Hotel: Atlantis the Palm
Accommodation: Half board, Imperial Club Room
We booked a 5 night break offered on Secret Escapes to the 5 star Atlantis the Palm, Dubai for February – a time of the year when the climate is very pleasant (high 20s) and a far cry from the 40 degree heat we had experienced a year previous in April.
As it was, we were directed to the vendor by secret escapes – The Holiday Place- as I knew I would be changing my passport before travelling which could create complications. The Holiday Place was very efficient with help in the run up to the break and called us when we arrived at the hotel to check we were happy with everything which we thought was an excellent touch. The package included flights with Emirates (economy class), half board at the palm in an imperial club room and (seamless) transfers from airport to hotel (both ways) in executive cars. We upgraded our flights and I will post re our experience on here shortly.
Overall, we thought the hotel was great value for good service, great weather, and access to a lot of fun things to do (restaurants, waterpark, aquarium etc). It is, however, very family friendly and not a place I would recommend if you want a “romantic couple” atmosphere. For this, we are trying One & Only The Palm this November and will post soon..
The Imperial Club
When we checked in we were offered the choice of staying in the East Tower or West Tower of the Hotel – on both sides there are either sea or city views. The East Tower houses the majority of the restaurants, shops and the aquarium so is a lot busier than the West Tower. We stayed in the West Tower, which we thought had the better imperial club lounge as it had about 20 outdoor tables compared to 4 in the East Tower.
We were offered either a sea or city view or the option to stay 3 nights in a city view room, and 2 in a sea view room or visa versa. We started off on the sea view room with the intention of moving to the city view room, but ended up staying put. Having seen the city view room through, I would suggest selecting this and would make that election if we stayed there again.
The bathroom was my favourite thing about our imperial club room – the bath was lovely, and the toiletries (which were regularly topped up) were fantastic.
The privileges of the Imperial Club
The Imperial Club room offers certain privileges – access to two lounges in the hotel for snacks and complimentary soft drinks daily, breakfast from 7-11am, afternoon tea from 2.30-4.30, canapés and a happy hour from 5-7pm. The imperial club was excellent and we certainly made use of it, only having breakfast in one of the other restaurant options, saffron, on one occasion (the options being saffron and kaleidoscope, both buffet restaurants, and bread street kitchen for which a supplement has to be paid). The afternoon tea compromises a small selection of sandwiches and scones. The evening canapés varied, consisting of two daily hot items, a cheese selection, salad and deserts. Crisps and nuts were available all day.
The happy hours were excellent – we enjoyed these outside in the waning sunshine every evening at the west tower club lounge. The complimentary drinks offered included beers, house wines (including sparking wine) and around 6 cocktail choices. We made our way through the cocktail menu throughout our stay and found a firm favourite in the island breeze, and I particularly liked the sparkling wine when topped up with Malibu, a cherry and sugar syrup. The service during happy hours was excellent – waiters were constantly checking if there was anything further that we wanted to try and kept our glasses full.
The Imperial Club Beach
Imperial club guests have access to an exclusive private beach, which is quieter than the main beach. The Imperial Club beach is situated just along from Nasimi beach, opposite the West Tower, and moments away from the main pool. Service from attendants on the beach was excellent.
We had unlimited access (and priority tickets) to the Waterpark, which was excellent! So many rides for all sorts of people, varying from insanely scary ones to a lazy river which small ones to elderly ones could bob along all day in the sunshine. We visited twice and were very impressed.
The aquarium in the West Tower was also complimentary to hotel guests, and we visited near the end of our stay.We thought it was as good as the aquarium in Dubai Mall which we had paid to visit previously. Well worth a visit.
We had a half board package entitling us to breakfast daily, dinner or lunch at certain restaurants for no extra charge (buffet restaurants, and outdoor restaurants such as Nasimi Beach and the shore, a restaurant located between the main pool and the beach). Half board credit can also be put toward specialty restaurants such as Ronda Locatelli (Italian), yuan (Chinese) and Seafire Steakhouse and Bar.
A full list of the applicable restaurants is given to you on arrival, and is on the Atlantis website.
During our stay we enjoyed dinners at Nobu, Nasimi Beach (twice), Ronda Locatelli, and Yuan. My favourite was Nobu, my husband’s was Yuan. Nasimi beach was an excellent ‘included/free’ option, however, and I adored their spicy sushi.
Ronda serves typical Italian cuisine of pasta, pizza etc, and the restaurant is centered around a large pizza oven and bar area. I had very tasty prawns to start, my husband had garlic bread and we shared pizza and pasta for main. We had espresso and ice-cream to finish the meal off. Service was OK – not amazing. My least favourite restaurant out of the ones we visited.
The Nobu bar and restaurant area is very atmospheric and dark. The food, as you can imagine, was fantastic. The sake and alcohol was extremely pricey, and not worth it in my opinion. I had yellowtail to start, and a sashimi set meal for my main consisting of a selection of sashimi, miso soup and rice. It was VERY filling – no need for a starter if you are choosing this and I was a bit greedy having more!
Right on the beach, as the name would suggest, Nasimi beach houses parties as well as dinner. One of the fully included options in the half board, we dined here twice during our stay and were impressed at the simple but extensive menu. It isn’t fine dining, but the sushi and salad options are very good.
Yuan is a beautiful chinese restaurant in the Atlantis complex. The decor is very glamorous and our starters and mains were excellent, my favourite dish being the shrimp dumplings (and we eat a LOT of chinese, from our local takeaway to michelin star options in London). The service left quite a lot to be desired, I didn’t feel very looked after. The desserts were a real let down; the whole dish was too cold and overwhelmingly consisted of what tasted like cheap chocolate ice cream.
Wine here, is also very expensive for what you get.
Overall rating for the Atlantis
The Property: 5/5 -a very impressive property with a range of amenities from a spa, aquarium, shops, hairdresser, multiple bars and restaurants, pools, beach, waterpark…. the list goes on…
Imperial Club: 4/5 – The service in the Imperial Club Lounge is very good. The food on offer during the day is quite limited. However, happy hours are excellent value for money if you are pre-dinner drinkers. I would suggest booking an imperial club suite if you can push to it, as happy hours are held in restaurants (Yuan, Nasimi Beach and the Steakhouse) as well as the club lounge for suite guests. Although we liked the club and the happy hours that we had there, it would have been nice to sample different locations for the happy hours.
Overall dining options: 5/5 – there is something for everyone over the Atlantis.
Service: 3.5/5 – brought down by various restaurant services (as above) but service in the Imperial Club was excellent
Location: 5/5 – right in the middle of the palm, with a long beach, next to a waterpark
Value for money: 4/5