We travelled as two single mums and three teenage boys. It was a 'treat' holiday for UK half term week break. We booked independently, flying out with BA (£600 pp round trip, booked just after Xmas) and staying via Virgin (because the cheaper Deluxe rooms were no longer available by indy booking)(the cost for accommodation via Virgin ended up being the same as it would have been had we booked independently the next grade of room up - with Virgin we got breakfast 'thrown in' as well! - at £30 a head!!!! ). Accommodation costs per room for two occupants was £3000 for seven nights (eek!).
We arrived at midnight, and were slightly worried about transfers, but the Atlantis hotel desk at the airport recommended a normal city taxi. They are easy to find, and seem well organised re pick up just outside the hotel. The taxis are very good, and it was a relief. They are City Corporation taxis, with a meter, and v. clean and reliable. For five people we needed two taxis because of our luggage (we ended up taking far too much!). The fare to the hotel came to around 80 AED and we tipped 20 AED so the total was about £20 (we were getting just over five AED to the pound in exchange). Journey took about half an hour.
The Atlantis reception was open - I believe it's open 24 hours - and we checked in pretty painlessly. They did us communicating rooms which was great. The good thing about the Deluxe (cheapest) rooms is that they are on the lower floors - the next grade up is exactly teh same room quality, but higher up. We preferred lower floors becuase of fire risk etc etc. On the second floor, we ended up with huge balconies overlooking the Gulf and the entrance to the hotel (which is round the back of the Palm)(the beach is inward facing across the Palm lagoon).
Rooms were very comfortable. Hilariously (to the teenagers!) the bathroom has extra doors, that look like a wardrobe, that can be opened from the bedroom to reveal the person having a bath. My, what a laugh that would be....ha ha not..(we stuck to showers....) (seems a pretty daft feature, I have to say - maybe it lets you watch the telly from the bath?) The bathroom has a nice walk in shower and a separate lockable loo with bidet, which is good for privacy (given the feature above!).
Beds were fine - queen size. Lots of pillows. Duvet a bit draggy.
We found the air con a bit low - as in, not very strong, even on max. Probably because for Dubai it's winter and already cold outside!
Daytime air temp was idyllic at around 30 with a light breeze.
The hotel is famed for its bling, and I was initially critical, but it does seem to work out there. It's huge and vast and glittering and shiny, and people take photos of the atrium etc etc. The vastness is good because lots of space and facilities, but you get exercise just walking from one end to the otehr!
The gardens to the front, by the beach, are beautiful. Two large pools, and loads of loungers, each with an adjustable shade which works very well. Beach is very accessible. Coral sand is rough (softer sand out in the desert - import it?!). Water chilly. Probably not that clean, but seemed Ok for a quick dip. We stuck to the pools mostly.
The water park is fantastic. Guests get free access ,and our teen boys ran back and forth merrily all day, while we lounged by the pool. Strangely, we did not want to do the Leap of Faith, though our boys did it countless times!!! The lazy river was more our style. The loungers in the water park were also good, but a little more crowded. Go to the far end, by the dolphin house, and there is more space and more peace and quite. As usual, the surrounding piped musak added only irritation. Why hotels think people want to listen to their rubbish music I don't know. If I want music I'll take my own! But that was the only real irritation. The landscaping in the waterpark is beautiful, almost as good as at the hotel. Lots of easy beach access too, and loads of loungers there. Good VFM for a day trip from another hotel.
As expected, food at the Atlantis is not cheap. We avoided the most expensive restaurants, and did our best to fill up at breakfast. Breakfast is fantastic – two restaurant choices, Kaleidoscope and Saffron. The former in the waterpark end, the latter at the further end (long walk between!). Both are very noisy, especially Saffron, and outside is nicer, as it is poolside. Breakfast is a vast buffet of just about anything you could think of – pork products, sausages and bacon – are available slightly separated from everything else. Saffron specialises in Asian food – dim sum etc – but also has a lot of western food as well. It also has – wait for it! – a chocolate fountain! Don’t know why Kaleidoscope doesn’t, as once the children discover a chocolate fountain they won’t eat anywhere else!
