Here’s the thing… Like most people, I work heckuva hard 24/7 and holidays are few and far between, so, when it comes to summertime, step aside folks and make way for the most demanding holidaymaker cruising towards the departure gate. Think more ‘slaycay’ than ‘vaycay’.
Why? Because I worked so hard for it and without sounding too much like the hideously spoilt girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I am a bit “I don’t want any old squirrel! I want a trained squirrel!” when it comes to my holiday expectations.
I want sun guaranteed and lots of time in it. I want the bright lights and excitement of the city. I want rest and relaxation. I want the balance of holidays treats and health and fitness. I want experiences and fun and laughter. I want amazing food. I want a lot. I want it all.
And somewhere I can go and be guaranteed all of that, a destination that never disappoints, is Dubai.
As soon as the school bell rang on the last day of June and faster than you can sing “School’s out for Summer’, my son and I were winging our way towards a Middle Eastern sunrise on the overnight Emirates flight from Glasgow to Dubai, a more than comfortable experience which presented us with food every bit as good as the type of thing that would feature in my M & S Friday night style supermarket sweep, every type of movie that I would ever want to watch and an actual sleep. A proper sleep (unheard of on a plane) which meant that as soon as we touched down, we were refreshed and ready to go, propelled with excitement as we hit the road and headed towards our home for the week – the world famous Atlantis, The Palm.
The arrival at the resort is an experience in itself. Looking upwards at the majestic, coral-hued towers connected by that world famous Bridge Suite as we stepped out of our car and into the sun, it felt almost impossible to believe that we’d been pegging it through the torrential Glasgow rain with our luggage trolley towards the airport entrance less than 12 hours before (I still find it mind blowing that you can just step on a plane and wake up in a completely different land).
And Dubai is a very, very different land, but reassuringly so. Yes it’s hot in July, and there will be points during the day where it feels unbearably hot, but it’s a destination built for tourism so when it’s too hot, you’ll still be spoiled by a choice of amazing things to do out of the ‘hot’.
Travel 25m per second upwards for the At the Top experience on level 124 of the world’s highest tower, the Burj Khalifa for awe inspiring 360 degree views of Dubai and a bit of pause and reflection in a super sci-fi sky high bubble environment.
Visit MOTIONGATE, the Middle East’s ‘Hollywood in the Desert’ and the star attraction of the newly opened Dubai Parks and Resorts theme park and take a ride on the world’s first rollercoaster inspired by The Hunger Games (if you’re game…) or Shrek’s Merry Fairy Tale Journey (if you prefer something a bit more tame…) or get some splash time at neighbouring the LEGOLAND water theme park where you can build your own LEGO raft and cool down as you float off down the lazy river.
And when it’s not too hot (all morning and the later part of the afternoon), you can get that sunshine recharge and R & R lying by the pool (or having an underwater handstand competition with your occasionally quite demanding child – where does he get that from…?).
Atlantis, The Palm resort is everything you’d want and everything you didn’t even know you wanted until you glide into that jaw dropping lobby and see exactly what you can have. It’s every bit of a holiday dream rolled into a oner.
Entering the lost city underwater themed mega-resort instantly feels like a complete departure from the real world, where the biggest life decisions of the week centre around which restaurant to eat in (there’s a choice of 23), what to do next and what to do after you’ve done that (the sheer range of activities – the Shark Safari, the Ultimate Snorkel diving with over 65,000 species of marine animals, the Aquaventure Waterpark, the aquarium, the morning yoga sessions with the backdrop of the mesmerising windows of the aquarium, the behind the scenes tour of the aquarium, the ShuiQi Spa – we did them all…and I could go on!).
As far as foodie highlights go, Seafire, the New York style steak restaurant at the resort was right up there – one of the best dining out experiences I’ve ever had. Serving only the finest cuts of their exclusive all-natural grain fed ‘Atlantis’ beef from Australia, cooked to perfection in the theatre style kitchen, it’s easy to see why Seafire was voted Time Out’s Best Steakhouse in Dubai. The food, service, surroundings (and my son’s Heston Blumenthal style pudding!) were standout.
