Inside the Wild New Hotel where Beyoncé just performed in Dubai

Everything sparkled this weekend at the unveiling of the long-awaited Atlantis The Royal resort, from the golden toothbrushes in the bedroom vanity kit to a mesmerizing performance by Beyoncé. Over a thousand celebrities and special guests from around the world have arrived in Dubai to witness the exclusive, invitation-only grand reveal of the city’s newest ultra-luxury resort. Those not physically present probably couldn’t escape his rooftop parties and mind-blowing concerts on Instagram and TikTok during the three-day event, which was filled with luxury experiences like prepared bites. by Michelin starred chefs. The main event was Beyoncé’s first live performance since 2018 and fireworks to the beat of electronic house music supergroup Swedish House Mafia.

Below are my favorite highlights and observations from the champagne-soaked weekend.

Dubai’s latest skyline icon

Atlantis The Royal is located on the crescent of the Palm Jumeirah, the famous palm-shaped man-made island, overlooking the island’s fronds and the turquoise Arabian Sea. The architecture (designed by NYC’s Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates) is breathtaking – it’s massive, yet somehow delicate, curving towards the sea, with blocks of suites stacked on top of each other in the middle of blue sky windows, giving a lightness to the structure. It’s a very different aesthetic from its neighboring sister property, Atlantis The Palm. Where The Palm is pink and majestic, The Royal is more neutral and modern. Inside, you’ll find plenty of gold and marble, but compared to what one might expect of an ultra-luxury resort in Dubai, it’s glamorous and understated. Everything shines – the staff work meticulously to remove every fingerprint and smudge leaving all reflective surfaces (really, I couldn’t escape). Rooms are also neutral and airy with plush white beds, dark wood sliding doors, and touches of gold throughout. Each room has a balcony, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views of the island and the Dubai skyline in the distance, or directly facing the sea. What if you’re looking for something truly opulent? You can check into the 11,000 square foot royal mansion (where Queen Bey herself stayed) for the small fortune of $100,000 a night.

The sculpture droplets, the focal point of the main hall, consists of over 5 tons of stainless steel.

Cedric Riberio/Getty/Atlantis Dubai


The Global A-List Crowd

The buzz surrounding the event has taken over the whole city (and the internet, to quote a viral post that made the rounds over the weekend: “There are two kinds of people in the world. People who are in Dubai right now. And us.”) On my way from Dubai airport to the Royal, my driver asked me: “Are you famous?” I laughed and said, “Yeah, Beyoncé is opening for me.” The joke didn’t land and I quickly brushed it off (“no, no, not at all”). I found the question hilarious, but it’s one I’ve heard over and over again throughout the weekend. For example, on the way to Kendall Jenner’s party (more on that below), a woman asks a man across from her in the crowded elevator, “Are you someone I would know?” “Yes I am sure Sell ​​CO,” he said. “I knew it, I’m sure real housewives from Dubai.” These types of interactions are commonplace with this VIP crowd. As I sit by the pool, I see people staring at each other between photoshoots, trying to figure out who they might be and figure out why they might be important enough to make that guest list. Along with a plethora of reality TV personalities, the guest list included artists, designers, TikTok creators and wellness influencers, all delivering fomo-inducing content to their followers throughout the weekend. end. Other notable celebrities were Chloex Halle Bailey, Letitia Wright, Ashley Park, Gauri Khan, Liam Payne, Ellen Pompeo, the aforementioned Kendall Jenner, and of course, Beyoncé with her husband, Jay-Z and their entire family.

An exclusive suite at Atlantis The Royal

An exclusive suite at Atlantis The Royal

Francois Nel/Getty/Atlantis Dubai

Earth’s Greatest Memories

The Royal is a shopping destination unto itself with multiple chic resort boutiques, home decor stores like Tanagra, and a Valentino boutique, to name a few. Almost every time I returned to my posh room, another small gift had been left for me, cleverly presented, either from the Atlantis brand or from the restaurants and retail stores inside: olive oils donated by José Andrés (his restaurant, fidget, will open at the Royal in February), assorted treats like figs and chocolates from Bateel, a bright red Valentino box (containing a gold-threaded shawl), Moët & Chandon champagne (with a personalized Atlantis The Royal label), lotions, soaps, energizing oils, even a room mist, the same sumptuous fragrance that wafts throughout the resort. It’s just a taste of the kind of wisely decadent service and care guests will expect when the resort opens next month.

