Nearly Free Stay at Atlantis Resort Bahamas Via Caesar’s – Our Experience
By Angie & Jeff
August 17, 2023
This is the 4th of a multi-part series of posts on casino matching rewards and our results.
NOTE: Throughout our casino matching posts, we want to be clear on the difference between free and free. For full disclosure, free listed in bold italics throughout this article really means very highly discounted from what is the typical cost of a cruise or resort stay. There are some costs like port fees and gratuities which have to be paid for the cruises. There are some resort fees which must be paid for resorts. However, there are a number of other perks that are truly free, zip, nada, -0- extra cost, like free hotel stays and smaller perks like free food and beverage credits and free play dollars in casinos. This is the difference between free and free for this post.
As you know from following our other posts, we have been on an adult scavenger hunt of fun with casino status matching. We already shared about our free cruises, Atlantic City, and Las Vegas portions of this hunt previously. This is our experience with the free nights at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.
View from Our Balcony of Atlantis Resort at Sunset.
Packing for Atlantis Resort
In our research prior to the trip to Atlantis, Angie read many posts about the exorbitant prices in the Bahamas, particularly on the resorts like Atlantis, for food. In addition, the general feedback was that this extremely expensive food was not really special, think chicken fingers and pizza for gourmet food prices. Consequently, we packed a suitcase of food for this trip. Southwest allows 2 bags per person for no additional cost so we did not increase our travel cost by doing this. We typically pack light in just a backpack and carry-on suitcase each for our travels. The food suitcase was definitely worth bringing despite having to manage the extra bag. It saved us hundreds of dollars of additional out-to-eat costs. We’ll say it again for emphasis, food is expensive here.
Our Checked Bag Full of Food for Our Stay to Save Money.
We would have loved to bring fruits and vegetables, but most countries do not allow you to import fruits and vegetables. So we had to make do without them. Some might say this is not very healthy and we agree as our diet at home is largely made up of fresh produce. But, the counterpoint to this is: “Would we be eating any healthier if we were going out to eat everyday of the trip with chefs preparing meals with copious amounts of butter, cream, etc.?” All that along with the “break the bank” cost of eating out for all meals makes taking the suitcase of snacks and food a great option. We included some special treats so that we still felt like eating the suitcase food was fun and not a boring sacrifice.
We also used this suitcase to bring a large bottle of sunscreen and aloe vera gel. Both are expensive to purchase at the resort. The sun in the Bahamas is intense and it is very easy to get sunburned. We went through most of the sunscreen and aloe vera gel on this trip. Also bring a sunhat and a 50 SPF long sleeve sun shirt to give your skin some relief from the sun. Even with the careful application of sunscreen regularly, we both found ourselves burning more each day and were thankful to have water-friendly, 50 SPF shirts to protect our skin, especially towards the end of the trip. Here’s our list of items we recommend you pack to make the most of your trip.
How to Book Your Stay at the Atlantis Resort
Atlantis Resort allows between two and five nights of free lodging for Caesar’s Diamond status depending on what month you stay. We went in June and got a four night stay for free. We first tried to reserve dates closer to the end of June but were told those dates were not available for the casino offer. The page lists dates around end of year holidays as black out dates on the offer, but our experience seems to indicate there are other black out dates that are not listed there. We were successful in getting our nights reserved the 3rd week of June instead.
Screenshot of the Caesar’s Diamond Status Options with Atlantis Resort.
Our stay was not completely free, as we had to pay a nightly resort fee of $65 and gratuity fee of $10 for a nightly total of $75. This equates to a total stay cost of $300 for our 4 night stay. When we booked this offer, the room type we booked was available for the same nights for an all in total of $2,051 which was a savings of $1,751 on our stay! This isn’t a true savings for us, because we would be very unlikely to spend this kind of money on this particular resort. For just under $300 for four nights though, we were in.
$100 Free Play
Our stay included $100 of free play at the casino and in playing that through the slot machines, we cashed out $26 from that original $100. We were a bit surprised this paid out in US dollars. We were excited to ‘win’ $26 but realized if the $100 had been ours to begin with it would have been a loss of $74 and underscored to us why we don’t personally gamble.
$26 ‘Won’ at the Atlantis Casino.
