Vacations & Travel - - Tried & Tested - By Lisa Perkovic

When it comes to ho­tel de­sign, there are few struc­tures more in­stantly recog­nis­able than the pala­tial pink At­lantis. Perched on the outer ring of Dubai’s ex­clu­sive man-made is­land, The Palm, the At­lantis ho­tel is a decade old, but still draws thou­sands of vis­i­tors each day.

From a dis­tance, the ho­tel rises up from the sea, its many wings and tur­rets join­ing to­gether with a dra­matic arch at its cen­tre. At more than 120 me­tres high, it is the tallest prop­erty on The Palm, and in a place like Dubai, home to the world’s tallest build­ing, it still stands out on the hori­zon.

Such a large struc­ture re­quires a grand en­trance, with guests rolling up to a long red car­pet, and an enor­mous cir­cu­lar lobby, whose crown­ing glory is a 10-me­tre-high Dale Chi­huly glass sculp­ture made from 3000 in­di­vid­u­ally blown glass strands that swirl to­gether like a tow­er­ing piece of coral.

From the lobby, the deca­dence flows in both di­rec­tions, with East and West tow­ers lead­ing to rooms, shops, a spa, fit­ness cen­tre, con­fer­ence cen­tres and a plethora of restau­rants and cafes on site.

The East tower is also home to the Am­bas­sador La­goon, an 11-mil­lion-litre aquar­ium where guests can watch sharks, stingrays and thou­sands of fish any­time day and night. From there, it’s a short walk to restau­rants like fa­mous Ja­panese fu­sion restau­rant Nobu, Gor­don

Ram­sey’s Bread Street Kitchen and the Seafire Steak­house. Seafire’s se­lec­tion of beef – Black Onyx, Rangers Val­ley Cross-Bred Wagyu, John Stone Beef and US Black An­gus – is leg­endary, as are the ac­com­pa­ni­ments. Add on char­grilled lob­ster, seared foie gras and tiger prawns to take your steak to the next level. Be­yond the restau­rants and shops is the ho­tel’s very own wa­ter park where you can also up­grade your ex­pe­ri­ence.

For­get or­di­nary wa­ter­slides (although Aqua­ven­ture has plenty of those to keep you busy), try a shark sa­fari or ray feed­ing for an ad­di­tional cost, or test your met­tle on one of the scari­est rides. The Leap of Faith plunges pas­sen­gers down a 15-me­tre drop be­fore shoot­ing them through a tube in­side the shark tank. Now that’s an adrenalin rush.


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