From the day it opened in September 2008, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai has been a widely acclaimed resort, and the fact that it’s located in one of the most exotic and wealthiest cities in the world only adds to its allure. When you think of Dubai, the things that first come to your mind are opulence, luxury, grandeur, extravagance, and nobody pulls off extravagance like Dubai does! Located at the apex of the Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis stands out like the crown jewel in this glittering city, a confluence of the east and west, themed on the mythical ruins of Atlantis with distinctive middle eastern elements, and like every other experience Dubai has to offer this is one Hotel Experience you must tryout!
Having heard such wonderful things about this resort, Atlantis had been on my bucket list for the longest time, the opportunity soon came up and we booked a 2 night stay at Atlantis for a family vacation. Though you can visit the Atlantis anytime for a meal or to spend the day at the water park, staying at the Atlantis is a completely different experience and as in house guests you’re offered exclusivity and unlimited access to a lot of attractions.
Check In & First Impressions
Our trip started with arriving into Dubai on an Air India flight, we had a car waiting for us and were whisked off straight to Atlantis,The Palm. I was mesmerised with my first glimpse of the Atlantis, with the Arabian Sea on one side and the Dubai skyscape behind, it rose like a mirage in the shimmering sunlight, with its magnificent facade and great big arc, definitely a sight that will stay with me forever!
So Atlantis, is the kind of resort where once you’ve checked in, you step out only when your stay is over. There is just so much to do, it’s like entering a completely different world with countless attractions, activities, shopping and dining options. The sheer size and grandeur of the property is pretty overwhelming. The underwater theme is very evident in all the detailing, murals with aquatic carvings, shell shaped lamps, and glimpses of the aquarium throughout the hotel, with ruins thrown in for effect give you the feeling that you’re actually wandering through the mythical ruins of Atlantis.
The resort is huge with over 1500 rooms and as we entered the main lobby, we were greeted by a sea of people all waiting to be checked in. However, in spite of the huge numbers, check in was extremely quick and hassle free, and while my husband took care of all the formalities, we enjoyed the dates and kawa (herbal tea) that had been served for guests checking in. A word to the wise, don’t choose Atlantis if you’re looking for peace and quiet, as this resort is all things action packed!
Accommodation and Inclusions
Atlantis has a variety of accommodation options to choose from, since we were a family of 5 we booked a 2 bedroom suite. The rooms were gorgeous with views of the Arabian Sea, while a suite is a luxury in itself, this one was especially spectacular, the bedrooms were well sized with a spacious living area connecting them, and lovely bathrooms fitted with huge tubs and luxurious amenities. The entire space was done up in soothing tones of blues and greens to go with the oceanic theme and our balcony had the most exciting view of the aquarium pool where we could see sharks and stingrays swimming the entire time.
We went in for the package with breakfast, dinner, and the Imperial Club Access as well! The club access was amazing as it offered us many benefits like high tea every afternoon, drinks and canapes every evening, access to the private beach area, airport transfers, express check-in, priority reservations and various other discounts. Our stay also included unlimited access to the Aquaventure Waterpark and the Lost Chambers Aquarium. I highly recommend including the breakfast and club access in your stay. Since there’s so much to explore at the Atlantis and the days are extremely busy with so many activities you don’t really have time for long lunches, it became a routine with us to start our day with a good breakfast (the breakfast buffet was sumptuous and overflowing) before heading out to the waterpark and then come back to the early evening high tea at the Imperial Club, all our culinary explorations were saved for dinnertime!
After checking out all the dining options available at Atlantis we were in a bit of a quandary as to where we should eat, we were so spoilt for choice, and as is normal everyone in the family had a different preference. So after a lot of deliberation we decided to go ahead and eat at the Kaleidoscope which is famous for its international cuisine buffet and where all our individual cravings would be taken care of. It was a decision we did not regret. Dining at the Kaleidoscope was an extremely extravagant affair, world cuisine at its best. I don’t think I have ever seen a spread that extensive, definitely a culinary trip around the globe! From Arabic, Asian, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Sri Lankan, African, Italian, Mexican, you name it and it was there! My 10 year old was glued to the desert counters and the huge chocolate fountain was something even we adults couldn’t resist.
