China has never shied away from seemingly impossible projects and with the Atlantis Sanya resort, they proved once again that impossible is just a state of mind.
The $1.6 billion resort is essentially a luxury hotel crossed with a water park, boasting underwater suites, waterslides, and an absolutely outrageous aquarium. Just to understand the scale of this place, the Lost Chambers Aquarium alone is made up of 12.6 million gallons of water and home to 60,000 sea creatures.
The Atlantis Sanya resort is located on Hainan, a tropical island in the South China Sea and took four years to build before opening ahead of Chinese New Year 2018. Everything about the place is designed to inspire awe, starting with a 742-foot-tall tower which dominates the 806-acre grounds.
Serge Zaalof, the chief operating officer at Atlantis Resorts & Residences, said in a statement: “The Atlantis brand is known for unique, ocean-themed destinations offering a wide variety of entertainment experiences and Atlantis Sanya is no exception. The owner, Fosun International, is an incredible partner and together we have created a resort that offers unprecedented experiences to its guests.”
The resort has 1,314 guest rooms, including 154 luxurious suites above ground and five breathtaking underwater suites. Of the 21 restaurants, bars and cafes on the grounds, what’s really special is the Ossiano Underwater Restaurant. Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, more famous for screaming at absently minded restaurateurs, also has a restaurant at the resort.
For guests looking to get pampered, Israeli company Ahava, specializing in Dead Sea products, has a giant spa in place and there’s even an Aquaventure Waterpark to keep the kids busy.
Named after the lost city of Atlantis, underwater spectacles are a theme of the resort and nowhere is that more apparent than in the aforementioned Lost Chambers Aquarium. Spanning two floors and 2,600 different species, with above and below water observation galleries, it’s officially the world’s largest open-air aquarium.
The Atlantis Sanya Resort actually has two sister properties – the Palm, which opened in Dubai in 2008 (undergoing a $100 million renovation) and Paradise Island in the Bahamas – and as you can imagine, they’re not too shabby themselves. Another property is currently under development, the $1.4 billion Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences in Dubai, with the following resort to be developed at Ko Olina in Hawaii.
Beyond these plans, the company is considering opening smaller properties elsewhere in the Gulf, as well as eyeing locations like Mexico and Bali for further expansion.