Awesome Atlantis

Before You Go

· There is a 15 percent gratuity on just about everything, from your hotel room to take-out food. Be prepared for this additional cost.

· Also, if you’re not traveling with a group, you could be responsible for a $200 deposit for each day you are staying. One woman we met was very surprised to find this out.

· The resort is enormous. And you will not find any shortcuts across the hotel and pool areas. As one staff member said, “There are no shortcuts at Atlantis.” In fact, most paths weave in and out of the resort (with awesome views), causing more steps to be traveled. We witnessed many unhappy little ones who refused to walk anymore. And some older folks who had to sit down at the many chairs located throughout the resort to catch their breath. It is a hike from the lobby to the hotel rooms to the pool to the restaurants.

· Atlantis is busy with lots of hustle and bustle. I loved it, however, one friend who calls me an action-kind of gal, thought it had too much commotion and preferred Ocean Club (a quieter part of Paradise Island).

· Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen. Resort prices are double and sometimes triple what you would pay for these items at home.

· Be prepared with bottled water (depending upon airport security) and snacks. Pack bottled water and snacks in a carry on suitcase with wheels. (You don’t want to actually carry this as it will be very heavy.) This will save you some money, especially if you have the family with you. Tuck a soft-sided cooler in your luggage. You can fill the cooler with ice and take it to the pool with you.

· Making calls to home. If you must call home, consider adding International calls to your cell phone plan. However, your cell phone might work, but then again, it might not. You can buy International calling cards (.51 a minute at press time) from a machine located near the casino to use on the public phones.

Food

The meals were delicious throughout the resort and Marina Village. I can honestly say we never had one bad meal. Dinners at Atlas Sports Grille were probably the most reasonable of the restaurants we dined. Carmen’s serves family style with large-sized portions. Fathoms has lively entertainment (a fire eater and Bohemian dancer) scheduled at various times throughout the evening. Take your camera in case someone with you becomes part of the show. In the hotel lobby of the Royal Towers, you walk down the steps into the main restaurant. The atmosphere here is spectacular as you view the world’s largest aquarium. Only breakfast and dinner are served. Murray’s has awesome deli sandwiches (under $20 each) and one can actually feed two people with smaller appetites. The best “food” bargain of the resort is at Shark Bites Express. This is take-out and located poolside near the Mayan Temple. You can get 5 pieces of Grouper and fries for under $10.

Best Bargains

· The Ferry. For six dollars round trip per person, you can ride the ferry from Atlantis to Nassau. This gives you a great view of Paradise Island, some of the million-dollar homes and the beautiful landscaping. Take your camera.

· Straw Market. You can pick up any souvenirs you could probably think of at the Straw Market. Ask prices of items you’re interested in first to gauge what is really a good price. Don’t take the first price offered. Try to go to the Straw Market first thing in the morning, before the cruise ships pull into Nassau.

· Nassau dock. You’ll find several women selling bottled water and sports drinks for $1.00. This sure beats the $5.00 a bottle price tag at the resort.

· Nassau’s tourist shops. Take a trip to Nassau early in your stay to stock up on beverages, snacks and any forgotten item. The prices here are much cheaper than at the resort.

Some Ways Online Hotel Reservations

Get a good website and booking tool: Your value proposition is best expressed in your own way. Sure, OTA’s and portal websites provide various ways to promote your business, but they cannot be relied upon to broadcast your complete value. Go ahead, throw your favorite professional images, video, and copy into your listings. In every case, you’ll be limited to presenting your value in the ways prescribed. The only way to showcase your property with flexibility is to have a truly optimized, visually captivating website. If it looks cheap, then that’s what they’ll be willing to pay. And, if it looks like everyone else’s, then how can you expect a shopper to choose you above all other options? That’s right, cheaper pricing… AARGH!

Instead of relying on shoppers to finalize their purchase by selecting you from a list, take them by the hand and guide them to your beautiful website. Make it the best possible marketing tool combined with a holistic marketing approach in all other areas. In other words, keep your brand consistent and showcase hot deals, promotions, updates on your website with all other marketing. Then, get your guests to follow you (keep in touch) through new means of social media, email, and text marketing campaigns. This brings in repeat groups, guests, and generates word-of-mouth business.

Hello? Internet marketing anyone?: Your ultimate goal is to route guests to your website where your value proposition is presented effectively to then funnel guests to your online booking tool. This is where they should find making a reservation to be simple, secure, and informative. So, set up every inbound link properly. When you are creating your listing for your local Chamber or CVB, for example, write the copy in such a way that the reader will want to click to visit the website, use promotion codes for a special discounts, and encourage click-through’s by using a call to action (to visit the website) everywhere possible.

OTA’s can be a blessing: Use OTA’s the way they were meant to be used. You can sign up for Expedia and just leave yourself wide open to receive bookings that will fill your rooms year round. But, what are your margins? Do you pay franchise fees on top of your OTA fees? People, I am telling you, the world is now full of savvy travelers who know how to use the internet to shop around. Online comparison shopping rules the day. So, if you are not visible online, or even quickly accessible through an online search, then yes, you will forfeit your chances at earning a higher return simply because you have chosen to sacrifice higher margins for easy OTA bookings. Use the OTA’s only to fill empty rooms that could not be filled otherwise. This means you’ll have to actively control your room inventory for your OTA listings on a daily basis. If you don’t have time for this, delegate or outsource.

