Voted the best luxury family resort on the man-made Palm island, the resort offers 35 restaurants, an award-winning waterpark and countless child-friend attractions
Atlantis is the ultimate symbol of Dubai, exuding the opulence and luxury evident throughout this billionaire’s playground.
Sitting at the top of the Palm (one of the largest man-made islands in the world), the Disneyesque tower-topped resort has everything a family or a couple could wish for on holiday.
Famous faces who have stayed at the ocean-themed hotel have included Robert De Niro, Rita Ora, Antonio Banderas, Lindsay Lohan and the Kardashian sisters.
As seen on BBC show Inside Dubai: Playground of the Rich, The Palm is one of the few attractions in the world that can be spotted from space.
The jewel in its crown, the five star Atlantis hotel has 1,548 rooms, 35 restaurants, lounges and bars, the largest aquarium in the UAE and an award-winning water park.
Hotel guests get free entrance to The Lost Chambers Aquarium and the adjoining Aquaventure Waterpark — for families this is brilliant as keeps the cost of the holiday down and ensures your children can be kept occupied every day for no extra cost.
During a recent trip to the United Arab Emirates I checked into the hotel for a night, but easily could have stayed a week and still not made use of all Atlantis’ amenities. The mainland is only 10 minutes away by taxi or monorail, so if you do want to see more of the city it is handy to do so.
As soon as you walk into the massive lobby you will see another example of how Dubai sets out to do everything bigger and better than elsewhere. At its centre is a 10-metre-high sculpture with more than 3,000 pieces of intensely-coloured blown glass ranging from fiery oranges and reds to tranquil blues and greens.
Looking up you will notice the 19-metre-high arched ceilings feature eight hand-painted murals on canvas to tell the story of the ancient mythical city of Atlantis.
From there the nautical theme is visible throughout, including the rooms with the light fittings, furnishings, coral-shaped door handles, and shell mosaic mirrors.
The beds are super plush with a large number of pillows. After an excellent sleep I discovered that the mattresses used in Atlantis rooms are King Koil Arabian Night Perfect Contour mattresses, one of the most comfortable in the world.
While the bathroom is also spacious and has a freestanding bath which just leans into the bedroom, balconies on higher floors give you amazing views of the palm-shaped island the Atlantis sits on.
If you want to splash the cash there are seven signature suites which cost from £3,650 per night including the Underwater, Presidential, Grand Atlantis and Royal Bridge Suite. Guests staying in those get soap with 24-carat gold flakes and a dedicated 24-hour butler.
Those who can afford to stay in the Underwater suite will be mesmerised as sharks, rays and fish gliding right past the bed (behind glass of course).
But for those of us yet to win the lottery you will see tens of thousands of such fish as you walk around the hotel, as Atlantis is home to more than 65,000 marine animals including moon jellies, moray eels, lobsters, eagle rays, and Arabian carpetsharks. You can even go diving with the fish in the Ambassador Lagoon aquarium.
The 10-metre tall floor-to-ceiling aquarium at the end of the east tower is completely mesmerising. I find sharks fascinating so spent ages just standing there following them and the other fish as they swam around.
The underwater corridors of The Lost Chambers Aquarium are worth exploring and the interactive points throughout are great fun for children. The top exhibits are the seahorses, clownfish and jellyfish. Underwater Yoga and Pilates classes are also offered there.
To get wet and wild walk out into the adjoining Atlantis Aquaventure waterpark, which is home to more child-friendly slides and areas than any other waterpark in the world. The 22.5 hectare site features three slide towers: Neptune, Poseidon, and Trident among its 105 slides, attractions and experiences. You can also swim with dolphins at Dolphin Bay and get up close with sea lions at Sea Lion point.
My top recommendations would be to try (if you dare) Odyssey of Terror, the world’s tallest waterslide with a Double TornadoWAVE, Shockwave, the longest family rafting water coaster in the world, Blackout, the tallest vertical drop body slide in the Middle East, Aquaconda, the world’s largest waterslide tube, and Poseidon’s Revenge, officially recognised as the most frightening waterslide in the Middle East.
Some of these were pretty scary but the adrenaline rush made it worthwhile. For a more relaxing time jump on a rubber ring and navigate your way around the park without ever having to leave the water on The Rapids network of waterways.
If you prefer something less adventurous and just want to chill by the pool, the resort has three to choose from including the majestic Royal Pool, the vibrant Zero Entry Pool and the dynamic infinity pool at WHITE. Guests can also relax on the largest privately-owned beachfront in Dubai at over 2km, where a range of watersports from kayaks to jet skis are available.
Dubai is must visit destination for any foodies with some of the best restaurants in the world.
The quality of the offering is so good you are really spoiled for choice with meals from some of the world’s biggest names in cooking.
At Atlantis you can enjoy some king oyster mushroom salad with gold leaf at Hakkasan, a Michelin-standard tasting menu in one Dubai’s most romantic underwater restaurants, Ossiano, black cod miso at Nobu and gastropub grub at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen. Little surprise that Atlantis’ food won 18 awards in 2021 alone.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Bread Street Kitchen which mirrors the casual cool warehouse feel of the legendary London original.
The menu consists of British classics and Ramsay signatures including Beef Wellington, Lobster Tagliolini, and his favourite, the Tamarind Chicken Wings, which I also thought were fabulous.
I enjoyed a melt-in-the-mouth Wellington served with truffle mash, honey spiced carrots and marrowbone sauce. It was an amazing plate of food packed full of flavour.
The restaurant’s bar is a focal point of the venue, with a team of experienced mixologists serving international beers and 29 different types of gin. Guests staying on one of the higher floors get complimentary access to the Imperial Club Lounge which offers a fantastic range of benefits with no extra charge including afternoon tea, evening drinks (which includes a great cocktail menu), sweets and biscuits and a range of food options.
If you’re looking for fun for all the family, there’s Wavehouse — a bar and restaurant (top tip: try their brilliant burgers or Rainbow Sliders) with a bowling alley, arcade games including the world’s largest Pac Man, the world’s first 3-axis rotation simulator ‘Stereo VR’ and even a surf machine, the Surf’s Up Wave Rider, which shoots out more than seven tonnes of water per second in a thin sheet to produce a realistic wave effect.
Breakfast is also quite an event at Atlantis with various food stations from cooked breakfasts, omelettes, porridge and pancakes to Chinese, Indian and Bloody Marys and Mimosas. It was easily the most impressive breakfast buffet I have ever been at.
While Atlantis clearly has it all they are not resting on their laurels. In this rapidly-expanding city where construction is booming, the owners are currently building a new hotel just down the beach. It will be 22 stories taller and boasts what will be one of the best infinity pools in the world.
Having been voted as Best Luxury Family Resort in Dubai and Best Middle East Family Hotel, the original Atlantis will be hard to beat.
Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai rates (for 4-night stays):
2 adults + 2 children / 3 adults + 1 child (children must be under 14yrs of age – Ocean Queen Room. Advance Purchase Offer £493. Bed & Breakfast £535
2 adults + 2 children / 3 adults + 1 child (children must be under 14yrs of age – Imperial Club Queen Room. Advance Purchase Offer £631
Up to 7 guests including children (children must be under 14yrs of age) – 2 Bedroom Terrace Club Suite. Advance Purchase Offer £1,314.
2 adults + 2 children below 14yrs of age, or 3 adults, or 3 adults + 1 child below 14 years of age (surchange for extra bedding) – Grand Atlantis Suite. Best available rate £7,860
Check out www.atlantis.com/dubai
For more information about the waterpark visit www.atlantis.com/dubai/atlantis-aquaventure/aquaventure-waterpark