Where to Stay: The Palm, Dubai
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
A stay at the Atlantis has long been one of of our travel goals and it certainly lived up to our expectations. The sight of Atlantis' iconic shape waiting at the end of the Palm is fabulous in itself. The unusual architecture stands out even across Dubai’s eclectic skyline, conjuring the idea of a somewhat magical ocean palace (think Little Mermaid). This magic continues inside; at the centre of the lobby is a stunning blue and coral water feature, with this colour theme being carried on into the room and giving a general unity to the hotel.
We stayed on the 7th floor and chose a corner room, as this meant we had a balcony that overlooked the front of the hotel and a large window directly facing the sea front. There was another sea-view window aside the bath, offering great views if you have time for a soak. We didn’t have much time for leisurely bathing (though we loved the walk in shower and Espa products), simply because there was too much to do in the hotel. It’s not possible to cover everything -in the three nights we were there we didn’t even see everything- but here are some of our highlights.
With a name like Atlantis, of course the hotel would have its own waterpark. Though only a five-minute walk from the back of the hotel, complimentary buggies are available for those who want to get there as quick as possible. The park has two main towers (Neptune and Poseidon, naturally) from which multiple slides extend from and there is also a series of river rapids and interconnected slides that run around the park. The most infamous ride is the Leap of Faith, a drop of almost 30m which catapults you through the lagoon. While the ride is fantastic for adrenaline junkies, it’s difficult to get a good view of the marine life in the lagoon, no surprise when your travelling up to 60 mph! Fear not, Shark Attack is a slower ride, in a single or double ring, which lets you appreciate the many fish, rays and sharks the lagoon has to offer. We’ve gone for this as our favourite ride, as it really is a unique experience. With plenty of sun loungers and places to eat, it’s easy to spend a full day here.
Pool and Beach Area
As seems standard on the Palm, Atlantis comes with its own private beach. With comfy sun loungers, raked sand and cool waters this was a great spot at the hotel to have some downtime. But for those who can’t keep still, volleyball, football and watersports are available on the beach. Though very quiet when we stayed, the two huge pools will provide you with plenty of space for a paddle even during the busiest season. Again, pools are amply strewn with loungers, and with Baskin Robins just around the corner, what more could you ask for?
With 23 restaurants to choose from, we had plenty of options during our stay. For A la Carte table service, try Asia Republic, a gorgeous menu of Far Eastern food with optional chopsticks. If you’re torn between cuisines, look no further than Saffron, one of the best buffet restaurants we’ve ever ate at. With everything from Sushi to a British roast dinner, we are forced to use the cliché ‘there’s something for everyone’. And if you’ve got room for desert, head to the giant chocolate fountain, found next to the multitude of ice cream flavours. For something special, try the famous Nobu or Ossiano, the iconic restaurant with spectacular views of the Ambassador’s lagoon
We also highly recommend Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, Bread Street Kitchen & Bar; try the Wagu steak or a tasty pasta dish, washing it down with your choice of cocktail. This restaurant in particularly had a great ambience, with the option of outside dining (and with year round sunshine, there’s no ‘weather permitting’!). This was one of our favourite restaurants in Dubai, so for more information take a look at the full review.
Lost Chambers/Ambassador’s Lagoon
This was ultimately our favourite aspect of the hotel. Free for guests during your stay, you can spend as much time as you like walking around the Lost Chambers Aquarium, designed to evoke the mythical city of Atlantis. Host to a range of marine life, the Lost Chambers is a great pre or post dinner activity, open till 10pm and quieter in the evenings (less of the general public at that time). But you don’t have to even go into the aquarium to appreciate the multitude of fish, stingrays and sharks; the Ambassador’s Lagoon is a huge glass wall near the East Tower of the hotel and allows breathtaking views of hundreds of sea creatures and even a diver or two. In fact, you can even be said diver, taking part in one of the many in-house experiences such as snorkeling or (for those thrill seekers) a shark night dive.
For next time: We want to sample more of the restaurants (such as the award winning Chinese, Yuan) and try the ray feeding experience.