The fine dining available at Atlantis The Royal includes a Nobu, which opened in conjunction with the resort.

The fine dining available at Atlantis The Royal includes a Nobu, which opened in conjunction with the resort.

Francois Nail/Getty/Atlantis The Royal

24 hour parties

Friday night kicked off with a “Party of Dreams”, where we got to sample the eight new celebrity chef restaurants opening on the property, led by Nobu Matsuhisa, José Andrés, Costas Spiliadis, Ariana Bundy, Mich Turner and Gaston Acurio. Some of my favorite bites of the weekend came from Acurio’s Peruvian restaurant The sea, like a beautiful leche de tigre ceviche served in a shellfish. On the 22nd-floor rooftop of Cloud 22 (which features a swim-up bar and a glittering head-shaped DJ booth), Kendall Jenner hosted an afterparty for the launch of her tequila brand, 818, where guests snapped photos with Kendall herself, laid on floating beds in the sky pool with the Dubai skyline shimmering in the background, and danced with cocktails in hand while a DJ played Latin hits and a selection of Beyoncé (an aperitif for the following evening). On Saturday, guests were encouraged to take advantage of the tiered Royal Pool, where you can enjoy at-a-glance service from the friendliest staff (and genuine Moët & Chandon vending machines). Then, before the big official reveal, guests walked on a blue carpet and were invited to various restaurants in the resort, from Having dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Tao Group Hospitality’s new restaurant, LingLing. I started my evening at Blumenthal’s restaurant, whose menu delves into British gastronomy’s past (like their iconic Meat Fruit: a tangerine and chicken liver parfait), but found myself drifting towards the Friday night dinner scene at Gastronomywhere I once again sampled everything the resort has to offer, from local oysters to LingLing‘s steamed dumplings.

The weekend ended with an hour-long performance by Beyoncé on Saturday.

The weekend ended with an hour-long performance by Beyoncé on Saturday.

Mason Poole/Parkwood Media/Getty/Atlantis The Royal

Beyoncé’s dazzling return to the stage

On what you’re really here for: Beyoncé’s long-awaited return to the stage, cementing this reveal as, officially, the grandest ever (hyperbole, maybe, but…it’s Beyoncé). There was a strict no-phone policy while she was performing. I’m a staunch follower of the rules (and was grateful to be freed from the shackles of my phone – a rare luxury for those working in social media), but many couldn’t resist the lure of capturing seconds to prove their presence, only to be quickly approached by security personnel who appeared out of nowhere at Queen Bey’s command. The no-phone rule allowed the crowd to be fully present as Beyoncé performed Etta James’ “At Last,” “Halo,” “Countdown,” “Crazy in Love,” “Ave Maria” (a religious experience) , and even brought her daughter, Blue Ivy, for a duet of “Brown Skin Girl” (and no, she didn’t perform any songs from her latest album). She was accompanied by the all-female orchestra Firdaus and the utterly spellbinding Lebanese dance troupe Mayyas on a three-level outdoor stage in a vibrant renaissance-style setting (The Royal rising elegantly behind), with cascading waterfalls at each level while a large fountain at the front puts on a corresponding water show. Towards the start of the show, I heard complaints buzzing around me that she wasn’t making enough “hits” – but those worries seemed to fade as the crowd lost themselves in the music, swaying together as the champagne continued to flow. The show ended well with a powerful rendition of “Drunk in Love” where Beyoncé seemed to levitate amid a dramatic field of water and fire.

Fireworks and a Swedish House Mafia set finished things off after Beyoncé took the stage.

Fireworks and a Swedish House Mafia set finished things off after Beyoncé took the stage.

Jeff Spicer/Getty/Atlantis The Royal

The performance ended with a massive display of fireworks and drones illuminating every corner of the station, taking us to the next outrageous stage of the night, when house music supergroup Swedish House Mafia took to stage for DJ an after party that lasted late into the night. . After dragging myself to my bedroom (which was fully locked when I arrived: curtains closed, lights dimmed, chocolates left by my bedside), my Instagram feed revealed even more late-night happenings happening in the whole complex. a truly endless party to christen Dubai’s new icon.

Atlantis The Royal will officially open on February 10. Expect a full review by Condé Nast Traveler once the hotel officially opens. For now, you can book your stay. here.

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This article originally appeared on Conde Nast Traveler.

Originally appeared on Architectural Digest

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