Dubai is possibly one of the most unique places in the world. Not only is it an Islamic state where over 180 different cultures collide, but it’s also considered a playground for the rich and famous thanks to the tax haven it has become. Therefore the concept of a manmade ‘super island’ in the shape of a palm tree that is said to be seen from outer space shouldn’t faze you much.
This island contains some of the worlds hottest property, that has attracted many celebrities, much royalty and wealthy sports personalities over the years. At the top of this unique island you’ll discover the Atlantis, a 1,500+ bedroom property that is recognised as one of the worlds finest stays. The resort`s core design concept is as the name suggests, a reflection of the lost underwater world of Atlantis, which mankind is still convinced once existed and are still trying to find!
As already mentioned Dubai is an emerging culture attracting ex-pats from all over the world seeking their fortunes and living the ‘Dubai Dream’, which incorporates sunshine, sea and lots of sparkles on every wrist and finger! To say that the Atlantis is a reflection of this unique culture would sum it up nicely, but scratch below the surface and you will find a whole lot more as we discovered when we recently stayed there for a couple of nights.
Essentially the property has an East and West wing, with a substantial 3-bedroom Royal Bridge Suite at the very top adjoining the two. This suite is the most impressive and can be rented for around a cool £25,000 per night. It’s no wonder then that this suite attracts the world`s notoriety including sheiks and global royalty. Two further suites well worth mentioning are the Neptune and Poseidon suites, whose bedrooms views are underwater and open up into the aquarium. This is the ultimate wow factor and incredibly popular with honeymooners that are happy to pay the £5,000 nightly tariff.
Royal Bridge Suite Room
Royal Bridge Suite Master Bedroom
The Palm Underwater Suites Lounge
The Palm Underwater Suites Bedroom
Now back to reality (for most of us), the East and West wings offer a more moderate standard of accommodation although still at an incredibly high standard of course. Your view will either be of the Arabian sea or of The Palm itself, both impressive but we’d suggest requesting a Palm view, sunsets over Dubai’s spectacular cityscape are nothing but awe inspiring especially whilst enjoying a bottle of wine on your balcony!
Suites include all the mod cons as you’d expect and are perfectly comfortable for the entire family. We feel this is the perfect resort for families and is very child friendly even in some of the more formal restaurants. It’s also possibly made thanks to the resort`s very own 42 acre water park Aquadventure, as well as the impressive aquarium attraction The Lost Chambers, where you can spend hours staring at over 65,000 beautiful marine animals in disbelief as did we! A favourite with both adults and children, you can really immerse yourself in this underwater haven, the environment in which it is built is remarkable and exploring the underwater mazes and tunnels is fascinating.
Shark Attack Aquaventure Waterpark
The Aquadventure Waterpark is an all day attraction with some enthralling water slides and a benefit of staying at the hotel is the fast track entry. One of the best slides is The Leap of Faith, an extremely high sheer drop slide that plunges you into the shark tank beneath – it’s highly recommended but just once was enough for both of us! Both attractions are complimentary for hotel guests and just minutes away from your hotel room – with both attractions at your disposal means there’s no need to leave the resort if you don’t want to and the entire family will go home very happy. The Aquaventure Waterpark is sold as the No.1 water park in the Middle East and Europe and it’s hard to disagree. There’s a real mix of water slides on offer, from super fast plunges to rubber ring slides and rapids but if you want to simply read a book or sunbathe while the kids are kept entertained then there are hundreds of sun beds to relax on too. It’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer ingenuity surrounding you. There are also lots of activities you can endure in including swimming with sharks, dolphins and feeding a few marine animals. Lastly, we recommend you get there first thing, 9.30am is a good time (opens at 10am), there is barely anyone around at that time and it means you can suss it all out and not have to queue for any of the slides.
The Leap of Faith
If a spot of pampering is on your radar then I can wholeheartedly recommend visiting the ShuiQi Spa – it`s another world! The spa itself is huge and it would be easy to get lost inside. It`s set over two floors within the Royal Towers of Atlantis and provides the very best in sublime luxury beauty treatments, bathing options and water therapies. Choose from Shiseido, Aromatherapy Associates, Espa, Ionithermie and Bastien to name but a few luxury treatments. Once inside you`ll walk the earth-hue natural stone steps along streaming water pathways to one of the 27 treatment rooms or alternatively why not book the secluded Royal Spa Suite for the ultimate experience? I was lucky enough to meet Helen, my masseuse and she walked me down to the changing room. She talked to me about the Inner Strength massage that I had chosen and asked whether I had any problematic areas that required particular attention, she instantly assured me. The massage itself was completely 100% personalised to me, more than I had previously experienced and I could tell she held a huge amount of knowledge. She focused on my shoulders and calves, which she had recognised needed the most attention. The massage incorporated firm strokes with the forearm, hands and pummeling to relieve the tension in these areas. Afterwards I felt totally re-energised and incredibly relaxed, however the next day I felt a bit sore but the results were amazing, my entire body was alive and well!
In terms of restaurants, you’ll seriously not go hungry! With over 20 bars and restaurants within easy reach of both the East and West wing you have a fantastic choice of International cuisine including Asian, Japanese, Italian, French, Lebanese, Chinese and American grill-style eateries.
We ate at YUAN, the hotel`s latest addition and a fine dining a la carte Chinese restaurant. It is presented in a elegantly chic contemporary setting and brings together dishes from China’s Sichuan province. Surprisingly, there are some fiery dishes here so an attractive eatery for the chilli lover. We took the recommendations from of our well informed waiter and opted for wasabi mayonnaise coated prawns (very spicy!) but delicious and prawn dim sum, both appetizers were absolutely divine. Next up the Peking crispy duck dish was delicious and amazing – it was nothing like any duck we have had before, a true convert we have to admit – the duck was succulent, crispy and every bit delicious. We couldn’t wait to try our main courses, the Wagyu Beef and Sichuan prawns were enough to complete this incredible culinary experience. To sum up, we’ve always found it a challenge to find a decent Chinese restaurant on our travels, however we are pleased to report that our faith in this cuisine is now restored – a must!
Dubai has a lot to offer in the way of shopping as you’d expect, the Atlantis runs a free shuttle bus to various malls around the city, however the biggest and possibly the best in our opinion is the Dubai Mall. This enormous shopping mall will feed the addiction of any hearty shopper looking for high street names and exquisite designers and even technology, but if after all that retail therapy you’re in need of a well earned pit stop there’s a huge amount of restaurants, cafés and ice cream parlours to feed your every whim. Whilst the resort incorporates everything you could ever possibly want, you really are not far from some very studious districts that are well worth exploring. Hop in a cab and within 30 minutes you’ll be anywhere you want to be in the city.
To sum up, the Atlantis is nothing short of impressive and we feel mighty privileged to have seen the opulent suites on offer, something we will never forget. We’ll certainly be back and next time with the kids who will be in heaven here for sure. We’d probably go ‘All Inclusive’ and make full play of all the amazing activities on offer – it’s the stuff dreams are made of for kids and allowing adults a little playtime too!
Atlantis The Palm | Crescent Road | The Palm | Dubai | United Arab Emirates
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