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And the verdict is…?

And the verdict is…?

Atlantis needs to watch its step as reviews of Dubai’s newest tourist attraction start to trickle in.

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September 29, 2008 1:10 by



Atlantis, the massive and ludicrously kitschy new resort at the end of Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah artificial island, is remaining tight-lipped in response to a mocking review in the UK’s Sun tabloid, Arabian Business reports.

The Sun review portrays the Atlantis as a gaudy folly painted “in cold sore pink” and “plonked on a palm-shaped island five kilometers from the most soulless country this side of the equator,” leaving us to wonder which antipodean nations the cruel reviewer thinks are even more soulless than the UAE.

We were especially interested in the Sun’s take on the 35-foot work by American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, which dominates the main lobby. The UK’s Sunday Times called it “cascading multi-colored spaghetti”; we dubbed it a Technicolor Medusa’s wig; for the Sun it was nothing less than “the Jolly Green Giant’s lower intestines.” Ew.

Asked by Arabian Business to respond to the review, Atlantis stayed mum. This is a smart move on the resort’s part, since if the management starts responding to every negative review of Atlantis, they’ll soon find precious little time on their hands to train the staff.

Atlantis has to be careful. On the hotel’s opening night, the valet service was a nightmare of misplaced vehicles. One British man hurled obscenities at the valet service manager, claiming he’d been waiting for his car for 90 minutes. Others said they were on the verge of missing their flight due to the delays.

On a later night – yes, we actually went back – in the bar just off the lobby, bartenders (of which there were far too many for the number of customers) ignored patrons at that bar. When asked to make a gin and tonic, one barman obligingly took the order and promptly forgot about it.

Even at posh Nobu, the acclaimed Japanese eatery, waiters in the bar area had to be flagged down in order to place an order on opening night.

At this point, upping the standard of service at the hotel and its accompanying bars and restaurants is paramount. A slew of negative reviews in the European press could cost the resort dearly.

It’s not panic time yet. Atlantis is obviously ironing out kinks in the service.

Yet there could be far worse to come than what appeared in The Sun.

In fact, the tabloid spent few column inches criticizing the hotel’s services. The place came out fairly well in that regard. The paper devoted plenty of space, meanwhile, listing the hotel’s numerous attractions and commenting on the utter tastelessness of the whole affair.

Tastelessness? You read that correctly. The Sun is criticizing something for lacking taste. Call us snobs, but we reckon this review will only help Atlantis, since the paper’s readers are likely to shake their heads at the outrageousness of it all before rushing to find an affordable Atlantis deal.



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