Last month we spent a week in Dubai, a place we haven’t visited before, but somewhere we’ve always been intrigued by. It was a big birthday for hubby and in February the warm destinations are limited, so we decided Dubai was the perfect destination for us.
We booked to stay at Atlantis at The Palm. The retort has a water park attached and lots of other great features that we thought would be perfect for our little lady, who is, of course, the most important traveller in our family! We made the right choice, the hotel was totally geared for families with lots for Lily to explore.
Our room at the Atlantis was lovely and spacious with a fab sea view and a huge comfy bed. Lily made herself at home straight away and placed all her travelling companions on the bed, checked out the big bath and set up her ipad at the desk. The Atlantis is big retort, by far the largest hotel we’ve stayed in, so we chose to have a quick nap and then take a look around before dinner. There’s a long list of restaurants to choose from, a water park, shops, aquarium, kids club, spa, gym… the list goes on!
For our first full day we took a vote and the water park won. Hubby is a big fan of the crazy white knuckle rides and they have some impressive ones at Aquaventure that Hubby couldn’t hide his excitement about! Aquaventure was a short waterside walk from the main hotel, or a ride in one of the Atlantis buggies!
The Atlantis is pretty amazing considering it’s purpose built, it feels established and oh so relaxing… even when you’re on the beach looking out to construction across the water, I couldn’t hear anything other than the water. I wasn’t quite sure how we would take to having a holiday where there’s so much construction but we didn’t see anything at the resort, it was all across the water.
During our week we tried to fit in as much as we could to experience what Dubai has to offer. Starting with a taxi to Dubai Mall, which is the biggest mall I’ve been to with every possible shop including some of my favourites… West Elm, Pottery Barn, Cheesecake Factory to name a few. My favourite shop was called Eataly, a fab Italian market, cafe and grocery shop all in one. Outside the Dubai Mall is the Burj Khalifa, a 160 floor structure that can be seen from any point in Dubai. There’s also a regular water fountain show that is a popular must see when visiting.
The Mall of the Emirates is a must too, our hotel offered a free transfer, so we visited a couple of times in the evenings. Again, the mall has all the usual brands I would expect to see in America, which came as a surprise.
The Burj Al Arab is a distinctive sail shaped structure on the shoreline that looks amazing at sunset. We took an organised tour of Dubai and this was a stop off point where you were also able to enjoy the public beach area. The Tour worked out to be a great choice, we found out so much about Dubai that made us appreciate it so much more.
Part of our Dubai Tour took us to the fascinating Dubai Museum located in Al Fahidi Fort which is the oldest building in the Dubai. It’s amazing to see how quickly Dubai has transformed. After the museum we headed we took a river taxi… slightly white knuckle, an old open sided wooden boat with no seatbelts, but everyone around us seemed quite relaxed about so we went with it! The boat took us across the River to the location of the Spice and Gold Souks. My favourite was the Spice Souk, the aromas were amazing and the atmosphere was like nothing I’ve seen before.
Mid way through our week we booked an excursion to the desert. By far, our favourite part of the week! We were picked up around 3pm from our hotel and travelled out of Dubai for around an hour. We arrived at a meeting point where all the 4x4s reduced the pressure in their tyres and we were good to go!
We ventured over dunes which was so exciting, we all loved it. We parked up for an opportunity to venture out onto the dunes giving us some great opportunities to take some photos. This experience is a must when visiting the area, to see the desert like we did was truly memorable.
After another ride along the desert, and a little wildlife spotting, we arrived at the camp where we spent the evening eating, drinking and enjoying the entertainment. We couldn’t resist a ride on a camel… not as smooth or easy as it’s made to look, it’s hilarious, but we managed to stay on! The food we were served was delicious, I ate my body weight in hummus, fresh pita and tabbouleh. Once dark, the lights were turned off in the camp for us to enjoy a little stargazing before heading back into the 4x4s to head home.
All in all, our first experience of Dubai was fab! The level of service was amazing and our little lady was made to feel like a very special guest wherever we went. We would definitely head back to Dubai, it’s changing all the time with new and exciting developments and the weather is a big bonus!