Dancing with dolphins at Atlantis the Palm? Always a good idea!

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Initially, I had my reservations about staying at Atlantis the Palm at Dubai. I am not a fan of large resorts especially when inhabited by hundreds of small kids. However, its best selling points which are The Dolphin Bay, the Lost Champers Aquarium and the numerous culinary experiences it offers convinced me otherwise. That, as well as the fact that my kids would not appreciate nor enjoy my secluded boutique hotel option to the least.

Atlantis Hotel is located in The Palm (the known man-made island) and it is one of the most luxurious resorts of the area. It is a themed resort, as it is named after the mythical Atlantis. This 5-star hotel opened its doors in 2008, offering genuine luxurious hospitality and as its website suggests, Atlantis is an “aquatic wonderland by the sea”.

Families can entertain themselves in the most exciting marine attractions such as The Lost Chambers Aquarium, where an Atlantis theme park is created allowing families to take interesting hourly tours exploring the ancient ruins of the so-called lost city of Atlantis have finally been uncovered. Snorkeling tours for the whole family, where everyone can learn about the species you will encounter and of course the snorkel techniques to ensure you get the most out of your experience. All sessions are conducted in English by experienced professional.

Another very exciting experience is a visit to The Dolphin Bay, one of the most sophisticated dolphin habitats in the whole world. What a better thing to do than swimming among the dolphins for 30 minutes. This is definitely the most memorable experience for the whole family, where one can swim, play and dance alongside these amazing creatures. You are also invited to join the fun, interact and even kiss dolphins if you are non-swimmer in shallow waters up to your waist.  As far as children are concerned, security measures are very important so all children under 12 years old are always accompanied by a professional as they are connecting with those incredible aquatic mammals.

Last but not least, there is the Aquaventure WaterPark literally the No. 1 Waterpark in the Middle East and Europe! Another great venture for the whole family where everyone can enjoy exploring the Waterpark’s interconnected waterways and discover the adventures that await throughout the whole waterpark. Exciting river rides, wave generators capable of creating tidal swells are some of the activities for families and children over 12 years old!

 

As for the younger children are concerned do not miss the Splashers Childrens Play Area. A real water fun area where children and parents can enjoy playing with the slides designed for two and huge buckets of splashing water offer a true experience of laughter and fun!

 

But fun does not end in the morning! The Atlantis Hotel has created a Kid’s Club where children can be entertained with designed daily programmes ( morning or evening) designed for children (3 to 12 years old) that included a complimentary pizza dinner too!!! Some of the exciting programmes designed for every day of the week such as the Mad Scientists Tuesdays, the Willy Wonka Wednesdays, the Candy Olympics and many more! Play zones, underwater theatre zone, pirate’s playground and other areas are created for endless fun!

 

Another aspect of the Atlantis Hotel is the culinary experience you can gain within the hotel. High end restaurants such as the world known Nobu and Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar among others, offer a great selection from the world’s cuisines but as far as the families are concerned what a better choice than the Kaleidoscope restaurant where an international breakfast buffet offers a great selection even for the pickiest children.

 

Don’t forget to pay visit at the awarded spa ShuiQi of the hotel with incredible scented underwater yoga and massage therapies. If you need a nanny service for the kids while you are at the spa or the restaurants you need to book at least three days in advance. You will be positively impressed by the level and quality of service especially considering its 1500 rooms!

 

After all this information, are you ready for a 5-star luxury experience for your whole family?

 

Some tips for families with kids at Dubai!

 

·         Book a desert safari experience with Platinum Heritage. The most authentic and luxury safari in Dubai. Choose the Heritage Collection which boasts vintage Land Rover vehicles, a Bedouin camp nestled inside the privacy of a Royal desert retreat and Emirati food recipes, demonstrations of heritage entertainment and conservation of the natural habitat.

·         Don’t miss the Kidzania experience at the Dubai Mall. Kids can choose their preferred profession in order to ‘work’ and ‘earn’ like adults in this city for kids. With more than 80 role-playing activities, kids are able to build essential real life skills. Plan your visit in advance by buying tickets online at www.kidzania.ae . With a small difference in price you can buy the ‘business plus’ ticket and have priority access to the popular establishments which are pilot training, fire station and hospital emergencies!

