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Review: Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

Length of Stay
2 nights
Room Type
Two-Bedroom Family Room
Date
December 2021
Rating

Most people are familiar with the Atlantis Bahamas, and while I haven’t been there yet, I recently had the chance to stay at its sister property, Atlantis Dubai. My family enjoyed a two-night stay during our recent trip to Dubai, and as I’ll show below, it was a very worthwhile visit.

Given how large the resort was and our limited time there, I won’t be able to cover every detail about it in a single post.

Rather, my goals are to help you decide whether a stay would be worthwhile for your family and how to save money along the way.

In This Post

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai – Booking

Unlike the Atlantis Bahamas, which is a Marriott property, Atlantis Dubai isn’t a part of any big hotel chain. So, unfortunately, hotel point redemptions are not an option.

Instead, redeeming fixed-value travel points, like HSBC Rewards or Scene+, to offset the cost are your best options. 

If you prefer to book a room-only rate, then consider booking through the Amex Travel portal if you have an American Express Gold or Platinum card, as the resort is part of The Hotel Collection. With hotels that participate in this program, you are eligible for a room upgrade and a US$100 stay credit if you book two or more nights at the same property.

American Express Credit Cards
Credit Card Best Offer Value
85,000 MR points $1,063 Apply Now
55,000 MR points $906 Apply Now

If you choose to pre-pay for the stay on Amex Travel, you can also take advantage of the annual $200 travel credit or hotel credit on the Canadian or US American Express Platinum cards, respectively.

If you want to book a room and board package, I would instead recommend booking directly from the hotel’s website. Before you do so, make sure to sign up for their Atlantis Membership, which will save you an additional 10% off rates, and offers additional perks, such as:

  • Complimentary early check-in or late check-out
  • Exclusive and pre-access to sales
  • Complimentary sea lion tales experience (not offered during our stay due to COVID-19 restrictions)
  • Preferential rates on marine animal experiences
  • 10% off helicopter tours
  • 2-for-1 drinks at The Edge daily from 4–7pm
  • 20% off spa treatments over 500 AED ($170)
  • 20% off retail stores at Atlantis

We booked our reservation a year in advance, during their year-end sale. Had we been a family of four, the rates for a Two-Queen room would have been 980 AED ($334) per night before tax, which is reasonable, considering it includes unlimited access to their waterpark and aquarium.

As a family of five, I was unfortunately stuck booking either two separate rooms or a Two-Bedroom Family Room, which is essentially two interconnecting rooms. The cost is around twice the price of the Two-Queen room.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to sneak an extra kid in, as each one needs a wristband for entry into the waterpark. 

Booking the Two-Bedroom Family Room saved us a bit of money. It also guaranteed us two interconnecting rooms, as when booking two separate rooms, interconnecting rooms cannot be guaranteed prior to check-in. Since 90% of their rooms are interconnecting, though, the chances are probably good.

A Two-Bedroom Family Room accommodates up to seven guests, and Two-Queen rooms fits up to eight guests. If you can entice grandparents or another family of three to join in on the fun, you could save up to 50%. After check-in, you can “reassign” your child to your room.

Suites are also available and offer some additional perks, such as free airport transfers, access to the Imperial Lounge (which serves breakfast, high tea, evening drinks and hors d’oeuvres), unlimited kids club access, and a private beach.

Considering most of our time would be at the waterpark, we couldn’t justify paying for the upgrade. 

Atlantis Dubai – Imperial Lounge

Once you’ve settled on the room type, you must decide whether to book a room-only, breakfast-only, or half-board package. Half-board includes breakfast and dinner daily.

The breakfast rate is ~240 AED ($82) more than the room-only rate, and the half-board rate ~420 AED ($143) more than the breakfast rate.

With both packages, all kids booked in the same room eat for free. If you have a large family, a meal plan could be very economical, indeed.

We settled on the half-board package out of convenience, but looking back now, the breakfast package would have sufficed, as it can be eaten as brunch. We’ll talk more about pricing and food offerings in the Dining section below.

Lastly, keep an eye out for deals on Travelzoo, as they have previously run promotions for Atlantis Dubai at least once a year, which could save you 30–50% off of regular rates.

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai – Location

Located at the top of the Palm Jumeriah Island, Atlantis Dubai is a massive beachfront resort with over 1,500 rooms, 28 restaurants, a massive aquarium, and its main attraction, the Aquaventure Waterpark.

Getting here by car is quite easy. Right outside of the hotel is a nice oceanside boardwalk, but otherwise, there isn’t a lot accessible by foot. A short five-minute drive will bring to you to restaurants, shops and other attractions around the Palm. 

The iconic Atlantis building is comprised of a central atrium and two towers or wings. A few years ago, the property received negative reviews about it beginning to show signs of wear. Since extensive renovations were completed in 2019, though, the reviews have been stellar. 

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai – Check-In

When you arrive, you drive up to the main entrance where a bellboy will help you with your luggage. The main entrance takes you into a large circular atrium where there is a beautiful glass display.

