DUBAI: Jetting up from the ground in what appear to be interlocking Lego blocks on Dubai’s renowned Palm Jumeirah Island is the city’s latest luxury endeavor and perhaps its grandest yet: the Atlantis The Royal. The hotel, 43 storeys high and spanning 406,000 square meters, opened with a star-studded private performance on Saturday night by Beyonce (Grammy’s most nominated artist, tied with her husband Jay-Z) who took to the stage for her first full-length concert since 2018.
Fourteen years in the making, the grand reveal of Atlantis The Royal reflects the mission of Dubai to once again challenge the boundaries of imagination and the definition of ultra-luxury travel. The mega structure that towers above its iconic sister property, Atlantis The Palm — which opened in November 2008 to similar fanfare, including a $5 million firework display and a performance by pop star Kylie Minogue — is 500-meters long and 178-meters tall.
It was designed by Wimberly, Allison, Tong & Goo, also known as WATG, an international firm specializing in luxury hotel complexes. The design incorporates classical Arabian architecture and local Bedouin references through both the interiors and exteriors, laden with semi-precious stones, intricate fossilized shells, and 'fish' stones — a nod to historical Gulf building techniques.
Ahead of the resort’s grand weekend opening, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, toured the 795-room and 231-residence property and posted pictures of his tour on Twitter calling it an “architectural masterpiece that will boost the tourism sector.”
The hotel, which became an immediate icon for Dubai, supports the recently launched Dubai Economic Agenda D33’s goal to consolidate the city’s position as one of the world’s top three global cities for tourism and business.
In a statement underlining the importance of the tourism sector to the UAE’s national economy, Sheikh Rashid said, “We have ambitious growth targets for the sector over the next ten years. The UAE and Dubai seek to build on their deep partnerships with the private sector to strengthen the country’s status as the world’s most popular destination for international tourists.”
“As part of our efforts to create a fertile ground for investors, we are keen to foster new growth opportunities in the tourism sector. Our steadfast commitment to building an exceptionally safe and stable environment and a world-class infrastructure over the last few decades has created the foundations for a remarkable future,” he added.
With its decadent design and long list of luxury and fashion brands, Atlantis The Royal, which is frequently being referred to simply now as “The Royal,” pushes the boundaries of modern luxury. The luxury amenities in their sheer quantity are nothing short of impressive: there are 92 pools, 17 top restaurants and bars from chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, José Andrés and Nobu Matsuhisa, brands such as Valentino and Louis Vuitton, and a host of other uber luxurious details and offerings.
Beyonce, the pinnacle of the resort’s grand reveal, was allegedly paid $24 million to play for one hour for 1,500 guests as part of the resort’s three-day opening celebration. She also performed “Brown Skin Girl” with her daughter, Blue Ivy, 11, which had won them both a Grammy Award in 2021. The evening featured several of Beyoncé’s classic hits, including “Crazy in Love”, “Flaws and All,” and “Be Alive” mixed with iconic songs by Lebanese icon Fayrouz and legendary Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum.
The evening culminated with a spectacular fireworks display that illuminated the Palm Jumeirah skyline alongside performances by global and regional DJs, musicians, and dancers.
The grand opening weekend also featured the star-studded grand opening events of Nobu and Ling Ling and the launch of Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila on the resort’s sky pool, Cloud 22. On Sunday, the resort hosted a fashion event to debut Beyoncé’s latest Ivy Park Collection.