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Mon 23 Apr 2007 02:30 PM

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Dubai discovers its own Atlantis

The Palm's giant water resort begins to resemble the final design.

Work on Atlantis, The Palm, reached a milestone today when the steel trusses for the resort's ‘Bridge Suite' were positioned and secured.

The two 75-tonne trusses extending over 42 metres were lifted by a 500-tonne crane during a two-week period and now connect the East and West towers of the Royal Tower, which will house the resort's luxury hotel.

Not only that, but by completing the steel structure of The Royal Towers, the building itself visually begins to resemble the final design.

"It is amazing how the Bridge Suite completes the picture of Atlantis as it soars at 20 floors above the lobby dome - it really is breathtaking," said Jim Boocher, president of US-based Kerzner International, the company that has joined forces with Dubai-based Istithmar to develop the super resort.

"The Royal Towers completely dominate the crescent landscape right from the moment you drive or eventually ride the monorail up the Trunk of the Palm Jumeirah. The Bridge Suite trusses, even in their bare state really create a ‘wow' impact and gives the visitor a taster of what is to come."

Mammoth resort and entertainment project, Atlantis, The Palm, is set to take Dubai's hotel and hospitality industry to new giant proportions when it opens its doors in November 2008.

Developers of the offshore complex are not only intent on creating a 1539-room hotel along a 1.4-km beach and a 42-acre water park on the crescent of The Palm Jumeriah, but have made provisions to expand this facility if necessary.

And, according to Alan Leibman, managing director of Kerzner International, Atlantis could rival Jumeirah's Burj Al Arab in the Dubai icon stakes.

"Jumeirah has done a phenomenal job with its projects, including the Burj Al Arab, but there is no doubt that people will come to Dubai just to see the Atlantis," he said.

Leibman described the Atlantis, as a "world-class resort" in "a world-class location" with guaranteed "wow" factor.

Some of the project's key features include 65,000 marine creatures, some of which will be incorporated into innovative water park rides, including tunnels surrounded by a shark tank, as well as The Dig - an Atlantis-themed archaeological experience featuring "incredible" marine exhibits.

Leibman has also promised at least four celebrity chefs cooking across 15-20 expertly designed F&B outlets and some interesting retail propositions at the resort's shopping mall. He has guaranteed "entertainment for all the family" at Atlantis, but has by no means limited scope for the project's expansion.

"We have room to add further phases to accommodate extensions of the brand," he said.

"We have land either side [of the resort] and maybe we would look at land reclamation."

Likely extension projects would include more rooms, additional entertainment and attractions, as well as a marina development, he added.

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