A Note About Casino Play Time
The terms and conditions of the stay did include a statement about an expectation of gambling that we were a bit unsure of. It read, “If you are receiving room reservations at a special casino rate, you must generate four (4) hours of rated play over the duration of your stay. If four (4) hours of play is not generated, the special casino rate will be changed to the casino promotional rate.” It lists the Coral at $200 for the casino promotional rate. In another portion of the terms and conditions, it read, “Complimentary offers are based on your previous level of casino play. If you are a new or inactive Atlantis casino guest, your upfront complimentaries are based on your rated play from your primary casino. If you redeem this complimentary offer, you are expected to play to the same level of casino play or greater. If you do not play or show reduced play, you may be charged some or all of your upfront complimentaries including rooms, food & beverage, limos, etc.” As we said above, we don’t gamble and since our home casino would be considered Caesar’s that would also show no play at all, we decided to take our chances by only spending the time in the casino necessary to run our free $100 play through. In our case, nothing was charged, but this is an area of the terms and conditions to be familiar with and ensure you’re up for that risk if you choose to take advantage of this aspect of the Caesar’s Diamond status.
In addition, the cancellation policy within 7 days of the stay did warn of a $200/night fee for a cancellation of a stay in the Coral tower. This is another part of the terms and conditions to consider if you decide to book a stay. We took our chances and hoped nothing would cause us to have to cancel at the last minute, like the potential early season tropical waves that could have evolved into a tropical storm for the area. Fortunately, our luck held out and we didn’t experience a tropical storm.
Atlantis Resort-Our Stay Experience
We stayed in a 5th floor balcony room facing the resort grounds with a glimpse of ocean view in the Coral Tower, which seems to be the building used for casino stays. We had heard this building was newly renovated and our room was very nice, so it seemed to be true. Our room overlooked the turtles and stingrays. We enjoyed our balcony with two chairs and a table which we used to enjoy several meals during our stay from our suitcase of goodies. We were able to see the cruise ships coming in off the horizon and docking downtown each morning and heading out to sea each evening.
Our 5th Floor Coral Room and the Views From It.
It might have just been luck of the draw, but our first night a highly intoxicated man passed out on the floor of the hallway near our room. We would have been completely unaware of this, but we, along with guests in several neighboring rooms, were awoken to the sound of another hotel guest attempting to help this person back to their room. We called the hotel front desk to ensure they were aware of the issue and security was sent to address the situation and assist the guest and it was resolved quickly after this. This was the only incident like this during our stay and at first made us question if this was more of a party hotel atmosphere than we prefer. We mostly saw families staying at the resort, so concluded this seemed to be an isolated incident.
Another incident that happened during our stay was an interruption to the water supply in Coral Tower one evening. We had both just finished our showers after coming in from a day at the on site waterpark, Aquaadventure, and soon after found the water at the bathroom sink was only a trickle. We called the front desk and were told they were aware of the issue impacting our tower and they were working on it. We were both thankful this was after our showers for that day. We heard grumbles from other guests that this happens periodically. The water was back on a few hours later.
Drinking Water Taste at Atlantis
The resort fee at Atlantis came with two metal reusable water bottles. The resort offers refilling water stations throughout the waterpark grounds and on certain hotel floors. Jeff drank this free water from the refilling stations, but Angie hated it. She felt it tasted a bit salty and kind of thick in consistency. Jeff admitted it kind of reminded him of Gatorade but refused to stop drinking it because of the high cost to purchase water. On the first evening, Angie bought one ‘box’ of Just water at an Atlantis resort restaurant that was 33.8 ounces and cost $10. We had to wait until morning for the nearby small grocery store to open the next day. The next morning, we walked just across the street from the resort, near the Comfort Inn and Suites, to the Paradise Shopping Village to visit The Village Grocery Store. We bought 2 gallons of water for $5 total for Angie to drink for the rest of the stay. We were happy with the store price for water, but note this is a very small store (think small gas station convenience store) and the prices were extremely high on other items. We wouldn’t suggest planning to shop for more items than absolutely necessary here, for us, that was just water.
The Water Options and Our Trip to The Village Grocery Store for Water.
What Does it Cost to Go Out to Eat at Atlantis?
While staying at the Atlantis resort, we splurged on 2 meals and 1 snack aside from eating what we had brought in our food suitcase. The first meal was at Murray’s Delicatessen. Angie got a club sandwich and Jeff got a pastrami burger, both came with french fries and we both drank table water. The food was good, but not so good that one would excitedly recommend to a friend they had to try the restaurant. The service was very slow, which is typical of island culture that we experienced all over the resort. The bill was $47.50 including the VAT and required 15% gratuity. And, this was one of the least expensive food options at the resort.
