I’ve always been fascinated by the Dubai, particularly its man made islands, reclaimed from the sea floor and now home to hundreds of private estates and some of the world’s top holiday resorts. Having been on my bucket list for years I was delighted to hear I’d be visiting Atlantis The Palm, Dubai as a part of my recent trip to Europe.
Driving down the centre of The Palm it’s rather difficult to gauge the sheer scale of human achievement. The realisation of money invested into the project is instantaneous as you find yourself comparing the quality of infrastructure to what we have here in Australia. Pulling into Atlantis it’s clear that the presence of money is everywhere, not just in regards to the resort but the regular clientele.
Stepping out of the humidity into the foyer of Atlantis really is like stepping into another world. A wave of cool air engulfs you before the sheer grandeur of the lobby (and the priceless Dale Chihuly hand blown glass sculpture) takes your breath away. We were quickly ushered into the VIP check in room and served a delicious tropical drink and then escorted to our Deluxe Rooms with either a view looking back onto The Palm or of the endless Arabian Sea. The rooms are elegant and thoughtfully appointed with large bathrooms separated by retractable Arabian inspired doors. With so much to explore at Atlantis time spent in your room is minimal, but the design team have ensured that time is also very comfortable.
If your budget is a little more flexible, say in the vicinity of $25,000 a night mark, I couldn’t recommend the Royal Bridge Suite highly enough. Spanning the length of the bridge that joins the east and west tower, the Royal Bridge Suite (and the hotel) has been constructed in the centre of The Palm which consequently provides the best view of the amazing structure. The 3 bedroom 924 sq m suite has housed numerous royal families, movie and sports stars and offers a private entrance from the hotel foyer for ultimate privacy.
At the base of the tower housing my room was the feature I was most excited about, The Lost Chambers Aquarium and Ambassador Lagoon home to 65,000 marine animals and one of the most fascinating spectacles I’ve seen in a long time. Standing in front of 8 inch thick glass hotel guests can admire Black Tipped Reef Sharks patrolling a complete under water ecosystem and you can do so for hours. Inside the Aquarium is a host of smaller tanks with a range of marine animals including some spectacularly large Grouper fish. Guests are allowed to dive in the Ambassador Lagoon, which I think would be a phenomenal experience.
Outside there are also plenty more opportunities to get in the water, one of those being Aquaventure, the No.1 watermark in the Middle East and Europe. I’m a big fan of testing my limits on thrill seeker rides and Aquaventure doesn’t disappoint with some of the most terrifying waterslides known to man. ‘Poseidon’s Revenge’ requires the rider to climb into a capsule and stand on a clear perspex floor that drops away suddenly, rocketing you into the darkness at 60km/h’. ‘Leap of Faith’ starts with the rider sitting in a dark hole in the wall before launching themselves out into the light and down a horrifyingly steep drop and through a shark tank. If you’re not the type that’s interested in a self inflicted minor heart attack the waterpark also offers a host of beaches and family fun slides and rapids involving blow up tubes which are a lovely way to unwind following scaring the living daylights out of yourself.
Those looking to unwind further can book a treatment at multi award winning ShuiQi Spa. Set over two floors within the Royal Towers of Atlantis, the Spa features 27 treatment rooms with separate male and female steam, sauna and relaxation areas. Male hotel guests can also make use of Gentleman’s Tonic, a specialist male grooming salon next door to the spa. All Gentleman’s Tonic services include full use of the spa’s facilities providing a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
Dining is quite clearly something The Atlantis prides itself on and with 21 restaurants the offering is abundant to say the least. In 36 hours we sampled a range of the resort’s restaurants and all were consistently good. Special mention must go to a stunning evening at the award wining, and beautifully designed Yuan. The contemporary Chinese menu is riddled with standout dishes as is the restaurant’s innovative cocktail list. For those interested in sampling some local flavours Levantine serves up traditional mezzeh, seafood and grilled meats served in classic Arabian style (monster portions!). Finally I must make note of the buffet at Kaleidoscope, without doubt the best buffet I’ve ever seen and before you oppose I’ve been to Vegas three times. Nothing touches the range at Kaleidoscope.
I really enjoyed my time in Dubai and my time at The Atlantis on The Palm. There’s no doubt the resort is very family orientated but I think it offers as much, if not more, for the travelling couple or group of friends en route to a summer in Europe (especially if the visit coincides with a big name DJ for a night at Nasimi Beach). The dining at Atlantis is an undeniable highlight and I must confess my afternoon at Aquaventure was exhilarating to say the least. Whether you’re looking for a European stopover or keen to explore the fascinating city of Dubai, Atlantis The Palm has definitely got all the necessary bases covered (in quality fashion).
For more information and bookings head to: http://www.atlantisthepalm.com/