„I, like many, unfortunately travelled much less in 2020 than in previous years. But in autumn, Dubai and the Atlantis, The Palm convinced me for a remote work week.” Angela Barzen, Managing Director of Business Wellbeing and guest author of Bleisure Traveller
Being able to work anywhere in the world – that’s one aspect I love about my job. To prepare lectures or seminars, I only need my head, my laptop, a good internet connection and preferably a place where I feel completely comfortable and can be creative.
Corona severely limits my ability to travel – both professionally and privately. Places I can be are dictated by incidence rates and entry and exit regulations. Business trips follow strong security considerations. When the opportunity arose in November to travel to Dubai – with a valid negative PCR test (not older than 96 hours), I seized the chance: I made the Atlantis The Palm, Dubai my place of work, including relaxing and pampering myself. Remote work for a few days – Dubai impressively demonstrates how it can currently work.
Clear arrival …
As soon as the flight from Munich lands, it becomes clear how strictly Dubai handles Corona. Anyone who cannot immediately present a negative test must take it at the airport and then remain in quarantine until the result is known. Masks are compulsory in all rooms and when moving around outdoors. Everyone complies with it, it is a matter of course – without affecting the positive atmosphere. I feel safe right from the start.
My plane lands late in the evening – all the nicer that I am picked up from the hotel and can thus start my stay truly “a world away”. At the Atlantis itself, the spectacular entrance already gives an idea of how much it could be worthwhile to spend remote work time here.
Lounge work with sunset
My room in the East Tower overlooking the sea is spacious, modern, comfortable. From the terrace I have an unobstructed view of the daily water fountain shows staged opposite. I will also soon be working frequently from here. Just like by the pool or in the Imperial Club Lounge, where I can have undisturbed video conferences and calls in numerous rooms and alcoves. And: From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., a “sunset meeting” with the setting sun, including cocktails and snacks, beckons in the lounge, if you feel like it.
The high-speed WLAN, which is freely available in the hotel, is reliable and fast at all times and everywhere. The ideas for my projects come to me soon after my arrival, the conception of the seminars goes ahead. Plus lots of before-and-after leisure activities with a high-summer feel. Bleisure, after all.
The sea and I
A special relaxation experience at Atlantis is without a doubt the underwater yoga class in the Lost Chambers Aquarium. Together with up to four other participants – surrounded by thousands of marine animals – I can start the day here. A huge pane of glass separates me from the mighty underwater world during my “dog” or “warrior”. And yet I have the relaxed! feeling of being among the stingrays, jellyfish and moray eels.
The Lost Chambers Aquarium is one of the largest open-air aquariums in the world. Even more superlatives – albeit noisy ones – are promised by the Aquaventure water park, which can be reached on foot within just five minutes via the beach. There, you can choose between letting off steam in and on over 30 water slides, visiting dolphins, sea lions and rays, or relaxing on the private beach.
I always stay loyal to Chambers Aquarium during my time there by also taking the opportunity to dive. When it’s dark, I can dive here in the huge aquarium with over 65,000 sea creatures, let the fish nibble on my fingers, feed them shells. Nothing but rays around me and sharks above my head – an experience I’m sure I’d like to have again during my next stay.
But the daily swim also gives me a special energy. While in Germany and many other countries all swimming pools are currently closed, here I can swim daily in the spacious pool or in the sea. The Atlantis has its own beach section with a separate area for swimming. Even endurance swimmers get their money’s worth with a lane length of about 100 metres in the sea.
“Remain” the gastro experiences for “lockdown starved” people like me. At breakfast, there’s everything from chocolate fountains to salads, dim sums and vegan dishes to the classics. Self-service is not currently possible at the buffet. However, there is enough service on site so that there is no waiting time.
Throughout the day, the various restaurants are simply great cinema – whether Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen & Bar, Nobu Dubai, Ronda Locatelli or Wavehouse Dubai. My personal tip: the dinner at Hakkasan Dubai, which locals or long-term guests can currently have delivered to their homes and flats. Sushi and dim sums garnished with caviar or truffles, as well as lobster glazed in honey, are truly unique in the traditional Cantonese cuisine served there. The service is also outstanding. Next to me, an Indian woman sits cross-legged on the bench on one side and businessmen in suits on the other. Everyone is clearly at ease. My lobster is served with chopsticks, like all the dishes. Our waiter answers our questioning look: “You are the guest. Just as you like, with your fingers if you like”.
On Fridays, when there are public holidays in the Emirates, the traditional, particularly spectacular brunches take place again – like at White Beach & Restaurant. Here I try the funky monkey bread or the grilled octopus – directly on the beach, with an infinity pool. Well-known DJs provide a club atmosphere until late in the evening. Hotel guests and locals alike meet there.
What can I say: after a week of adventure, work and lots of good ideas in my head, I have to fly home again. But not before I have taken the obligatory PCR test 24 hours before departure. This is offered directly at the hotel. The spa area, which is currently not allowed to be used, has been set up for this purpose. Anyone leaving Dubai is only allowed to do so if they can show a negative test. It’s just a pity that nobody asks me about it when I arrive in Germany.
Angela Barzen …
wants to travel to Dubai again soon. Also because the Atlantis has launched a Virtual Working Programme with the possibility of long-term stays of 30 nights or more. This means remote work with 65,000 sea creatures, beach, sun, open gastronomies and a lot of sense of security. This already provides a lot of relaxation and creativity in the mind, she also finds as a business well-being coach.
Photos: © Barzen, Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
At a glance
Getting there: Air France, British Airways, Emirates, Lufthansa and others currently fly to Dubai from many European cities. From Dubai airport to the hotel on the Palm, Jumeirah, it takes about 25 minutes by car.
Hotel: The Atlantis, The Palm has 1,539 rooms and suites, including the underwater rooms, several meeting and convention facilities and top restaurants such as Bread Street Kitchen & Bar, Nobu and Ronda Locatelli. As an entertainment resort, it features marine and entertainment attractions and a 17-hectare waterscape at Aquaventure Waterpark.
Workplaces in the hotel: in the lobby, in the room and on the balcony, in the Imperial Club Lounge, by the pool, in the Kaleidoscope restaurant on the terrace, in The Shore restaurant on the beach, in the White Beach
im “ShuiQi Spa” in the Hotel (it was closed during the stay):
✓ “Total-Body-Workout” / Cardio- and strength area
✓ Group Fitness
✓ Whole body – inBody Analyzer
✓ Saunas, steam bath, solariums
✓ Underwater Yoga
Address: Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, Crescent Rd – The Palm Jumeirah – Dubai – United Arab Emirates, +971 4 426 2000
Fotos: © Barzen, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai