Forty-degree-Celsius and Arabian sea breeze welcomed me as I alight from the taxi cab to the facade of one of UAE’s pride. With my backpack and trolley in tow, I walked towards the lobby and saw long queues. The remarkable lines of people from countries that I’m sure I haven’t been to, were comparable to those seen in cinemas whenever a blockbuster movie is shown, sans the popcorn tubs and large cups of Coke. Before I fall in line, someone called my attention as I arrived at Atlantis The Palm.
“Excuse me, Sir. May I help you?
I turned my back and saw a tall man, probably of late 40s or early 50.
“I saw my country’s flag on your backpack. May I assist you?”
“Hello. Good afternoon. You are from….?”
“Nepal. I’m from Nepal.”
“Ahhh! I love your country. I’ve been there back in August 2013. I’m very sorry for the recent tragedy.”
“Anyway, the counters on the left are for check-out, and on the right are for check-in. Do you have your reservation?”
“I have. I booked online. Thank you. I’ll just queue.”
Because it’s summer in the emirates, and Atlantis The Palm went on sale, there were long lines to the check-in-counters. Expectedly, I waited for almost half an hour, however my excitement to experience staycation even for just a night, in one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, overruled the time spent standing on queue. It was nothing!
What makes Atlantis The Palm such a hit to both local and foreign tourists? One of the fascinating reasons on top of my list is the fact that it was built in the middlemost part of the crescent of the world’s famous artificial archipelago – Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah Island!
I couldn’t wait to snap my camera to immortalize the majestic lobby on photos.
But not at the moment. The lobby’s utterly crowded. I know I shall have ample time after dinner, or perhaps post-midnight when the volume of guests thins out.
Can you blame me? Just look at the fantastic lobby of Atlantis The Palm…
What could be more appropriate centerpiece at the lobby of a hotel with a theme based on the mythical and legendary kingdom, believed to have sunk under the sea, but a stunning fountain that’s beautifully crafted with more than 3000 hand-blown glass tubes, with hues inspired by the waves and ripples of the ocean.
I’ve been to grand and expensive hotels in Las Vegas, Singapore, Los Angeles, Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Brunei and Hong Kong, but there’s nothing quite like it.
I love those fountains designed from Tridacna giga or giant clams with pearls in one side of the lobby!
My excitement plummeted when I found myself en route to my designated room at the sixth floor, East Wing alone (cue in music, Celine Dione’s “All By Myself” -*kidding!*). Not that I need to be assisted because I only had few things (I actually brought more than enough for an overnight stay!) which I can carry by myself however, I was used to previous experiences with other hotels that at least a staff accompanies me to the room.
I just thought, “Ah, there were a lot of guests on queue to check in.” Besides, I can manage, so no big deal!
THE PALM BEACH DELUXE ROOM – EAST WING, ROOM 6214
Meet my travel buddies : Muji-trolley and TNF’s Terra 50. Too much for an overnight-stay? Fine.
I reserved online a Palm Beach Deluxe room with specified, king-sized-bed and a balcony fronting the Palm Jumeirah Island. I favored it rather than rooms fronting Arabian sea.
Room was massive and spacious. I loved everything, particularly the bed where I had one of my rare restful sleeps, but I noted some essentials were lacking in the washroom.
Toothbrush, toothpaste, comb (not that I need one, hell no! I’m currently sporting a skin-head), sewing kit…the usual freebies that come with much-needed toiletries. Nada. Nowhere to be found on the counter of my banyo.
Probably, the attendants failed to replenish the supplies? Oh no, please don’t blame them! That’s not my intention.
It’s not a problem for me as I usually travel with my personal stuff (plus commonly prescribed tablets and capsules always ready on hand). No one’s ranting here; simply sharing my random observations.
Then my bionic and discriminative brown eyes were focused on the tiny corner of the soap dispenser. It was stained with rust! Again, it’s just me and my being keen observant!
Overall, those were just petty observations and for sure, the lack of a few toiletries in my bathroom was only an isolated case. I’d still recommend staying in Atlantis The Palm; and let me state at this early, that I reckon, if given a chance, to stay again and again and again at Atlantis. And yes, this is NOT a sponsored post as I personally settled my hotel and restaurant bills, so let’s continue…
Then, *drum roll, please!* this view was waiting for me by the balcony…
Lovely, isn’t it? You’re welcome! Hahaha!
