Visiting Atlantis Hotel by monorail

elevated trains

From our recent trip to Palm Jumeirah by monorail, I feel that this transport system is no way catering to the commuting public. It is built for tourism. First, the fare is too expensive. Next, they are even planning to charge parking fees for people coming from Dubai by car and going to Atlantis Hotel in the palm island by the monorail.

If that’s the case, then it will be more convenient to go directly by car and not bother about the parking fees at the Gateway station and the train fares, of course. However, for sightseeing purposes, the monorail is sure to entertain.

Since the monorail is elevated high above the ground, riding on it will give a great view of the Atlantis Hotel and the whole of Palm Jumeirah.

Speaking of this famous Dubai landmark – The Atlantis Hotel in Dubai is inspired by the original Atlantis that Kerzner built in the Bahamas. It is huge and very, very pink. Built at an estimated cost of $US1.5 billion ($2.4 billion), the 1539-room Atlantis comprises two accommodation towers of more than 20 storeys each, a conference centre, spa, private beach and the water park. All told, it covers 46 hectares, or about 22 times the size of the arena in the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

atlantis-hotel-21

The last station of the monorail is Aquaventure station. Aquaventure is a 17-hectare water park filled with slides and pools inside Atlantis Hotel’s premises and can be seen from the train, too.

Aquaventure at Atlantis Hotel

Hmmm, so enticing!

Aquaventure at Atlantis Hotel

Don’t you just want to change into your swimsuit and join them?

Aquaventure at Atlantis Hotel

We didn’t swim but we took Pristine inside Atlantis Hotel’s mini-mall (I don’t really know what to call it but it has little stores and restaurants inside…) to see the huge aquarium instead.

atlantis-aquarium-whole-panel

and she spent a good amount of time counting the fishes…

Atlantis Hotel Aquarium

Trying to call their attention…

Atlantis Hotel Aquarium

and just stare. Ah, nothing beats free entertainment!

Atlantis Hotel Aquarium

The aquarium seen outside is part of one of Atlantis’ attractions called The Lost Chambers – made to look like the ruins of Atlantis. Not much to say since I’ve not been inside it. 😉

entrance-to-lost-chambers

~ entrance to The Lost Chambers ~

The ceiling has colorful artwork of sea creatures:

atlantis boutique mall ceiling

atlantis boutique mall ceiling

When going to the Palm island by car, you will not feel that this is a reclaimed, man-made island…

atlantis-hotel-by-car

but when aboard the monorail, you can see that it really looks like the shape of a palm, with trunk and fronds and the huge hotel sprawled on the man-made land.

Atlantis Hotel and monorail

Photo not mine.

The entire site – the hotel and the land – was more than 10 metres under the surface of the Persian Gulf eight years ago.

Dubai has created a wonder.

* Just so you know, I was NOT paid by Atlantis Hotel to write this stuff. 🙂 *

Experiencing Dubai’s first monorail

train approaching

The monorail connecting Dubai’s mainland and Atlantis Hotel at Palm Jumeirah has opened last month and we went to experience it.

The driverless light rail system travels along the trunk of the man-made islands from the Gateway station to Atlantis Hotel’s Aquaventure (water park). This monorail system services four stations but for now, only the first and last station is open.

stations

A round trip costs 25 dhs (US$6.8) and a one way ticket costs 15 dhs (US$4). Expensive. Not for everyday commute. In Japan, Pristine would be exempted from buying train tickets but here, no. All children beyond 90 cms has to pay – and we all know how she’s so beyond a meter already!

needs-tkt

The monorail ticket up-close. It is made of hard half plastic-half paper material and shows illustration of the palm island. I say, they should reduce the material cost of this ticket and in turn, reduce the cost of the fares. Train tickets doesn’t have to be this grand.

monorail-ticket

She was excited to scan her ticket at the gate.

going-thru-the-gate

From the train platform, while waiting for our ride, we saw the Burj Al Arab.

burj-al-arab-from-the-platform-4

On the other side, construction at the foot of Palm Jumeirah is still going on. We went on a Friday but apparently, it’s not everyone’s day off. We saw so many workers out in the hot sun.

Palm Jumeirah construction

The train arrived on time, which, honestly, I did not expect. Pristine asked, “where are the other people?” She remembered the rush of the crowds at the train stations in Tokyo.

Inside Palm Jumeirah monorail

Another view of how the train looked inside. There were no other people in that car compartment so we had the space all to ourselves.

inside Palm Jumeirah monoraiil

On our left side, we can see One and Only Royal Mirage Hotel’s private beach.

one-and-only-royal-mirage-private-beach

The monorail stopped at the two stations, Trump Tower and Palm Mall but the doors did not open. There’s no Trump Tower and Palm Mall yet!

As the train nears Atlantis Hotel, I was finally able to take a photo of it, with the whole building in one frame.

Atlantis Hotel Dubai

Atlantis Hotel is built on the crescent part of the palm islands and the last stop of the monorail. We got a closer glimpse of the private beach. I hope the beach goers had a lot of sunblock lotion on!

atlantis-hotel-private-beach-closer

The monorail’s last stop is Aquaventure station. Aquaventure is a fun waterpark inside Atlantis Hotel. We can see the action from the waterpark aboard the monorail.

Aquaventure at Atlantis Hotel

As we arrived at Aquaventure station, poor girl thought we’re going to go swimming and rushed out. She was so excited to swim!

entering-aquaventure-station

But of course we didn’t because it was not part of the plan. Besides, it costs a lot to swim at Aquaventure – something to the tune of US$77 per person!

Random facts about Dubai’s first monorail:

  • Monorail trains are driverless, total of 4 trains operating, will increase to 9 trains per hour after the monorail connects to the Dubai Metro.
  • Each train has three carriages
  • Journey length (one way) is 5.45 km and takes 5 minutes (I feel it was beyond 5 minutes but I didn’t measure the time)
  • Cost of the Jumeirah Monorail project was AED 1.4 billion (US$380 million), equivalent to the cost of 56 million return tickets on the monorail, which would take about 5 years to recover if the train ran at full capacity of 2400 passengers per hour during opening hours.  (Oh dear…did you see how empty the train was?)
  • Monorail developed by consortium of developers, led by Marubeni Corp of Japan, and including Obayashi, a civil contractor Obayashi, and Hitachi, a train builder and mechanical/electrical contractor, at their Kasado Works plant in Japan.  (Main reason why my husband was so interested in this – he has friends working on the monorail and the Metro)

Watch for the next installment of this post where we take a look of what’s inside Atlantis Hotel and a video while the monorail is running!