Only a few approaches to a resort are as impressive as the Atlantis The Palm.
The instantly recognisable, stunningly designed towers and arch dominate the horizon, dwarfing the numerous private villas on the palm fronds below.
Billed as a unique ocean-themed entertainment resort, rather than mere hotel, Atlantis provides its guests with plenty to see and do. From shopping and making full use of its excellent spa, to dining in numerous restaurants including Nobu and Ronda Locatelli, catering for just about every cuisine, to visiting its own beautifully presented aquarium and waterpark complete with amazing rides and experiences where you can dive with sharks, feed the stingrays and more.
This Aquaventure Waterpark, is actually home to one of the largest open-air marine habitats in the world, with over 65,000 marine animals in lagoons and displays including The Lost Chambers Aquarium. For thrill seekers young and old, the park features a host of waterslides, a 2.3 kilometre river ride with tidal waves and pools, water rapids and white water chargers, and provides a welcome relief from Dubai’s scorching temperatures which reach well over 40 degrees during July and August.
Atlantis is almost as impressive inside as it is out, starting on your arrival with a Grand Lobby featuring an astonishing ocean-life inspired technicolour ceiling-high glass sculpture, reflection pool and hand painted murals. From the lobby and VIP check in onwards, through wide marble hallways connecting the East and West Towers, shopping and dining areas, aquarium and spa, there’s definitely the feeling of no expense being spared.
The suites too are extremely well appointed, spacious to a fault and offering stunning views across the palm to sky scrapers beyond, the waterpark and beaches or out across the sea. Do choose one of the Imperial Club Executive Suites, which in addition to being luxurious, have the bonus of access to the Club where drinks, snacks, afternoon team, breakfast and more are complementary. Guests particularly enjoyed the ‘Happy Hour’ from 6pm to 8pm, where you can sit out on the balcony with great views, and enjoy your fill of decent sparkling wines and cocktails, with snacks.
For those E & I Magazine readers used to presidential suites, the resort’s Signature Suites are well worth experiencing.
Neptune and Poseidon Underwater Suites
The two underwater suites are truly extraordinary with master bedroom floor-to-ceiling window walls looking directly into the Ambassador Lagoon, creating an illusion of being beneath the sea whilst looking directly into the heart of Atlantis. With stunning interiors by Wilson and Associates, the aptly named Neptune Underwater Suite and Poseidon Underwater Suite measure 165 square metres each stretched over three floors. A sweeping staircase leads from the foyer to the large living and dining area that overlooks the Lagoon and are supported by a butler’s pantry. The master bedroom features a bespoke bed and Frette linens, perfect for lounging to enjoy the mesmerizing views into the marine habitat. The master bathroom features a pedestal jetted tub to let guests watch the marine animals swimming by, as well as a rainfall shower with an additional six body jets.
The Royal Bridge Suite
At almost a 1000 sq metres, the iconic Royal Bridge Suite is truly palatial. One-of- a-kind, it spans the arch which links the Royal Towers offering un-paralleled 180-degree views of The Palm and the Arabian Sea. Reached by private elevator, guests revel in complete opulence, including a dining room with a gold leaf table that seats 16 and a large lounge area. The décor is exquisite reflecting the stature of the suite. With 3 bedrooms, a grand living room and two spacious terraces The Royal Bridge Suite is the perfect haven in which to relax or entertain in private. It also has its own guarded entrance and elevator along with a dedicated team of people from butlers to chefs on hand to ensure that your every need is fulfilled.
Grand Atlantis Suite
If al fresco living is your thing the Grand Atlantis Suite offers a spectacular sun terrace which spans three sides of the suite. The entire suite is decorated in elegant gold tones and the lavish living space includes a master bedroom complete with his and hers bathrooms, a guest bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, a living room with a dining table for 10, plus a separate office. Impressive indeed.
Outside, the resort has two large and popular pools, plus a long white sand beach to enjoy. The fashionable sets head to hang out at Nasimi Beach (think Nikki Beach but in Dubai). Here they chill enjoying cocktails and sheesha in cabanas and day beds, listening to latest sounds.
Dining-wise, guests to Atlantis the Palm are genuinely spoilt for choice, from fine dining in the excellent, award-winning Ossiano, through to more casual and family-friendly affairs. Yuan is particularly recommended. Executive Chef Jeff Tan, formerly of Hakkasan Mayfair, takes guests on a gastronomic adventure through China, redefining Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine for Dubai’s ‘it’ crowd. Designed to mirror a Siheyuan, a traditional Chinese house, YUAN is stylish to a fault. Unlike many Chinese restaurants, the desserts here are a total must – works of art and delicious too.
Fine dining Ossiano is another we recommend for its amazing view through the resort’s enormous aquarium, where you can watch sharks, rays and thousands of graceful fish swim by, right next to your table. Stunning. And for a more traditional dining experience try Levantine, offering a true taste of the region with entertainment to match.
Cownose Ray Feeding. Yes, this may sound a little bizarre, but it’s delightful. Located the Mesopotamian-styled Ziggurat in Aquaventure, you join a marine biologist in the shallow waters of the Shark Lagoon for a 35 minute hands-on experience. Guests learn about these graceful species while the hungry rays emerge for their tasty treats of prawns. The silky smooth rays are like excited puppies as they scramble around, (and up!) your legs for food.
Aromatherapy Massage. The resorts very good ShuiQi Spa, offers a wide variety of treatments in gorgeous surroundings. Opt for an Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Massage – 60 minutes of relaxing bliss.
Dinner at Ossiano. A trifle Expensive, but worth it to marvel at the setting looking straight into the stunning Ambassador Lagoon.
Leap of Faith slide. Definitely not for the feint hearted, this death-defyingly high and incredibly steep slide hurtles those brave enough through the shark lagoon in a see through tube. You can hear the screams from your balcony back at your room.
Happy Hour at the Imperial Club in the East Tower. If you’re not lucky enough to have one of the fabulous Signature Suites to enjoy, then relaxing with unlimited decent sparkling wine and cocktails out on the balcony 12 floors up, with wonderful views across the resort, water park and beaches at sunset is hard to beat.