Summer is finally over, the kids are in school and I now understand why summertime is considered a busy time for people with school age children. We took our annual family vacation during the week between camp and the beginning of school. This was a first for us as our oldest is just now starting regular school. We chose The Cove; which is billed as the newest and most exclusive portion of the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. Let me say; the place is absolutely beautiful! There are ponds with beautiful fish and lounging areas with soft blue backlighting from the drop off area to the registration desk. There are butter soft leather couches for your group to wait for you while you get checked in. I had no qualms about the looks of the place. You know what's next right? The bathrooms! I loved each and every one of them. Even the bathrooms around the pools were beautifully maintained and nicely decorated. I will spare you the details of each and every bathroom I went into for the sake of time, but I'll just say the bathrooms were not a disappointment, but the service in comparison to the price was less than stellar.
The first chink in the armor was the lack of towels upon our arrival. I figured it was just a housekeeping oversight until we got to the pool and snagged the last two towels. I heard the couple behind us say, after we were given the last two, "Still no towels, huh"? Hmmm....
We returned to our room and still NO TOWELS, even though we called to tell the staff our room was devoid of towels upon our arrival. During my shower, my husband spotted a cart in the hallway and procured some towels for our use. The towel issue seemed to suddenly resolve itself by day 3.
Aside from the towel issue, we were nickled and dimed to death!! The fitness center was $10/day per person. We were charged for being "late" for breakfast. The meal plan did not include lunch and so they attempted to charge us even though we had breakfast and not lunch. Fortunately, we were able to have $300 in "lunch" charges removed. During one breakfast I opted for a cappuccino instead of regular coffee and was charged $5. I've been on enough vacations to know that things at resorts are overpriced, but I'm sorry, there is no reason for a lunch of ham sandwiches to cost darn near $100.00. The only complimentary items were the very nice toiletries in the bathrooms and 2 tiny bottles of water provided with the turn down service.
The other thing I hated was the "exclusive" beach area of The Cove. It was incredibly rocky; so much so we took our children out and went to the pool instead of risking a twisted ankle. Upon talking to my mother-in-law, who stayed at Atlantis 4 years ago, she explained that the beach on the other side was equally as rocky.
A lot of the staff was borderline rude and have a lot to learn about how to treat patrons who are expecting upscale service. Neither the concierge nor the restaurant reservationist were particularly helpful and seemed to be "bothered" by our questions. The dinner crew at Mosaic is in pretty bad shape and are not concerned about keeping tables clear; our pile of dinner dishes sat on the table through most of dessert. The food at Water's Edge was practically inedible, with the exception of dessert.
The stay was certainly not all bad as there were many bright spots. The staff during the breakfast period at Mosaic was very sweet to us. The bellmen were great. Our babysitter, Katrina, was very nice and punctual. The lifeguards on the Lazy River Ride were cool. The lifeguards at the Splashers pool were good with the children. The best restaurants were Mosaic for breakfast, Mesa Grill for child-free dining and the BEST service was at the Bahamian Club. The rest of the staff could take a lesson from the wait staff at the Bahamian Club as we felt very well cared for while we dined.
Overall, we had a fabulous vacation and at one point I thought we might give it another chance in the future, but once back at home I realized I'd left my glasses and called the hotel. The housekeeping staff informed me that they would send them to me as soon as I gave them a Federal Express Account number. That, for me, was the last straw...while we had a good time and it is a very family friendly place, we will gladly spend our money elsewhere.