The Luxe List 2009, United Arab Emirates: Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

At this behemoth, the numbers speak for themselves. Costing US$1.5 billion to build, the 1,539-room resort covers 461,000 square kilometers, showcases 65,000 marine animals, stirs appetites with 17 restaurants and four big-name chefs (including Michel Rostang and Nobu Matsuhisa), and charges in excess of US$29,000 a night for its premier Bridge Suite. The first of 30 hotels planned for the Palm Jumeirah, the largest manmade island on the planet, the Atlantis also has its own theme park, Aquaventure, with wet-and-wild rides and a private 700-meter-long beach. While the standard rooms are surprisingly sedate in design, the Lost Chambers Suites are as lavish as they come, with floor-to-ceiling windows looking not out to the water, but into it—partly submerged, the suites offer exclusive views of the resort’s Ambassador Lagoon, where a cornucopia of exotic marine life glides by (Crescent Rd.; 971-4/426-2000;; doubles from US$789).

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