The Sybaritic Single pulled up to Atlantis The Royal, Dubai’s newest family “most ultraluxury” resort on The Palm, and stopped his car in the middle of the massive porte-cochère, which seemed wider than Sheikh Zayed Road and busier than Gare du Nord, Europe’s busiest train station.
Walking through the fire and water entrance, he was impressed by the sheer scale of the 795-room and 92-pool resort (plus 231 residences), which is said to have more than 8,000 full-time employees to look after thousands of guests and their squealing children.
Vast spaces, endless galleries, abundant flowers and dozens of elevators whisking guests up and down the 43 floors. Taking a closer look, he noticed quite a few flaws in the finishes, unpolished cement between the marble and a shocking abundance of faux wood panels – even more than in the Emirates first class. Opening Graff bottles of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner with wet hands becomes a real challenge – another example of style over substance.
Of course, the 1,128 sq.m. Royal Mansion was absolutely delightful: perfectly soundproof with high ceilings, horizon views and 100-year-old olive trees growing in the middle. Though one should be extra careful not to stumble into one of its sky pools after a few glasses of Champagne. And while the resort’s Champagne list is quite impressive with several good labels to choose from, the less-than-polished sommeliers are in desperate need of a better training in luxury service.
Many compare Atlantis The Royal with a huge ocean cruise liner but the Sybaritic Single believes that huge ships might be fun but never luxury. Similarly, a billion dollars can also be fun – but not when it’s shared with thousands of others.
As soon as he left the busy resort, he speeded down the crescent towards another, much quieter hideaway – the One&Only The Palm. Another Kerzner property with just 64 rooms, still his firm favourite and that one is truly luxurious.