Atlantis Dubai – Atrium

On one side are several desks with agents that you can approach for check-in. On the other side is the concierges, who can assist with general questions and concerns. 

The check-in process was smooth. The agents are good at giving you an overview of the resort, but should you have any further questions about transportation, promotions, or onsite activities, you’re better asking the concierge or Activity Booking desks.

At check-in they also give you a thick monthly magazine which includes information on everything the resort has to offer for the month. The Dubai Atlantis app is also a great source of information. 

Atlantis Dubai – Atlantis magazine

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai – Two-Bedroom Family Room

The Two-Bedroom Family Room is actually two interconnecting rooms. The door that connects the two can be closed for more privacy if you are splitting between families.

The rooms were spacious and clean, with a modern and aqua-themed decor.

From our window, we could see the fish swimming in the aquarium below, which the kids enjoyed. Beyond this was a view of the ocean.

One bedroom has a king bed and the other has two queen beds. Each room also has a loveseat sofa that can be converted into a single bed. 

Atlantis Dubai – Two-Bedroom Family Room king bed
Atlantis Dubai – Two-Bedroom Family Room queen beds

There is also a desk, minibar, and bathroom in each room.

Having two bathrooms was definitely convenient for our family. Both bathrooms have a bathtub and shower, with a sliding door in front of the bathtub so you can have a direct view of the bedroom and view beyond.

Atlantis Dubai – Two-Bedroom Family Room bathroom
Atlantis Dubai – Two-Bedroom Family Room bathroom

They also provide a complimentary beach bag, slippers, bathrobes, and an unlimited supply of bottled water in each room. 

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai – Breakfast

We stayed on a half-board package, which included breakfast and dinner. Breakfast is served at either Kaleidoscope or Saffron, where an extensive breakfast buffet is served.

The buffet did not disappoint. It was an extensive spread and reminded me of the ones served in the at the Shangri-La in Singapore.

They had the traditional breakfast stations that served baked goods, pancakes, waffles, and bacon, as well as made-to-order omelettes.

Atlantis Dubai – Breakfast at Kaleidoscope
Atlantis Dubai – Breakfast at Kaleidoscope

There were also stations that served Indian and Asian dishes, including a made-to-order noodle soup station. For those that need a little buzz in the morning, there are also free-flowing mimosas available.

Atlantis Dubai – Breakfast at Kaliedoscope
Atlantis Dubai – Breakfast at Kaleidoscope

If you opt for the rack room rate, the normal cost of breakfast is 170 AED ($58) for those aged 12+, and half price for kids. You can purchase coffee and smaller bites like croissants, baked goods, and wraps at Poseidon Café or Starbucks.

Personally, I liked having the breakfast buffet, as it kept us full till mid afternoon. 

Atlantis Dubai – Poseidon Café
Atlantis Dubai – Poseidon Café

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai – Dining

With 29 onsite dining venues, there is no shortage of options at Atlantis. But, be prepared to pay a premium for them.

Luckily, less than 10 minutes away by car is The Pointe – an area of the Palm that is home to 80 dining, retail, and entertainment outlets.

During our time here, we found that we didn’t need to eat a big lunch.

One day, we had leftover pizza from our dinner the night before. The next day we bought a light afternoon snack in the waterpark that kept us satiated until dinner.

While there are fridges in the room to keep the food overnight, unfortunately there isn’t anything in the room to warm it up.

There are also plenty of snack bars in the Aquaventure Waterpark where you can grab a bite. Prices are high, but not outrageous. For example, a chicken wrap costs 48 AED ($16) and a burger costs 60 AED ($20).

With the half-board package, you can choose to dine at 1 of 14 restaurants. There is a supplemental fee at four of the fancier restaurants – Nobu, Ossiano, Seafire Steakhouse, and Hakkasan.

For our two nights, we decided to try Ronda Locatelli and the international dinner buffet at Saffron.

Ronda Locatelli serves Italian fare. The food was good and our kids enjoyed it, too.

Kids can order from either the kids menu or the main menu. You can order an appetizer, main course, and dessert under the half-board package.

The portions were very decent, leaving us with leftovers good enough for lunch the next day.  

Atlantis Dubai – Ronda Locatelli
Atlantis Dubai – Ronda Locatelli kids menu
Atlantis Dubai – Ronda Locatelli menu

If you have young kids, Ronda Locatelli or its neighbour restaurant, Bread Street Kitchen, are good options. There is outdoor seating where you can overlook the adjacent Little Atlantis Playground. 

Atlantis Dubai – Little Atlantis Playground

Saffron’s Asian-themed international buffet was a treat. The restaurant decor was very open, clean, and modern, and reminded me of a buffet you may find in Vegas or Asia.

Atlantis Dubai – Saffron

Once you enter the restaurant, the first thing you see is their extensive dessert station, which serves bite-sized cakes, churros, ice cream, macarons, and candy, amongst other things.