·         If you visit the Dubai Mall choose the Rainforest Café for lunch with the kids. This casual restaurant recreates a tropical rainforest with tropical vegetation, waterfalls and robotic animals. No reservation needed and the kids love it.

·         Don’t worry about visiting all the shops in the Dubai Mall. They say it takes 5 whole days to see everything in the Mall. With kids you will probably have time to visit 5-7 shops…But if you can, check the Dubai Ice Rink which is open to skaters of all ages with instructors on hand to help you get into the groove.

·         If you have more days in Dubai and older kids try the I Fly experience. The first indoor Skydiving Experience!

 

Have fun and enjoy!

With gratitude, T.

 

Huvafen Fushi- a wonderland in the Indian Ocean

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Emerging out of it own aquamarina lagoon, Huvafen Fushi is a dream island with 43 breathtaking water bungalows and the first ever underwater spa- a very sensual resort and an experience far exceeding visitors expectations.

Having made the Condé Nast Gold List several times, Huvafen Fushi, which literally means dreamy language in the local language-is arguably the closest one would get to paradise on Earth. The luxury resort is located at the northern Male Atoll in the Maldives, only 30 minutes away from the airport of Male via speedboat , an impressive route with innumerable islets blessed with white sand , dense vegetation and turquoise waters. Once your personal buttler (locally known as Thakuru) welcomes you with the aim of accommodating your every whim while at the resort, he begins his quest by serving heavenly lime cocktails and coconut juice. Your Thakuru then leads you to the water bungalows amazingly built using materials that exist harmoniously with the natural environment. The bungalows, however, do have an ultra-modern side to them , complete with a Bang & Olufsen sound system, Bose surround sound, a private swimming pool , a daybed and a staircase leading to the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean. The bungalow’s bathtub ,incidentally, has an ocean view , and so does the rain shower. Once guests decide to come out of their own personal paradise, they ‘ll be met by a dreamy white-sand beach resort, which is a veritable paradise for swimming, snorkeling over the corals, and scuba diving if you’re more adventurous. On a lucky day, you could get a glimpse of an impressive 2-meter-long Manta Ray or get to feed a Stingray.

The average temperature in the Maldives  is 28C , by the way, and the dress code is an ultra-casual one, preferably barefoot as well. Culinary choices abound in Huvafen Fushi such as Celsius, considered a pioneering ‘spa and raw’ cuisine, or Salt, which features some titillating innovations in fusion cuisine. If you enjoy a drink, head for swanky cocktails at Umbar. Vinum is also worth visiting , an impressive underground wine-cellar with 2000 labels where food-tasting events kidnap you to a world of island gastronomy. The resort also proposes alternative experiences for dinner, such as in-bungalow barbecue dining where two chefs drop in to cook local fish , lobster or dinner for two on your own sandy beach, complete with a star-studded sky.

One absolute must-do before leaving Huvafen Fushi is a visit to the underwater spa for a massage ‘en couple’. This is a unique , synchronous experience for partners in an impressive spot beneath the Indian Ocean with a view of the seabed, corals, colourful fish and even small sharks. Once the massage is over, chill out in the Relax Room- a white area resembling an aquarium with big cushions in a fairytale-like ambiance.

On a wellbeing note, the resort’s Lime spa produces a local coconut oil which has moisturizing and anti-aging properties, as well as a unique local perfume. The spa excels at a ritual massage known as the Unite Me Crystal Ritual , recommended after a long day in the sun. Profits from any massages with this oil are returned to the local community.

Needless to say, the resort organizes outrageous evenings with famous DJ’s such as DJ Ravin (get hold of his CD specifically made for Huvafen Fushi), Claude Challe, Jose Padilla and more, as well as bombastic  New Year’s Reveillons beginning with a farewell party on the last sunset of the year. Caviar, champagne a six-course meal, and dancing to a live band in the sand are the order of the evening. Obviously barefoot!

With Gratitude T.