Did I already mention that public commuters like me can also access Atlantis The Palm alternatively by Dubai Metro, tram and monorail?
Shark Safari Experience, Feeding Sting Rays, Water-Sports-Activities, Sea-Lion-Photo-Fun, Royal-Swim with the dolphins, Dolphin Encounter, Dolphin Adventure, Dolphin Scuba Dive, Sea Lion Discovery, Dolphin Photo Fun and so much more, await guests and tourists in Atlantis The Palm. One can enjoy these activities even if without checking in the hotel (Kindly refer to Atlantis The Palm website for more info).
Fortunately, being an in-house-guest, I am entitled to no admission fee to The Ambassador Lagoon and The Lost Chambers Aquarium, including free and unlimited access during entire hotel-stay to the famous Antlantis’ Aquaventure, thank you very much!
I wasted no time and began to explore Atlantis The Palm. First on my agenda : To appreciate at least a fraction of 65,000 marine animals thriving in the underwater world of Atlantis! So I went my way down the lobby, almost mesmerised with the pretty marine-inspired interiors and larger than life murals that depict sea-life. I went further down the basement and was greeted by the sight of a one-of-a-kind-cafe and a humongous fish tank!
Notably, Poseidon Cafe is first to be seen on the right side upon exiting the lifts from the lobby. This unique cafe is where one can order and sip illy coffee, grab a bite of tasteful sandwiches and cupcakes, sit on a Philippe Starck ghost chairs, while eyes focused on the massive tank of sting rays, sharks, school of jackfish, 65,000 swimming species and whatnot at the ahhhhhhmayzeeeeng, Ambassador Lagoon.
THE AMBASSADOR LAGOON
I spent several minutes staring at the huge tank before I started clicking my cam.
I have been to marine themed parks in Auckland, New Zealand and Hong Kong however, The Ambassador Lagoon of Atlantis The Palm is incomparable! Incredibly impressive to say the least!
Then about half an hour after, I walked my way to another must-visit-attraction in Atlantis.
THE LOST CHAMBERS AQUARIUM
As mentioned in the Atlantean Monthly Guide provided to in-house-guests upon check-in, “Guests of Atlantis have unlimited complimentary access to explore the underwater mazes, tunnels of The Lost Chambers Aquarium and over 20 impressive marine life exhibits.” It’s open daily from 10AM to 10PM. Free guided tours are also available every hour.
A burst of bright colors under the sea! I loved it!!!
More self-portraits followed and I didn’t hate it, hahaha!
My take on the Games of Thrones-kinda-thing…
It’s almost late in the afternoon when I went to the beach fronting the “trunk” of Palm Jumeirah island and Dubai Marina.
CHASING SUNSET BY THE BEACH
Before dusk, I went back to my room, took much-needed-shower and rest a bit.
When I was planning my Atlantis staycation, I initially thought of bringing cup noodles and loaf bread to savour for dinner, to cut the cost of my expenses. Then I thought this things do not happen on a daily basis, so might as well enjoy to the fullest. I then booked a seat for dinner buffet at Saffron restaurant, one of Atlantis’ premier buffet stations.
DINNER BUFFET AT SAFFRON
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this is the part where shameless photos of what I devoured are on display (#DontJudgeMe)…
Those legs of Alaskan King Crab tasted fresh and sublime! However, one needs to request for it at the Japanese-seafood counter in order to avail as they’re not on the spread. I heard Seafood Night at Saffron is every Tuesday; probably it is when those crab legs are on the buffet spread and not kept. Also, I wish staff provides something to crack-open those crab legs next time.
Moving on to Round Two! 🙂
It was my second time dining at Saffron and each experience was special! One common thing was the fact that everything, if not all dishes, was remarkably good! Live kitchen cooking and freshest ingredients are their edge over whatever second best. Saffron’s dinner buffet costs 215 AED per pax and every dirham was worth it! It’s one of the best buffets I experienced thus far!
Because the hotel-accomodation-package that I availed online didn’t come with breakfast (I know, I should’ve booked the one with breakfast buffet but it’s futile to entertain regret), I had to decide whether to simply order an ala-carte plate or In-room-dining service perhaps, or to reserve and sample another Atlantis restaurant’s buffet. The latter won over without useless self-protest, hahaha!
Because I’ve tried dining at Saffron twice already, I thought it’s smarter to sample Kaleidoscope restaurant for breakfast buffet that morning.
