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Dubai's flagship resort Atlantis, The Palm is the gem in the eighth wonder of the world

Mirror logo Mirror 10/02/2017 Alex Richards
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A polite “hello” was followed by: “Do you have a driver’s licence?”

The reception manager had noticed me peering at the fleet of supercars parked outside the front of Atlantis, The Palm.

“Yes,” I replied, with a longing sigh.

“Good, that’s good. Cars are for hotel guests to rent by the hour or the day, so if you’d like to take one for a ride, you’re more than welcome. Just let me know and I’ll arrange it.”

To quote a certain Tom Cruise film: “You had me at hello.”

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Atlantis – Dubai’s flagship resort on Palm Jumeirah, one of the largest man-made islands in the world – opened in 2008. It’s all fairytale magic and stunning views – and it continues to enchant.

The 113-acre Atlantis has changed the landscape of Dubai and not merely in a literal sense.

It played a key role in defining tourism across the UAE as the first integrated entertainment resort which aimed to offer a little bit of everything for men, women and children – and all with a fantastic, ostentatious swagger.

Atlantis is big and bold – from the 42-acre Aquaventure water park to its numerous dining choices including three world-renowned chefs’ restaurants.

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Paul Thuysbaert Photography

Gordon Ramsay’s latest offering, Bread Street Kitchen, is there and its Wellington Wednesdays are quite simply a must. Water nuts will love Aquaventure, which will set pulses racing for even the most adventurous.

Credits: Paul Thuysbaert Photography © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Paul Thuysbaert Photography The 100ft-high Ziggurat houses seven rides, including the near-vertical Leap of Faith slide which drops 90ft then shoots you through a tube inside a tank of sharks.

It’s not for the faint-hearted –and if you do climb the stairs, reach the top and then change your mind, it’s a long walk back down.

If that’s too white-knuckle, try the beguiling Ambassador Lagoon, which runs through the heart of the hotel.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc This 11million-litre aquarium is home to more than 65,000 marine animals including moray eels, giant cuttlefish, snapper fish and hammerhead sharks. Spot them through giant viewing panels – and keep an eye out for the smiling jellyfish, which look happy to pose and grin for photos.

Take the plunge, literally, in a deep-sea diver’s helmet on one of the amazing in-water experiences – Shark Safari, Ultimate Snorkel and Cownose Ray Feeding.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc And if you’d like to, ahem, sleep with the fishes, then you can do that too in one of the resort’s two underwater suites, where bedroom and master bathroom windows look into the aquarium.

Actress Michelle Keegan and DJ Mark Wright stayed in one on their honeymoon. And it can be yours, too, for a mere £8,000 a night.

And what about the food? Atlantis has 21 restaurants, bars and lounges. Nobu, by star chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, is a fusion of traditional Japanese with cutting-edge South American influences, while there are decadent sharing plates at Ayamna, the exquisite Lebanese restaurant.

© Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Perhaps the piece de resistance, however, is the steak at the Seafire Steakhouse, a modern spot with a theatrical open kitchen and walk-in wine cellar.

Make sure you go for Seafire’s own brand of “certified Atlantis” cattle from Australia, cooked to order on a custom wood-burning grill. It makes for the perfect Friday night, especially if you’ve enjoyed the frivolities at the award-winning (and exceedingly boozy) brunch at the Saffron restaurant.

It is an all-you-can eat festival of flavour, running from noon to 4pm, with 220 dishes on offer.

Dress to impress. And party at Daydream at N’Dulge, a daytime club pumping house music, with private outdoor booths.

Credits: Paul Thuysbaert Photography © Provided by Trinity Mirror Plc Credits: Paul Thuysbaert Photography

Oh, and if you’ve had a Lotto win, the three-bed Royal Bridge Suite – all 1,100 square yards of it – takes luxury to the extreme. Even the bidet is gold-plated.

It costs £22,000 a night and is on the 22nd floor – so that’s £1,000 per storey!

The Palm Jumeirah is dubbed the eighth wonder of the world. And the crown jewel? Atlantis.

Now, where are the keys to that Lambo?

BOOK IT A Deluxe Family Room (two adults + two under-12s) in June starts at £194 a night, with unlimited access to waterpark and aquarium, and wifi.

GETTING THERE Emirates flies to Dubai from Birmingham, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Manchester and Newcastle in early June from £329.

TOP TIPS The Friday brunch is a UAE institution – all you can eat and drink for a fixed price at hotels and shopping malls.

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