Usually we have visitors come from “up North” to visit us in Atlanta over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. This year it was not the case. Pondering what to do this year, my wife Sue and I were watching Wheel of Fortune one evening and saw someone win a trip to the Bahamas. I looked at her, she at me, and said, “We should spend Thanksgiving there.” After checking the Web we found a special offer to stay at Atlantis on Paradise Island. After non-eventful airport security checkpoints and a short, hour-and-a-half flight, we arrived at the hotel on Thanksgiving day. Walking into the entry area of this grand hotel made you know that this is going to be a special vacation. The hallways were decorated with a holiday feeling. The atrium included a 30 ft. Christmas tree.
Just for a laugh at check in, I asked for a free upgrade to the “Bridge Suite” which spans the two towers. The gentleman said that, “the [multi-thousand-dollar-per-night] suite was already occupied.” Dang! What were the odds? Anyway, our room was on the 15th floor of the east tower which provided a great view of the port of Nassau and the dolphin training-center pool. The “good” side of the hotel facing the pools and the ocean was a bit more expensive. For us, this complex has everything: nicely appointed rooms, a water park, many swim pools, the beach, a variety of restaurants, an aquarium, a casino, shops and impeccable grounds.
I’m quite fond of water parks. Therefore I had to try the “leap-of-faith shark-pool death plunge.” Okay, I made up the “death plunge” part. I did a test run to get the logistics right so Sue can capture me digitally (which she did perfectly). The “Leap of Faith” ride was right next to an inner-tube ride where, at the end, has you floating in a glass waterway through the shark tank. These were only a couple of the many water thrill rides in the park. All were top-notch including “The Abyss” in which you drop straight down into a dark tube, and the mile-long “Current & Rapids” floating journey.
The word, aquarium, usually gives a vision of a glass wall with sea creatures on the other side. The “aquarium” here is scattered throughout the complex. Outside among the walkways are pools of stingrays, hammerhead sharks, various fish, sea turtles and starfish. Also, there are displays of the underwater world in “The Dig” which is an underground “Lost City of Atlantis”-themed passageway. It features all kinds of fish swimming among reefs of “Atlantis artifacts,” a lobster exhibit, moray eels, clownfish, lionfish, seahorses and much more.
We also like relaxing by the pool and found out you have to get up pretty early to get a premium position, canvas-covered chair (for me) near the pool of your choice. This resort has a wide variety of, let’s say, people types. There were plenty of families with young children as well as the european, jet-set type. There were honeymooners (somehow you can just tell) and the older, world-travelers. I came very close to getting a temporary tattoo just to blend in with the, let’s see … how do I say it … tattoo crowd. Everyone we met was very friendly.
As far as dining, my Thanksgiving meal (the day we arrived) was a pretty darned good bacon cheeseburger at the Atlas Bar & Grill in the casino. We did make a couple of restaurant reservations weeks in advance as suggested by the resort. The Bimini Road restaurant, located in the marina area, was fun and delicious with live Caribbean music playing just outside the front door. I had a Caribbean spiced chicken breast and Sue had blackened mahi. Next time I’m choosing the mahi. The other restaurant was Carmines just down the path from Bimini Road. It’s a family-style-served Italian meal … meaning the portions are meant to share … meaning it’s way too much food for two people. Our meal could have easily served four. It was good, but a bit of a waste.
We’re not big into the casino scene (even though I do like to gamble a little). This casino seemed adequate enough. The “Winning for Dummies” slot machine seemed a bit too good to be true so I stayed with the machine I’ve had the best luck with which will remain a secret. As a team, Sue and I ended up one “hammy” ahead ($10). Take that Atlantis Casino! That ten dollars paid for two-and-a-half cans of Coke.
On Sunday, we decided to take the water shuttle from Atlantis to Nassau. They said it runs every 30 minutes on the hour and half-hour and the cost is three dollars per person, each way. It sounded good enough. They didn’t say it will not go unless it’s packed to capacity. Therefore, after waiting for 40 minutes, we decided to walk to Nassau. It provided nice photo opportunities during the thirty-minute trek. Passing by a gas station I noticed that the price of one gallon of regular gas was $4.28. Yikes! No wonder you don’t see the gas prices posted on the signs at filling stations on this island.
A fair amount of the shops in Nassau were closed on this Sunday but there were enough open to provide a little bit of shopping. Yes, I bought a t-shirt, which I found out was also sold at the airport for the same price. Doh! There were two cruise ships in port to keep most shops busy. We did catch the water shuttle for the trip back to Atlantis. Yep, it was packed.
Overall, this five-day weekend vacation was everything we expected, and more. Four thumbs up!