One of the risks involved on being amongst the inaugural guests – it is everybody’s first time so perfection has a 1% chance of happening. For a project having this magnitude I guess nobody will ever be 100% ready. My colleagues who arrived two hours earlier could not check in for some reason (technical glitch, no water for the entire island since the morning, people not checking out on time).
Accommodation / Facilities / Food:
The grandness of the image they are trying to present in fairness is well-deserved. The room (we were at the 18th floor!) is competitively high-tech and gives a spectacular view of the ocean, the royal guest pools and the rest of the Palm Jumeirah.
On a personal note, I have been longing to find an island to wait for sunrise and luckily I found that here. (So now, I’m qualifying that wish and now search for a NATURAL island, where the sun rises).
It was fun going around the Lost Chambers and the Ambassador’s Lagoon to virtually mingle with the local marine community – all shapes and sizes and behavior. The aura of ruins on these HUGE aquariums is undeniable. Some activists may have ethical issues on “detaining” the fish but I think they’re beter off in here than trying their luck in the vast and unprotected ocean. This experience then has sparked my interest on picking up new stuff to do in Dubai – study scuba diving!
The food tastes great! As there were a lot of very good restaurants there and we had wanted to try a little bit of every cuisine, we went to Saffron for their dinner buffet special. We ended up eating for almost 3 hours.
I did not like this part. As the entire island is man-made, the beach is simulated and is located on the protected side of the crescent (http://www.atlantisthepalm.com/content/pdf/ATP_Directional_Map.pdf) so do not expect waves coming in from the rest of the ocean (SIGH!) – which is what lures me to beaches in the first place, the call of the waves! I sincerely hope they do something about that.
The rapids (where you need a floater to go around the entire area) is a good place to chill when you just want to relax. The rides one shouldn’t miss would be the 6-second yelling at the Ziggurat’s 27.5 meter slide (Nope, I didn’t I was chicken! Heeheeehee!) and the very long queue at Shark Attack.
I almost got attached to the marine-themed stuffed toys on the place, but I was more suckered in by the diamonds at Harry Winston (just looking man!) – what a relief to have left my card at the hotel room while going around the place!
I will go back for:
1. Dining at Ossiano for the underwater ambiance and be served by a 3-star Michelin chef (I didn’t bring formal wear hence we can’t get in – deng!);
2. Dolphin Bay to beso (kiss) the dolphins (we did not have the chance to book for a personal interaction due to checking in logistics issues);
3. Spa Treatments – still trying to make up my mind between Middle Eastern Aqua Cure and Dubai Glamor Ritual
Oh, and did I mention we (all Sept 30 guests) were given 2 free nights because of our checking in troubles?
So definitely I will go back!
Oh, and did I also mention that we ran across Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in the lobby? I guess I just did.