Dubai’s Atlantis the Royal lives up to the hype

Atlantis The Royal
Atlantis The Royal

The new icon of the Dubai skyline is worthy of the fanfare

“Look! That’s the new Atlantis, where Beyonce performed!” my driver proudly points out.

Standing before me in Dubai is Atlantis The Royal, considered by many to be one of the world’s architectural marvels. I had heard about the hotel’s grand opening in January 2023, but bearing witnessing to the sheer scale and magnificence of this hotel myself, eight months later, is rather extraordinary.

The expansive complex, covering a whopping 406,000 square metres, comprises six striking towers seamlessly connected by a sky bridge spanning an impressive 90 metres. The design is both imposing and inviting, and I find myself wanting to immediately explore as much of it as I can.

Fluidity and flow

One of the standout elements of this resort is its water-themed design. It’s evident everywhere, from the art on the walls to the colour palette and materiality. Drawing inspiration from the Bedouins of the Arabian desert, the design seamlessly calls to the importance of water as a life source. The fountains, pools and sculptures are not only nice to look at but also provide a pathway to connecting to the region’s history, environment and culture.

I am particularly entranced by the aquarium in the lobby, which appears to me as an ever-changing canvas of living art, and the Skyblaze Fountain, where water and fire create unique displays that I struggle to tear my eyes from.

Style and substance

The hotel boasts a 795-strong collection of elegant rooms, suites and Signature Penthouses. I am staying in a Royal Club King room, which is as spacious as it is luxurious, and comes with access to the Royal Club Lounge, where the pre-dinner cocktails flow each evening.

From the curated mini-bar offerings to the panoramic city and desert views, it’s clear that the rooms at Atlantis The Royal are designed for the discerning traveller – whether one that wants to explore or retreat. Every nuanced detail, from the aquatic-themed turndown to the warm, handwritten notes and local sweets, ensures that Atlantis The Royal isn’t just experienced – it’s lived.

Green in the desert

Within Atlantis, grandeur finds meaning in sustainability and local culture. Every corridor is adorned with artworks by Emirati talent, and bath amenities are locally sourced, showcasing the hotel’s dedication to Dubai’s community. Glass water bottles replace plastic, bamboo serves as key cards and eco-friendly lighting solutions illuminate the premises, echoing the hotel’s commitment to the environment. The Artist in Residence Program showcases the heartbeat of Dubai’s vibrant artistic scene, adding layers of cultural immersion to the luxury experience.

“If the architecture feeds your soul, the diverse dining options at Atlantis will unquestionably satiate your palate.”

Culinary exploration

If the architecture feeds your soul, the diverse dining options at Atlantis will unquestionably satiate your palate. Mornings at Atlantis are an affair of ‘Gastronomy Foodhall’, a specially curated culinary experience that interweaves classic breakfast essentials with global flavours. Serving an array of fresh, farm-to-table cuisine, you can take a delicious trip around the world in a single morning. The buffet, reminiscent of a bustling food market, features various live stations that offer something to suit every palate, and you need at least a few mornings to do this foodhall justice.

At Estiatorio Milos, I am treated to a rich blend of Mediterranean flavours. Every dish looks and tastes like a work of art. The Milos Special, featuring paper-thin zucchinis and eggplants, is a playful concoction that is not to be missed. Nobu By The Beach delivers the iconic brand’s tantalising Japanese-Peruvian flavours in a luxurious poolside setting, replete with private cabanas, in what is a world first concept for Nobu.

For a more communal experience, Ling Ling offers a blend of modern Asian cuisine coupled with a lively nightlife. Situated on the higher floors of the hotel, the panoramic views of Dubai’s skyline juxtaposed against eclectic beats and dishes create an unforgettable ambience.

At La Mar, the brainchild of chef Gastón Acurio, I embark on an exquisite exploration of Peruvian flavours, in particular the restaurant’s diverse range of ceviches, brilliantly showcasing the essence of Peruvian gastronomy.

However, it is Dinner by Heston Blumenthal that takes the culinary experience at Atlantis The Royal to another level. Imagine stepping into a time machine, where each dish is a page from Britain’s gastronomic past. The restaurant’s signature dish, Meat Fruit, is a prime example. Disguised as a mandarin, the velvety chicken pâté melts in the mouth.

Sky-high indulgence

Rooftop pool Cloud 22 is perhaps the crown jewel of the resort and, as its name suggests, an indulgent retreat nestled among the clouds. Overlooking The Palm Jumeriah and the Dubai skyline, it offers 360-degree views that are hard to beat anywhere in Dubai. Whether you’re lounging in one of the private cabanas or swimming in the infinity pool, Cloud 22 encapsulates Atlantis The Royal’s promise of unparalleled luxury.

In the same luxurious vein, the AWAKEN Spa is not just a place for physical relaxation but also a holistic temple, tailored for both the body and the spirit. The range of services reflects this ethos, and the Halotherapy Salt Cave, Hydrotherapy Pool and Aromatherapy Steam Room ensure that guests emerge renewed. In particular, the Signature Massage is an almost transformative experience. The combination of Swedish and aromatherapy massage techniques with Reiki healing caters to both the physical and ethereal realms, lulling me into a state of Zen.

At Atlantis The Royal, every moment is curated, every corner holds a story, and every meal is a journey. While the architecture and amenities are undoubtedly world-class, it’s the attention to detail, the intertwining of the region’s history, and the impeccable service that sets it apart in Dubai.

Rates at Atlantis The Royal start from AED3,668+++ (about AUD$1588) per night. All stays include daily breakfast and complimentary access to Nobu by the Beach as well as daily complimentary entry to Aquaventure Waterpark and The Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis, The Palm. A courtesy transfer is available between the two properties, or you can walk the 15-minute distance.

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