Among Dubai’s bevy of glamorous attractions is a mind-blowing manmade island that goes by the name of The Palm. It’s there on The Palm that you’ll find Atlantis, a luxurious, monolithic resort that could be dubbed Disney World for adults if it weren’t simultaneously so kid friendly. Just how big is Atlantis you might ask? Well, it stands 22 stories high, contains 1539 rooms and 7 signature suites, and touts a footprint upon the island that’s equivalent to 64 Wembley football pitches. Yeah. It’s epic.
Welcoming an average of 823 guests per day from over 227 different countries, Atlantis epitomises modern luxury travel. Between the priceless artwork, premium restaurants, beaches, bars, retail outlets, aquariums, water rides and so much more, visitors basically have no reason to leave the property at all. It’s therefore no wonder that celebrities like Michael Jordan and Kim Kardashian stay there in style. And by that we mean they book the Royal Bridge Suite. It costs about US$27k per night, offers one of the best views in the world, and sings with opulence.
One of the most recent celebrities to crash at the Royal Bridge Suite was Mr. Iron Mike Tyson himself, whilst on a trip to Dubai scouting venues for his new training academy. Suffice to say, his accommodations couldn’t have been sweeter. That is, the Royal Bridge Suite, which having toured it myself, is quite simply the stuff of fantasies. At 924 square metres, the prestigious lodging hosts 3 spacious bedrooms, a library, an office, a billiards room and a massage room. Also included is a butler, a private chef, two complimentary massages, two complimentary personal training sessions and full access to the steam, sauna and jet pool at ShuiQi Spa. Sealing the deal are the exclusive balconies on each side of the suite, offering breathtaking views of the the city on one side and the waters of the Persian Gulf on the other.
However, the Royal Bridge Suite is merely the icing on a very rich cake. Indeed, Atlantis is a multi-storied getaway of seemingly endless indulgence. Hence, even if you don’t feel like throwing down US$27k, you have plenty of options. For instance, there are six other signature suites, each one bursting with extravagant features like premium bedsheets imported from France, specially made bathroom amenities, a personal butler, soap sprinkled with 24-karat gold flakes, and a distinguished line of plush robes. Those robes, by the way, took 10 months to create and were customised to match the colours of the resort. Kim Kardashian herself admits to stealing one during her stay and we can’t say we blame her.
Like so many of the amenities, the resort’s two most popular suites are brilliantly unique. Dubbed Neptune and Poseidon, both suites are entirely underwater and thereby poignant representatives of Atlantis moniker. Each one is spread across three floors and costs US$8,000 a night. To stay there is to have direct views of the Ambassador Lagoon and all the exotic marine life therein. And just in case you’re wondering: in order to clean the windows from the outside, Atlantis sends housekeeping out on a small boat across the top of Ambassador Lagoon. There’s also a built-in elevator exclusive to each suite, in case you weren’t yet convinced of Neptune and Poseidon’s respective tiers of distinction.
No matter where you stay when visiting Atlantis, The Palm, you’ll have an experience to remember for ages. Trust us–we’ve visited ourselves, and can duly attest that every spare detail of each room is brimming with class and cosiness. The beds, for example, are King Koil Arabian Night mattresses, among the most comfortable in the world. The views and layouts are likewise impeccable. Should you order room service, you’ll be one of 800 guests ordering for that day.
Naturally, you won’t be spending too much time in your room because Atlantis is simply overflowing with activities, many of them water-based. Nowhere is that more apparent than at Aquaventure, the resort’s spectacular water park complete with slides, tidal waves, rapids and a 2.3 km river ride that takes 45 minutes to complete. It’s the only waterpark in the Middle East with marine animal experiences like Shark Safari, where you can walk beneath a sea of live sharks. Our personal favourite attractions were Poseidon’s Revenge and the Leap of Faith. The former is a death-defying water slide that drops you from a high, almost completely vertical angle at breakneck speed. The latter slide takes you through a shark aquarium, hence the name. Both were resoundingly awesome. But if 90-degree drops and whiplash rides through shark tanks sounds a little too bewildering, Atlantis provides an endless variety of less intense marine-based activities.
Also on site are the Ambassador Lagoon and the Lost Chambers Aquarium. Both are marine habitats of truly epic proportion. In fact, there are over 65,000 marine animals and 250 species between the two attractions. To visit both is to immerse yourself in a world of marine life. You can observe behind the thick glass, wander a range of locales, spot an albino alligator or Clownfish (made famous by Finding Nemo) and even hand feed the fish. If only the most proximate experience will suffice, you can throw on the space-helmet and partake in Aquatrek, which takes you on an underwater tour of the Ambassador Lagoon.
Of course, no vacation is truly fulfilled without copious amounts of good eating and drinking. For that, Atlantis has you covered beyond your wildest dreams. The resort hosts no less than 23 restaurants. Among them is the acclaimed Ossiano. Perched next to Ambassador Lagoon and overseen by a renowned Parisian chef, Ossiano offers stunning floor to ceiling aquarium views and the best seafood in Dubai. Gorge on a feast of lobster, crab, prawns, fish, Beluga Caviar and inventive dishes like Foie Gras Terrine with Pinneapple and Chutney, while a legion of sharks, stingrays and other marine life swim past your head.
Another wildly popular dining destination at Atlantis is Gordon Ramsay’s Bread St Kitchen and Bar. Opened in 2015, the perennial hotspot is home to Ramsay’s famous Beef Wellington. Guests come from near and far in hopes of catching the notoriously angry chef in the midst of action, but it’s typically Chef de Cuisine Cesar Bartolini barking orders or whipping up popular British fare with a tasty Middle Eastern twist. Given that the restaurant can seat over 400 guests between the indoor area and outdoor terrace, it’s the perfect place to commune with others or spot a British celebrity. Come in on a Saturday for a traditional Roast Dinner, or pop in to grab a cold pint at the packed bar. Whatever you decide, just don’t forget the hit up the ice cream counter before you leave.
If you’re feeling romantic and looking for a little Japanese flavour, then by all means set your sight and stomach on Nobu. Known internationally as a premier hub for delectable Japanese fusion cuisine, the upscale franchise proudly holds court at Atlantis, The Palm. Chase that with cold sake and don’t forget you’re on vacation when the bill finally hits the table.
In addition to all the good eats, Atlantis, The Palm keeps the drinks flowing and the entertainment on point. You can do no wrong sipping cocktails and getting your groove on at Nasimi Beach, one of the longest running beach clubs in Dubai. On a good night, up to 6000 people walk through its doors to drink and dance. Previous musical guests have included Basement Jaxx, Kings of Leon, David Guetta and a slew of other famous DJs. And even when the big names aren’t in town, Nasimi Beach is your go-to spot for lounging (and hookah). Also worthy of note is N’Dulge Night Club, where the laser lights and electronic beats start at 9PM and don’t stop until 3 in the morning.
To call Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai an oasis is almost too leisurely a description. That’s not to say guests don’t come here to relax, rather that the resort is as stimulating as it is serene. Should you ever plan a trip, expect swift service, delicious food, luxurious comfort and an aquatic world of endless fascination, no matter which room you book.