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Think of Dubai’s top hotels and chances are the first words to pop into your mind are: extravagant, luxurious, lavish and palatial. And now the Kerzner International Holdings, owner of Atlantis Resort and Residences, has a brand-new offering that cost $1.4 billion, took 14 years to make and will feature 92 swimming pools. Make way for Atlantis, The Royal, expected to open later this year.

Dubai already has a slew of hotels for those who want ‘ultra-luxury’: There’s the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, offering 17 different kinds of pillows on its pillow menu. It also broke the Guinness World Record for having the most expensive cocktail at AED 27,321 on its menu.

There is the Bulgari Resort, featuring a 50-boat harbour alongside 101 rooms and suites, as well as 20 villas. Setting it apart from the others is the fact that there is a Bulgari watch and jewelry store onsite, and the rooms have Bulgari lamps and minibars that look like Bulgari luggage.

There’s also another offering by Kerzner – the famous Atlantis, The Palm. It is home to the $25,000-plus a night Royal Bridge Suite that gives guests a private spa, plus a personal butler and chef.

And now next to it, at the tip of the Palm Jumeriah - an archipelago of artificial islands - stands the 43-storey Atlantis, The Royal Resort, vying to out-luxury them all. An unusual jenga-block like building, it is a 500-metre-long, 178-metre-tall mega structure.

It was conceptualised as the ‘deconstruction’ of the traditional sculptural towers associated with Dubai, reveals details from a press statement the company issued earlier.

Further details say it will have 231 apartments, comprised of two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom residences. Prices for the apartments range from $2 million to $49 million for a penthouse. According to Bloomberg, they have all been sold.

There are roughly 800 rooms, including some 100 suites, spanning three towers: Sunset Tower, Sunlight Tower and Sunrise Tower. The room rates will start at $750 per night and the suites at $2,000 per night.

The resort’s Skypool Suites feature vast elevated terraces, each with its own private outdoor pool and architecturally landscaped gardens.

The hotel will house 90 pools in total - including a 25-metre lap pool, a serene and relaxing adult pool and a family pool.

The main one is an infinity pool called Cloud 22 that is located 90 metres high on the 22nd floor, alongside lounging areas, a DJ booth, private cabanas with their own plunge pools, plus bars and restaurants, with views of the Arabian Gulf on either side.

The luxury interiors of The Royal are designed by Paris-based Sybille de Margerie. Five women were selected to handcraft original aspects of the interior design including porcelain, embroidery, fabric and textiles.

There will also be a six-room ‘Hammam Sensorium’, 17 treatment rooms, a salon plus indoor and outdoor fitness spaces.

Then there’s some 17 incredible restaurants, many of which will be helmed by celebrity chefs.

Heston Blumenthal, known for his multi-sensory and experimental cooking, will be brining Dinner by Heston Blumenthal to Dubai via the Royal. The resort will also have La Mar by Peruvian master chef Gaston Acurio, and Ling Ling, which offers sophisticated Cantonese culinary and nightlife concept by the famous Hakkasan Group.

Created by top designers, architects and artists, the resort hopes to “celebrates Dubai’s contemporary heritage, where daring architecture lends itself to an upscale stay with mind-bending surprises around every corner,” the resort’s website states, including a “surreal lobby” where more than 2,000 jellyfish swimming in one of the world’s largest jellyfish tanks.

It also claims to takes guests on sensorial journey with dreamlike rooms, and a 3,000 square metre wellness centre.

The Royal will have “dramatic water features” located throughout the resort showcasing “spectacular displays of cutting-edge technology fused with exceptional artistry”.

This includes the Skyblaze Fountain – described as a “fountain of fire, light and water that sets the sky and your soul ablaze”.

Set to open later this year, the hotel is currently looking for employees.

Atlantis Dubai’s HR vice president Jyoti Chauhan recently told Hotelier: “We’re looking for individuals who have an industry of ultra-luxury hospitality and are able to provide extraordinary service … people with a deep understanding and experience within ultra-luxury.

“We need to train people to maintain that ultra-luxury experience on a much larger scale. To do that, we have to give the right tools, training and leadership. We’re not leaving any stone unturned with this hotel, everything will be exceptional.”

The reason it’s taken time get the hotel up and running is due to funding drying up amid the financial crisis of 2008, Bloomberg reported.

The hotel is part of a strategy to grow Dubai’s tourism “by focusing less on families and more on partygoing singles… Particularly in the 25-44 age group, these have been tracked by Emirates Airlines as a fast-growing demographic in recent years, particularly since Covid-19 struck,” the report said.

It will also likely help Dubai achieve its ambition to be the world’s most-visited city by 2025, building on a previous goal of welcoming 20 million tourists annually by 2020.

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