The other meal we ate out for was a carry out pizza at the Marina Pizzeria. The ordering experience was quick, but waiting for and getting the pizza afterwards was chaos. The day we visited it was pouring rain and so everyone was waiting inside for their pizza which crowded the small space to an uncomfortable level. In addition to this, the staff was having a hard time keeping track of the orders and people were getting pizzas in front of others who had ordered before them. The chaos of the staff led to the pizza oven becoming backed up and the pizzas smashing into one another and many being somewhat overcooked, which was the case for ours. They had a sign when you ordered that if you were not given a receipt your order was free. We were not given a receipt, but instead a buzzer like you would get when waiting for a table at a restaurant, and neither of us had the heart to add to the chaos of the staff by trying to collect the promised free pizza for the lack of receipt. We paid $42.50 for our large pizza that was half Greek and half Bahamian. Like Murray’s, it was good but not great. We prefer a deep dish Lou Malnati’s pizza in Chicago for this kind of price.
Slightly Overcooked Pizza from Marina Pizza.
Our snack was from the snack stand nearest the Colonnade Baths Pool, Breakwater Grill. We had read a review that said another traveler was excited to get Dole Whip at this outdoor stand and we were excited to have some as the only place we have ever enjoyed this delicious frozen pineapple treat was at Disney World and in Hawaii and both have been a long time ago. In addition, Jeff read there was a cup you could buy for soda refills for that day so he set out to the Breakwater Grill for one of each. He spent $13.75 for the Dole Whip and small (12 oz.) soda and we were disappointed to find that this Dole Whip was watermelon flavor, which neither of us preferred. The soda Jeff did manage to refill several times as the staff didn’t seem to care, but we later learned this was not the right cup to be truly refillable. Oops!
Overall, the food was nothing to write home about and these were the “cheap” options that we tried. We were VERY thankful for the ability to enjoy peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and other treats and snacks in our room during our stay. We can’t imagine how expensive a stay would be here if a family of four chose to eat out for all meals for the four nights.
Is Aquaventure Water Park Included with Your Stay at Atlantis?
Yes it is! You can learn all about how to make the best use of your time at Aquaventure water park in this Aquaventure Bahamas Ultimate How To Guide. This access alone is worth the cost of daily resort fee and gratuity we paid for our room with this Caesar’s offer because admission for the waterpark starts at $190/adult/day. We thought we might get bored on our four night stay but found that exploring the beautiful Atlantis resort grounds, aquariums, and the waterpark/beaches kept us very entertained.
Us Enjoying the Atlantis Resort Grounds and Even Being Photobombed by a Fish.
As noted earlier, we stayed in June and found the weather to be pretty perfect from the perspective of two WIsconsinites. It was in the upper 80’s and sunny for most of the days of our visit, but each day, typically in the late afternoon or early evening, thunderstorms rolled in. They often broke long enough for a sunset stroll around the grounds and then rolled back in to rage overnight. As we were there during the beginning of hurricane season, we were pleasantly surprised with how little the weather impacted our vacation fun.
It is also worth mentioning that flights to the Bahamas can be very expensive. We flew Southwest to take advantage of our companion pass where Jeff flies on any plane Angie is on for just the cost of taxes, essentially 2 for the price of 1. If we had paid cash for the roundtrip flights for our dates for both of us that would have been an additional $2,168. Typically domestic flights with Southwest cost $5.60 each way for Jeff for the cost of taxes, but the Bahamas charges a high tax to passengers departing the country by airplane. Using Southwest Rapid Rewards Miles for Angie’s flight and the companion pass for Jeff’s, the taxes cost us a total of $244.50. If we had to pay full airfare, that may have pushed us another direction for this vacation.
What was the Overall Cost of the Atlantis Stay?
Overall, for the $544 we spent in cash for lodging ($300 for four Atlantis nights) and airfare ($244 for flights) to take this trip we’d definitely do it again, and would certainly bring a suitcase of food again! However, without having the casino match deal for the Atlantis resort nights and our Southwest deals for flights, the lodging and airfare cost balloons to $4219! (This is $2,051 for the four nights at Atlantis plus $2168 for airfare.) And that doesn’t include food yet so the full cost could quickly exceed $5000 for a four night stay if you plan to eat at restaurants for all your meals. For $5000 we would prefer another vacation option (or two, or three ) that stretches several weeks or more. Nonetheless, this is a great place to be when playing the casino status matching game.