Thursday, June 26, 2008

Under the Sea...

Yesterday I was taken on a top secret mission to see the new Atlantis Hotel on the Palm – two months before it is due to open. If you’re not familiar with the hotel, it’s a half a billion pound project to build an enormous 7 star hotel out in the middle of the sea. Part of the hotel is submerged underwater – you can access it by submarine. I am not joking. You can book into a suite which is partly submerged, and stare at the fish whilst you are in the bath. One of which was double the size of me and came right up to the glass! (See photo) Freaky.

A client of mine has supplied the bathrooms (ah the glamour of PR) so we went in for a sneak peak. It’s on a scale that I have never seen before. It has 1, 500 rooms. Nearly 300 suites. The biggest suites cost 10k a night to stay I them – and they’re booked up from now until December. It will employ 45, 000 people when it There’s a rumour that Madonna will be the star guest on opening night and do a bit of a turn.

The place is still a building site outside and lots of work going on in inside. It is quite literally a military operation, with 20, 000 people working 24 hours a day to finish the hotel.

In typical PR fashion not one of us was appropriately dressed for the visit. To be fair I had asked just how much of a building site the place was before we went but was assured that it was ‘nearly finished’. How I cursed this as I clambered over the site in flip flops and a summer dress, with hard hat for good measure. To be fair my account exec fared worse, she was in a tight skirt and five inch heels! You can imagine the stir we created as we went on our tour....
We walked almost the full length of the hotel, clambered up and down umpteen flights of stairs (the lifts don’t work yet) stepping over painters, joiners, electricians, cleaners, and divers (in the underwater bit.) It felt like ‘Challenge Anneka’ crossed with ‘The Krypton Factor’. Did I mention that yesterday it was 45 degrees and most of the tour was not in air con.

After 2 hours in the heat I actually thought I was going to die, and scrambled back into the site office looking like I’d had a bucket of water thrown over me. Never again will I complain about the air con being too cold!

My verdict: outrageous, unbelievable hotel. Too Disney for me personally, and the carpets were vile, but as a visual spectacle, it really does have to be seen to be believed.

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