February 2009:- Dubai by Ida Milne

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Atlantis lagoon

Atlantis lagoon

Television coverage of the  spectacular opening fireworks for the Atlantis on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah has given the resort worldwide instant brand recognition.

Early business at the Sol Kerzner’s newest resort is thriving, and many of the room rates in the 1,539 room hotel have been increased due to high demand.

The new resort first welcomed guests in September 2008, and had its grand opening in November.  When we visited last month, the hotel still had to employ security to control sightseers, who queue up on the road outside to take pictures of the hotel’s stunning silhouette until the early hours of the morning.

The celebrities have long gone home but that opening ceremony made a strong point: Dubai’s newest resort is a star in its own right. Perhaps not an  style icon like its neighbour hotel on Jumeirah, the Burj al Arab, whose pretty sail-likeoutline has graced the front of many an architect’s journal. But a star nonetheless.

The hotel’s twin pink hotel towers are connected by a high level bridge creating the illusion of a Moorish gateway to Dubai on the Palm Jumeirah, a massive land reclamation project in the Arabian Gulf.

The Atlantis towers over the motorway from Dubai onto the Palm, creating the illusion that you are going to drive right through that gateway; suddenly you have swerved into  tunnel, and the gateway disappears from view as you circle around the Palm towards the entrance to the resort.

Kerzner had a vision to transport guests into an imaginative world that captured the essence of the lost underwater world of Atlantis, but with distinct Arabian elements.

The result gives the guest the sense of taking part in a fantasy, from the moment you enter the hotel lobby with its 10 metre high 3,000 piece blown glass sculpture of sealife, to relaxing in your Atlantis-styled bathroom.

The resort encompasses a 46 hectare site with Aquaventure, the 17 hectare waterpark,   an open-air marine habitat called the Ambassador Lagoon which effectively stretches into the bowel of the hotel, the Lost Chambers, a maze of underground tunnel Atlantean tunnels complete with park rangers, a pleasant stretch of beach looking in to the Dubai skyline, a dolphin park, luxury boutiques and some very fancy jewellers (including Tiffanys), several restaurants with four celebrity chef outlets, a jazzy nightclub, a  good spa  and 5,600 square metres of meeting and function space.

All bedrooms have a view of either the Arabian gulf, the Palm Jumeirah or Aquaventure.

Most of the bathrooms have sliding wooden fretwork doors, allowing you to observe the view from  your tub.  Bathrooms tend to be pretty special even in the more basic rooms in the Atlantis, keeping up the fantasy-and-water theme.

For the better-heeled visitor, the hotel offers the Bridge Suite, spanning the two towers; a private lift takes you to your three bedroom accommodation 22 storeys above ground level, with sensational views of the city and the gulf, as well as a host of special pampering services. The suite has a dining table seating 18 which is decorated with gold leaf.

The big novelty accommodation in the hotel is the two Lost Chambers suites, three stories high with two floors offering windows directly on to the undersea world of the Ambassador Lagoon, effectively a giant fishbowl in the centre of the hotel.  The real treat here is to have a bath in your pedestal jetted tub as you peer into the fishbowl, looking at sharks, stingrays and even a baby whale swimming by in a setting designed to look like the lost city of Atlantis.

Hotel staff say that when these suites are occupied, divers feeding or treating the fish are not allowed in to the lagoon so you can have that bath  experience in peace.

Even a walk down the almost museum-like corridors of the hotel contribute to the feeling of participating in a playful fantasy. The Atlantis theme is carried through to the plasterwork, the light fittings, the decor around the lifts.  You seem to find thrones for forgotten seagods everywhere, with tourists eagerly queueing to get their pictures taken sitting on them.

Feeding time for the 65,000 fish and sea creatures is almost as popular with the humans who swarm to the two-storey high viewing windows as with the fish.

The marine life is managed by a team of 165 veterinarians, biologists, divers, laboratory staff and curators,

Aquaventure offers heartstopping slides.  Climb to the top of the Ziggurat, a  30m high Mesopotamian-styled tower to do the Leap of Faith, a near-vertical drop into the plunge pool below.  Not for me, thank you, but I can appreciate the attraction for those trying to test out their hearts.  Far more appealing is the Shark Attack, which starts a mere 13 metres high spinning you in an inflatable tube through a perspex tunnel in a shark filled pond.

A swim in the pool in front of the hotel permits a survey the scale of the structure, and also an  examination of  the city skyline.

The Atlantis is amusing and imaginative,  rather than  stately, brash or vulgar. It may not grace the covers of architectural magazines, but the designers sure made it a fun place.