Atlantis Dubai – Saffron dessert station

There is a cold seafood station in the middle of the restaurant that also served sushi.

Atlantis Dubai – Saffron seafood station

A meat carving station with your usual garnishing was flanked by stations serving Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Indian fare.  

Atlantis Dubai – Saffron meat station

Normally, the dinner buffet costs 245 AED ($84) for adults and half price for kids. For a family of 5, it would have been a whopping 858 AED ($293)! 

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai – Aquaventure Waterpark

The Aquaventure Waterpark was the highlight of our stay. With over 105 rides and attractions, this waterpark is huge but also very well kept.

In fact, it’s so huge that we wish we had one or two more days to spend here.

If your time at the waterpark is limited, I would highly recommend that you look at the waterpark’s map beforehand to prioritize what rides you want to check out.

Looking at the cost of the accommodation at Atlantis, you may just consider purchasing a day-pass to the waterpark and staying offsite at one of the Marriott properties or the Andaz on The Palm. Admission tickets, however, are certainly not cheap.

For adults and children greater than 1.2 metres tall, the cost is 299 AED ($102) and 249 AED ($85) for children shorter than 1.2 metres. Children under two get entrance for free.

The 1.2 metre distinction relates to the height restrictions on certain rides. Most rides use this cut-off, but there are also family rides where the cut-off is at 1 metre. 

Offsite guests also need to pay a fee of 35 AED ($12) per towel, unless you bring your own. The costs start to add up for even a small family, so it may be more worthwhile to stay onsite. 

If you have a toddlers and younger kids under 1.2 metres, you’ll want to chill around Splashers Island, Splashers Mountain, Splashers Cove, and Splashers Lagoon. There is plenty of seating throughout the waterpark and lifejackets are readily available. 

Atlantis Dubai – Aquaventure Waterpark

There are three towers: Tower of Neptune, Tower of Poseidon, and the newest addition, the Trident Tower. In general, the rides here are for guests taller than 1.2 metres, but some of the family rides have a slightly lower height restriction of 1 metre.  

Atlantis Dubai – Aquaventure Waterpark

There are also two amazing lazy rivers. We’ve been on a couple of lazy rivers in Florida, but these were next level with different speeds and experiences throughout. At over 2km long, it could take 45 minutes to go around the entire river!

Atlantis Dubai – Aquaventure Waterpark

If you have young children aged 4–12 and want a bit of time to enjoy the adult slides, then consider dropping them off at the Atlantis Kids Club, which is open 10am–10pm daily.

Atlantis Dubai - Aquaventure Waterpark
Atlantis Dubai – Aquaventure Waterpark

They run a morning, afternoon and evening session with planned activities throughout. Each stay is entitled to one complimentary three-hour session, as long as it’s not an evening session.

Atlantis Dubai - Aquaventure Waterpark
Atlantis Dubai – Aquaventure Waterpark

Dolphin and sea lion experiences can also be arranged for a steep price. Emirates and Atlantis Dubai have a partnership and by simply being an Emirates Skywards member, you are eligible for a 15% discount on dolphin swim experiences by adding your Skywards number when booking or upon check-in.

You may need to ask a manager to manually apply the discount, though, as the Activity Desk did not seem to be aware of it.

Atlantis Dubai – Dolphin experience

The Entertainer app also has 2-for-1 offers for certain dolphin encounters and other Atlantis attractions. By purchasing a tourist subscription for 200 AED ($68), you’ll have access to 2-for-1 coupons for dining, attractions and hotels in Dubai. 

Atlantis The Palm, Dubai – Other Facilities and Activities

We didn’t have much time to check out the other facilities and activities onsite, but there is plenty here to keep you busy and entertained. There are a variety of shops (including a toy store), outdoor pools, a gym, outdoor tennis courts, and a full-service spa. 

There is a daily activity schedule of challenges, tours and animal experiences. Some are complimentary and others are for a fee.

Live entertainment options are provided nightly at different venues onsite. 

Atlantis Dubai – Activity schedule

The Lost Chambers Aquarium is another major attraction here, comprised of underwater tunnels and chambers that are home to 65,000 marine animals, including sharks and sting rays. You can arrange educational tours, snorkelling, and aqua trek experiences here for a fee. 

Atlantis Dubai – Lost Chambers Aquarium

Lastly, try to catch the Palm Fountain show across the water at The Pointe. It runs nightly every 30 minutes from 7pm onwards and lasts three minutes. I’d suggest enjoying dinner while you’re there, too. 

Conclusion

Atlantis Dubai is a massive luxury resort in the United Arab Emirates that was a lot of fun for the whole family. I’d recommend spending at least two or three days here if you can.

Prices are quite high compared to when I booked a year ago, but there are a few booking options to reduce the cost, such as redeeming fixed-value travel points to offset the cost. 

My visit here has made me quite excited to try out Atlantis Bahamas. I know the experience may not be exactly the same, but if I can take advantage of four free nights there as a Caesar’s Diamond perk, why not?

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