ATLANTIS THE PALM, DUBAI
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.