Seven years and an estimated $2 billion (AUD) later, Atlantis The Royal opens its doors to DMARGE and a few lucky guests for the weekend of a lifetime. This modern resort is the pinnacle of luxury accommodation in the ever-growing Dubai.
After a short 15-hour flight from Sydney to Dubai with Emirates, we made haste to the newly finished Atlantis The Royal hotel for four days of pure luxury to experience every square inch of this new hotel.
In this Atlantis The Royal story…
Designed by architects KPF, the 46-storey hotel has 795 rooms, suites, and 231 private residences. The hotel is located on Palm Jumeirah, just a few hundred meters from Atlantis The Palm, the original resort in Dubai.
What’s immediately noticeable about The Royal is its sheer size. As you look up into the sky, it’s an enormous and incredibly imposing hotel. Rows of balconies look over the ocean and the Dubai skyline, there’s not a single room in the hotel with a bad view. What’s quite clever is one side of the building can enjoy sunrises and the other sunsets, which is why the towers are aptly named for each of the views guests can enjoy.
Arriving at 6 am on a mild winter’s (22º is mild for Dubai) morning, I was greeted by not one but ten or twenty hotel staff. Each says hello with the signature hand on the heart gesture and a smile. Yes, every single person in the hotel greets you with a hand on the heart followed by a Good Morning, A Good Afternoon, a Good Evening and sometimes, if you’re really lucky a Good Night.
The Royal’s staff are probably the most helpful and friendly hotel staff we’ve encountered on our travels. As an introvert, being greeted 50 times per day can be challenging but a challenge I was willing to accept given the luxurious circumstances. No request is ever too big or small, with so many staff on hand you rarely wait for anything. They all make an effort to remember your name and your special requests, making the stay that much more special.
Some of you may be wondering if we were lucky enough to experience seeing Beyonce live for the grand opening; yes we were and it was amazing but enough of that, let’s get onto the fun stuff.
The Rooms At The Royal
The Royal’s rooms are stylish and modern without being cold or uncomfortable. The Royal has managed to combine elements of the ocean and landscape without being overly kitsch like their sister hotel.
The bathrooms are spacious and offer double vanities with a separate shower and toilet. Toothbrushes and amenities are gold plastic which is a very Dubai touch. You even have a bath which faces the ocean so you’re able to open the double doors and watch the ships go by.
The beds are incredibly comfortable and offer one-touch master light panels for easy access when going to sleep. The spacious room even has a small desk which is perfect for sending emails or dining on room service.
The balcony is accessed by large double doors which are in sync with the room’s air conditioning. If you open the doors, the aircon automatically adjusts. A small but clever environmentally friendly touch which is often overlooked.
The view from our 19th floor is spectacular. It’s not just ocean as far as the eye can see. To the right, you can see the failed World Idland development which ground to half during the GFC back in 2008. Apart from that there’s not much to look at but just enjoy the serenity. If we were to book, I would opt for the view of the city to enjoy the Dubai sunrises.
We found little touches like housekeeping’s cleaning and even wrapping our USB chord with little ties to be super helpful. They even provided USB-C adapters for the now extinct USB sockets around the room.
The only thing which we felt was a bit of a letdown was the TV. A great selection of news and local channels was on offer but sport and even on-demand services like HBO and Netlfix were not available. Given how we all consume content these days it would have been a nice addition.
What didn’t we like? The bottles of body cleaners, shampoo and conditioner from Graff are a massive fail. They’re unable to be opened with wet hands so good luck with those. We used our teeth on multiple occasions or a towel from outside the shower. Frustratingly the hotel staff put the lids back on every day.
Choosing Your Breakfast
Arguably the most important meal of the day, the Royals’ breakfast is some of the best we’ve ever had at a resort, ever.
Gastronomy and Sea Room offer breakfasts. Gastronomy is a large market style space with various kitchens making delicious treats from all round the world, while Sea Room is quieter with a reduced selection but offering al la carte options like Pancakes and Waffles.
We treated ourselves to egg white omlettes finished with truffle, as well as avo toast with caviar. Yes, caviar here grows on trees which explains its abundance. Have to say the avo toast here put Sydney’s overpriced stuff to shame. Ruined for life.
The coffee is great and they’ll make you anything you want with any milk. We opted for the traditional Americano which was as good as anywhere else you would get it. So coffee snobs can rest easy knowing their caffeine hit will be taken care of.
After Christmas, it was time for a break from the sugary treats but The Royals’ pastries and sweets offering for breakfast is next level. Almond croissants, tarts, doughnuts, you name it, they have it.
