From watching a private Beyoncé concert to having a 1 on 1 lesson on how to make sushi from the owner of Nobu, from attending Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila party on a rooftop to dancing to Swedish House Mafia, from dining at Heston Blumenthal’s signature restaurant to being at the opening party of Nobu with Ronan Keating…the Grand Reveal weekend at Atlantis The Royal was a weekend i’ll never forget.
I get a lot of emails inviting me to hotels, most of which I turn down but this one sounded different. Not only did it come at the perfect time (it was very cold and very wet in England so a business class round trip to the Dubai definitely sounded very tempting!) It was also set to be the opening of the most luxurious hotel in the world. The new Atlantis The Royal on the Palm in Dubai.
A few weeks before the trip, I received he itinerary for the Grand Reveal Weekend. When I saw the words “Join us for an exclusive performance by the global icon Beyoncé, followed by a fireworks spectacle and an afterparty headlined by the DJ supergroup, Swedish House Mafia.” I think I actually let out a little scream. I had no idea that Beyoncé would be there. I’ve been a huge fan of her since the days of Destiny’s Child so if i wasn’t already excited about the weekend, I was now literally jumping for joy.
Crafted by the world’s leading designers, architects and artists and 8 years in the making, Atlantis The Royal finally opened its doors to a select list of celebrities, influencers and journalists and I was one of the lucky few! On January 19th I arrived in Dubai’s International airport and headed straight to the special Atlantis The Royal desk to get my transfer to meet my husband, who had already flown in from Istanbul and was at the hotel waiting for me. The lobby was seriously impressive with two walls of water ushering visitors from the valet and into the hotel lobby whilst flames shoot up the walls in intervals. From the moment I stepped inside the hotel, I was captivated by its sheer grandeur and opulence.
Atlantis The Royal
• 693 hotel rooms, 231 luxury apartments, 102 suites, and signature penthouses.
• 90 swimming pools (including residences)
17 restaurants and bars including 8 celebrity chef restaurants:
• Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
• Jaleo by José Andrés
• Ariana’s Persian Kitchen
• La Mar by Gastón Acurio
• Estiatorio Milos by Costas Spiliadis
• The Little Venice Cake Company by Mich Turner
• Nobu by the Beach
• One of the largest jellyfish tanks in the world (4,000 jellyfish)
• Cloud 22 Skypool with an infinity pool overlooking The Palm
• A 1.2 miles long private beach (The longest in Dubai)
• The central piece of the outdoor pool area is a massive fountain
• A 5,000m² wellness centre
We checked in and headed up to our room to rest a bit before going to explore….Our room was high up with an amazing view over the Palm Jumeriah. Greeted with a Valentino scarf and a personalised bottle of Moet & Chandon champagne bottle, I knew this weekend was going to be one to remember. We were given a special wristband that we were to wear for the weekend, this would give us access to all areas. Even when we visited the neighbouring Atlantis the Palm hotel, everyone rushed around us when they noticed our Grand Reveal wristband, nothing was too much trouble. It really was a very unique experience.
The room itself was spacious and comfortable, with a desk area and the most comfortable bed i’ve ever slept in. In the bathroom you’ll find a walk-in shower with a separate standalone bathtub, complete with privacy glass that turns opaque at the touch of a button and amenities from luxury brands including Hermès, Frette, and Graff.
On the first day, a lot of the areas were off limits as they were getting ready for the big Beyonce performance, so we opted to head up to The Cloud 22 Pool Lounge and Bar, located on the 22nd floor. It was so new that workers were still running around putting the final touches to the area. Crazy to think we were one of the first people to ever chill at this pool bar which has gone on to be one of the hottest must visit places in Dubai.
The sky-high venue boasts unmatched views of the Arabian Gulf and Palm Jumeirah. A 90-foot infinity pool connects two of the architectural towers and you can book a private cabana with your own plunge pool, enjoy an exquisite cocktail with even better views as the sun moves across the horizon and the music goes up a notch.
