Atlantis rising in Dubai

PATRICK MICHAEL travels to the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, for a sneak peek at the emirate’s first 1500-room hotel, the $1.5 billion Atlantis
Work on the Atlantis, The Palm, Jumeirah, (foreground) is progressing at a steady pace.

IN a little less than 29 months, the $1.5 billion Atlantis resort that’s rising from the sea will become a reality.

The world-class hotel resort, a joint venture between Kerzner International and Istithmar, “is now 14 per cent complete,” says says Jim Boocher, president, Kerzner Development and the man overseeing the project.  And, he adds, “by this time next year, the water park, too, would have been completed, with all structural elements in place by mid-2007.”
Nearly 3,400 men in blue with hard hats, over a hundred cranes and caterpillars are hard at work 24/7 at the site and the progress has been steady since the detailing and planning of the Atlantis being built on a 1.5 mile stretch of beachfront on the most prominent section of the man-made island, began 18 months ago. By the time the work begins to peak, over 6,500 well-looked after men will be working at the site.
The 1,539-rooms being developed in two towers will be connected by the ‘Bridge Suite’ situated on the upper levels. The West Tower will consist of 663 rooms and the East Tower will have 876.
Wilson & Associates are working on the designs of the room and the glitzy suites that will appear to be submerged in a shark tank when the windows are opened. Trisha Wilson, the  Dallas interior designer who is also the founder, president and chief executive of the firm, has given her touch to the rooms, some of which, like her designs for the Atlantis Bahamas, the Venetian in Las Vegas, the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo and palaces in the UAE, will defy reality.
The Atlantis will have a commanding view of the multi-million dollar, mostly Arabic style villas that have sprung up on the 16 fronds of The Palm as well as the Arabian Sea. Most, of the villas if not all, have already been snapped up.
The resort, when finished, will be a paradise of luxury accommodation, adrenaline-pumping water slides through shark-infested lagoons, with a complex ride system that will transport guests for over 2kms.
While the Atlantis will dominate the skyline, it will not be the only hotel. There will be 38 other hotels vying to rope in the high-end luxury travelers, family and the middle market.
The Atlantis staff will not be staying on the property. They will be accommodated elsewhere in a property they will be building.
Apart from an essential, select handful who’ve been taken on for the Atlantis, the recruitment drive is yet to get into gear. There’s still time for that. But what is a given is that it will need a whole lot of staff to run the show when it opens its monumental doors to introduce the world to more than 65,000 marine creatures and over 1.2 miles of fresh water adventure.