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Inside “The World’s Most Ultra-Luxury Resort”, $100,000 a Night



Inside the 'world's most ultra-luxury resort' for $100,000 a night

Chef Jose Andres at Jaleo Restaurant.

From the moment you step through the front entrance, the Atlantis Royal puts on a show. Water is poured inside the glass walls while the fire flares up from time to time. The pressure to post on Instagram is immediate, as you’ve arrived at the self-titled “most ultraluxury” resort in the world.

Although this is not the world. This is Dubai, where “ultraluxury” has a specific meaning and the nouveau riche aesthetic has been embraced. This is how wealth was created to be showcased, not to be quietly accumulated in savings accounts. Ultraluxury is over-the-top, covered in gold and marble.

That’s the $1.2 billion Atlantis The Royal, the latest property from Dubai-based hotelier Kerzner International Ltd., which debuted in January with a “grand reveal” show starring Beyoncé: and guests since its 795-room opening in mid-February. This is what I have experienced. ,

The journey to opulence begins in the hotel lobby, where the unifying theme of water (Atlantis, remember?) is hammered home with a giant aquatic sculpture and pool cutouts in the floor, into which guests sometimes fall. . Check-in takes place at unmarked golden counters, which require frequent buffing with microfiber towels to remove unsightly indicators of human presence, such as fingerprints.

Company executives initially made headlines by saying that the top-level suite, the Royal Mansion, would cost $100,000 a night. Now a spokeswoman is coy about the price, saying it’s available upon request. And in February, Louis Vuitton booked the room for a private shopping event, so I couldn’t go. Instead, I was shown the panoramic penthouse that took my breath away – starting at 135,260 dirhams ($36,825), plus 22% in taxes, it had better be. In-room shampoos and other amenities come from Hermès, Frette, and Graff. On one side of the hotel, guests have an unobstructed view of the blue-green Persian Gulf. The other side fronts the man-made Palm Jumeirah archipelago and overlooks the mansions of billionaires and royalty.

I stayed in a Seascape King, which was one of the basic rooms, but I use the term lightly. Studios start from around AED 4,135 per night in high season. It’s big enough for a king-size bed, armchairs and desk, and roomy closets. The furniture is comfortable, and amenities in the lavish bathrooms include golden toothbrushes, combs, a back scrubber, flip-flops, and a beach bag, all of which can be taken home at no charge.

For a resort promising that “something incredible happens in every moment of your stay,” the basic rooms lack the wow factor. They’re beautiful, to be sure, and the views are phenomenal. I was excited to see a high-tech Toto brand bidet toilet with a heated seat, though it made me wish the bathroom floors were heated, too. (Clearly, I’m being spoiled.)

But this is not the kind of hotel where guests hide in their rooms. Instead, they dress up in their trendiest beachwear, take selfies in front of the Bellagio-style fountains, go shopping at Valentino boutiques or book cabanas at one of the many outdoor lounges. At Nobu by the Beach, for an additional 10,000 dirhams, you and nine friends have access to a living room, a private changing area and shower, and a small private pool. The rate includes two bottles of Champagne and some nibbles.

First, though, you may want to get a Botox top-up, ozone dialysis, or stem cell therapy at the on-site Aeon Clinic for “regenerative wellness.” Or head up to the true showstopper: Cloud 22 Lounge, an open-air space on the 22nd floor with thumping club music and strong breezes. The double ledge infinity pool is all that separates you from the resort below. Here, too, you can book cabanas for an additional fee and get your own plunge pool, which doesn’t count as one of the 90 total pools on property, including 44 in private suites.

The stunning Awaken Spa has gender-segregated relaxation rooms, but the six hammams, or Turkish baths, are not yet open. Meditation with the dolphin program is also pending.

The room rate includes access to Aquaventure, billed as the world’s largest water park. My 3-year-old daughter had a blast at the toddler splash areas, and if we’d had more time I’d have gone down the slides with 360-degree loops and dark tunnels. With day rates starting from AED 315 for adults, it definitely adds to the value you get for your room.

At the hotel, each of the seven celebrity chef-helmed restaurants has a unique vibe and design, but the service level is celestial across the board. When we had lunch at Jaleo by José André (get the Rosette, a paella-style pasta), four different people asked if we wanted a highchair for our daughter. At the breakfast buffet, out of nowhere he got a craving for tofu, and the kitchen happily filled a plate. Meanwhile, I hadn’t finished my latte before my cup was taken away and replaced twice with a new one.

This is where Atlantis the Royal earned its name and its ultraluxury reputation. As you walk onto the grounds, a security guard, concierge, lifeguard or sweeper will place their right hand over their heart, bow forward and say hello. All the properties run by Kerzner have embraced this obvious Covid-era gesture, but this one definitely made me feel like a queen.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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