Budget Family Travel

The first thing you need of course is a daily budget. You want to decide exactly how much you’re going to spend every day for such things as gas if you are driving, hotel, tipping, taxi fare if you are not driving, meals, and spending money. Once you figure out how much you want to spend every day try to stick to it. If you spend a little less one day and you will have a little bit more to spend the next day.

Plan to travel off season. If you plan a vacation during the summer, budget family travel will be a lot harder to accomplish. What you want to do is try to plan your vacation at a time when the kids are normally in school. This is when you will usually find the best deals including excellent package deals and hotel discounts. Airfare will most likely be cheaper as well.

If you are planning to vacation in an area where there are theme parks which you want to visit, consider purchasing an annual pass instead of daily tickets. Usually these passes are about the equivalent of a couple of days worth of tickets. So if you’re going to be there for more than two days an annual pass is usually the least expensive route.

Consider renting an apartment or condo if you plan to stay for an extended period. A month-long stay in a hotel will be quite a bit more expensive than renting an apartment, so your savings will be substantial.

All-Inclusive Heritage Resort

Look for off season deals

You won’t get great deals during holidays. It is a known fact that prices are quite high during peak seasons. You may get up to 50 percent discount during off season.

Book as early as possible

It is better to book all-inclusive heritage resorts as early as possible. There are people who book resorts almost a year in advance. They look at the rates and book during the sale season, wasting no time.

Read the agreement thoroughly

Look for extra charges as well as hidden charges. And to get to know all these details, you must read the fine print thoroughly. You must be aware whether they are charging extra rates for telephone and internet. See whether alcohol is included as part of the package. If you do not want to laze around, instead would like to engage in activities like salsa, pottery making or visit heritage sites, you must check whether the resort is providing these classes or trips free of cost.

Service and quality

An all-inclusive resort should be booked based on good service and quality. They might be offering great deals, but if their service is not good then you won’t be able to enjoy your vacation. If it is a family vacation, you must check whether the resort is offering activities for people of all ages. Also check the occupancy rules. If there are young children, you might even need child care. All-inclusive heritage resorts are value-friendly options for travellers. If you are too choosy when it comes to food, then it is better to purchase la carte vacation options. Take all these factors into consideration.

Do your research

To get all-inclusive heritage resort deals, you must do a little bit of research online. There are websites that offer discounted packages. Most of these sites have guest reviews. Read them. This will make your job all the more easy.

Call a travel agent

It is not easy to make out the list of room categories, but a travel agent can easily find out if it’s worth to book a room with a view. They can even get you good deals. They may even have the contact to get you upgrades and other discounts, which you may otherwise miss out. A travel agent can sometimes save time and money.

Information of Tipping in Punta Cana

Arriving at the airport:

It all begins when you arrive at the airport in Punta Cana. You will be greeted by friendly porters/bellboys who are ready to help you locate and carry your luggage from the baggage claim to the car or bus that will take you to your resort. The porter expects to receive USD 1 per suitcase, or a bit more if your luggage is very heavy or if you have lots of it.

At the resort:

When you arrive at the resort, you may tip the driver if you feel that he has been driving well, has been friendly and you generally feel satisfied with his services. Normally, you should tip 10-15{d5fd3c38044dd628eb3a4c381dbd1e74a5546f20a840f5b82e973eefadf643a4} of the price for the trip, which in most cases would be approx. USD 3-5 if your resort were located in Punta Cana or Bávaro (within 10-30 minutes from the airport).

When you arrive at the resort, a bellboy, who will assist you with your luggage, will greet you. You may tip him USD 1 per suitcase if he brings your luggage to your room.

It is always a good idea to tip the maid, who cleans your room, either at the beginning of your vacation or during. Normally, you should tip the maid about USD 2 per day and leave the money on the bed where she is sure to find it.

Sometime during your vacation in Punta Cana, you will most likely need the assistance of the concierge – e.g. to make dinner reservations. A tip of about USD 5-10 for his/her assistance will go a long way, and you may experience that a table at the restaurant, which was originally full, is now available for you at the hour you desire. You may also experience that something, which was completely impossible for you to obtain all of a sudden, becomes “no problemo”.

Waiters and bartenders will for sure appreciate your tip. You can either leave a larger tip of approx. USD 10-20 at the beginning of your vacation (then they will surely never forget you) or smaller tips throughout your vacation (e.g. USD 1-2 every time you get great service).

On an excursion or at the golf course:

If you are going on an excursion during your vacation in Punta Cana, it is recommendable that you bring money for tips to the tour guide. He/she will typically share the tips with the driver and/or other staff on the excursion. If you have had a good time, you can easily leave USD 2-3 on a half-day excursion and USD 5 on a full day excursion. If you have gone on a private excursion with a private driver or tour guide, you should leave a larger tip, e.g. USD 10.

If you are a golfer and are going to play one of the courses in Punta Cana or Casa de Campo where caddies are mandatory (Punta Espada, Corales or Teeth of the Dog), you must typically pay a caddie fee of USD 25-30 for the caddie. Normally you will need to have one caddie per golf cart with 2 persons. Apart from the caddie fee, a tip of USD 15-20 per person is expected, depending on how satisfied you have been with the caddie or how well you have played… and how great your mood is after the round.

If someone cleans your golf clubs and/or shoes after the round, you should tip this person USD 3-5.