Bahamas- The Reef at the Atlantis Review

The Reef at the Atlantis Review:

One summer afternoon at our local waterpark, appropriately named “Waterville,” my children reminded me of how much fun we had at the Atlantis a few summers back. We had gone to Waterville that afternoon with our friends the McCormicks who piped in that have always wanted to go the Atlantis ūüôā Right then and there, I was put in charge of planning a dual family SUPER FUN summer vacation!

The Reef at the Atlantis Review


As luck would have it, the Atlantis was having a summer sale. They had a “free breakfast for everyone and kids eat free promotion” that is often repeated. If you have ever been to the Atlantis, this has far more value than one would anticipate. The food and drinks at the Atlantis¬†are shockingly expensive and I mean shockingly! I have been a lot of places but I have to say that Atlantis is one of the most expensive even beating out Disney World. A cocktail can easily cost $20.

On our previous visit to the Atlantis, we stayed at the centrally located Royal Towers. Honestly, the Royal Towers rooms were akin to a¬†Holiday Inn¬†room with a¬†Ritz Carlton¬†price tag. Furthermore, the lack of any kitchenette leaves you trapped into buying overpriced cokes and fruity drinks by the pool for your entire trip. Thus, I narrowed my search for our accommodations down to the Cove and the Reef at the Atlantis. These are the higher end properties at the Atlantis. The Cove is closer to the waterpark but the Reef are condos with full kitchens. The¬†Cove has access to an exclusive adult-only pool area, but we were not too interested in this perk due to the fact that we had 5 children with us ūüôā

We ultimately decided on staying at the Reef over the Cove because it had condo accommodations and in my opinion more nicely appointed interiors. We enjoyed the kitchen area during our stay and saved a ton of money by having groceries delivered to our condo on the day of arrival by which I would recommend.

The Reef and the Cove also had a private family pool area that was accessible only to those staying at the Reef or Cove. This pool and beach area was much less crowded and more lush than the other locations. The pool and beach chairs were more luxurious and they came with a nice private shade for the lounge chairs. Also, the local vendors did not have access to this beach area making it more exclusive and less bothersome.

The reef balcony view and private family pool area

The Reef did not disappoint. The accommodations were very nice, spacious and the view was phenomenal.  However, the service at the Atlantis is spotty and can seem cold at times. Overall, everyone was generally nice with the exception of the lifegaurds.

Please be forewarned that they have a 48 inch height limit on MOST waterslides. Furthermore, they take this restriction more than seriously. If you child is 1/10th of an inch shorter than their measurement then they will not ride any of the slides during their stay which could be terribly disappointing. We knew that the Atlantis was strict about the height limitations so we measured our middle child, Claire, prior to making our reservation. She measured right at 48 inches. On the first day of our stay, we¬†waited in¬†line for the¬†long awaited and much anticipated first waterslide for Claire (my middle child). After waiting in line for 20-30 minutes, the lifeguard asked Claire to stand up next to the measuring pole. I was shocked¬†when he said she was not tall enough.¬†Claire’s eyes welled up with tears and the Mamma Bear came out in me. I insisted on speaking with a manager. Eventually, I was able to speak with a manager who was very rude and challenged my¬†insistence that she was 48 inches by¬†asking me if I would like him to measure her himself. I said¬†“yes”, so he pulled out¬†a measuring tape and measured her up to the bottom of her scalp. The last I checked, the measurement went to the top of a child’s head not the bottom ?!?!?!

After a couple of parents in the crowd letting this smarty pants lifegaurd¬†know what they also thought of his measuring as well, he eventually broke out a blue wrist-band that allowed Claire to by-pass the over scrupulous measuring by lifegaurds¬†on each ride. The moral of this story is that if your child¬†wants to ride the¬†water slides and is not 48 1/2 inches then don’t even bother. I would also like to note that this was not the only time that the lifegaurds were rude to us.¬†I¬†will get off my soap box,¬†but someone needs to let the Atlantis know that this dampens the otherwise excellent experience. Disney World deals with more kids and crowds without the attitude so shapen up Atlantis!

Claire is proud of her blue wristband aka "right of entry"

Ok, back to the good stuff! After this circumstance, we had a great time and give huge accolades to the Atlantis Kids Club. They have the best Kids Club program of any resort we have ever stayed hands down. Our kids literally begged to go each night. It is no ordinary kids club. Each night is themed with popular events such as a carnival night and casino night. They even sat the children down for dinner and took their orders as if they were waiting on them, which our kids thought was super cool. I give this part of the Atlantis a huge thumbs up especially since I have kids that never want to go to kids clubs.

Mom's enjoying a moment of peace at the Atlantis Kids Club lobby

Here are my overall tips for a great stay at the Atlantis

1- Stay at the Reef if you are traveling with a family and want luxurious accommodations.

2- Take the 48 inch height limit seriously as well as the room occupancy requirements (they will only give wristbands to the people named on the reservation).

3- Order Food ahead of time from and pick up your wine or liquor from a local store on the way

4- Encourage your kids to check out the Kids Club. It is super cool!

5- Make your dining reservations months in¬†advance. If you don’t make the dining reservations in advance then you wiill end up in a dreaded buffet line for mediocre food.

6- Hit the waterslides when they open at 10am to avoid the lines and enjoy the beach for the afternoon.

7- FYI : They do have a great water park and slide area for the little ones. It is especially perfect if you have little ones that are not ready for the big kid slides. I would say that this area is good for 1-6 year olds. It is the 7-9 year olds that are not 48 inches that get the raw end of the deal at the Atlantis. Otherwise, it is a great!

Waterslide for the little ones at the Atlantis

Don't Forget to Visit the "Dig Aquarium" at the Royal Towers


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