Nestled on the vibrant shores of Dubai, Atlantis The Royal reigns supreme as a luxurious escape. Spearheaded by the executive vice president and managing director, Timothy Kelly, whose unwavering commitment to delivering on promises and exceeding guest expectations has cemented Atlantis The Royal’s status as a premier destination, we hear what he has to say regarding the resort’s offerings.
What can you tell us about your professional experience?
I have over three decades of experience and have worked in many major iconic destinations and resorts.
Having managed multiple property portfolios in Las Vegas, Macau and Cotai, I also successfully opened the Wynn Palace Resort and Casino in Macau in 2016. Prior to joining Wynn Resorts, I was the VP of hotel operations at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where I managed a vast array of brands in the portfolio with over 6,700 rooms.
I was part of Forbes Travel Guide’s Service Advisory Committee, representing the Asia-Pacific region for five-star luxury service and maintenance standards. I also served on the board of directors for the Nevada Hotel Lodging Association for six years and was recognized for my work and support of concierge services worldwide, receiving lifetime membership from Les Clefs d’Or International in 2009.
For the past five years, I’ve been responsible for managing Atlantis, The Palm’s operations and strategic direction. All administrative, retail, food and beverage, banqueting and special events, marine and waterpark, and recreational services also fall under my responsibility. Although my policy in Atlantis Dubai prioritizes people over profit, I made sure that Atlantis, The Palm achieved the highest resort revenue, the greatest guest satisfaction results and most impressive colleague engagement results in its history.
I am also a proud graduate of the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, earning my BSc in hotel administration in 1993 and my master’s in 2018.
So, you could say that my professional experience is leading large, integrated resorts. I’ve opened multimillion resorts, such as the signature Tower Suites that were part of MGM Skylofts, as well as the USD 4.8 billion Wynn Palace hotel in 2016 in Macau and, most recently, Atlantis, The Royal in Dubai.
How would you describe your leadership style?
My leadership style is people over profit. I build great teams and have certain expectations from them. My open-door policy means that anyone can come into my office at any time and have a conversation about anything.
I am good at developing strategies that deliver great results and surrounding myself with the best talent at all levels of the organization. I think that that’s probably the secret to my success in achieving outstanding results throughout my career is building great teams.
Atlantis The Royal has been designed to challenge the boundaries of imagination. In your opinion, how is it reshaping what ultra-luxury travel means?
With regards to Atlantis The Royal and how it’s designed it challenges the boundaries of imagination, I believe that its incredible architecture and design is extremely complicated, so much so that it can be appreciated close up and from afar. If you look at the “S” curve design of the building and the fact that it was basically designed from the bottom up, as if it were a bespoke, custom-made suit. No two rooms are the same size, and there’s no area of the tower, from the podium level to the very top of the 43rd floor, that resembles another. It stands tall amongst the beauty of the many glorious buildings found in Dubai.
We have villas in the clouds, and there are 44 pools throughout the tower. Interestingly, we have suites with more outdoor than indoor space. So, imagine yourself 30 stories high with a great pool and a mesmerizing view that’s totally private!
In my opinion, we have the best suite on Earth: the royal mansion. It is 11,000 square and boasts two terraces, one that faces the Arabian Gulf and the other that affords a spectacular view of the Dubai skyline. It’s among the world’s most expensive suites, retailing for USD 100,000 a night, and hosted Beyonce, who performed during the unveiling of Atlantis The Royal. The suite comprises four bedrooms but has the capacity to increase to 15 bedrooms. Besides having its own security, cinema room, safe room, office and gym, it also comes with butler service, a team of chefs and spa staff, all of whom are exclusively serve guests who stay there.
What differentiates Atlantis The Royal from other properties?
It is the only integrated resort in the world designed for social media. The hotel was conceptualized to provide outstanding views from every angle. No matter where guests stand — whether it’s in the lobby, tower or restaurant — they can enjoy Dubai’s beautiful scenery. Although Atlantis The Royal may appear like an overpowering 43-story high resort, it is quite intimate because of its vertical design.
In addition, our food and beverage offering is quite something. At Atlantis, The Palm and Atlantis The Royal, we proudly have the largest number of celebrity chefs found anywhere in the world under one roof. This makes us a top choice for foodies and lovers of gastronomy. Our guests can select from 17 different restaurants anchored by Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and La Mar by Gaston Acurio, concepts we are proud of.
When it comes to wellness, what sets us apart is the fact that we have a wellness clinic. There, guests can receive advice from healthcare professionals. They can also access cutting-edge therapies using peptides and stem cells as mechanisms in which to better their health, wellness and quality of life. This makes us a pillar for wellness. Furthermore, we offer unique experiences. For example, guests can meditate with dolphins.
We have an impressive retail section, anchored by Valentino, as well as a Baccarat and crystal store. Louis Vuitton, the first of its kind in a hotel in the region, will open by Q3 2023.
In terms of entertainment, we have our ultra-lounge Ling Ling and the largest water park in the world. Guests can also access Atlantis Dubai’s entertainment facilities, our family entertainment center and Wavehouse.
We believe that Atlantis The Royal is truly unique from a product perspective, but what really sets it apart from Atlantis, The Palm is that it’s the first integrated resort in the world that was designed with Instagram and social media in mind. Guests are surrounded by Instagrammable and compelling features. Upon entering the resort, they walk through a “waterfall” to reach the lobby, which is filled with trees made of crystals. We also have aquariums with projectors, so we remain true to our ocean theme.
What can you tell us about the grand reveal weekend?
The grand reveal ceremony was quite special for us. It was a very magical moment to host big names like Beyonce, Kendall Jenner, Jay Z, Rebel Wilson and Liam Payne. Our main objective was to raise awareness and capture the world’s attention, which we managed to do. The success of the campaign was phenomenal, as the event became a viral sensation, with over 45 billion impressions.
How has the initial opening period been?
Since we opened on February 10, we have been quite active. To summarize, we are well ahead of our initial projections. The resort has been very well received. We didn’t want to have a product that competes with Atlantis, The Palm, instead one that complements it; and that’s exactly what we have achieved.