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From Brighton to the Bahamas

by Zara Kitching on 15 October 2012, 12:10PM From Brighton to the Bahamas

Zara Kitching, manager of our Brighton store, reports on her recent trip to The Bahamas.



There is nothing quite like starting your day wearing your winter warmers on a chilly Friday morning at Heathrow and ending it with a strawberry daiquiri in hand, relaxing beneath the bronzing rays of the bountiful Caribbean sun just a few hours later… It is a culture shock of the very best kind!

The Bahamas may not have been on my travelling ‘to-do list’ originally – even if anywhere with a beach normally gets a big thumbs up from me -, but having experienced everything this fabulous Caribbean holiday destination has to offer, I would certainly return, not least because its close proximity to Miami makes it perfect for a multi-centre holiday.

Staying at the iconic Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, we preluded our arrival at the hotel with a pleasant nine-hour flight, dodging the temptation of visiting the bar between immigration and the luggage carousel and enjoying the scenery of our taxi ride towards Atlantis, which enjoys a unique location on its very own beach-fringed island.

Once we were checked-in to the Reef Atlantis by very friendly (and lively) staff, it was time to quickly unpack and order a drink at the Seaglass Bar, where the exquisite Strawberry Daiquiris went down a particular treat.

Catching the bus over to Marina Village at the other end of the resort complex, we picked the Italian Carmine’s restaurant for our first taste of Atlantis cuisine. Ordering a Calamari starter, the sharing portions were vast, making it ideal for families and larger groups.

After strolling through the Marina Village, with its shops and restaurants, we came over all Las Vegas as we ventured to Atlantis Paradise Island’s Casino, where we tried our luck on the machines and indulged in a bit of a dance at the nearby Dragon’s Ultra Lounge before retiring for a well-earned rest.


Revived and refreshed by a good night’s sleep, we jumped aboard themorning shuttle to transfer us to Seagrapes Restaurant for breakfast, where the vast buffet selections (including pizza for those enjoy a tasty slice in the morning!) kept every taste bud satisfied. Furthermore, with the Cartoon Network on the television screens and life-size characters wandering around, it was enough to keep younger visitors of the resort suitably entertained.

Taking a quick tour of the Beach Tower, we moved onto the Coral Tower, where stingray pools, a library and computers could be found, while the fantastic ‘Crush Club’ for ages 13-17 had us wishing we could be teenagers again for just one day. Costing $25 per day (drinks are extra), the kids are swiped in and out to give parents peace of mind.

As with any Caribbean holiday, we didn’t take long to find a swimming pool to while the hours beside and Atlantis Paradise Island is positively teeming with loungers from which to bask in the beautiful year-round weather.

Having soaked up enough of the sun, we took to the fabulous Mandara Spa for a relaxing massage. With separate men’s and women’s areas, plus hot tubs and steam rooms, it was a moment of pure bliss!

A delicious meal of prawns wrapped in ham and the daily special of seafood risotto at Casa D’Angelo began an evening of fun, the entertainment in the ballroom being supplied by American comedienne Kathy Griffin. Not quite done for the evening, we headed over to Aura Nightclub for a spot of dancing. Many of the locals frequent here and there is definitely an upmarket crowd all dressed to impress. After a few more cocktails and some dancing it was time to for bed so I could be fresh for the next day’s activities!


Enjoying another plentiful buffet breakfast at the nearby Mosaic Restaurant in the Cove, we ventured towards the swimming pool for a spot of peaceful sunbathing. Basing ourselves on the side closest to the soft-sand beach, we could choose between jumping into the pool and dipping our toes into the gentle warm waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite my irrational fear of fish, I opted to brave the sea in an effort to better prepare myself for our much anticipated afternoon activity; swimming with the dolphins.

Taking to Dolphin Cay for our shallow water dolphin experience, our visit began from the moment we arrived as the intelligent creatures playfully frolicked in the surrounding pools, while a short talk and video presentation signalled our time to get better acquainted with the Cay’s famous residents.

Introduced to our dolphin ‘Weeti’, as I wrestled with the apprehension that Weeti may ‘eat me’, I took things slowly. The group lined up as the dolphin swam beneathour hands, the trainersencouraging us to stroke him as he went past. After the third attempt, I managed to make contact and I quickly realised Weeti was more interested in having fun than wondering what I tasted like!

After all the fun and games, we got the chance to get up close and personal with Weeti by having photos taken with him. Some of the group were brave and went in for kisses, while others fed him fish from their mouths!

I felt bold enough just sitting behind him and attempting to smile for the camera, something I didn't quite achieve! However, despite the photos suggesting otherwise, I enjoyed the experience immensely and I am really glad I had the opportunity to do it with such understanding staff… not to mention understanding dolphins!

For dinner we returned to the Coral Towers and sampled the American Texan culinary delights of Virgil’s Real BBQ Restaurant. As with Carmine’s, the menu is designed for groups to pick a few things and share. We could have done with remembering this as we ordered far too much, not that we didn’t give a good go at eating the biggest BBQ ribs I have ever seen!

Once thoroughly fed, we took the time to experience one of Atlantis Paradise Island’s highlights – The Dig. A giant underground aquarium with a ‘lost world’ theme, it is open day and night, but is particularly enchanting once the sun has set as the colourful fish and lit tanks create a beautiful spectacle.


With the arrival of rain scuppering our sunbathing intentions, we took the opportunity to visit The Cove Atlantis, where the bright and airy rooms, stunning views and exclusive pool area with lounges – complete with a DJ – gave it a fabulous Vegas-style feel.

We also decided this would be the ideal chance to sample the famous Aquaventure water park, complete with its unique slides, rides and dives. As a group we journeyed along the lazy river and attempted to hang onto each other as we bounced over the rapids in our rubber rings. After all the twists and turns, we opted to leave the rapids behind and take the conveyor belt up to the slides.

A glutton for punishment, I attempted the ‘Leap of Faith’, which plunges 60ft in an almost vertical drop through a transparent tunnel complete with sharks swimming on the other side!

Leaving the pools behind, we returned to Marina Village and enjoyed lunch at Murray’s Deli, a diner-style restaurant with more staggeringly large portions. After the excess of the last few days, I opted for a tasty spinach salad, but complemented it with a delicious chocolate-based cocktail – amazing!

Strolling over to the shops for a spot of retail therapy and to purchase the obligatory souvenirs, we relaxed for the rest of the day before picking Seafire Steak House as our evening dinner venue.

Serving the finest cuts of steak cooked to perfection and paired with a delicious glass of wine, we agreed this had been the best meal of the entire trip.

Feeling lucky, we headed to the casino for a couple of spins at the roulette wheel. Starting with $30 in my hand, I walked away with $125 and a big smile!


With the cold weather of home looming, we made the most of our final day in the Bahamas by feeling the sand between our toes one more time before heading on to the One and Only Ocean Club hotel for a decadent lunch.

Set in a low-rise colonial building, the stunning location and delicious cuisine – including the hotel’s signature pink lemonade – had us all secretly hoping for a cancelled flight. Strolling the beautiful grounds, which have been inspired by the gardens of Versailles, it wasn’t surprising to learn that this venue is particularly popular for those planning a wedding.

Savouring our last Bahamian meal of fresh crab spring rolls and appreciating the epic views across this magnificent island, it really was a fitting end to a memorable Caribbean holiday.

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