Points not accepted: Inside the Presidential Suite at Atlantis Dubai
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
It's entirely possible to live it up in Dubai on points and miles. You can fly round-trip in one of the world's best first-class suites, score some incredible hotel redemptions and even use credit perks to reimburse fantastic meals all around the UAE.
But, as with everywhere else in the world, some experiences are simply out of reach of travelers looking to redeem points from large hotel loyalty programs — instead, you'll need to pay cash if you're hoping to book a stay.
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On my most recent trip, I decided to check out The Palm as a guest of Atlantis, with the goal of visiting the hotel's sought-after Underwater Suites.
Sadly, both ended up getting booked at the last minute during my stay, but I was able to score a few minutes in another sky-high booking option: a 2,300-square-foot Presidential Suite.
You can't book it with hotel points, but if you could, you'd likely be looking at a hefty sum — a night in a Presidential Suite starts above 20,000 dirhams, or roughly $5,500, after-tax.
The main living room area is enormous, with a huge sitting area to one side and a billiards table in the middle, plus three separate terraces. There's also a 10-person dining room, complete with a full-size kitchen around the corner.
Maybe I just haven't lived, but I've definitely never stayed in a hotel room with its own billiards table.
The bathroom and changing areas alone are more spacious than many hotel rooms.
And don't worry — with two toilets and two showers, you definitely won't have to share.
Naturally, all of the amenities include 24 karat gold flakes throughout. Just because.
Around the corner from the master bathroom is a huge bedroom — there might even be too much space.
My wide-angle lens definitely adds a few square feet, but it really is an enormous space. It was also pristine, having undergone a major refresh earlier in 2020.
The bedroom has two more terraces, both overlooking the pool, beach and Dubai skyline.
The views are just out-of-this-world — especially at sunset.
Of course, just because you can't redeem points for a stay doesn't mean you won't earn them!
Personally, I'd search for the lowest available rate and earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel by paying with the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, or you can book through Amex Travel to earn 5x Membership Rewards points with cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express, equivalent to a 10% return, based on TPG's valuations.
The $5,500 price tag includes more than just the suite — you'll also get a second interconnected room, bundled airport transfers, private butler service, access to the Imperial Club Lounge, private cabanas, spa access, waterpark passes and a handful of other freebies, ranging from massages and personal training sessions to aquarium tickets and a chance to swim with the resort's resident dolphins.
So, while the Palm's Presidential Suite does not come cheap, it could be worth the splurge — for someone happy to spend over $10,000 on a two-night stay.
Note: The author was staying at the hotel for free, an arrangement provided by the public relations team.