The Atlantis the Palm has been a family favorite destination since we arrived in the United Arab Emirates 3.5 years ago. We have had several different Atlantis experiences, each stay lending a little something different. However, I think we hit the jackpot on this visit, and checked off a bucket list item we'll never forget.
The Atlantis the Palm is known for many things, including their water park, dolphin adventures, beautiful architecture and design (who can forget the Chihuly in the lobby), kids club, amazing food and pristine grounds. For these reasons, we keep coming back, as we never tire of what the resort has to offer. This time, I narrowed our visit down to 3 things not to miss at Atlantis the Palm. I hope you get the chance to experience them some day soon with your family.
The Imperial Club Benefits
On previous stays, we've always stayed in the standard guest rooms. Don't get me wrong, any room at the Atlantis is a nice getaway, but we decided to do a little upgrading this time. We wanted some family time, some couple time and some time for the kids to feel independent and on their own. The Imperial Club rooms come with these benefits…benefits that made our stay with kids even better.
If you choose to stay in an Imperial Club room, you get a choice of buffet breakfast in several restaurants and all day snacks, afternoon tea and pre-dinner cocktails/canapés in the Imperial Club Lounge…all inclusive of your room price. With a family, the added benefit of food anytime they wanted was a huge plus. And I'm not going to lie, the option of a pre-dinner cocktail after a long day at the water park was welcomed. It gave my husband and I a chance to unwind while the kids chilled out in the Imperial Club kids lounge (bottom picture in collage on right). Perhaps the biggest perk for the kids is the complimentary daily access to the hotel's main kids club between 10-6pm.
Other benefits of grabbing the Imperial Club rooms include;
- Complimentary use of the steam, sauna and jet pool facilities at ShuiQi Spa
- 2 for 1 head, neck and shoulder massage per stay
- Exclusive rates for our pool, beach and Aquaventure cabana rentals
- Complimentary internet access
- Rooms for 2 adults + 2 children below 12 years of age or 3 adults or 3 adults + 1 child below 12 years of age
The Leap of Faith at Aquaventure
I think this video says it all. If you're an adrenaline junkie and you love water slides, the Leap of Faith is one not to miss. My son, 9 years old, and my husband enjoyed it over and over and over again…even taking the GoPro to prove their efforts. Atlantis the Palm now has an all new area open (sadly, opened just one week after our stay), featuring record breaking water slides, including the world's largest waterslide tube at 9.2 metres wide and the first ever dual suspended waterslides-within-a-waterslide. We can't wait to test these ones out soon!
Dolphin Encounter at Dolphin Bay
A bucket list item we checked off, and so glad we did. I'm normally not a proponent of animal enclosures used for public amusement. However, I can say, I was thoroughly impressed with the staff, the facilities and the experience. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and educated. Many are here extending their studies while others are here full time for research, helping to extend the lives of the dolphins and promote awareness.
While waiting for your session, you can learn about dolphins and their habitat in the educational area or watch other interactions from the waiting area deck. Once you're allowed in, you'll change and be given a brief lesson on dolphins, focusing on safety, where to and not to touch them, and how to place your hands. No jewellery allowed (even if your daughters have newly pierced ears that aren't quite healed), they take all safety precautions necessary. I was pleasantly surprised by how “protective” the trainers were of the dolphins, making sure their best interest was at heart.
I can honestly say that I have been waiting for the day to touch a dolphin and spend time with the amazing creatures. My kids were beside themselves, not believing what they were about to do. After watching Dolphin Tale, they all decided they wanted to be dolphin vets (although I think only one of them truly will be an animal vet of some kind.)
Our dolphin's name was Hilma, and Hilma was blind. I was in awe of her, watching her locate toys thrown into the water, her precision at bringing them back to us and her overall trust. I could tell her trainer was very fond of her and attached. He treated her with such love and read her signals beautifully. With the Dolphin Encounter, the package we chose due to the ages and sizes of our children, it provided just enough time to learn about, play and dance with Hilma. She's in our hearts forever.
I hope you find your own magic within the Atlantis the Palm during your next visit.