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Review of Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

Posted By Hazel Maundrell on 17 June 2014

Hazel added in June 2014

Having read Gary’s review on the Atlantis The Palm I wasn’t sure that I was going to like The Atlantis… It’s big, brash, fairly tacky (aqua themed throughout right down to shell shaped soap & mermaids where you least expect them!) but for all that it’s an amazing place. Children of all ages would love it, but I think it’s particularly brilliant for older children, as there is just so much to do. There is a charge for the children’s club and teen zone – both of which have amazing facilities – but to be honest there’s sooo much going on that you probably wouldn’t need to use them. I was rather curious about the “no PDA” rule in the Teens Club literature! 

I was rather underwhelmed with the rooms as they didn’t so much look tired but fairly basic compared to some of the other more five star rooms I had recently seen.  Every nationality was represented at Atlantis and they apparently do this deliberately as they want to keep the cosmopolitan feel. 

If you would like a busy, iconic hotel that is just its own brand and very much on a par with a Disney experience, I felt that you did have to pay for everything on top though, this is the place for your children (if not you!).

When I went they’d just opened another new section of Aquaventure – with even more exciting rides – a must do!

I’m not sure I personally would want to stay more than a couple of nights, (my children wouldn’t want to leave!) but it’s a great experience – almost in spite of yourself!


Gary's full review, September 2012

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The Palm has to be seen to be believed. You know it is something different when you leave the beach road and drive up the ‘trunk’ onto this man-made island known as The Palm, a collection of houses and villas constructed on a totally man-made island in the shape of a palm tree. Atlantis Dubai is the centre piece and it’s impressive.

Think big.  I was expecting big but was still overwhelmed but how enormous it is, even at reception there are dozens of check-in desks, everything on a scale I have not experienced before.

The facilities and experiences for the entire family on holiday are just jaw-dropping and you and your children will never forget it. Even if you prefer the smaller boutique hotels (me) and detest theme parks (sometimes me) there is something totally captivating about the Atlantis, The Palm and as long as you know roughly what to expect then it does deliver unforgettable family holidays.

There is a big aqua theme and I love the Aquarium, a vast sea water tank at the centre of the hotel with fish and sea life on view. With sharks gliding past and a touching station too, most young children (and adults) could not help but be impressed. If you really want to push the boat out then there are some rooms (you can book just a night) that have one of their walls as the aquarium – laying in the bath or in your bed and watching the fish (and sharks) is one of those experiences you would either love or might give your children nightmares for the rest of the holiday. I didn’t dare ask the cost and of course it will be top, top end but this is a top, top experience.

Then there is Dolphin Bay, a large lagoon where you can get in the water and play with the dolphins under the supervision of marine naturalists. I didn’t get the chance this time but the kids seemed to love it.

I opted instead to spend an afternoon at Aquaventure waterpark – the biggest in the Middle East and importantly free (you have to pay for a locker) for guests of the Atlantis. I didn’t get the chance to go to the Jumeirah one so I can’t compare but this was amazing. With its own large beach lagoon (man-made of course) gently shelving with sun loungers there is fun and action for the whole family.  From just splashing in the water and playing in the sand to the gentle but fun areas for younger children to the numerous water rides, breathtaking slides and rapids, it was great.

If you can fit it in there is also a children’s club from 4 years!

If you have been to the Atlantis in Bahamas which again is all about facilities and experience and less about the rooms which are disappointing then like me you will find the experiences here are even bigger and the rooms better. My room:

There are a multitude of food options, the choice is huge as you can imagine for a hotel with over 1500 rooms and you have from top end such as Nobu to burger bars, there truly is something for everyone

In summary, the Atlantis The Palm in Dubai is impressive but you need to manage your expectations. It is totally impersonal; you can’t compare it to a boutique hotel such as the Carlisle Bay where the waiter might remember what sort of coffee you like for breakfast. It is or course a very family friendly resort but it’s big too so if you have babies and really young children who may be overwhelmed then leaving it for a few years makes sense.  If you are not sure combine it with another, although I am certain which one your children will prefer!

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