 

Television coverage of the  spectacular opening fireworks for the Atlantis on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah has given the resort worldwide instant brand recognition.

Early business at the Sol Kerzner’s newest resort is thriving, and many of the room rates in the 1,539 room hotel have been increased due to high demand.

The new resort first welcomed guests in September 2008, and had its grand opening in November.  When we visited last month, the hotel still had to employ security to control sightseers, who queue up on the road outside to take pictures of the hotel’s stunning silhouette until the early hours of the morning.

The celebrities have long gone home but that opening ceremony made a strong point: Dubai’s newest resort is a star in its own right. Perhaps not an  style icon like its neighbour hotel on Jumeirah, the Burj al Arab, whose pretty sail-likeoutline has graced the front of many an architect’s journal. But a star nonetheless.

The hotel’s twin pink hotel towers are connected by a high level bridge creating the illusion of a Moorish gateway to Dubai on the Palm Jumeirah, a massive land reclamation project in the Arabian Gulf.

The Atlantis towers over the motorway from Dubai onto the Palm, creating the illusion that you are going to drive right through that gateway; suddenly you have swerved into  tunnel, and the gateway disappears from view as you circle around the Palm towards the entrance to the resort.

Kerzner had a vision to transport guests into an imaginative world that captured the essence of the lost underwater world of Atlantis, but with distinct Arabian elements.

The result gives the guest the sense of taking part in a fantasy, from the moment you enter the hotel lobby with its 10 metre high 3,000 piece blown glass sculpture of sealife, to relaxing in your Atlantis-styled bathroom.

The resort encompasses a 46 hectare site with Aquaventure, the 17 hectare waterpark,   an open-air marine habitat called the Ambassador Lagoon which effectively stretches into the bowel of the hotel, the Lost Chambers, a maze of underground tunnel Atlantean tunnels complete with park rangers, a pleasant stretch of beach looking in to the Dubai skyline, a dolphin park, luxury boutiques and some very fancy jewellers (including Tiffanys), several restaurants with four celebrity chef outlets, a jazzy nightclub, a  good spa  and 5,600 square metres of meeting and function space.

All bedrooms have a view of either the Arabian gulf, the Palm Jumeirah or Aquaventure.

Most of the bathrooms have sliding wooden fretwork doors, allowing you to observe the view from  your tub.  Bathrooms tend to be pretty special even in the more basic rooms in the Atlantis, keeping up the fantasy-and-water theme.

For the better-heeled visitor, the hotel offers the Bridge Suite, spanning the two towers; a private lift takes you to your three bedroom accommodation 22 storeys above ground level, with sensational views of the city and the gulf, as well as a host of special pampering services. The suite has a dining table seating 18 which is decorated with gold leaf.

The big novelty accommodation in the hotel is the two Lost Chambers suites, three stories high with two floors offering windows directly on to the undersea world of the Ambassador Lagoon, effectively a giant fishbowl in the centre of the hotel.  The real treat here is to have a bath in your pedestal jetted tub as you peer into the fishbowl, looking at sharks, stingrays and even a baby whale swimming by in a setting designed to look like the lost city of Atlantis.

Hotel staff say that when these suites are occupied, divers feeding or treating the fish are not allowed in to the lagoon so you can have that bath  experience in peace.

Even a walk down the almost museum-like corridors of the hotel contribute to the feeling of participating in a playful fantasy. The Atlantis theme is carried through to the plasterwork, the light fittings, the decor around the lifts.  You seem to find thrones for forgotten seagods everywhere, with tourists eagerly queueing to get their pictures taken sitting on them.

Feeding time for the 65,000 fish and sea creatures is almost as popular with the humans who swarm to the two-storey high viewing windows as with the fish.

The marine life is managed by a team of 165 veterinarians, biologists, divers, laboratory staff and curators,

Aquaventure offers heartstopping slides.  Climb to the top of the Ziggurat, a  30m high Mesopotamian-styled tower to do the Leap of Faith, a near-vertical drop into the plunge pool below.  Not for me, thank you, but I can appreciate the attraction for those trying to test out their hearts.  Far more appealing is the Shark Attack, which starts a mere 13 metres high spinning you in an inflatable tube through a perspex tunnel in a shark filled pond.

A swim in the pool in front of the hotel permits a survey the scale of the structure, and also an  examination of  the city skyline.

The Atlantis is amusing and imaginative,  rather than  stately, brash or vulgar. It may not grace the covers of architectural magazines, but the designers sure made it a fun place.

 

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