Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum had another vision: he wanted to have a casino-free version of the amazing Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas resort on top of his famous 'Palm Jumeirah', an artificial palmtree-shaped island reaching out into the Persian gulf. And lo, there was Atlantis Dubai!
Besides being a picturesque hotel resort looking like a still from a Star Wars trailer, you'll find a brilliant water park and an absolutely marvelous Atlantis-themed aquarium.
'Lost Chambers', the aquarium, really feels like walking through a sunken city with winding caverns punctuated by enormous windows opening out to an aquatic utopia filled with sharks, barracudas and rays.
'Aquaventure', the water park, will make your jaw drop: first with the ticket price and afterwards with the quality of the slides. 'Ziggurat', the centerpiece of the park resembling a Mesopotamian temple, hosts an array of state-of-the-art waterslide choices including water coasters that shoot you up-and-down and 'The Leap of Faith', a steep slide that sends you through a shark-infested pool (in a tunnel, of course).
Highlight for the sluggardly and slothful: escalators which lift you back up to the top of the slides without the need to leave your tube, guaranteeing an endless sliding experience. Another highlight are the 'Rapids', an artifical white-water rafting adventure circumnavigating the whole park.
Both 'Lost Chambers' and 'Aquaventure' are an absolute must when you are in Dubai.
Atlantis The Palm in 2008
Atlantis Aquaventure water park
Leap of Faith slide protruding from the central slide tower
Leap of Faith slide from above
Leap of Faith slide POV
A faithful leaper
Full speed through the shark tank. You won't see anything!
The Leap of Faith ends here
Tube slider getting ready
Aquaventure water coaster slides
These slides are a lot of fun!
Water power pushes the sliders up
Burj al Arab hotel in the background
Slide conveyor belt for the lazy
Aquaventure slide tower at night
Slow tube slide through a shark tank
Sliders and sharks
Atlantis hotel seen from the adjoining water park
White water river fun
The Rapids river ride
The water park has its own stretch of Palm Jumeirah beach
Entrance to the 'Lost Chambers'
Lost Chambers aquarium
Massive fish tank
Whale shark in the tank
People, cameras and giant fish
Aquaventure tower seen from one of The Palm's fronds
Atlantis The Palm under construction, 2007
Ziggurat slide tower under construction
Atlantis water park construction site
Water coaster slides in the making
Aquaventure water park aerial shot
Aquaventure water park slide tower aerial
The 'Ziggurat' temple slide tower
Atlantis Dubai slide tower
Ziggurat Tower aerial close-up
Coaster-shaped slides protruding from the tower
Aquaventure water park prior to opening
Atlantis seen from the Burj Al Arab hotel
Atlantis The Palm Jumeirah