Atlantis, The Palm luxury resort is located in Dubai at the top of the Palm Jumeirah (the world’s largest man-made archipelago, home to lavish apartment complexes, fancy hotels and glitzy retail spaces). It was the first resort to be built on the island and its unique silhouette is visible from many parts of Dubai – and via social media channels all over the world.
Why we stayed
Based on the mystical theme of Atlantis with a measure of Arabia stirred in, the world-famous resort is the destination to beat. Most families staying here have come to experience the extravaganza that is the Atlantis, The Palm.
There are 1548 rooms spread out over the two 22-storey towers, with views of Palm Island and the city skyline one way and the Arabian Sea the other (depending on the room position). The rooms are neat and well appointed, with browns and creams making for a calm ambience.
If you’re living it up large you can opt to stay in one of the seven signature suites for ultimate bragging rights. The three-storey Underwater Suite – in which you can relax with rays and sharks gliding past – is perhaps the most legendary and is often booked out months in advance. The Royal Bridge Suite is popular with celebrities… and we’re not surprised – it measures 924 square metres and costs around US$27,000 per night.
Food & Beverage
The options feel endless, in both cuisine and atmosphere. There are 28 restaurants on site, including three celebrity chef-affiliated eateries from Gordon Ramsay, Nobu Matsuhisa and Giorgio Locatelli.
I loved Ayamna, where the huge and vast spread of Lebanese food included some of the best hot and cold mezzeh I’ve ever tasted and the live music elevated the evening. I’d have to give the Seafire Steakhouse and Bar a huge tick for the most tender wagyu steak. For the whole family, Giorgio Locatelli’s Italian restaurant Ronda Locatelli is a great choice. When I was there it was full of kids sinking their teeth into gourmet pizzas. For teens you can’t go past Wavehouse. The modern restaurant (think burgers, salads and modern fare on the menu) is located inside the resort’s newest entertainment venue (which was launched at the start of 2019), with video games and bowling alleys to whet appetites.
There is so much to do! The Ambassador Lagoon – an 11 million-litre marine aquarium located inside the resort complex – is the pinnacle, drawing in crowds to ogle at rays, sharks and colourful fish darting before their eyes. I strolled passed many times as I moved around between activities and restaurants and the sight never got old.
Combined with the Lost Chambers Aquarium there are more than 65,000 marine animals of 250 species at the resort, and it’s no surprise that many activities revolve around the marine life and habitats. I enjoyed an aquarium tour of the 21 exhibits, om-ed my way through a morning yoga class gazing at the fish (it’s hard to close your eyes with that view), and walked underwater via the Aquatrek (wearing a special helmet that is attached to equipment that allows you to breathe underwater). There are dolphins and sea lions at the resort too.
The Aquaventure Waterpark is must for families of all shapes and sizes with more than 18 million litres of water funnelling rides with cascades, tidal waves and rapids. My favourite were the group rides, where six of us sat on a huge tyre holding on tight as we swirled and whirled our way down the slides.
The Atlantis Kids Club is by far the most epic kids’ club I’ve ever come across in terms of size and activities (and I’ve explored quite a few). It’s for children aged three to 12 and consists of multiple rooms manned by a dedicated team of staff. The programs in place – including imaginative play, cooking classes and movies underwater – often mean kids won’t want to leave. If you have older kids with you The Zone is the place for them to go. The chilled space for -13 to 17-year-olds is a no kids or adults zone (except the adults supervising).
Family Travel Tips
- Bringing baby along? Although most activities and experiences are designed with slightly older children in mind, babies will be mesmerised watching fish dart around. If Mum and Dad need a break, babysitters can be organised.
- Toddlers will love the Splashers water playground at Aquaventure Waterpark. The water play area is for kids 1.1 metres and shorter (and their parents) only and includes slides, a huge climbing castle and plenty of water jets.
- Most of the marine life tour options are educational, and primary-school aged kids, in particular, are often yearning to learn more during their stay.
- Travelling with someone who needs to think about accessibility? The resort has rooms and suites that are specially adapted for wheelchair access and ease-of-use facilities, with inclusions such as lowered sinks, wider doors and fire alarm strobe lights. All public areas are wheelchair accessible, including all the restaurants, public toilets, the zero-entry swimming pool and all of the lagoons in Aquaventure Waterpark.
Tatyana was a guest of Atlantis, The Palm.
After more luxury family holidays? Top 5 kid-friendly luxury safari lodges in Africa