Palm and Paradise – The Atlantis Resorts in the Bahamas and Dubai

In 1979, Solomon Kerzner, a businessman and accountant from South Africa,developed an ambitious resort project in his native country called Sun City. Thoughit was beset with controversy due to the country’s then-existing policy of apartheid,the project proved to be a success. In a span of 10 years, the resort boasted offour hotels, two golf courses designed by South African legend Gary Player and anentertainment center that featured world boxing title bouts and performances by thelikes of Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and Liza Minnelli.

The success of the project emboldened Kerzner and his company to expandinternationally. In 1994, the company made its first major acquisition outside itscontinent by buying the Paradise Island Resort in Bahamas.

2 Atlantis Paradise Island

Paradise Island Resort used to be a resort hotel with 1,150 rooms. It was alreadyin bankruptcy in 1994 when Atlantis Resorts, a subsidiary of Kerzner International,purchased it. The hotel underwent a major redevelopment and expansion as it gottransformed into a 2,300-room resort. It boasts of one of the largest man-mademarine habitats in the world and the biggest casino in the Caribbean.

Guests and visitors in the resort can choose from the following accommodations:

The Beach Tower: This was originally known as the Paradise Beach Hotel.The Coral Towers: This was originally called the Britannia Beach Hotel.The Royal Towers: It is considered as one of the most expensive hotels inthe world. Its famous Bridge Suite is available for $25,000 per night, making itone of the most expensive hotel suites in 2012 as determined by CNN Go.Harborside Resort: This place is made up of 392 villas. It also has arestaurant right in front of the harbor. It features other amenities likea kid’s pool with water fountains, fitness facility, sundry store and 24-hourshuttle service.The Cove Atlantis: This is an all-suite tower that has 600 rooms to offer.The Reef: This is a relatively new offering that is made up of condominiumhotel residences.

Some of the resort’s main attractions include the following:

Aquaventure: This massive waterscape covers 141 acres and makes use of760,000 cubic meters of water. It features lazy rivers and rapids, as well asthe centerpiece Power Tower that has four slides. The slides are called TheAbyss, The Drop, The Falls and The Surge. It also has a water ride calledThe Current, a mile-long strip with 11,000 cubic meters of water that featuresartificial waves and tidal surges.

Mayan Temple Slides: These consist of four slides in the Royal Towers. Itfeatures The Serpent Slide, The Jungle Slide, The Challenger Slides and theLeap of Faith.

The Dig: The Dig is a series of aquariums meant to give guests a taste of lifein the legendary city of Atlantis. It is the largest open-air marine habitat in the world. It has sharks, manta rays and jellyfishes in its various tanks, as well as sawfishes, barracudas and stingrays in the Predator Lagoon. There is also an acrylic tunnel underwater to give guests a view of the marine environment.

The Marina: The resort’s marina has been especially designed toaccommodate large yachts. It also has a shopping center nearby.

Celebrities have also been regularly doing shows in the resort. Some of the morefamous names who have appeared include Jerry Seinfeld, the Jonas Brothers,Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Sheryl Crow and Lady Antebellum.Performances can be staged in either the Imperial Ballroom or at the AtlantisTheatre.

1 Atlantis, The Palm

Atlantis, The Palm is located in the reclaimed artificial island of Palm Jumeirah inDubai. The resort opened in 2008 and features distinctive Arabian elements.

Guests and visitors can choose from the following accommodations:

Royal Towers: This consists of two wings called the East and the WestTowers. It is linked together by The Royal Bridge Suite. The two towers have1,500 rooms available, all with a private balcony and views over the entireisland and the Persian Gulf.Imperial Club: This offers exclusive services and a private club lounge. It hasaround 150 rooms and suites, all with views of the city skyline and the ArabianSea.Royal Bridge Suite: This connects the East and West Towers and is located22 stories high. It offers views of the Dubai skyline, the entire island and thePersian Gulf.Underwater Suites: There are two such suites available. Both are threestories high and offer direct views into the Ambassador Lagoon.

The main attraction of the resort is the 17-hectare water park with its 2.3-kilometerlazy river ride. Among its features are:

Water Slides: There are seven available, all of which originate from theMesopotamian-style Ziggurat temple. The slides stretch up to a height of 30meters. Two of the slides will lead guests to a lagoon filled with sharks.The Lost Chambers: This is an underwater exhibit that has over 65,000 seacreatures on display.The Ambassador Lagoon: This is a marine habitat that is housed in anaquarium with over 11 million liters of water. The lagoon has a viewing panelto allow guests to view the mystical ruins of the lost city.Dolphin Bay: This is a 4.5-hectare center that aims to educate guests on thenature of dolphins. There are also shows to allow visitors to interact with thesaid animals.Beach: The resort also has an inviting stretch of beach. It features 1,900square meters of retail space.

Restaurants also abound in the resort. There are over 20 eating establishmentsoffering all kinds of cuisine. Among them are:

Nobu: A Japanese restaurant by the famous chef Nobu Matsuhisa.Ronda Locatelli: An Italian restaurant created by the renowned Italian chefGiorgio Locatelli.Rostang: A French brasserie created by Michelle Rostang. It offers breakfast,lunch and dinner menus, including the famous Pate en Croute.

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