92 swimming pools, 17 eating places: Will this be Dubai’s most luxurious lodge but?


The 43-story, 87,097-square-meter (937,500-square-foot) building sits subsequent door to its iconic family-friendly sibling, the Palm, and appears like an architectural mix between a Jenga sport and the Millennium Falcon. Its futuristic curves and sky gardens supply sweeping vistas of the Persian Gulf from 795 visitor rooms and 231 flats.

Had been a hotelier to make a laundry checklist of each luxurious amenity and multiplied it by 10 in each ambition and sheer amount—92 swimming pools, verify; outside crystal chandeliers that rework into sunshades, verify; 17 eating places and bars from cooks together with Heston Blumenthal and José Andrés, verify—it will look on paper an entire lot just like the Royal. However executing such a venture has been nothing in need of difficult.

Like the opposite Atlantis in Dubai—which has no connection to the one within the Bahamas—the Royal began as a three way partnership between hospitality developer Kerzner Worldwide Ltd., which owns the One&Solely Resorts model, and funding agency Istithmar World. After funding dried up amid the worldwide monetary disaster of 2008, the property was left to languish for years.

The 43-story, 87,097-square-meter (937,500-square-foot) construction sits next door to its iconic family-friendly sibling, the Palm, ((Photo: https://www.atlantis.com)

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The 43-story, 87,097-square-meter (937,500-square-foot) building sits subsequent door to its iconic family-friendly sibling, the Palm, ((Picture: https://www.atlantis.com)

Swooping in for the rescue got here the Funding Corp. of Dubai (ICD), the emirate’s sovereign wealth fund. Since taking up building in 2016, it’s thought of Atlantis Royal a lynchpin within the general technique to develop Dubai’s tourism scene by focusing much less on households and extra on partygoing singles. Notably within the 25-44 age group, these have been tracked by Emirates Airways as a fast-growing demographic in recent times, notably since Covid-19 struck.

Pandemic restrictions on labor motion and the attendant provide chain disaster plagued and delayed the already dear building. Now, with plans to start out taking reservations in third quarter 2022, right here’s an inside take a look at what the Royal would possibly add to Dubai’s combine, based mostly on an unique hard-hat tour of the sybaritic excesses presently within the works.

Over-the-High Facilities

Although it was barely greater than concrete basis on the day I toured it, the influencer-ready Cloud 22 was a very good place to start out wrapping my head across the Royal. Its 90-meter rooftop pool hovers 22 flooring above the skyline. (Therefore the identify.) It’s already outfitted with a fiberglass DJ sales space formed like a robotic’s head, with crimson LED “veins” to pulse to the music, and every of its 14 cabanas has a non-public acrylic plunge pool. A bi-level “VVIP” cabana has a particular acrylic-bottomed pool that seems to be floating out over the construction’s edge.


Atlantis Royal Dubai's futuristic curves and sky gardens offer sweeping vistas of the Persian Gulf from 795 guest rooms and 231 apartments. ((Photo: https://www.atlantis.com)

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Atlantis Royal Dubai’s futuristic curves and sky gardens supply sweeping vistas of the Persian Gulf from 795 visitor rooms and 231 flats. ((Picture: https://www.atlantis.com)

From the bottom stage, it’s simpler to understand the structure, which is wider than it’s tall. Completed by New York-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, which designed the grasp plan for Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, it’s meant to seem like a skyscraper that’s been deconstructed into side-by-side bits and items, some linked by a swooping, futuristic sky bridge.

Most eating places might be on the bottom flooring, together with a department of Andrés’s Spanish tapas spot Jaleo, a traditional sushi entry from Nobu Matsuhisa, and an offshoot of Heston Blumenthal’s experimental flagship in London, Dinner. Extra spots will carry extra regional identify recognition, equivalent to Ariana’s Persian Kitchen, whose namesake proprietor Ariana Bundy has a preferred cooking present that airs all through Asia and the Center East. Ling Ling by Hakkasan, a restaurant and lounge overlooking Cloud 22, will present the highest-profile ingesting and dancing spot.

Additionally on the bottom flooring is the biggest privately owned beachfront in Dubai, a 2-kilometer (1.25-mile) stretch of sugary sand only for visitors and residents that extends to the unique Atlantis resort. The one comparable house is on the new Anantara World Islands; accessible solely by speedboat, a 2,000-square-meter non-public seashore is accessible solely to visitors staying in its 70 rooms and suites.

After Partying, Restoration

Indulgence is only one facet of the coin; wellness is the opposite. “Property options that focus on emotional and non secular wellness, equivalent to areas for meditation and therapeutic massage, are extra necessary than ever,” says Timothy Kelly, govt vp and managing director of Atlantis. The pandemic, he provides, sparked higher curiosity in holistic wellness amongst vacationers.

The three,000-square-meter wellness heart gives a six-room “Hammam Sensorium” the place the everyday Turkish bathhouse expertise might be upgraded with fragrant poultices blended in accordance together with your preferences. There are additionally Korean spa-style “halotherapy” salt caves and a snow sauna.

Typical of Dubai’s hospitality competitors, such facilities as hypnotherapy therapies (obtainable to handle something from insomnia to anxiousness) are supposed to distinguish from the extra superficial $422 caviar facials on the “seven star” Burj al Arab; whether or not they’re as enjoyable as a easy high-quality therapeutic massage stays to be decided. I did discover it surprisingly calming to take a look at among the artwork already within the foyer, together with a 11.5-meter-tall, 5.5-ton chrome steel sculpture referred to as Droplets, which has the bulbous and glossy essence of a Jeff Koons Balloon Canine and performs off the motion of 4,000 jellyfish serenely flagellating via close by tanks.

The Tourism Push in Dubai

Atlantis Royal’s ambitions mirror Dubai’s. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, vp and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, plans to double Dubai’s tourism over the subsequent 20 years in hopes of creating it the most-visited metropolis on the planet.

The Covid-19 pandemic hobbled a few of these ambitions. In 2021, Dubai anticipated 27 million guests however noticed solely 7.28 million, although its borders have been open all yr, Even with the assistance of Expo 2020, which started in October, town failed final yr to recoup tourism ranges to these of 2019, a lot much less exceed them, as was hoped. Throughout the fourth quarter, Dubai welcomed 3.4 million guests—74% of what town hosted throughout the identical interval in 2019.

One clarification is the drop-off in Chinese language visits that represented 989,000 of the 16.7 million vacationer visits to town in 2019—the fifth-largest supply marketplace for guests. A brisker wrinkle is the decline in high-spending Russian vacationers, whose buying energy has evaporated due to sanctions triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (The UAE is serving as a distinguished haven for some the wealthiest Russians).

The silver lining for Atlantis Royal is that it may well offset some lagging tourism by promoting residences to assist recoup the $1.4 billion venture outlay. Flats within the tower, listed from $2 million to $49 million and together with Dubai’s most costly unit, have all bought. Actual property brokers report curiosity from a flurry of cryptocurrency buyers and blockchain entrepreneurs seeking to arrange store in a metropolis that’s turning into more and more crypto-friendly. (Sheikh Mohammad has been pushing to advertise the trade via “free zones,” which might license and approve crypto transactions and are lax on taxes.)

Business insiders say additions such because the Royal are simply what Dubai wants to achieve its lofty tourism objectives. “The tourism trade is way greater than oil and gasoline in Dubai,” explains Kostas Nikolaidis, who focuses on the Center East for international hospitality knowledge and insights agency STR. “Iconic resorts like this not solely bolster the picture of the vacation spot however may typically stimulate new demand.”

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