Radio One held its One Love Getaway at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas. It was four days of activities, seminars, and gospel concerts by award-winning artists. Traci and I have attended Radio One's One Love Gospel cruises in the past (2011, 2009, 2006). Just when we had decided to take a break from the cruises to try other types of trips, Radio One announced they would hold their One Love event at the Atlantis Resort instead of on a cruise ship. The resort experience turned out to be a good one for us.
The Atlantis Resort was a place about which Traci and I were curious - especially Traci. As soon as Radio One made its announcement in October 2012 that the One Love Getaway 2013 would be held at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, she sent in our deposit.
We decided to arrive at the resort a day before the One Love event began and leave a day after the event ended. This turned out to be a good move because we soon found out that trying to balance our time between resort activities and One Love activities was a challenge at times.
Traci and I were not able to get a direct flight to Nassau, Bahamas from Washington Dulles, our closest airport. Therefore, we flew direct from Washington's Reagan National Airport, which was only a about a twenty-minute drive further when there is no traffic.
The security line at the airport was moving extra slow. It seemed there were not enough personnel. Congress had just reversed the sequestration furloughs that were causing travel inconveniences at airports all across the nation. I suspect Reagan National was in the process of recovering from these furloughs. We eventually made it through security and boarded the plane. Our 8:45 AM USAir flight pushed back from the gate on-time but we had to wait on the tarmac for 30 minutes while the planes ahead of us to took off. We finally took off for the 2.5-hour flight to Nassau. We would later file a claim with USAir because one of our suitcases got damaged. They agreed to replace it with no hassle.
I normally do research before a vacation. It helps me to put together an itinerary in addition to build my excitement about the trip. Life was very busy for me in the months leading up to this trip. Consequently, I had done no research. I barely even knew which artists were performing. Traci handled all the arrangements. All I knew was that we would be vacationing at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas for six days.
Given we arrived a day before the One Love kick-off, I was surprised to see Radio One staff at the airport collecting passengers for the 30-minute transfer to the resort. They took our luggage at the airport and delivered it to our room at Atlantis shortly after we checked in. Everything was well-organized and ran smoothly. During our shuttle ride, I saw some familiar faces from past One Love cruises.
The Atlantis Resort is a humongous community consisting of hotel accommodations, timeshares, condos, restaurants, shopping villages, a convention center, and, of course, beaches and water amusements. The resort sits on its own island, Paradise Island. It is connected to Nassau by bridges.
We had a room on the 14th floor of the Royal Towers. It took us a while to memorize our five-digit room number - 14547. The room was nice and spacious. Housekeeping kept it spotless. We had a harbor view. Although this was not an ocean view room, we were still reminded we were on vacation each time we looked out our sliding glass door and saw water, boats, and palm trees. I could even see Dolphin Cay where guests swim with dolphins. I especially loved the nighttime view with the lights of the resort and nearby Nassau. I would have loved to have had a balcony on which we could sit and enjoy the mid-70°F to low-80°F weather. Instead, our sliding door opened to a railing. It would have cost a couple hundred dollars more to upgrade to a room with a full balcony. Instead, we were content with opening the sliding door and enjoying the magical breezes.
loved the fish lamps on the night stands
From the moment we checked in, it became apparent this was not going to be a cheap vacation. Atlantis is not an all-inclusive resort. You must pay for meals. True. The Bahamas is an island where goods need to be imported. I get that but some of these prices made our heads spin. Furthermore, gratuities are automatically added to your bill regardless of whether you are having a sit-down meal or ordering a scoop of ice cream from the counter of the resort's Ben & Jerry's. A 1-liter bottle of water was $7. A cupcake was $8. The fitness center charges $15/day. In-room internet access/Wi-Fi is $20/day. Renting certain water activity equipment can run you $45 or more for 30 minutes. Your room key card serves as your credit card while you are at the resort. Alternately, you can pay in cash. U.S. dollars are accepted.
Radio One provided $125/person credit for all One Love Getaway attendees. Therefore, Traci and I had a combined credit of $250. This works great for families such as us who share their expenses. However, as we found out from a woman who was rooming with three of her friends, you will need to be diligent in tracking your spending if you do not share expenses because the credit is applied to the room - not to the individuals. In addition to the room credit, Radio One provided free breakfast vouchers for each attendee. Without these, we would have had to pay $32/person to eat at one of the resort's breakfast buffets. By the way, unless you enjoy standing in a very long line, you really need to get to the buffet before 8:30 AM.
Despite the credit and breakfast vouchers, Traci and I realized we would need to develop a spending strategy. We came to this realization after the lunch we had at Virgil's Barbeque on our arrival day. We shared an appetizer of hush puppies with maple butter (heavenly!). Traci had the half-rack of ribs. I had a beef brisket sandwich. The food was delicious but this lunch came to $67! Prices are nearly double at dinnertime. At the rate we were going, we would have burned through our $250 credit long before the vacation was over. Through our experiences and tips from others we met, Traci and I learned the ropes on how to enjoy ourselves without spending an arm and a leg. Here is what we learned:
Half-rack of ribs = $28!!!
We shared the chicken and waffles along with an appetizer and dessert.
By combining these tips with the $250 room credit and the breakfast vouchers, our bill at check-out came to just $8.67. Continue...