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Inside Atlantis The Royal, Dubai’s latest hotel resort, which boasts gold toothbrushes and 92 pools

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The social media influencers are out in force at Cloud 22. One is raising her body out of the infinity pool, overlooking the Dubai skyline, simply enough in order that her bronzed derriere is on show and her partner can snap it on his phone.

A DJ stands inside a huge head-shaped structure made out of silver shards and pumps out heavy disco tunes, his head bouncing up and right down to the music at any time when he notices someone is filming.

That’s no surprise. Look-at-me hedonism is what makes Dubai, well, Dubai. 

And here is its latest effort. Perched greater than 300ft within the sky among the many clouds (although we don’t see a single one during our stay), Cloud 22 is Atlantis The Royal’s crowning glory: a rooftop infinity pool and lounge with sweeping views over the Palm – Dubai’s famous artificial tree-shaped archipelago and the town’s forest of sparkling skyscrapers.

It’s big, daring and brash. The numbers speak volumes: there are 795 rooms and suites; 17 restaurants and bars; 17 high-end boutiques; 7,000 fish in three giant tanks within the lobby; a wellness space spanning 36,000 sq ft and a team of two,100 staff from 100 different countries. And the pools? I lose count at 26 (but there are 92).

Infinity and beyond: Harriet Sime checks into Dubai’s Atlantis The Royal for a ‘lavish’ weekend. Above is Cloud 22, the resort’s rooftop venue 

The hotel is spread over six towers and arranged in Tetris-style blocks, Harriet reveals

The hotel is spread over six towers and arranged in Tetris-style blocks, Harriet reveals 

The hotel gained attention long before it began welcoming guests, when in January it placed on a Grand Reveal, inviting big names and anyone who’s anyone to a celebration by which 4,200 bottles of Moet & Chandon were consumed. 

Greater than £100 million (with Beyonce paid a reported £20 million to perform) was spent on the occasion.

Until this 12 months, essentially the most famous hotel launch in history was in 2008, when the Atlantis’s big sister The Palm, opened just round the corner. In 2008, Kylie Minogue performed and ‘the world’s biggest fireworks display’ could apparently be seen from space.

Above is Harriet's Palmscape room type, which is furnished in blue and white and comes with 'drippings of gold'

Above is Harriet’s Palmscape room type, which is furnished in blue and white and comes with ‘drippings of gold’

Harriet reveals that her toothbrush and nail clippers at the hotel are 'caked' in gold

Harriet reveals that her toothbrush and nail clippers on the hotel are ‘caked’ in gold 

The Cloud 22 rooftop infinity pool and lounge is 'perched more than 300ft in the sky among the clouds'

The Cloud 22 rooftop infinity pool and lounge is ‘perched greater than 300ft within the sky among the many clouds’

Spread over six towers and arranged in Tetris-style blocks, the suites at Atlantis The Royal are already at 75 per cent occupancy. 

Guests come from in all places, but most fly in from North America, Russia and Britain. Celebrities are flocking here, too, including Idris Elba, who stayed along with his wife.

I’m here with a friend for a lavish weekend. We’re staying in a Palmscape room 20 levels up which is furnished in blue and white and comes with two giant beds, dark wood sliding doors, a balcony overlooking the Dubai skyline and drippings of gold. Even our toothbrushes and nail clippers are caked in the color.

Harriet dines on spicy kebabs and smoky five-herb stews in Ariana's Persian Kitchen, pictured

Harriet dines on spicy kebabs and smoky five-herb stews in Ariana’s Persian Kitchen, pictured 

Yum's the word: Above is the hotel's Dinner by Heston Blumenthal restaurant

Yum’s the word: Above is the hotel’s Dinner by Heston Blumenthal restaurant 

Harriet observes the 'immaculately-dressed' pool butlers delivering plates of oysters on ice

Harriet observes the ‘immaculately-dressed’ pool butlers delivering plates of oysters on ice

ATLANTIS THE ROYAL BY NUMBERS 

  • 795 rooms
  • 17 restaurants
  • 7,000 fish
  • 92 swimming pools
  • £24,000 an evening for Panoramic Penthouse
  • £1.2 billion cost of construction
  • 2,100 members of staff

People-watching is a pastime of mine. And there’s no higher place to do that than the Atlantis. Here, men with partners young enough to be their daughters canoodle by the pool. There are sweaty, wired nannies pushing prams across the pristine grounds. I even see one man wearing an Erling Harlaand-style pyjama suit carrying a paint pot.