Where To Dine At Atlantis The Royal
There’s an abundance of fine dining options here at The Royals. Which you would expect, given the group of chefs which have opened restaurants here. Heston, Nobu, Costas Spiliadis and Jose Andres each have their own restaurants to offer guests a wide range of cuisines and experiences.
Jaleo by Jose Andreas
We hit up Spanish restaurant Jaleo by famous chef Jose Andres on the first night. This dark and mysterious space offers Jose’s taken on modern Spanish food with the family feel he’s known for. Guests have the option of tables or a place at the paella bar where you can watch the chefs prepare the freshest paella.
Our recommendation: Get their spicey margarita cocktail, it comes with a green chilli on top. We also highly recommend the bread with tomato and the patatas bravas is next level good.
If you’re looking for a Greek feast then Milos is your place. 76-year-old chef Costas Spiliadis has been in the business for close to 45 years helping the world understand what real Greek food is all about. Fresh produce and not a souvlaki to be seen for miles.
Milos occupies arguably the best space in the rest, with sweeping views of the hotel and across the Dubai skyline.
His team of chefs will help you decide what to eat as you choose from a wide variety of fresh seafood. This is a Greek dining experience like no other.
We recommend the Octopus and the Garden cocktail. Absolute perfection.
Other restaurants to recommend are:
- Nobu by the Beach
- Diner by Heston Blumenthal
Beyond these’s marquee eateries, there’s you more basic menus at Malibu, in-room and by the pool, where more basic food like burgers and guacamole can be ordered.
If you’re not afraid of heights and love a view then Cloud 22 will be heaven. Located on level 22, this pool slash bar features an infinity pool and day beds. With sweeping views across Dubai’s skyline and sea, you will catch both an incredible sunrise and spectacular sunset.
Cloud 22 has a full-service bar and snacks throughout the day and was even the location for Kendall Jenner’s 818 tequila party on the hotel’s opening weekend.
Book a day bed or cabana for the ultimate day’s experience.
The Fitness Centre & Gym
Holy mother of massiveness. The Royal has gone all out and created one of the best hotel gyms we’ve ever used. It’s possibly even better than my local gym in Bondi Beach. Sorry Beach Fit.
The large space features every Technogym piece of equipment you could possibly need, multiple treadmills, a smith machine, free weights up to 32kg and two benches. There are two trainers on staff to help you if you require a spot or just want someone to train with for an hour.
There’s even a yoga room which is also used for guided meditation, which we highly recommend.
All bottled water is complimentary and there’s a sauna and steam rooms for post-workout. If you’re not done yet, there’s a 25-metre lap pool to ensure you’re really cooked.
The Awaken Spa
If you’re stressed out from the kids and need a little TLC, then Awaken is the place for you. The ultra-luxurious spa offers a wide range of treatments for both men and women, including the Awaken Massage which at nearly $290 is the Rolls Royce of massages.
You’re greeted by different staff as each takes you through a labyrinth of rooms eventually arriving at one of their 16 treatment rooms. The therapist will get a gauge on how you are feeling and then recommend a variation of the Awaken massage to suit your mood on the day. All balms and oils are chosen to help you reach your goal for the treatment.
We can say after a 60-minute treatment we’re very relaxed and a little more in touch with our emotional selves.
Afterwards, guests can hang around and enjoy the sauna, steam room, plunge pool and Himalayan salt room. The only downside to the facilities is the absence of a cold plunge pool, perhaps they can add that one day.
Insider’s Tip: Try the ‘snow shower’ after your sauna. It’s weird but good weird.
Shopping At Atlantis The Royal
If you’ve forgotten your togs or just feel like getting decked out in rest wear, then there are a few shops to sort you out. For men, there’s a brand new Orlebar Brown and for everyone else, there are multi-brand boutiques that stock Frescobol Carioca and other beach reach gear. If that’s all too hard, then Atlantis The Palm also offers shopping.
There’s even a barber shop if you need a quick trim.
Tips To Know Before You Go
- Be prepared to never want to leave
- Choose a room on the city side with better views for sunrise.
- If you’re too high up, it gets windy (you’ve been warned)
- Book a treatment at Awaken – it’s life-changing
- Try the Margarita Iberica cocktail at Jaleos
- Have the caviar on the avocado and toast at Sea Room
- Smash some guacamole by the pool.
Why trust us? DMARGE travelled to Dubai as a guest of The Royal and experienced the property for ourselves.