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Dubai- Atlantis The Palm

by Mark Klein on 07 February 2012, 10:02AM Dubai- Atlantis The Palm

Travelbag recently ran a competition to win a luxury holiday to Dubai, staying at the 5* Atlantis The Palm. Here, our winner, Mark Klein, reports on his trip

Although I’ve never been myself, I have friends that have holidayed there  and have raved about it so I thought I’d chance my luck and give the competition a go. I entered via the Travelbag e-newsletter and forgot about it, then a month or two later I had an email telling me I was the winner of a luxury holiday for two to Dubai staying at the 5* hotel  Atlantis The Palm, I couldn’t believe it, I’ve never won anything in my life!

After hearing about my win, I was soon on the internet researching Dubai and planning our trip. I was taking my wife Antonia, it’s the first time we have holidayed since having the children, who are now three and eighteen months. The prize consisted of flights with Emirates Airlines and five nights at Atlantis The Palm and wanted to make the very most of our time in Dubai. I was interested in exploring a bit of the city but also making the most of the huge array of facilitates on offer at the hotel, Antonia had been told about the gold souks and huge shopping malls so some retail therapy was also on the agenda.

We turned up at Heathrow early on a chilly September morning and after a smooth check in process we were soon settled into our seats on the plane, eating breakfast and planning our movie watching for the next seven hours.

After what seemed like a short journey, we arrived in Dubai at 6.30pm local time. What hit us first was the heat; even in the evening the temperature was in the mid 20s. We’ve heard people complaining that it’s too hot in the Middle East, however as we don’t get much warm weather in the UK, we loved it. Dubai airport is large and efficient and we were through customs fairly quickly and then in a taxi on our way to the hotel.

After a short transfer, with an interesting commentary from our driver who was telling us about points of interest along the way, we saw the hotel. The drive along the Palm, a man-made island with exclusive apartments on either side, made us feel like we’d hit the jackpot. Straight ahead we could see the imposing outline of Atlantis The Palm. “It’s absolutely huge” gasped Antonia, none of the pictures you see can do justice to the immensity of the size of the place. We parked up at the entrance and got out of the taxi open mouthed.

It’s certainly different from hotels we usually stay in on holidays in Europe and seems that in Dubai they definitely do not follow the saying ‘less is more’! As soon as you enter the lobby you are faced with an absolutely huge glass sculpture. We found out that this piece of impressive art was created by Dale Chihuly and took almost two years to create. It consists of 3,000 pieces of glass that merge in colour, starting with fiery reds and moving down the sculpture end in blues and greens. The impressiveness of this sets the scene for the rest of the hotel and on the walk to our room we passed top end boutiques boasting sparkling jewels and designer outfits and swish bars and restaurants. If that wasn’t fancy enough, we then came to the 11-million litre aquarium that lines one wall of the Poseidon Court in the East Tower. With floor to ceiling glass it feels surreal being inside a hotel and walking past sharks, rays and all manner of different colour and shaped fish.

Although we wanted to explore all of the hotel we decided to call it a night and save the explorations for the next day. As there is only a couple of hours time difference between Dubai and the UK we found no problems with getting to sleep, or waking at a normal hour, both on our first night and for the rest of the trip, which is a great bonus when you only have a few days somewhere. We had a great night’s sleep, our room was extremely clean, very comfortable and had all the facilities we needed.

We woke up refreshed for our first full day in Dubai and with stomachs rumbling made our way to breakfast. And it was a good job we were hungry, the spread was incredible. Whether you wanted a full English, continental, American or Asian style breakfast, you could eat enough to set you up for the whole day. It was an absolutely eye- poppingly large amount of food but I’m proud to say we did ourselves proud and definitely did not go hungry. In fact, completely stuffed we needed a lie down so headed straight to the pool area.

Luckily Atlantis The Palm doesn’t seem to encourage the ‘towel on sun lounger’ reservation technique, and we managed to get a couple of good positioned loungers near to the pool and spent the first half of the day relaxing in the sun with the odd dip into the water. It’s amazing how quickly you are able to unwind and after just a couple of hours we were well into the holiday spirit and totally relaxed.

That afternoon we spent some time exploring the hotel- and time you need as the place is immense. We came across the Kids Zone, which if the children were with us, would have been indispensible. The kids we saw there looked like they were having the time of their lives, with loads of different activities on offer they can be left there safely all day whilst mum and dad have some relaxing time out.

We passed the spa, which looked incredible, The Lost Chambers; a  maze of underwater halls and tunnels where you can see the 65,000 marine animals, plus a seemingly never ending number of restaurants, there are actually a total of 17 throughout the resort, many of which we didn’t even get the chance to see!
On three different days, in the afternoon when the sun had died down slightly, we spent a few hours in Aquadventure, the huge water park that is attached to Atlantis The Palm. The park is set in 42 acres, and although it’s great for kids it’s also brilliant for adults too. Antonia enjoyed her time leisurely floating round the Torrent River in one of the supplied inflatable rings. I opted to be slightly more adventurous and after a few minutes of psyching myself up, had a go at the Leap of Faith which is 27.5m tall and 61m long slide which shoots you into a transparent tunnel and through a shark-filled lagoon. Other rides include Shark Attack, The Plunge, The Surge and Shamal- all of which are great fun and we found the queuing to me minimal.

During our stay we experienced dining in a number of the hotel restaurants, these included Safron, which had an amazing eclectic buffet selection, Rostand, Ronda Locatelli as well as The Edge, the poolside restaurant, all of which more than lived up expectations. I can honestly say we have never eaten so much, and so well on a holiday before. You definitely need to do a serious diet and detox when you return home from a trip to Atlantis The Palm.

Although we originally planned to explore much of Dubai we actually found out we didn’t have much time, there is so much to do at the hotel you can easily spend a few days not even leaving the grounds. We did however make it to Dubai Media City and the Harbour area. Both which are great to wander around and experience a little of Dubai life. We also, following a recommendation from a friend, took a trip to the Gold and Diamond Park, where I fulfilled a past promise I had made to Antonia, and brought her a diamond eternity ring. Diamonds are a lot cheaper in Dubai and we received amazing service at Cara Jewellers; after custom making the ring, they picked us up from the hotel before our flight home in order that we could collect it, before they dropped us off at the airport.

We really couldn’t believe that we’d won this amazing holiday, our stay in Atlantis The Palm was absolutely fantastic and we are looking forward to our next trip to Dubai, I’m not sure if we’ll be lucky enough to win a holiday there again but we will definitely be back.

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