On closer inspection, it’s a Louis Vuitton handbag. And a fast Google search reveals it cost £2,385. Back on the infinity pool, we spend the afternoon sipping on Aperol spritz while helicopters whirr endlessly above within the white Arabian sky, dropping off the hotel’s latest VIP guests. The immaculately-dressed pool butlers deliver plates of oysters and fruit platters on ice, stopping to regulate umbrellas because the sun moves across the sky.

In an attempt to seek out a more authentic Dubai, we drag ourselves away from the beefed-up bodies and massive lips the following morning. A brief taxi ride takes us to Madinat Jumeirah where we dive into the souks and barter over handwoven cushion covers, medjool dates the scale of kiwis, and, after all, gold.

Authentic Dubai fix complete, we head back to the hotel with plastic bags overflowing with goods, cool down with a dip in the ocean and dry off on the sun loungers which line the hotel’s mile-long stretch of imported golden sand.

But despite the bling and mind-boggling scale of the hotel (with rooms starting at £464) the service is intimate and impeccable (every member of staff is adamant on pronouncing my surname appropriately) and the food is great.

At the infinity pool, Harriet spends the afternoon sipping on Aperol spritz while helicopters whirr endlessly above in the white Arabian sky, dropping off the hotel’s latest VIP guests

On the infinity pool, Harriet spends the afternoon sipping on Aperol spritz while helicopters whirr endlessly above within the white Arabian sky, dropping off the hotel’s latest VIP guests

The hotel's Horizon Penthouse. In total, there are 795 rooms and suites at the resort

The hotel’s Horizon Penthouse. In total, there are 795 rooms and suites on the resort 

Guests of the hotel come from everywhere, but most fly in from North America, Russia and Britain. Above is the terrace of a Sky Pool Villa

Guests of the hotel come from in all places, but most fly in from North America, Russia and Britain. Above is the terrace of a Sky Pool Villa 

Harriet writes: 'So, did Atlantis live up to the hype? Absolutely. Would I come again? Definitely (if my lotto ticket comes up)'

Harriet writes: ‘So, did Atlantis live as much as the hype? Absolutely. Would I come again? Definitely (if my lotto ticket comes up)’ 

Beyonce sings at the hotel’s 'Grand Reveal' in January

Beyonce sings on the hotel’s ‘Grand Reveal’ in January

We dine on spicy kebabs and smoky five-herb stews within the Persian restaurant. 

At beachside Milos, we devour stuffed calamari, fried aubergine with creamy Greek cheese and the tastiest, zingiest tomato salad. 

And, at our striped sun loungers at Nobu by the Beach, we’re delivered oysters on ice and buttered black cod on gem lettuce.

Evenings, meanwhile, are spent nibbling on tiny vegan tacos filled with deceivingly meaty pineapple that’s been cooked for 20 hours at Heston Blumenthal’s Resonance bar. 

The drinks are a treat, too. There’s every cocktail conceivable, including several tequila versions designed by American supermodel Kendall Jenner. 

But I’m most impressed by the non-alcoholic cocktails. There are numerous versions of zero per cent gin and negroni mocktails that make me wish to pretend I’m teetotal for the weekend.

So, did Atlantis live as much as the hype? Absolutely. Would I come again? Definitely (if my lotto ticket comes up). I just need to recollect to pack my fancy pyjama set – and buy that designer paint pot.

  • Doubles at Atlantis The Royal cost from £464 an evening (atlantis.com).
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