The Reef was a beautiful property, and I would definitely stay here again. The lobby is very stylish, and everything is very clean. My husband and I had no wait to check in, and the man who helped us was very friendly. We had chosen a studio with an ocean view, and he asked us if we'd like a high floor. We ended up on the 15th floor, and the view was stunning. It was so beautiful that, although we'd envisioned sleeping in a lot, we got up early most days just to watch the sun rise from the balcony. Paying for the ocean view was more than worth the extra cost. The room was also very quiet.
The room itself was very clean and comfortable. Some of the furniture, like the couch, seemed a little dated, but it was still a very nice room. The bed was a little firm for my taste, but I still slept very well (and I usually have a hard time sleeping in hotels, so I was pleasantly surprised). The kitchenette was very handy, and although we didn't really cook we ordered from foodstore2go.com and used the fridge. The safe was large enough to fit all of our valuables including ipads, phones, passports, jewelry, etc. We didn't have an ironing board or bathrobes, but when we asked they were brought up almost immediately.
The bathroom was very nice- double sinks with plenty of counter space and lots of room to store toiletries in the cabinets. The soaking tub was very nice and the separate shower was large, though there wasn't really a lot of space to put shampoo and other shower items. I didn't particularly care for the sliding glass window between the bathroom and the other room- it didn't close all the way and it was just a little weird. I was excited to see that there was a small TV in the bathroom, figuring it would be nice to take a bath and watch or watch while getting ready. However- and this is really the only reason I gave this hotel 4 stars instead of 5- it wasn't working. We wouldn't have minded if they'd taken care of it, but it took the entire week for us to manage to get it fixed. We called and went to the front desk about it at least 6-7 times. At one point someone did come up but said he couldn't fix it and would have someone sent up the next day. That never happened, and after asking again and again, the TV was finally fixed the night before we left. It shouldn't have taken that long and we shouldn't have had to expend so much effort on our parts, nor were we offered any kind of compensation for the issue. In the end it wasn't a big deal, but we got sick of asking and it annoyed us just enough to make our experience less than ideal.
The room was cleaned well every day- I'm pretty particular about cleaning and the maid was very thorough. The room also had a button you could press that would illuminate outside the door to indicate either "do not disturb" or "clean room". This was very convenient and we always came back to a clean room. There were generally plenty of towels and washcloths, and although I didn't expect them to take care of it, our dishes were cleaned as well.
As for the rest of our stay:
Food: It was very convenient to have a Starbucks in the lobby. Don't order room service. We got there late the first night and didn't feel like going out to find something, but the room service cost us over $60 for two burgers and fries, and this didn't even include drinks. The burger was okay, but the fries were soggy. Other food around the resort was hit or miss: we loved the Bahamian Club, Mosaic, and Marina Pizzeria. We didn't enjoy Bimini Road or the Marketplace.
Service: I read so many reviews before we left about poor service at Atlantis, but found the opposite. Nearly everyone we encountered was friendly and polite, and always asking how they could help or whether we needed anything. This was true both on and off the resort. I don't think I've ever encountered such exceptional customer service, not even at Disney. One of the few exceptions to this was when we were trying to find out where to go to catch the Blue Lagoon ferry. The concierge (this was actually not at the Reef, but at Coral Towers) started to tell us, but when she realized we were doing Blue Lagoon and not the Atlantis dolphin experience, she clammed up and rudely pointed us to the tourism desk. Otherwise, though, most everyone was very pleasant and went above and beyond, from the shuttle drivers who would converse with us and ask us how our trip was going, to the bell men who were always opening doors, to random employees who smiled and said hello just passing by.
Activities: Wrote some separate reviews, but loved Blue Lagoon. Spa was pretty bad. We stayed mostly on the property, which is beautiful. Everything looks exactly as you expect it to look from the pictures online. The Cove area is especially stunning. The aquariums were fun to look around in, and we loved being able to look down and see fish, stingrays, and sharks just swimming around without having to look through glass. I wasn't impressed with the shops, there wasn't that much that I was interested in. Marina Village was a nice little area, it was very picturesque with all the yachts around. We had fun at the waterpark, and there were a lot of pools to choose from. All very clean. I especially enjoyed the pool that is exclusive to guests at the Reef or Cove, as well as Paradise Beach. Neither was ever crowded and it was nice to be able to get away from the waterpark and main beach- much more relaxing. The water at the beach was so pretty, with gentle waves and the sand was soft. We were glad we paid a little more to stay on that side of the resort. It was always very quiet and peaceful.
Transportation- To and from the airport, we used the Dan Knowles shuttle we bought with our package. They were easy to find when we arrived, and we had a van to ourselves on the way there. The driver was very personable and showed us points of interest along the way, as well as made recommendations for activities for us. On the way back, we had a bus which stopped at a couple of the other towers and it filled up fast. There was a family with tons of bags- so many that they wouldn't fit on the bus- and the driver had to call for a truck to come and get them. We ended up sitting there on the bus for about 20-30 minutes because they refused to leave their bags and insisted on making everyone else wait so they could see them loaded onto the truck. Despite the driver's best efforts to reassure them that they did this all the time, and promises that their bags would arrive at the airport shortly, they still insisted. This was annoying and we were pretty worried we'd miss our flight. If the airport had been more crowded, we probably would have. This wasn't really Dan Knowles' fault, although perhaps it would be better for them to find out how many bags you have when you confirm your reservation to ensure they had enough room. Just be advised that if there is a group who thinks they should be able to take up the entire bus themselves, you could end up waiting. For this reason only, I'd probably take a taxi next time, even though I found the drivers to be professional and efficient. As for the shuttles between the different areas of the resort- they are convenient, but be prepared to wait. They didn't seem to run on any particular schedule, and we eventually learned that every time the bell man told us it would arrive in 5 minutes, that really meant "it will be here when it gets here". That could be 5 minutes or 20 (more often 15-20). Oftentimes we could have walked where we were going much faster if we weren't so tired.
Value: If you're looking for a value, I don't think Atlantis is the right place to go, and certainly not the Reef or Cove. Yes, everything is outrageously expensive- especially the food. But I don't know why anyone is particularly surprised when they get there- if you read any of the reviews, you know what to expect. It all adds up extremely quickly- we ended up spending about $1000 on food and the spa for less than a week. We could have utilized the kitchen more and saved a couple hundred, but I hate cooking on vacation. But since we knew what to expect, we just tried not to think about it and enjoy our time there. If we couldn't afford it, we wouldn't have gone, so no use complaining.
Overall, my husband and I had a wonderful trip, and if we ever end up going to the Bahamas again, we'd definitely stay at the Reef. Normally, by the end of a vacation I'm ready to go home, but not this time. Neither one of us wanted to leave!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located directly on Paradise Beach, guests of The Reef Atlantis enjoy miles of white sand and ocean in their backyard with all the wonder and excitement of Atlantis on their front doorstep. The Reef features studios, one and two bedroom suites that offer all the conveniences of home with a full kitchen or kitchen area complete with linens, cookware, table settings, refrigerator and private balconies with water views. Guests of The Reef enjoy a semi-private pool, shared only with The Cove Atlantis and a Starbucks lounge. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Reef Atlantis Hotel Paradise Island
- Reef Atlantis Paradise Island
- The Reef Atlantis, Autograph Collection Bahamas/Paradise Island