Atlantis the Palm has long been on the list of places we have wanted to visit. So, this year, we decided to take the plunge.
We reserved our room online. The Internet site is fairly painless and straightforward. We booked an "Imperial Club" room with Twin Queen beds. A week after booking, we received an email from Atlantis for all of our particulars: Would you like a newspaper? Would you like airport transportation? Would you like this, that or the other? It was a nice touch.
I reserved airport transportation. Or, at least I thought I did. After clearing Customs at Dubai Intl, and exiting the terminal, I looked around and...no Hotel bus or van. My wife asked, "I thought they were going to pick us up?" I thought so as well. Instead of hanging around and complaining about it, we opted for a cab. 60 Dirhams later, we're at the Atlantis.
It is a HUGE building. We arrived at night and the drive up was very imposing. Flood lights, lit fountains, etc. The building is tastefully colored in Tropical Pink with a touch of Arabic design. Walk inside the HUGE lobby and you're greeted by an enormous glass scuplture that seems to climb toward the ceiling. Interesting. And PEOPLE EVERYWHERE! What seemed like hundreds of people walking in all directions. The noise of conversation was a bit overwhelming. If you're coming here for privacy...forget it. This is a resort...not a hideaway.
We were met by a very efficient bellman, who escorted us over to the Imperial Club check-in. Their "lobby" had a mansion feel to it -- heavy furnishings, large desks, tapestries on the wll, and staff dressed in Indian semi-formalware. A quick check-in, and we're headed upstairs to the 12th floor. Our bellman gave us the grand tour -- showed us the Imperial Club with free breakfast and tea time and snacks, and once inside the room, he pointed out all of the "Features & Benefits". Don't forget Happy Hour between 6-8pm. The Cosmopolitans are not that bad...
Our room was what we asked for -- twin queens, large bathroom, large bathtub, and a walk-in shower with a rainfall shower head. Nice! Plenty of room. And, quiet. We could not hear anything once the door was closed. The beds were a bit soft, but comfortable. Plenty of towels in the bathroom. We had even forgot to bring a hairbrush and toothpaste. The staff brought us the items almost as soon as we called. Atlantis doesn't use those annoying "Privacy Please" door hangars. Instead, it's electronic. Push a button on the wall just inside the door, and a "Do not Disturb" sign lights up outside.
After dumping the bags, we went exploring. The centerpiece of the hotel itself is an aquarium that has to be 500,000 gal+ with plenty of rays, skates, sharks, groupers, etc. We even watched a group of divers in the tank attempting to hang a wedding celebration banner. They hung it upside down and didn't realize it until after they got out of the tank. LOL! Wandering around, we found a lot of high-end stores selling overly-priced jewelry and clothing. Want a simple Starbucks? Forget it. Not inside. You have to go out into the waterpark to find one. Inside the hotel, it's all Ritzy coffee shops.
Oh, did I mention people? We arrived on the weekend and barely had enough room to walk down the hallways! And, at night, the groupies dress the part -- elegant and sheer with jewels and haircuts to match. I felt out of place in blue jeans and a T-shirt.
Through it all, there was the staff -- helpful, courteous, polite, etc. They really make the place shine. The waterpark is a waterpark. Not much you can say there. We went to the Dolphin Bay and played with the Dolphins. Great fun and educational.
My one complaint: The food. It sucked. Our booking included a free breakfast. Since we had 2 young kids with us, going to any nice place to eat was out of the question. We had to settle for the buffets. LOUSY. Plenty of food, yes. But, quality wise? NOPE. They are feeding a lot of people. (I did mention the people, didn't I?) So, they have to go quantity over quality. And, sadly, it shows. I was happy to actually go into Dubai City just to get something decent to eat. Atlantis is a place where you won't starve. But, you won't walk away saying, "That was the best meal I've had in a while." Don't expect 5-star food here. Walk in expecting "Days Inn" or "Holiday Inn Express" and you won't be dissappointed.
On the whole, we enjoyed our stay. My wife wants to come back, and I think we will maybe in a year's time. When we do visit again, we will bring someone to entertain the kids. Maybe then, the food won't be an issue.
I give the place 4-stars based upon the staff. They really treated us well.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Atlantis is the majestic resort in Dubai situated on The Palm, a man-made island that has captured the world’s imagination with its magnificent scale and ingenuity.From the moment you arrive, you will be immersed in a dazzling world of imagination, pleasure and 5 star luxury. The resort offers relaxation and thrills for couples and families alike, including a landmark hotel, unique marine habitats, an exhilarating water park, pristine white beaches, world-class cuisine, indulgent spa and cosmopolitan boutiques. To stay or visit is to live out your dreams amidst warm Arabian seas. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Atlantis The Palm Dubai
- Atlantis The Palm Hotel Dubai