There is something special about your first FAM trip. I am new to the industry, so I was eager to sink my teeth into all things travel. In May, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel to the Bahamas with MLT Vacations.
It was an early start to the trip with a 2 a.m. bus ride to Detroit. I never went to sleep that night. Why bother going to bed when you have to be up so early? After some waiting in Detroit, and later in Atlanta, we finally made it to Nassau, Bahamas! Our group had about 20 people in it, so we all congregated around the luggage pick-up and introductions were made.
I was surprised to see how close our resort was to the airport. Just a 15 minute ride away! After our arrival at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort, we were greeted with drinks and a special welcome from the manager of the resort. I was exhausted after our first lunch. No sleep will do that to a person. I was happy to walk into a nice, cool room with a comfy king size bed.
After a bit of rest, I went down for our group dinner at Aqua and it was exceptional. The service and atmosphere were great and the entrees were so tasty!
It was off to our three site inspections in the morning! First was the Comfort Suites on Paradise Island. This was definitely one of my favorite resorts because it was so cozy and intimate. Sometimes when you stay in large properties, you lose that hominess. The gigantic lobbies and countless restaurants can be overwhelming, but at the Comfort Suites, there is a sense of actual comfort when you walk through the front door—hence the name! It’s quiet and well-decorated. The pool was simple with a nice swim-up bar. And, the major plus? You can use the Atlantis water park!
After a short drive back over the bridge, we arrive at the British Colonial Hilton. Unlike the lobby of the Comfort Suites, this building is grand in true British Colonial style. It was opened in 1923 and a lot of that original ornate decoration still made up the essence of the hotel. In fact, the architecture is so admired that it was featured in not one, but two James Bond films! That has to count for something. The private beach is well-equipped with beach chairs, umbrellas, a pool, and even beds. If you are in Nassau for the shopping, this is the place to be! It is most centrally located on the island and right in the middle of all the shopping hotspots.
We saved the best for last with the Sandals Royal Bahamian. If a private island isn’t enough to sway you, then the overall property would most certainly be. I love all the Sandals properties because they are the ultimate relaxation destination. With one “quiet pool” and one “party pool” there is a little bit of something for everyone at this Bahamian property. This resort is especially popular for destination weddings. All of that was fabulousto see, but it is the food that really made it the best. The all-inclusive buffet was probably the best I have had to date. The food was delicious and well-prepared and if desserts are your thing (as they are mine), then this is the place to be. From ice cream to crème brûlée, they have it all! Not to mention, there was a little cat that came to great us on the patio. I snapped a couple cute pictures of him before we left!
After our long day of touring, we were given some free time to relax on the beach at our own resort. We all rested up for the big day at Atlantis tomorrow!
In the morning we traveled back over the bridge to Paradise Island. The One & Only Resort was our first stop. If you want a high-end vacation, then this is certainly the place for you. With private beach houses and luxury guestrooms, this resort is sure to impress. I know we all were impressed! If expansive Italian gardens and infinity pools aren’t really in your budget, then the RIU Palace might suit you better.
The RIU Palace is right next to the One & Only so it was a short drive to our next stop. I was impressed by the interior of this resort. It looked much smaller from the outside, but when you walked in, the high ceilings and chandeliers were very impressive. I could tell that this was probably the most popular of the properties as soon as we walked in. It was certainly crowded and we were told that they were at full capacity. The buffet looked tasty and the three restaurants that we toured all had different flavors for a lot of variety. The beach was really what caught my attention though. The view was spectacular! Guests could walk right over to the towering Atlantis complex right next door while soaking up the sun along the beach. We talked to a couple that was staying there and they said they would recommend it to anyone. It is the perfect place to stay on Paradise Island without paying the higher prices of the Atlantis Resort.
Speaking of Atlantis, that was our next stop! I know we were all excited to visit this world-renowned resort. We started off at the Atlantis Harborside. This family-friendly property boasts suites that can sleep up to 8 people comfortably and are complete with a kitchen and two bathrooms.
Next up was the rest of the Atlantis complex including The Cove Atlantis, The Reef Atlantis, The Atlantis Beach Tower, The Atlantis Coral Tower, and The Atlantis Royal Tower. Needless to say, it was a very long day. I could not get over the grandeur of the whole Atlantis property. There was something there for everyone. A club for teens, the Aquadventure Waterpark, a casino, and a hotel fit for royalty; just to name a few of their most popular attractions. You could probably spend a month there and still not experience everything they had to offer. The rooms were impeccable at every property and the food was phenomenal. It may be one of the more expensive resorts, but it is well worth it.
We were able to spend the afternoon at our leisure and I went straight for the Dolphin Cay. Here, for a reasonable price, you can swim, pet, and dance with dolphins! I had the privilege of meeting Jill, a 42-year-old dolphin that certainly did not act her age as the average lifespan of a dolphin is 20 years! Having the chance to swim with a dolphin was certainly the highlight of my trip. Something to cross off my list!
After a long yet exhilarating day, we all headed back to the Melia for some drinks and dinner with new friends.
The next morning we were given a tour of the sample rooms that will be going into the Baha Mar resort. This is a Las Vegas-esque property containing five different resorts and an all new water park comparable to the Atlantis Resort. Each of the five hotels has its own draw and appeal. Just like with the Atlantis on Paradise Island, there is a little something for every taste. Construction is estimated to be completed by December 2014 with a grand opening in February 2015.
Soon after, we all went over to the Breezes Bahamas for our last site inspection of the week. The hotel is fitted with private cabanas, tennis courts, and spa services. This was a place that easily combines relaxation and entertainment, which is the key to a successful Bahamian experience. With a younger feel, the Breezes Bahamas is known for their exceptional service and delightful attitude. We got a little taste of that while we were there!
After some final leisure time on the beach at our resort, it was time to pack and get ready to leave in the morning. Before we left for the airport the next day, I decided to wake up really early to soak in one last Bahamian sunrise. It was one of the most magnificent sunrises I have ever witnessed and was well-worth the early rise.
I have to say, my first FAM trip was a definite success! It was thanks to the people that made this experience so enjoyable. I had an exceptional group of people to travel with and they all gave me so much insight as to what it is like to be a seasoned travel specialist. It is clear to me that the Bahamas is one of the top tropical destinations for a reason! What an adventure! Until next time!