off of our recent trip to Aruba where everywhere is the nicest EVERRRR, everyone here seemed extra harsh. We were eating a late lunch, 2pm-ish, so we literally thought maybe they were about to close and that was why they were so rude. But no, we saw the hours and they were not. But whatever. We were at the beach. And we were excited!
We got our food and drinks and found a table. I took one sip of my $14 margarita and almost spit it back out. Mark thought I was exaggerating and also took a sip and we both agreed that they were the worst ones we have ever had. By a mile. So we both threw away $30 after one sip. Literally. I tried one more drink during the week and it was almost as bad. So that was all the fun, fruity beach drinks for me! I had ordered a fish sandwich which was fried fish sticks on a bun wrapped in foil and it was honestly almost inedible. I would SWEAR it had been sitting under the heat lamp since the day prior. Someone had written on my Facebook page that it’s comparable to gas station food and I couldn’t have said it better myself!
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We ate, I mean threw away, our $85 lunch, not even kidding, and made our way around the resort. I do have to break from “complaining” and say that the resort from about the Royal Towers and over to the right really is super nice. They basically have a full waterpark on the property. And it is very well maintained for the most part. We quickly discovered the Rapid River ride and I can honestly say that it MADE our trip. I think we rode it 13 times throughout the week and the girls giggled the entire time… every single time.
One thing we realized very early on in our vacation was that everything at the resort is MEGA EXPENSIVE. We have stayed at quite a few Ritz properties during our travels and for comparisons sake, I would call the Ritz a “bargain” compared to the Atlantis. Not to mention they tack on a 15% gratuity and a 7.5% tax on everything. Yes, I know you pay tax everywhere but that is 22.5% more you are paying on their already $30 a bottle sunscreen and $7 a bottle Dasani. Just saying. Oh and I am fairly certain that the automatic gratuity does not help the awful customer service situation AT ALL.
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Prior to our trip, Mark had booked dinners every night at the resort because we were in the mood for a low key, hang out at the resort all day everyday, kind of trip. Our first night we dined at 77 West in The Cove. It was pretty swanky and the food was decent. Like Longhorns good. Not Atlanta steakhouse good. Winnie’s mac & cheese came out ice cold and our bill was over $250 for a normal, ordered nothing crazy, dinner but other than that it was pretty good. The following day we ate lunch outside the Royal Towers close to the waterpark area and saw that every single place has the exact same menu. I tried the chicken caesar wrap and it was so slimy that Mark wouldn’t even eat it. And THAT’S BAD 😉 We decided after that lunch we would start eating lunch at the hotel Starbucks because their paninis were like Filet Mignon compared to the lunches by the pool and beach. The second night we dined at Chopstix. And it was AWFULLLLL. The girls and I ordered chicken chow mein and Kung Pao chicken to share and it was ALL dark meat that was so “gamey” tasting and had so many “crunchy” ligaments in every piece that I couldn’t even chew it. We paid our over $200 tab and headed straight to a pizza place in the Marina.
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It was that day on our trip that I wrote a quick little post on my AW Facebook page about not loving the food and service at the resort. And I would say about 99.5% of y’all agreed. It was CRAZY to me how many of you shared your awful experiences. Like hundreds and hundreds!!! I think the thing that got me was that everyone suggested eating off property. Which is fine. Whatever. But who wants to do that for every meal??? And who wants to pay $700+/nt PLUS a $50 resort fee/nt PLUS airfare to have to leave the resort for every meal??? I guess for me, knowing how many AMAZING places there are with AMAZING food and AMAZING service, it baffles me that people continue to visit this resort. Baffles me.
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So let’s get real for a second and let me share why I am writing this post… Call me crazy but to me, vacation is sacred. Most of America I would assume gets maybe a couple of weeks off a year and maybe has enough extra funds to travel to the beach one time a year? Maybe twice? Maybe every other year? Just totally guessing. And to me, that is memories. Forever memories with your families that you look forward to ALL YEAR LONG. Mark and I calculated that to stay in the nicer parts of The Atlantis for 6-7 nights, plus airfare, plus food… a family of four would EASILY spend over $10k on a trip there. That is a freaking car!!! And then to have 99.5% of y’all say that you hated it. CA-RAZINESS. I just can’t have y’all do that. I couldn’t go and share our pictures and have y’all spend that kind of money only to regret it. Couldn’t do it.
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So I have to share this really quickly just to show you how bad it was… Sunday evening I contacted a travel agent to see if there were ANY other options for our week. We had arrived the Friday before Spring Break began so two nights into our trip it was only Sunday so we had the entire next week open to visit somewhere else instead. Mark and I both spent about two hours that night looking online and text chatting with the travel agent for other options. We even tried to see if we could hop on a cruise ship that was ported in the Bahamas and continue our trip on a cruise that was headed back to the States! Unfortunately with it being Spring Break week everything was either booked or mega expensive so nothing else worked out. But we tried!!!
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So that is the night that we cancelled all of our resort dinner reservations and started dining off property. Which is a $25 each way cab fare. In case you are wondering. HOWEVER, we did have AMAZING food elsewhere! Our top faves were Fish Fry…
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The One & Only Resort…
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And Luciano’s of Chicago… (this picture was before we left for dinner there)
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We also enjoyed walking around The Marina…
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During our entire six night stay I can count on four fingers the number of NICE employees that we encountered. I can actually name them all. Or at least say where they were working and what time and day it was. In case the resort is wondering. Mark made me laugh with how over the top friendly he would be to everyone. Like way overboard. Just trying so hard to make someone be nice back. Hardly ever worked.
