Fly By Dubai

This summer, on our way to Mauritus, my parents and I spent a few days exploring Dubai. Though it had never really been on our list, it seemed like an opportunity not to miss. With the possibility of 4 days staying at Dubai's famous Atlantis the Palm hotel before continuing onto Mauritius it seemed the perfect chance to see what we thought of the country...

Our holiday was booked with Virgin Holidays and we flew out with Emirates. The efficiency was insanely excellent and the flight was actually bearable despite being nearly 8 hours long. The food was fairly decent, there was great in flight entertainment and fortunately there were spare seats so we were able to spread out and sleep comfortably. 

Upon arriving in Dubai I was in awe of the grandeur and that was just the airport. The rest of the country certainly followed suit! The hotel was incredible, with an enormous lobby with an intricate statue and an aquarium wall. There were so many different restaurants to chose from, as well as two very large buffets, which we generally stuck to in order to find something gluten free. We were definitely not spoiled for choice with almost every Asian food you could think of, as well as roasts, full English breakfasts in the morning and a chocolate fountain surrounded by gummy sweets every day. However, as we weren't full board (only half) we could tell that it was a very expensive place. Though breakfast and dinner were included, lunch and drink were not and the servers were not in the habit of giving you the cheapest drinks on the menu. 

Despite this however, there were so many amazing things about our stay. The weather was absolutely beautiful, though slightly too hot, at around 47 degrees Celsius, meaning for once a dip in the pool was absolutely welcomed without any protest by the adults or shivering afterwards. 

Our room was pretty great, we had an awesome view of the pool from our balcony and it was kept spotless throughout our whole stay. The only problem however, which we find with a lot of hotels, is that it wasn't really geared up for 3 guests. There were only 2 of everything: robes, glasses, mugs and chairs, and when we first arrived there was a sofa in place of my bed. However, they were fairly prompt in sorting everything out, even when we complained about my bed being far too hard.

We also took a trip to the Dubai Mall, which is the biggest shopping centre in the world. It was so huge, I'd need at least a week there to cover all of the ground. Being an avid shopper, I had an excellent day looking around and trying things on. The only down side is that everything was slightly more expensive than back home, so I only came away with one top (and a list of things to purchase when back in England). The Apple Store was one of our favourite shops there, purely because it had a very aesthetic balcony that overlooked the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building enabling us to get some fantastic pictures of it with the sun setting in the background. 

A day in the Aquaventure Waterpark adjoining our hotel was another highlight. As hotel guests we had free access to the water park, so we couldn't pass it up. We had a fantastic day, and though I wasn't brave enough to tackle the vertical drop of Poseidon's Revenge, we went on many of the other rides and thoroughly enjoyed the lazy river and rapids. I would, however, strongly suggest getting some water shoes that you are able to wear between the rides. The ground got so hot we were running from water to shady spot as fast as humanly possible to avoid burning out feet before buying a pair for each of us in one of the park's little shops. Also, if you're as pasty as my family is, make sure you wear hats, t-shirts and plaster yourself in sun cream, as the midday sun was absolutely scorching. 

My absolute favourite part had to be the aquarium in the hotel. Aquariums are one of my favourite places to visit, especially in different countries and it was a surreal and amazing experience to have one inside our hotel. We spent many times watching all the fish, particularly the rays, swimming around and being fed, through the aquarium wall. We also had a guided tour of the Lost City of Atlantis themed aquarium, with an excellent guide Benjamin telling us everything we needed to know about the fish and the story of Atlantis. I even got to hold an ancient crab and some star fish! From lobsters to albino crocodiles, the cast of Finding Nemo to a grouper fish called Dennis, we saw it all and I loved every second.

Whilst in Dubai we all made sure to cover up, especially at meal times and when leaving the hotel, not just because of the heat, but because of the culture. Though Dubai appeared very Westernised, it was very important, particularly for my mum and I, not to disrespect their culture by wandering around with skin showing and behaving improperly. Though it was very relaxed in the hotel, it was obvious that this was expected while exploring the country. 

Overall, we had a fantastic time, despite not being there for long. The hotel was incredible...I can't even begin to describe how magical it was, the service was superb and there was such a huge choice of food. I would definitely recommend staying at the Atlantis and spending some time in the water park...oh and of course to say hello to all the beautiful sea creatures! I would definitely like to go back to Dubai again and explore more of the country, particularly some more cultural places, such as the Souks that we didn't get a chance to see. Until next time Dubai!


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