While on the topic of accommodation I have to mention their Signature Underwater Suites! Imagine living in a room where sharks and rays swim past your bed, floor to ceiling windows looking into the aquarium, and gazing at marine life while relaxing in your bathtub! Unreal! Needless to say these rooms are way more expensive and there are very few of these suites so if this is something you want to experience please remember to book way in advance.
When to Visit
There’s really no specific time to visit, you just got to choose what works for you. Atlantis is a family destination and as such is teeming with people throughout the year. If you visit from May to August which is off-season due to the heat in Dubai, you’ll get some amazing budget rates and the cheapest rooms possible, also the resort won’t be that crowded so you get to enjoy the facilities more and the lines at the park are shorter. Visiting in the winter months means the weather is definitely lovely, November and December are festive months and you get to enjoy a lot of carnivals and festivities, rates during these months are comparatively higher though. Also keep a watch for summer breaks in the UK and USA since the resort is packed in those months.
Things to Do at Atlantis
The best way to experience Atlantis is to stay at the resort, exploring this hotel and all its attractions was mind boggling! There was just so much to do, we had to pick and choose how we wanted to spend our 3 days as the options were endless!
Our 10 year old was the decision maker and the clear winner was obviously the Aquaventure waterpark! We went to the park two days in a row as the park is huge and my son wanted to go on every slide at least twice! They have a mix of rides and activities for all age groups and also some really daring one’s for all the adrenalin junkies. Waterslides, ziplines, wave pools, marine interactions, river rides, it was all so much fun, after a while it was difficult to tell who the child was and who the adult! The park’s divided into 2 parts the Tower of Neptune and the Tower of Poseidon, we spent more of our time at the Tower of Poseidon as we thought the rides here were really cool. Aquaventure is also home to the very famous “Leap of Faith” probably the steepest slide in the world and the “Poseidon’s Revenge” which is officially the scariest slide in the middle-east, and I must say both of these rides are definitely not for the faint hearted! I wasn’t brave enough to try either, but my son and husband just couldn’t get enough of it. My personal favourites were the Aquaconda and the Zommerango, I also spent a lot of time chilling in The Torrent, Aquaventure’s version of a wave pool and The Rapids, a river adventure through wave surges, waterfalls and rapids! Be sure to be appropriately dressed in swimming gear as they can be pretty strict about this. There were many kiosks and shops for quick bites, ice creams, drinks, beach apparel and other necessities. Aquaventure is open to everyone, not just in house guests, and you can buy your tickets online.
The majority of our visit was spent at the waterpark, but we did manage to visit the much talked about Lost Chambers Aquarium on our last day at Atlantis. It is the most gigantic aquarium ever, apparently with over 65,000 marine animals. The aquarium is Atlantis-themed and the experience was pretty impressive, you actually feel like you’re walking amongst the chambers and ruins of the underwater city. There are also many marine life exhibits and you can interact and even feed the marine animals guided by the in house experts of course. We were mesmerised as we wandered around, surrounded by sharks, piranhas, stingrays, eels, seahorses and an array of other exotic fish! We didn’t really have the time but there were some really cool underwater experiences offered by Atlantis like snorkelling, diving, a shark safari, underwater yoga etc. which were all in the aquarium waters.
And with that, it was the end of our stay, the most action-packed 3 days of our Dubai trip! So, do I want to go back to Atlantis? Definitely!! There’s just so much you can do in 3 days and I genuinely regret missing out on some of the experiences. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to visit this extraordinary property really soon, and I’m also sure by the time we plan our next trip, the ever evolving Atlantis would have added a whole lot of new attractions to lure us back!
So, here’s my list of some of the top attractions at Atlantis, not that we got the chance to try them all but there’s always a next time! Can’t wait to explore all the new experiences and make new memories!
Top Activities And Attractions At Atlantis
Aquaventure Water Park – The biggest waterpark in the middle east and the most crowd pulling attraction at Atlantis. The water park has a mix of rides and activities for younger children as well as adults and out of the 3 days we were at the Atlantis we spent 2 at the waterpark, this was without a doubt the highlight of the trip for our son. Waterslides, zip lines, wave pools, surf riders, marine interactions, river rides, slides, this waterpark has it all and is surely a destination not to be missed! It’s also home to the very famous “Leap of Faith”, probably the steepest slide in the world and the “Poseidon’s Revenge” the scariest slide in the middle-east.