One day Addie decided to get her hair braided by the one of the MANY MANY MANY vendors (that are allowed to pan handle you but are not actually with the resort) set up on the beach to drive you crazy and sell you things. Which I ABSOLUTELY think they should not allow at a resort like that. As I was sitting there watching her get her braids, I watched and listened to one of the Atlantis employees, who I was told was supposed to be setting up beach chairs, sit on his bum and talk politics (not even really suitable language and subject matter for my nine year old to hear anyways) with the hair braiding ladies for at least thirty minutes. All while person after person walked past him and set up their own beach chairs. One time this sweet older lady with her hands stacked full of towels and beach bags asked him about the chairs and he literally rolled his eyes, grumbled and started to stand up. She could tell he was annoyed so she said “never mind” and walked away.
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Now for round TWO of what really baffles me… So you are paying $700+/nt (in the nicer buildings that everyone kept suggesting on FB would have made for a better stay) to not only eat awful food but to ALSO share the resort amenities with a trillion people. It may have several huge pools, a beach and waterpark area BUT there are five buildings of hotel guests PLUS literally groves of people who are bused over every single day from cruise ships and other resorts. Like half of the people we encountered on the beach one day were headed out around 4pm to get back on their cruise ship. I swear they just want to draw everyone in to pay for their exorbitantly priced food and souvenirs.
Whew! Now do y’all see why this took me a week to post? Last but not least let me share our last and final experience. As I said before we really tried to make the most of our trip, to ignore the rude people, eat off property and still have a great time. One thing I had really wanted to do and got SUPER EXCITED about was a boat excursion that we booked to Exuma Island. I had talked about it all week after seeing the island named one of the most beautiful beaches in the World on the internet several weeks ago. The girls are finally old enough to do a long day trip like that and needless to say they were EXCITED. I had done some research and found a company online that had five star reviews and had availability for the day we wanted to go. BUT we had also passed an “Excursion Desk/Office” IN OUR BUILDING right by the Concierge Desk in the Beach Towers where we were staying. Mark and I chatted about it and both decided it would be worth it to pay a little extra and have “added reassurance” to book “through our hotel” than from some random company online. So we visited the desk, booked our trip and paid cash for the excursion. I say all of these random details for a reason. The lady told us we needed to stock up on sunscreen and maybe even hats for the girls because the Bahamian sun on a boat can be brutal. So the night before our excursion, which was on the last day of the trip, we purchased $120 worth of sunscreen and hats for the boat trip. We set our alarms for 7am (the girls had been sleeping until 9am every morning) and went to sleep! The following morning we got the girls up at 7am and we all got ready for the trip leaving at 8am. At around 7:30am we received a call to our room that the resort had overbooked the boat and therefore our excursion was cancelled. We were mega bummed to say the least.
I think the thing that got me most was that they were not apologetic, made ZERO effort to find us an alternative excursion AND we had to come by the office FOUR TIMES to get our cash refund. AND they were rude about it!!!!
So that morning, on our last day, I finally decided to actually talk to someone and make a complaint. Which if you know me AT ALL you know is not like me. I have never done something like that. Ever. I asked a lady at concierge if I could speak to a manager and she asked why. I told her there were some things we were unhappy with and I wanted to make someone aware of the issues. She said that management would not be arriving until 10:30am and that I would have to go to the Coral Towers next door at that time to speak with someone. No management in our hotel. I found that hard to believe. SO she said to just talk to her about it first. I gave her a quick rundown about several negative experiences and after each thing I said, she laughed and said “well, that is not the fault of the resort, you must talk to the chef at each restaurant about the food… is that all?”… “well, the excursion desk IS NOT PART OF OUR RESORT and is NOT OUR RESPONSIBILITY… is that all?” And it continued… I tried to argue that NOWHERE in or around the Excursion Desk INSIDE the resort does it state that but she did not even care nor listen. She finally said she would have management call me and they never did. I gave it several hours and finally decided to write my Facebook rant and TAG the resort. And guess what??? They called. THREE managers called my room about my Facebook post.
I called one of the three managers back and very nicely shared our experience. She of course “reassured” me that it was all “coincidence” and “never happens”. And then offered for my girls to make a build a bear in exchange for our terrible experience and TO TAKE MY FACEBOOK POST DOWN. A Build A Bear. That is all I’ve got y’all…
Haha okay it’s not. But wouldn’t that make for the best ending??? Hehe. Sorry I just thought that was SO random and almost ridiculous in exchange for so many of you posting that you were either canceling your trip or taking it off of your bucket list. So I told her I was not interested in that because we were leaving the following morning and my girls were already half asleep. Plus who needs ANOTHER stuffed animal??? (insert eye roll emoji) Her next offer was a three night stay back to the resort. The kicker? It would be in the same building and we would still be paying so much ourselves for flight and food! I declined that as well. So here’s what I find so ironic… WHILE I was writing this post Mark forwarded me another Casino offer e-mail he JUST received offering FOUR NIGHTS in the ONE OF NICEST PARTS OF THE RESORT (The Cove) PLUS A $250 RESORT CREDIT FOR FOOD! So they would rather give away MORE to those who MIGHT come and gamble away money than to those who have an awful experience. Oh the irony.
So you’re going to The Atlantis anyways… Here are my tips… 1) Eat off property. Everyone told us that over and over again and they were SO right 2) Bring your own EVERYTHING. You will save SO much money if you don’t have to buy sunscreen or hats or even bottled water if you can pack that in your checked luggage! 3) Book YOUR OWN excursions. There is not one reason in the world to book through them! You pay more and they don’t help you at all! 4) Get out EARLY every morning to claim your chairs. ALL pool chairs are GONE by 9:30am.
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Thank y’all for reading!
XOXO, Brittany Hayes