KALEIDOSCOPE RESTAURANT BREAKFAST BUFFET
Located just next to Poseidon Cafe and The Ambassador Lagoon, Kaleidoscope also offers themed-buffets-for dinner and ala-carte for lunch. What I had for breakfast was equally delicious as what I enjoyed at Saffron. There’s a wide variety of choices of bread, pasta, Oriental noodles, cereals, Chinese, Indian, Arabic and other Asian dishes, fresh fruits, and beverages on the Kaleidoscope’s buffet spread, including tea and/or coffee served directly on the table. Without feeling the guilt of spending 115 AED for that satiating breakfast buffet, I give my two-thumbs-up of approval and big nod to Kaleidoscope!
See the genuine smile on my face that morning? It goes without saying that I’m in a happier state now than what it was!
It took me almost half an hour to check in but less than 5 minutes to check out. Special thanks to Miss Katinka, one of the managers of Atlantis, assigned at the front desk, who noticed me while on queue to check out. She was so friendly to ask me if I enjoyed my stay, and even more helpful to assist me in checking out quickly. After checking out on a breeze, I found myself being ushered by Katinka to the left-luggage-concierge at the lobby. I left my bags because I decided to maximise my day in Atlantis until just before dark.
I had light lunch at Poseidon Cafe. I became torn between looking at The Ambassador Lagoon, grabbing a bite at my Tandoori sandwich bento box, and taking photos to immortalise my memories.
About a couple of hours after, I took a stroll to utilise the calories I’ve ingested for 2 straight days. And my, oh my, I saw the Atlantis mascot at one corner en route to the lobby! His name may have slipped my aging memory however, I can still remember vividly how happy I was when I asked the staff accompanying him to take a photo of us. The inner kid in me that never grows old was alive and kicking!
Following photo-op with the dolphin mascot, I headed to Aquaventure!
AQUAVENTURE WATER PARK
This water park is for the adventurous and the brave. Thrill-seeking guests and tourists may enjoy various record-breaking water activities. Did I dip at least my feet onto the swimming pool? No. My lame excuse was the scorching summer heat that was soaring near 50 degrees Celsius and my actual lack of interest to such fun activities. Bummer, I know! Hahaha!
Do you have the courage and will power to take on the Leap of Faith? As described on Atlantis’ website, it’s “a 9-storey-tall-mega slide that hurtle one down its near vertical drop in a mere second.” Whoa!!!
Notice the guy riding the rubber tube within the tube, inside the fish tank? Cool eh?!
Right after breakfast and just before I checked out, I availed of what I pre-reserved at the Dolphin Bay. I rode the Atlantis service golf-cart for free to go to Dolphin Bay from the hotel. I never missed the chance to touch, and kiss and dance with the dolphin at Atlantis!
Dancing with the dolphin and smiling widely. Something I did for the first time that made me happy!
Happiness never goes out of style. It’s something innate that no one could ever give. A wonderful and positive feeling that always remains a personal option. I could have opted not to spend 2 days and 1 night at Atlantis, however I favoured happiness and that chance to create memories that would last my lifetime. I may be alone in Atlantis but I was genuinely happy! Of course, the experience was probably better with friends, more so with family members, nonetheless, I couldn’t deny the fact that I was happy.
A HUMBLE BLOG GIVEAWAY CONTEST
And to share souvenirs of my happiness that day in Atlantis The Palm, I bought on-sale-items that I would like to have myself. Artworks in the form of well-captured photo and beautifully drawn image of Atlantis that were made into jigsaw puzzles. One winner could receive all these Atlantis The Palm jigsaw puzzles plus a blank notepad, all purchased from Gallery One, by simply dropping comments below and answering this simple question to qualify in the random draw :
“If given the chance and money to travel and spend a short vacation ALONE, where would you go and why?”
Please do not forget to leave your answers along with :
- your email address,
- name or nickname
So I could contact the winner that will be randomly drawn via online picker. Name of the sole winner will be posted on this same blog post on the last week of August 2015. The package will be sent to the winner via courier after the lucky one provides the mailing address. THANK YOU!!!
*CONTEST CLOSED. Winner will be announced last week of August. Stay tuned!*
*All photos on this blog post were taken using Fuji X-A2.
*This is NOT a sponsored post.
WINNER : CLEO