Under the revised development plan, the Atlantis complex will now cover a total area of 50 hectares and house two hotels – the top-end 1,200-room Royal Towers and an additional 800-room tower catering for the middle market. It will also house a two-storey, 86,000-square-foot conference centre and a 21,000-square-foot ballroom, an Entertainment Village covering 20,000 square feet of retail space and 80,000 square feet of restaurants. Other attractions will include a 40-acre water theme park.

Originally, the hotel was planned to house 1,200 rooms, with the expansion to be carried out under a second phase. However, according to Nakheel executive chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the timing of the expansion scheme was moved forward to accommodate Dubai’s fast-growing tourism sector.

The Atlantis resort will be located at the centre of the outer crescent of the artificial island and will be connected to the palm’s trunk by tunnel and a bridge link for the planned monorail system, which will run from the mainland across the palm. According to Bin Sulayem, evaluation of bids for the construction of the monorail system is still ongoing. At least three companies are in the race for the contract (MEED 19:12:03).

The architect on the Atlantis development is the UK office of Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo (WAT&G). HSBChas the mandate to lead arrange a $700 million debt facility for the project (see Banking & Finance). Kerzner, which already has a presence in Dubai through its operation of the Royal Mirage hotel at Jumeirah beach, will manage the venture on a long-term basis.

Plans are also expected to be unveiled within weeks by Nakheel on another addition to the Palm Jumeirah project, covering the construction of a high-rise building, to be located at the palm’s trunk. However, no further details have been released on the project.

Nakheel has recently issued a letter of intent to the US’ Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) to act as overall programme manager on Palm Jumeirah. The US’ Parsons Internationalis project manager for the infrastructure works while Turner International, also of the US, is project manager for the building works.