When it comes to handling the pandemic, most of the focus has been on adults. Well-deserved tributes and gestures of gratitude have been extended to society’s new heroes. However, amid all this, we might be forgetting a group of equally admirable individuals who have patiently endured the current global crisis – our children. Dubai kids are a well-traveled bunch. But almost overnight, their lives have been disrupted, with no clear end in sight. As the restrictions slowly ease across the city, it is the perfect time to take our children on a well-deserved staycation.
With our passports safely stashed at home and our digital devices set on mute, my six-year-old and I headed out to Atlantis, The Palm. As one of the most family-friendly destinations out there, Atlantis is probably the biggest and busiest resort in Dubai. Now that stringent precautionary measures are being enforced, just how does an establishment of this caliber cater to guests? Here’s what we discovered when we checked into the property.
From the moment we arrived in Atlantis’ luxurious lobby and were greeted by a security guard diligently doing temperature checks, I felt a lot more at ease. As we made our way to the Imperial Club Lounge for a seamless check-in process, it was evident that the hotel is taking meticulous steps to ensure the safety of its staff and guests. Face masks, hand sanitizers, and gloves were readily available, and social distancing markers were placed at every turn.
A Room With a View
The property’s underwater theme was echoed in the spacious guest room, with a tranquil palette of aquamarine, coral, and beige hues, while the large balcony was particularly show-stopping with its panoramic views of Palm Jumeirah. The room amenities were exactly what one would expect from a first-class establishment – albeit with a few, almost unnoticeable adjustments. The minibar and fridge were empty, the in-room dining menu was replaced by a QR code, and a “welcome gift” of even more masks and gloves awaited us on the bedside table. But once we got past these very minor tweaks, we quickly got comfortable, sinking into the enormous bathtub, and later burying ourselves in the king-sized bed, drifting into the most relaxing sleep we’ve had in a long time.
Make a Splash
The world-famous Aquaventure Waterpark should be the first port-of-call for all guests and visitors at the Atlantis. Coming out of the seemingly endless days of lockdown, an adrenaline-filled afternoon spent slipping down giant slides and gliding across the Lazy River on a twin-seat floating tube was welcome change for both of us. All in-house guests of Atlantis across all room categories are entitled to complimentary access to the park, so it tends to get busy at peak hours. However, there is no cause for concern because the hotel is implementing strict safety and social distancing protocols across the board. These will, in no way, diminish the excitement and joy of the experience. Which means the only hard decision you’ll need to make for the day is whether or not you’re ready to take the (infamous) 60-feet Leap of Faith.
A day at the waterpark might sound exciting enough, but food? That’s an even bigger adventure altogether. Fortunately for us, the Atlantis is home to more than a dozen restaurants, from fine-dining establishments to cozy casual options and everything in between. We first made our way to the industrial-chic Wavehouse to sample its popular rainbow sliders and fully-loaded waffles. As the day wore down, we were treated to a lovely “happy hour” filled with refreshing drinks, dainty canapés, and afternoon tea at the Imperial Club Lounge. This is just one of the many perks offered exclusively to Imperial Club members. But the standout meal during our stay had to be our three-course dinner at the award-winning Cantonese restaurant Hakkasan. We started with the seared Canadian scallop in plum sauce, and moved on to the house’s signature hand-pulled Hakka noodles. It was a delight for the senses. Even my pint-sized companion, who is a picky eater to say the least, was more than ready for a second (and third) helping. To round off the meal, we gave in to our sugar cravings and ordered generous scoops of homemade chocolate ice cream, ending the night on a sweet note.
Under The Sea
On our second day, we dove even deeper into the resort’s aquatic theme by visiting The Lost Chambers aquarium, which houses an incredible array of sea creatures such as sharks, marble rays, and some of the most colorful fish we’ve ever seen. Home to 65,000 species and 20 marine-life exhibits, this atmospheric 11-million-liter aquarium is the largest of its kind in the UAE. By the time our tour ended, we gained not only a profound appreciation of marine life, but also a camera roll full of Instagrammable snaps. Obviously.
Lost and Found
Living up to the mythical great city it was named after, Atlantis, The Palm lingers on the horizon of our imagination. Whether it’s a taste of the high life or an adventure-filled day you’re after, Atlantis will tick all of the boxes. Impeccable service, abundant amenities, interesting interiors, and top-notch dining options make this one of the city’s most desirable hotels. In fact, it’s so convenient and well-equipped as a destination in its own right. Whatever the occasion, it’s an inviting place to be. Meet you there?
Staycation packages starting from AED 555 per night.
For more details or to book a stay at Atlantis, The Palm, click here.