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Breaking Travel News interview: Timothy Kelly, managing director, Atlantis Resorts & Residences

Breaking Travel News interview: Timothy Kelly, managing director, Atlantis Resorts & Residences

Atlantis, the Palm is a five-star resort located on the iconic Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, that has captured the world’s imagination.

Here Breaking Travel News speaks with Timothy Kelly, executive vice president and managing director, Atlantis Resorts & Residence, about recent renovations, expansion plans and the prevailing mood in the United Arab Emirates’ hospitality market.

Breaking Travel News: Atlantis, the Palm has recently completed a series of renovations of the property – what can you tell me about that?

Timothy Kelly: Our goal at Atlantis, the Palm is to ensure that we keep our identity while staying fresh and ahead of the curve.

We are maintaining our focus on customer needs and demands, and constantly evolving, ensuring that each and every experience is unique, with all our visitors making memories that last a lifetime.

Striving for excellence in all that we do, ahead of Expo 2020 and the opening of the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences in quarter four of 2020.

We have embarked upon a programme that has updated the property with contemporary flair while staying true to the property’s iconic heritage.

Revamped and revitalised, it has been stylishly updated while still keeping the soul of Atlantis alive.


All 1,548 rooms and suites now have a new look and feel with integrated technology features.

We have painted the entire exterior of the resort and re-designed many of our guest areas and restaurants including the VIP check-in lounge, Plato’s tea lounge and Kaleidoscope.

We also introduced some great new additions to the resort this year including the incredibly successful launch of the revolutionary entertainment destination Wavehouse, the opening of Hakkasan Dubai, and a complete refurbishment of our Imperial Club Lounge, which allows guests to up the luxury ante during their stay with us.

Over the next five years, our vision for Atlantis, the Palm, will be to completely own the entertainment space in Dubai, and we have several exciting developments in the pipeline.

One update I can talk about right now is the expansion of Atlantis Aquaventure, which will become one of the biggest waterparks in the world when a third action-packed tower launches in late 2020.

The introduction of the 34-metre tall Trident Tower will add 12 new extraordinary slides to the Atlantis Aquaventure offering, many of which will be record-breaking in their own right.

BTN: There is also a huge expansion in the pipeline, with the opening of the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences planned for late 2020. Is the project on track and what will it bring to the Palm Jumeirah?

TK: We are incredibly excited to present the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences to the world which is on-track to launch in quarte four of 2020.

The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences together with Atlantis, the Palm will create an unrivalled destination spanning roughly 63 hectares of land, with more than two kilometres of beachfront, 45 restaurants and bars – including nine celebrity chef restaurants – and over 90 swimming pools across both properties. 

The vision for the property was to create an ‘icon’ within an icon’, leveraging our very unique location on the crescent of The Palm with an unapparelled resort: the Royal Atlantis.

Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, the team behind the design, were tasked embodying – and enhancing – the architectural wonders of Dubai.

This has resulted in a unique ‘S’ shaped curve to the property which affords guests and residents the feeling that they are floating in the air above the beautiful blue sea of the Arabian Gulf.

Internally, the Royal Atlantis is inspired by the concept of indoor-outdoor living, with hotel rooms and residences featuring lush gardens, spectacular water features, striking art sculptures, sky-line views and opulent open-air spaces that appeal to the sense of sight, smell, taste, sound and touch.

The resort will also feature more than 90 swimming pools and a top of the world infinity Sky Pool that will stretch 90 metres in length and soar to 96 metres above the Palm.

Guests will be able to take advantage of 45 restaurants and bars across both properties, including nine celebrity chef restaurants such as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Jaleo by Jose Andres, and La Mar by Gaston Acurio just to name few.

In simple terms, the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences will forever change the landscape of not only the Palm, but of Dubai as a whole.

Our goal is to continue to offer amazing experiences and everlasting memories that simply cannot be found in one destination anywhere else in the world.

BTN: Atlantis, the Palm recently unveiled plans for a new Beach Club venue. What will that bring to the property and the United Arab Emirates more generally?

TK: Yes, White Beach is a project that has been in the pipeline for some time now and we’re really looking forward to launching the venue in November 2019.

Our strategy with Atlantis is to ensure that there is something new and exciting to see or do every time you visit us; we’re an ever-evolving destination.

With this venue we decided to partner with the team from Addmind hospitality, who run the highly successful nightclub White along with many other global venues, in order to leverage their prowess as the leading nightlife operator in the region with our position as the leading entertainment destination.

With the aim to create a very special globally renowned beach club, this day to night venue will be the place for chilled gathering with friends or evenings of high-energy fun.

The venue itself will encompass multiple beach areas, a live event space, a restaurant with an open-air terrace as well as a shore-side infinity pool.

We’ve really styled it to be very different from any other beach club in Dubai right now; it’s all about combining rustic simplicity with luxury and an authentic Mediterranean edge.

The addition of White Beach adds another dimension to our expanding entertainment experiences, especially following the launch of Wavehouse in January, and our objective is to continue to break boundaries in the culinary and entertainment realm globally as we progress with the launch of the Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences.

BTN: Dubai is preparing to host Expo 2020 from October next year. What impact is this likely to have on the hospitality market in the United Arab Emirates?

TK: It is an exciting time for Dubai’s hospitality sector with Expo 2020 just around the corner.

It’s expected that some 25 million visitors will come to Dubai in the six-month period and that can only be a good thing for all of us in the industry.

Of course, we are seeing a lot of new hotels in Dubai and the sector is arguably more competitive than ever.

However, we see Expo 2020 as an opportunity to show the best of our incredible city to the world and grow Dubai’s already strong tourism sector.

Yes, there are more hotels in the city than ever before, but there is a great variety for consumers.

Atlantis, the Palm, for example, is so much more than just a hotel; it is a world-renowned entertainment destination with the region’s number one waterpark, an incredible portfolio of food and beverage offerings and amazing once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

Expo 2020 will afford us the chance to give even more international visitors the opportunity to enjoy the amazing experiences and everlasting memories that Atlantis, the Palm is known across the world for.

BTN: World Travel Awards has recognised Atlantis, the Palm with a number of titles, including with the trophy for World’s Leading Landmark Resort. How important are accolades such as these for the property?

TK: The World Travel Awards are recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

As such, we were extremely honoured to receive the title of World’s Leading Landmark Resort.

Each and every award win at Atlantis, the Palm is a proud moment and the recognition is not only important for the property, but also for each and every one of our colleagues, who really do work tirelessly to provide unsurpassable guest experiences.

More Information

Atlantis, the Palm is the first entertainment resort destination in the region and located at the centre of the crescent of the Palm in Dubai.

Opened in September 2008, the unique ocean-themed resort features a variety of marine and entertainment attractions, as well as 17 hectares of waterscape amusement at Aquaventure Waterpark, all within a 46-hectare site.

Find out more on the official website.