There are two restaurants poolside, at either end of the main pool. They are outdoors, both sheltered by an open roof, and out in the sun/moonshine. One is Mexican, the other Italian in theme. Pizzas (about £12) are OK but nothing wonderful. Food is pricey. To be honest, I recommend the kiddy-menu! It was half the price of the adult one, and very good VFM. Do NOT have the Caesar Salad – I paid £12 for a plate of lettuce, half a boiled egg, one anchovy and some invisible bits of turkey bacon and parmesan. Utter rip off. Dreadful. Good puds for £8.
The Mexican one does a happy hour till 8, when cocktails (alas, not mocktails) are half price so about a fiver each, great for that location.
We also ate at the internal Italian restaurant in the inner mall, which was a lot more expensive.
Very belatedly, we found a fabulous ice-cream parlour, Coldstone, at the far end of a mall, where they have a lot of icecream choices for not a great deal more than it would be in London (about four pounds I think it was.) Recommended.
Coffee by the pool was about a fiver, I think – they bring it to you. V. nice!
The rooms also have a kettle, tea and coffee (not much milk, but the cappochino coffee sachet includes the froth!), and free water and fruit. Don’t touch the minibar! If you take something out, it charges automatically! We took a bottle of wine from duty free to the hotel, and kept it in the fridge for a nightcap.
Bathrobe in the bathroom was cotton, and very small! I’m not that fat, and my son is not that tall, but it was tiny for both of us! They don’t encourage you to reuse towels, which they should, and kept replacing towels used only once. Water is fine to drink.
Overall, it was a memorable holiday. The waterpark makes the hotel, and if your children are old enough to be let loose unsupervised, that makes for a wonderfully relaxing adult holiday! The hotel pool stayed open till eight – well dark! – which is also good. Waterpark closes round about 6 – dusk. Hotel guests don’t get any special priveleges there, other than not having to hire towels, which is good.
Because of the vast size of the hotel, there are buggies driven along the front path from one end to the other, and along the side of the waterpark to the dolphins, which is good for tired feet! Watch out – they are full up from the dolphin onwards at the end of the day, so you are better off walking back to the hotel!
The paths would be ideal for Segways, but the hotel won’t have them there apparently, so they are only at the Jumeirah beach hotel.
Football on the beach at 5 each afternoon was very popular. There are some pedalos and kayaks for hire, but far more could be made of the water frontage on the Palm lagoon. The wind picked up quite nicely during the day, and by late afternoon you could have got a not bad dinghy sail or windsurf (non-planing probably unless you had a large sail!). The hotel could do more in that respect. There isn’t any info about day trips, things to do outside the hotel, other than desert trips – again, hotel could do more. There are tennis courts and a basket ball hoop, and pingpong tables for hotel guests.
We checked out the gym which is free and beautiful, and fine for teens to use
Teens enjoyed the teen club in the evening (one free entrance then it’s something like £11 pp per night – the big draw seems to be the Xboxes etc (withdrawal symptoms!). No adults allowed in. No alcohol is served.
Photos from the water park cost £17! Nice quality though.
When you check in, they put 3,000 AED on your cc, the balance of which is then refunded after you’ve paid for what you’ve put down on the room.
I didn’t do the aquarium, though it was included in the hotel price like the aquapark, but apparently it’s huge, but with insufficient information about the fish. You can see one wall from the outside without going in – very impressive, though I don’t like to see animals in captivity, even fish.
Overall, if you want to be in Dubai, but away from the City, the Atlantis is beautiful. Compared with the hotels on the shore - eg, Jumaeriah Beach - it is much more spacious and much more 'away' from the City. Being on the Palm makes journeying into the city longer, but it was about 20 minutes to the Jumeirah Beach hotel, 20 minutes to the malls. The hotel has free shuttles, but we kept missing them. I would say the Atlantis is better 'wow factor' than Jumeirah beach hotel (where we went for the Segways) and the latter seemed very small and cramped in comparison.
- 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