There are day beds positioned overwater, a swim-up bar, pumping tunes and a delightful menu for poolside dining – It really is a seriously impressive space and the perfect spot to spend the day soaking up the Arabian sun.
There are a casual 90 pools. Out of the 90, 44 of them are private suite pools. If you’re lucky enough to stay in a Sky Pool Villa, Skyscape Penthouse, Horizon Penthouse, Panoramic Penthouse, or the Royal Mansion you will have your own private place for a dip. There are two adult-only pools, Nobu by the Beach and Cloud 22, and there’s also Royal Pool which is for the family and is the perfect spot to sip a cocktail and relax.
The food, oh man…where do I even begin. Home to 17 world-class restaurants, including 8 celebrity chef restaurants, 1 Michelin stars restaurant you are absolutely spoiled for choice at The Royal.
We ate in a handful of the restaurants and one of my favourite was Estiatorio Milos by chef Costas Spiliadis. The restaurant can be found overlooking the Skyblaze fountain (where the Beyoncé concert took place!) and is known for it’s authentic ingredients – from Aegean rock salt to olive oil from Koroneiki olive trees, as well as wild Greek oysters and fish only found in Mediterranean waters. Famed around the world, with restaurants in New York, Athens, Las Vegas, Miami, London and Montreal, Estiatorio Milos is renowned for its Greek seafood, so dishes here are mostly fish-orientated. I even tried my first ever oysters which were delicious!
This deserves it’s own section. Breakfast at ‘Gastronomy’ (which is also a great dinner spot!) was hands down the best breakfast i’ve ever had in any hotel i’ve stayed at. Inspired by a food market, the choice was overwhelming – they had everything you could possibly with live cooking stations (the avocado toast station was my favourite!) freshly baked bread from the Pâtisserie and a coffee bar with its own roastery.
Sushi Making with Nobu San
During the weekend there were so many fun events and workshops on. The day before I received an email that said:
YOU’RE INVITED to a Sushi Masterclass with Nobu Matsuhisa. As part of your stay at Atlantis The Royal’s Grand Reveal Weekend, you are invited to a special sushi masterclass by Japanese celebrity Chef Nobu Matsuhisa.
Whaaaaaat?! I was so lucky to attend a once-in-a-lifetime Sushi masterclass with Nobu San. Umit made us go early and thank goodness he did, as the other 5 people attending were late so I got my own 1 on 1 lesson for 30 minutes with Nobu San! It was absolutely amazing to learn how to make sushi from the master and an experience i’ll never forget!
The Big Night
After our day of swimming, eating and workshops we headed back to our room to get ready for the evening. On the desk was a note….
Before the show, everyone was assigned a restaurant for dinner. Ours was One MICHELIN star Dinner by Heston Blumenthal restaurant which offers diners a cutting-edge take on historic British cuisine dating back to the 1300s. We tried his iconic and signature dishes such as the Meat Fruit, a playful mandarin and chicken liver parfait, and the Tipsy Cake, a spit roast pineapple dessert circa 1810, are world-renowned.
After a delicious dinner and one (or two) glasses of Whispering Angel it was time for the main event. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any photos or videos of the night so we only have what the professionals took.
Beyoncé lit up the stage after a 5-year hiatus with an awe-inspiring performance, accompanied by Firdaus, a 48-person orchestra. From the powerful choreography by Emmy-nominated Fatima Robinson, to the featured Mayyas dance group and a special duet with her daughter Blue Ivy, Beyoncé’s performance was unforgettable. The song line-up included a soulful rendition of Etta James’s “At Last,” before diving into a medley of her greatest hits including “XO,” “Halo,” “Beautiful Liar,” “Crazy in Love,” “Naughty Girl,” and “Drunk in Love”.
In a breathtaking finale moment, Beyoncé was raised 16 feet into the air as a first-of-its kind fireworks display lit up the night sky using drones created by Grucci.
To end the evening, guests celebrated into the morning hours with a live afterparty performance by the international DJ supergroup Swedish House Mafia.
It was the perfect end to an incredible weekend. Thanks for the best time, Atlantis!