Atlantis The Royal is defined by its size. The hulking 795-room hotel dominates The Palm Jumeirah skyline, extending 43 storeys and 178 metres upwards, as well as 500 metres across, totally dwarfing its not insubstantial sister property Atlantis, The Palm.
The Royal's distinctive form consists of six towers shaped like a stack of individual blocks. Its scale is striking as you approach at ground level, almost driving the entire length of the property before entering the grounds. One of the first things you see is a cascading water feature, which sets the tone for the hotel’s aquatic theme.
The arrival experience is suitably dramatic. During the property’s grand preview weekend, a line of parked Mercedes-Benz G-Wagons, Rolls-Royces and Ferraris act as a visual nod to the event’s distinguished guestlist, as does the red carpet leading into the lobby.
This is flanked on either side by another of the hotel’s eye-catching water features — this time, two walls of water that are interspersed with bursts of fire at specific intervals. This same juxtaposition of elements defines the Skyblaze fountain, a 28-metre-high feature on the grounds of the hotel, which combines water, fire bursts, lights and performative music.
Despite the size of the property, the interior doesn’t feel overwhelming. There’s a statement, 11.5-metre-tall sculpture in the lobby depicting water droplets, the expansive use of monochromatic marble and water tanks that will eventually house jellyfish — but the space itself still feels manageable.
The ground floor of the hotel is dedicated to high-end retail, with Level Shoes, Valentino and Tanagra boutiques, as well as restaurants, which include Heston Blumenthal’s first venue in the UAE, Ling Ling, Estiatorio Milos and the all-day dining venue Gastronomy.
The hotel is divided into three towers Sunrise, Sunset and Sunlight, with separate lift lobbies leading to each. Rooms are understated, decorated in muted hues, with dark woods, blue carpets and the odd gold accent. This, no doubt, has been done on purpose so as to not detract from the main event — sweeping views across the sea, The Palm and the skyscrapers of Dubai Marina, framed by Burj Al Arab on one side and Ain Dubai on another.
Rooms are fitted with balconies to maximise the views for guests, and the natural curvature of the building means spaces feel private, in spite of the enormous number of guest rooms. Balconies also afford views of the property’s grounds, which are home to two large swimming pools and a Nobu Beach Club.
The hotel’s main pool, the Royal Pool, feels spacious, surrounded by comfortable loungers and private cabanas. Palm trees offer shaded spots, while those wanting sunshine can make use of several in-pool loungers.
Despite the hype, the property is, on the whole, unexpectedly restrained. Except for the odd indulgence, that is — Graff amenities and gold-hued toothbrushes, razors and loofah brushes in the bathrooms — just to keep things royal.