Dolphin Bay – Spend your day interacting with the playful dolphins at Atlantis, at one of the largest dolphin habitats in the world. The Dolphin Bay is part of the Aquaventure waterpark and they have a variety of dolphin interactions to choose from. You can play with the dolphins, go swimming with them, feed them, or just sit at the water’s edge and get some amazing pictures. While in house guests get discounted rates at Dolphin Bay, for non residential guests a booking at the Dolphin Bay also includes a 2 day ticket to Aquaventure. Make sure to check out other inclusions if you book this experience. There’s also the Sea Lion Point for those interested in interactions with sea lions.
Underwater Experiences – Atlantis offers some of the most unique, awe-inspiring underwater experiences. Sign up for Aquatrek to take a walk underwater and be amongst 65,0000 marines animals at the Ambassador Lagoon. You don’t need to be an expert swimmer or diver for this, they give you a special oxygen helmet that lets you walk and breathe underwater, so don’t be surprised if you meet a shark or two. For the more adventurous there’s the Aquatrek Extreme where they take you even deeper for a more intense experience. You can also go on the Shark Safari and come face to face with a variety of sharks and other exotic marine life. Also check up on their live-feeding sessions in case you want to feed the sharks and there are snorkelling and scuba-diving options as well!
The Lost Chambers Aquarium – The most gigantic Aquarium ever, with 65,000 marine animals, the aquarium runs throughout the hotel and you can get glimpses of it from time to time as you wander around. The aquarium is Atlantis-themed and the experience is pretty immersive. There are also 21 marine life exhibits and you can interact and even feed the marine animals guided by the in house experts. All the underwater experiences offered by the Atlantis like snorkelling, diving, the shark safari aquatrek, underwater yoga etc. are all in the aquarium waters.
Award Winning Celebrity Restaurants – Atlantis boasts of some of the best dining options, from fine-dine experiences to family friendly restaurants, they have close to 19 bars and restaurants to choose from. Some of the well known award winning restaurants are Nobu, Hakkasan, Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen, Ronda Locatelli and Osiano, which is the most unique dining experience at Atlantis. Osiano is stunning in its underwater setting with floor to ceiling windows and 180 degree views of the Aquarium. Osiano has won the award for “Best Seafood Restaurant” in Dubai 4 times in a row and is considered to be the most romantic restaurant in Dubai! There’s a whole load of other family friendly, multi-cuisine options to choose from as well. One of the latest and much talked about is the Wavehouse, a family friendly entertainment destination with a bowling alley, gaming zone, restaurant, bar, live music and overlooking the Wave Rider, where you can go surfing and knee boarding!
Private Beach and White Beach Club – Atlantis has an amazing coastline of 1.4 km, with a pristine beach, watersports and other beach activities, a favourite with many to just relax, sunbathe and unwind. A recent entrant to Atlantis is the White Beach Club, touted to be the hottest party destination in Dubai. They have a shore side infinity pool, a beachfront bar and a restaurant serving mediterranean food, so go ahead unwind, sip on your favourite cocktails, party by the pool, attend their live international concerts and have the time of your life!
ShuiQi Spa – If you get a chance to step away from all the action, visit the ShiQi Spa, to enjoy personalised massages and treatments. In case you’re travelling with kids, the Kids Club is a great place to leave them for a couple of hours with attendants present to watch over them, so you can enjoy your time at the spa. Like so many other things at Atlantis, the ShuiQi Spa is also luxurious, award winning and an experience not to be missed. It’s spread over 2 floors interspersed with tranquil water bodies and waterfalls!
Shopping – Staying at Atlantis means never having to step out for anything. Shop to your heart’s content, from daily essentials, souvenirs, collectibles to high end luxury shopping they have it all and if by any chance you run out of money they have an ATM dispensing gold bars too!!!:))
Spectacular Helicopter Rides – Atlantis offers the most spectacular Helicopter rides to explore the city in the best way possible, get a bird’s eye view of famous Dubai landmarks and the glittering Dubai skyline.
Some Exciting News!
As we conclude this article, get ready for the most anticipated hotel opening of 2021. Atlantis, The Royal, a daring new residential destination and 800 room Hotel as well. With extraordinary stays, dining, attractions and entertainment I’m sure it’s going to leave us awestruck! www.atlantis.com
About the Author – Kirti is an ardent traveller who loves exploring new places, cuisines, and cultures. The wind beneath her wings is her pilot husband who joins her in this wanderlust and together they are constantly in pursuit of new experiences and adventures.