Celebrity chef restaurants in hotels can be hit and miss but Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street didn’t disappoint. It’s fine dining in a relaxed, casual environment offering an extensive menu which brought a smile to my fussy foodie teenager’s face with the magnificent Wagyu burger, which it turned out, well and truly beat him in his ‘Boy vs Food’ lunchtime mission. The cod in a red wine and lemon sauce however, did not beat his mother. It was fabulous!
The opulent luxury of our suite and the faultless, ‘never too much, never too little’ service that the Dubai hospitality industry has cracked to absolute perfection is what makes a stay at the resort a complete pleasure – that feeling of being totally looked after is so important to me on holiday, especially because it’s just the two of us.
The endless opportunities to have fun with my son with zero distractions, laughing and relaxing with the ‘pause’ button firmly pressed on real life in a place where we can pick and choose our next slice of happiness and adventure all day and all night long is something we’ve only experienced so far in Dubai and it’s why we’ll go back time and time again, especially when that ‘school’s out for summer’ bell rings.
Dubai in July – 10 reasons why
- Affordable luxury – Dubai in July is much less expensive than any other time of the year, so you’ll get great deals on flights and hotels (my holiday was booked through Travel Republic), experience real holiday luxury and have a budget to spend on your treats, adventures and experiences.
- Guaranteed sun, every day – it’s hot but you can enjoy the sun and stay cool if you plan your day properly.
- Flights from Glasgow every day – no re-routes through London or changes. Straight to the sun in 7 hours…
- R & R – plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation from your hotel sun lounger to the spa.
- Happy kids – the activities are endless and Dubai is well and truly geared up to give families the holiday of a lifetime with amazing memories made every day.
- The waterparks – all day thrills and laughter, screams and splash while you stay cool in the sun.
- The malls – how many times do you go to a sunny resort to ‘catch all the rays you can’ whilst missing out on other adventures on your destination doorstep… Not in Dubai! When it’s too hot – hit downtown and experience the air-conditioned shopping abyss of The Dubai Mall.
- Bright lights, big city – Dubai’s nightlife comes alive as the temperature drops a little so take advantage of some great deals and packages at some of Dubai’s best restaurants, enjoy the buzz, the Burj Khalifaand of course the amazing water, music and light spectacle of the world’s largest choreographed fountain, The Dubai Fountain.
- Keep it healthy– get the best of both worlds, relaxing in the sun by the pool and taking the opportunity to stay active in the air conditioned gym of your luxury hotel. Return from your holiday glowing from some R & R and exercise and set yourself up for the rest of the summer!
- The everything – sun, relaxation, amazing food, adventures, so much to do, a boost to your health and affordable luxury – what more could you want from a holiday…
Further info and booking links
About: Travel Republic is a leading online travel agent, that allows you to tailor make the perfect holiday.
Booking Link: Click here to book.
Price Per Person: Holidays to Dubai starting from £1,212pp
Five night holidays at the Atlantis The Palm, Dubai on a half board basis in December start from £1,212pp (based on two sharing). Includes flights with Emirates.
Phone: 0208 974 7200
Dubai Parks and Resorts
About: Dubai Parks and Resorts is the Middle East’s largest integrated theme park destination, encompassing MOTIONGATE™ Dubai, Bollywood Parks™ Dubai, LEGOLAND® Dubai, and LEGOLAND® Water Park.
Price per person: Prices start at £40 for a 1-day child’s pass (£45 for an adult) or £160 for an annual pass.
Phone: +971 4 820 0000
At the Top, Burj Khalifa
About: Get ready to enter the record books and experience 360 degree sweeping views from levels 125 and 124 of the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa.
Booking Link: tickets.atthetop.ae
Price Per Person: £27 per adult and £20 per child
Phone: 9714 888 8124
Atlantis, The Palm
About: Atlantis, The Palm is located at the centre of the crescent of The Palm in Dubai which is home to one of the largest open-marine habitats in the world. This ocean-themed resort features a variety of marine and entertainment attractions, renowned restaurants as well as luxury boutiques and convention facilities.
Booking Link: https://www.atlantisthepalm.com/reservation/rooms/book-now
Price Per Person: The Palm start from £237 per night based on 2 adults + 2 children below 12 years of age.
Phone: +971 4 426 2000