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Last edited 28 Feb 2017
Atlantis, The Palm
Atlantis, The Palm is a five-star ocean-themed resort hotel on the apex of the man-made Palm Island’s crescent, Dubai, UAE. The building was the first to be built on the island and is based around the myth of Atlantis, as depicted in the works of Plato. The main building has two central towers, referred to as East and West, joined together by the Royal Bridge Suite.
The 46 hectare resort comprises 1,539 rooms, 23 restaurants, luxury boutiques, and a 17 hectare nautical-themed water park and tropical gardens containing more than 250,000 plants and trees. A key feature of the water park is the Leap of Faith slide; a 60 ft drop at an 86-degree angle from the top of a replica Mayan temple. It propels riders through a clear acrylic tunnel submerged in a shark-filled lagoon.
The resort includes one of the largest open-air marine habitats in the world, containing approximately 65,000 marine animals in lagoons and other displays. Three-storey underwater suites allow guests to literally ‘sleep with the fishes’.
Atlantis was developed as a joint venture between Kerzner International Holdings Ltd. and Istithmar, and officially opened in September 2008. The construction cost was reported to be US$1.5 bn. In April 2012, Istithmar acquired Kerzner’s 50% stake in the property for US$ 250m. The property continues to be managed by Kerzner International Resorts.
 Design and construction
The design incorporates classical Arabian architecture in both the interior and exterior of the 23-storey hotel, with semi-precious stones, intricate fossilised shells and 'fish' stones included throughout. A 10 m-high glass sculpture by artist Dale Chihuly contains more than 3,000 pieces of intensely-coloured blown glass ranging from fiery oranges and reds to tranquil blues and greens, surrounded by a reflection pool. The hotel lobby's 19 m-high arched ceilings feature 8 hand-painted murals by Spanish artist Albino Gonzalez.
The contractor, Laing O’Rourke, developed the hotel envelope using a modular precast glass-fibre/reinforced concrete façade, which was installed by their in-house specialists Emirates Precast. They also developed a pioneering facility to pre assemble modular bathroom ‘pods’ in a controlled factory environment. 1,500 pods were delivered direct to the site and installed at a rate of 38 per week.
The logistical operation to facilitate the build of the intricate design presented challenges. A highly complex operation was set up involving road deliveries, handling and distribution, temporary utilities, communication systems, traffic management and an enormous amount of on-site labour. At its peak, a workforce of 10,000 were employed, working 2 million hours a month.
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