Archive for June, 2010

Excuse me sir, there’s a leak in your room

Unlikely as it may seem the above words were the prelude to the best hotel experience I have ever had.

I booked us a couple of nights at the Atlantis on Palm Jumeirah to satisfy our desperate need for a short holiday, without the hassle of going abroad.  Having heard of many people who used it I decided to try for the reservations, and indeed found very good discounts.

We set off Thursday afternoon, after work, and after the inevitable last-minute packing.  In order not to lose time both my wife and I decided to skip the shower at home, so the first thing we did after settling in our room was enjoy a long hot shower each.  Later we pondered our dinner options and chose the Kaleidoscope (international buffet), not really knowing what to expect.

It turned out to be a really well-stocked and laid out buffet, and the selection boasted a Maltese dish (which was rabbit stew – no, we didn’t try it).  I will not bother to go into lengthy descriptions, I would not do it justice.  As is required in such occasions, we decided to take our time and take the small-portion-from-each-course-route.

Half way through the third course I received the fateful phone call from Guest Services.  Apparently the leak was originating from our room, but affecting the service areas.  Our room was still dry.  The lady went on to explain that the whole floor’s water supply had to be shut down until they could fix the leak, and could we please come asap to our room to move our stuff to another room.  Before I had time to explain that I had methodically unpacked and used every storage space available in the room, I was politely interrupted and told that we were going to be upgraded to a suite.

The weight of that immediately sank in, but I still didn’t want to let it go without a fight.  I thanked her and assured her we would have our things ready within the next 20 minutes.  Next I called for the restaurant manager, making a fuss about how we couldn’t continue our meal due to something that was beyond our control.  Without raising any protest or trying to sleaze out of it, the man made me pay only for the bottle of wine, and instructed me to call once in the new room to order items for room service delivery (together with our still-unfinished wine) at no extra cost whatsoever – I ended up not paying for any food at all.

We scrambled back to our room, half expecting to find an army of workers waiting by our door, with their arms crossed, tapping their tools impatiently. Relieved that it wasn’t so, we threw everything in our cases in record speed and waited. Ten minutes passed, nothing. I called, they would be there shortly. Another twenty minutes.  By this point I’m already putting together another complaint, about how we could have easily finished the meal and what was the rush. Then the porter came, took our bags and grinning said, “you’ll like your new room.”

And was he right.  Big living room, big bedroom, 2 TVs (one in each of the mentioned rooms), huge bath, shower, walk in closet, smaller closet, 2 toilets, big balcony, wonderful views.  I had to play the video-camera-tourist this time, so you can see for yourself:

From our balcony we could see the big aquarium, and it’s a truly memorable sight, at night seeing those fish and rays swimming in the back-lit water.

Atlantis aquarium

The aquarium doesn’t look too big from above, but to have an idea here’s the aquarium from the Ambassador Lagoon viewing gallery (which now costs AED 25 to access):

Ambassador Lagoon

View down the Palm

It had finally happened, we could no longer pout that the we were always unlucky in these sorts of events. We spent the following day at the Aquaventure water park, and still flush with the excitement of “it happened to us” we decided to take it a step further and booked a slot to swim with the dolphins.

My god what an experience! It felt like the fulfillment of a dream I didn’t know I had.  Together with a another group of 3 we spent 30 minutes swimming, hugging, kissing, stroking, dancing, and being pulled through the water (with the dolphin of course – her name was Alice).  It is highly recommended.  Forget the cost, where / when will such an opportunity present itself again?