Atlantis as in the hotel, not the lost city. It sits at the crown of the man-made Palm Jumeirah and cost over a billion dollars to construct.  The much-talked-about grand opening in the fall of 2008 (peak crisis time) was quite the spectacle. The fireworks alone cost over $10M and shot over 100,000 fireworks from over 700 locations across the Palm. It was said to be around seven times the amount used for the opening of the Beijing Olympics.

room with a view

The million liter aquarium is phenomenal, however it housed a young female whale shark that was taken from the gulf for “rehabilitation”. Rehab has been going on for over a year and while the animal rights groups aren’t too happy about it, it certainly adds to the insanity of the place. Suspiciously the whale shark was “released” several weeks ago although there was no media present suggesting to many that the poor gal may have died in captivity.  

There’s a bunch of restaurants including a branch of the famous sushi joint Nobu, a couple night clubs (they have a full moon beach party as well) and a pretty high tech water park. The park has a lazy river with rapids and a conveyor belt that takes you up to a higher elevation (stairs are 1990 stuff) and a replica Incan pyramid with slides coming off it, a few of which take you through a glass tube in an aquarium so you’re floating along with sharks swimming around you. Not really like any other water park I’ve seen.

that’s my mom cruisin through the tube in the middle of the tank in an inner tube

No artificial waves at Atlantis- yet- but you don’t have to go too far to get a taste of the real thing. A little winter nugget comes through the marina with the road to Atlantis in the background. Photo: PJ Cutting


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