Flanked by the azure Arabian Sea, Atlantis, The Palm is a landmark address in Dubai. Our writer checks into one of the resort’s newly refurbished suites for a weekend on the shore. By Rashima Nagpal
Explore the newly refurbished suites at Atlantis, The Palm, with us
From the panoramic balcony of my Regal Suite on the 17th floor, the world feels comfortably far. The Dubai skyline is spread out in front of me, across a bright blue stretch of the Arabian Sea. The sky is cerulean and the weather balmy. Before the intense heat of summer bogs the desert city down, the resort’s palm-fringed coastline is abuzz with guests enjoying swims. That’s the beauty of being on The Palm Jumeirah, one of the most iconic man-made islands in the emirate, consisting of a trunk, 17 fronds, and an 11-kilometre-long crescent-shaped islet that is home to Atlantis, The Palm, among other lavish hotels. The vibe here is tropical and unsurprisingly posh.
In September 2008, Atlantis, The Palm became the first resort to welcome guests to The Palm Jumeirah. The property is 114 acres of sheer indulgence; it includes a water park, spread over 55 acres, and a two-kilometre-long coastline. Featuring 1,548 rooms and suites across 22 floors, 35 dining venues, and a gigantic aquarium that is home to 65,000 marine animals, the resort is a destination in its own right. I remember feeling overwhelmed the first time I was here, three years ago, with so much to do and not enough time. This time, though, I have no such haste.
Besides a balcony with a view, my 164-square-metre open-plan suite comes with a living area, or majlis lounge, kitchenette, bar, dining table, work desk, cloakroom, and a guest bathroom besides the palatial bathroom right next to my bedroom. The property has 168 suites across three categories—Terrace, Skyline, and Regal—apart from seven extraordinary Signature Suites, including one that is underwater.
Speaking of things that are underwater, my first morning at the property begins with a round of yoga in the surreal setting of The Lost Chambers Aquarium—arguably the pièce de résistance of Atlantis, The Palm. Stretching my body and finding my flow with thousands of fish swimming around me is strangely calming. After a quick breakfast, I make my way to White Beach, where Rebecca Hall, director of public relations, is waiting for me.
Located at the far end of the resort, White Beach is an exclusive, adults-only beach club with a restaurant of the same name. No matter what day it is, this place is always lively, Hall tells me. I find it lively and laid-back at the same time. Resident guests, as well as visitors, can book a cabana or a day bed and lounge away, as do I. There’s an infinity pool at the heart of the venue, with the sea right in front. For a change of pace, the place hosts events such as yoga or Pilates on the beach from time to time. I can’t remember the last time I spent half a day doing nothing but sunbathing with a cocktail by my side. White Beach, the restaurant, adds a delicious layer to the afternoon’s indulgence with a hearty serving of mushroom tagliatelle and the most delicious plate of grilled aubergine parmigiana I’ve ever had. A nap is inevitable.
Just like Dubai’s skyline goes from being silver in the day to technicolour at night, the mood at Atlantis, The Palm, too, changes with sundown. The crowd moves from the coast and the water park to bars and diners: from casual restaurants such as the crowd-favourite Wavehouse, which serves continental fare, and Ayamna, which does authentic Lebanese, to celebrity chefs-led fine-dining venues such as Nobu, Hakkasan, Gordon Ramsay’s Street Pizza, and Ossiano. The resort sees around 4.4 million guests feasting on its offerings every year.
An elegant dinner awaits me at the underwater fine-dining venue, Ossiano, helmed by Chef Gregoire Berger. After a two-year-long hiatus, Chef Berger has come back to start a new chapter at Ossiano this year. It is the restaurant’s first day of the season, and I get to sample a nine-course vegetarian tasting menu prepared specially for me by the chef himself. The modern progressive cuisine at Ossiano is inspired by the riches of the ocean and the chef’s memories of growing up in coastal regions like Brittany
in France. Paired with a nice bottle of Sancerre Rosé, which comes from France’s Loire Valley, my meal is one to remember. The standout dishes include tonburi (‘field caviar’ from Japan’s Akita prefecture) cauliflower—a dish that is both warm and cool, representing the marriage of land and sea; and an umami-packed plate of burnt leek with pickled daikon and herbs. A dish that is close to Chef Berger’s heart, he tells me, is the Brittany brown crab. “It is infused with influences from Morocco, where my heart belongs, sprinkled with a spice mix called karigosse—endemic to my roots, [in] Brittany,” he shares. The subterranean 50-seater setting of the restaurant featuring a view of The Lost Chambers Aquarium is integral to the dining experience. I don’t realise when three hours have passed.
The next morning, I spend an hour kayaking close to the shore by myself, followed by a 120-minute appointment at the elaborate ShuiQi Spa. Walking through the hallway of the spa, I feel like I’m truly entering a sanctuary. With the number of facilities it has to offer—slumber pods, steam, sauna, jacuzzi, skin treatments, massages, and more—one could easily spend an entire day here. It is accessible to hotel as well as non-hotel guests. After two hours of aromatherapy, which I wish didn’t end, I emerge revived and ready to take on the world again.
Multiple airlines, including Emirates, Vistara, Air India, and IndiGo, operate direct flights to Dubai from multiple Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Pune. The resort offers complimentary airport transfers to guests staying in any of its suites.
The Regal Suite at Atlantis, The Palm starts from INR 2,69,595 per night. It is one of the resort’s Club Suites, which come with perks such as VIP check-in and check-out service, complimentary access to the Imperial Club Lounge, and more.