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. Though it was beset with controversy due to the

In 1979, Solomon Kerzner, a businessman and accountant from South Africa,

developed an ambitious resort project in his native country called Sun City. Though

it 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 of

four hotels, two golf courses designed by South African legend Gary Player and an

entertainment center that featured world boxing title bouts and performances by the

likes of Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey and Liza Minnelli.

The success of the project emboldened Kerzner and his company to expand

internationally. In 1994, the company made its first major acquisition outside its

continent 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 already

in bankruptcy in 1994 when Atlantis Resorts, a subsidiary of Kerzner International,

purchased it. The hotel underwent a major redevelopment and expansion as it got

transformed into a 2,300-room resort. It boasts of one of the largest man-made

marine 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 in

the world. Its famous Bridge Suite is available for $25,000 per night, making it

one 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 a

restaurant right in front of the harbor. It features other amenities like

a kid’s pool with water fountains, fitness facility, sundry store and 24-hour

shuttle 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 condominium

hotel residences.

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

Aquaventure: This massive waterscape covers 141 acres and makes use of

760,000 cubic meters of water. It features lazy rivers and rapids, as well as

the centerpiece Power Tower that has four slides. The slides are called The

Abyss, The Drop, The Falls and The Surge. It also has a water ride called

The Current, a mile-long strip with 11,000 cubic meters of water that features

artificial waves and tidal surges.

Mayan Temple Slides: These consist of four slides in the Royal Towers. It

features The Serpent Slide, The Jungle Slide, The Challenger Slides and the

Leap of Faith.

The Dig: The Dig is a series of aquariums meant to give guests a taste of life

in 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 to

accommodate large yachts. It also has a shopping center nearby.

Celebrities have also been regularly doing shows in the resort. Some of the more

famous 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 Atlantis


1 Atlantis, The Palm

Atlantis, The Palm is located in the reclaimed artificial island of Palm Jumeirah in

Dubai. 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 West

Towers. It is linked together by The Royal Bridge Suite. The two towers have

1,500 rooms available, all with a private balcony and views over the entire

island and the Persian Gulf.

Imperial Club: This offers exclusive services and a private club lounge. It has

around 150 rooms and suites, all with views of the city skyline and the Arabian


Royal Bridge Suite: This connects the East and West Towers and is located

22 stories high. It offers views of the Dubai skyline, the entire island and the

Persian Gulf.

Underwater Suites: There are two such suites available. Both are three

stories 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-kilometer

lazy river ride. Among its features are:

Water Slides: There are seven available, all of which originate from the

Mesopotamian-style Ziggurat temple. The slides stretch up to a height of 30

meters. 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 sea

creatures on display.

The Ambassador Lagoon: This is a marine habitat that is housed in an

aquarium with over 11 million liters of water. The lagoon has a viewing panel

to 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 the

nature of dolphins. There are also shows to allow visitors to interact with the

said animals.

Beach: The resort also has an inviting stretch of beach. It features 1,900

square meters of retail space.

Restaurants also abound in the resort. There are over 20 eating establishments

offering 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 chef

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