Sunday, November 23, 2008
All the eyes were turned last week in direction of Hawai for the blessing of the Disney Resort on O’ahu, but for the real big themed Hotel event your eyes had to look east in direction of Dubai for the Atlantis, The Palm Grand Opening.
As you've already understood, this article is not related to Disney, but don't go away as you will see one of the most lavish and stunning hotel ever built AND the most expensive opening party and fireworks EVER.
If you've heard about the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas, then you probably know the name of Sol Kertzner. He's the man who built the famous "Lost City" Hotel in South Africa - another stunningly themed Resort, and, of course the Atlantis Bahamas.
So, the second Atlantis Resort opened this week in Dubai, and more precisely at the very top of The Palm Jumeirah Island - a totally man-made island. In two words, this gigantic resort is built where three years ago there was only water.
We all have heard about the gigantic works all around Dubai - beginning by the huge Dubai World project and the future Universal Studios theme park, and in some years there is little doubt that Dubai will be a major tourist destination, specially for Asian and European people. The Atlantis is the first big themed luxury hotel to open, and let's have a closer look at this 1,539-room and 1.5 billion dollars resort.
The exterior of the Atlantis looks identical to the one in the Bahamas, but as we will see the architects and designers did significant improvement on this one. Above and below, the spectacular towers of the Atlantis.
The resort encompasses a 46 hectares site with 17 hectares of water themed park called Aquaventure, a water playground of over 18 million litres of water, consisting of great rides with cascades, tidal waves and rapids, and the Mesopotamian-styled Ziggurat temple reaching over 30 metres into the sky and featuring seven heart-pumping water slides – two of which catapult riders through shark-filled lagoons...
Here is the lazy river and the kid's splash area.
If you love dolphins - and who don't - then, Dolphin Bay is for you. This 4.5 hectare state-of-the-art dolphin education and conservation centre allows guests the opportunity to meet and interact with the charismatic dolphins in an unparalleled facility. Also, with a strong commitment to dolphin and marine life conservation, Dolphin Bay will also serve as the first marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation centre in Dubai. It will be the only centre for stranded animals in the Arabian Gulf. Every year, many injured marine mammals are stranded and need assistance. Now with Kerzner’s marine life expertise and new facility, some of these animals can be rescued, rehabilitated and returned to the wild. The centre will also provide a broad range of educational opportunities including graduate and undergraduate programming, currently being developed in conjunction with universities and local educational institutions.
And there is the Ambassador lagoon, where guests walk through the mythical ruins of Atlantis. But before, guests will discover the spectacular Grand Lobby and the Dale Chihuly Sculpture in the center. By the way, don't forget that everything is themed on a "Atlantis" theme, and absolutely double-click on each picture to enjoy the theming and lavish decoration.
The lobby murals were done by artist Albino Gonzalez.
So, let's go down through the gates of the Ambassador Lagoon, an 11 million litre marine habitat and underwater exhibit home to several hundred species of marine life, with a viewing panel looking right into the mystical ruins of Atlantis. Guests stands in awe as they watch the sea life live peacefully amidst lost relics.
The Lost Chambers will delight those of you who love the Indiana jones Adventure queue decor as the Lost Chambers decor is bringing the myth of Atlantis to life through a maze of underground tunnels offering underwater views into the boulevards of the ruins of Atlantis. Here is the Lost Chambers entry portal and an Atlantean throne in the Seven Sage Chamber.
The Lost Chambers, bring guests into close contact with the myth and the advanced inventions of the ancient Atlanteans.
An Atlantis diving suit...
Other Lost Rooms...
The workshop and the Red Sage "chambers"...
Giant fish move inside the old Lost Chamber Generator Room, now totally under water.
I had the luck to visit some years ago the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, and i was totally stunned by the "aquarium" part and the number of species. It seems that they've decided to outdo themselves as guests can watch a very rare 4-meter whaleshark rescued off the coast of Jebel Ali in Dubai on Thursday, 28 August 2008. Found in the shallows, the whale shark was clearly under duress when it was sighted by a local fisherman.
Kids can almost touch the thousands of pisces of the Ambassador Lagoon.
Let's come back inside the hotel to have a look at the rooms. Here is a standard room and the bathroom of an executive room.
But the great rooms are the Lost Chambers Suites - each three stories high with mesmerising views directly into the Ambassador Lagoon from the master bedroom. These two Poseidon suites located within the Lost Chambers create an illusion of being beneath the sea whilst looking directly into the heart of Atlantis.
With 17 restaurants, bars and lounges to suit every taste - sophisticated seafood, innovative sushi, quick bites and foods from around the world - the dining and entertainment at Atlantis is as exciting and multi-faceted as the resort itself. Four famed celebrity chefs have restaurants at Atlantis, The Palm, making the resort the culinary destination in Dubai. Here is the Levantine and the Ossiano restaurants.
Master chef and sushi mogul Nobuyuki Matsuhisa opened the Nobu restaurant with partner Robert DeNiro.
The hotel also have a convention center, and although more classical, the hallway are themed.
Finally, guests can also enjoy a beautiful spa.
No need to say that all this luxury have a price and room rates are starting at $454 per night...but for a honeymoon trip, it can be perfect...
Join me tomorrow for the grand opening event of the Atlantis last thursday and you'll see the biggest fireworks ever done in mankind history, something so huge that even Disney will never do one like this - and i'm not kidding!
In the meantime, see more of the Atlantis with the two videos below!
All pictures and videos: copyright Atlantis The Palm - Kerzner International.