The Dubai Staycation: Atlantis The Palm
The stars aligned in the UAE last week and the private sector (that’s everyone who doesn’t work for the government) was granted a public holiday that fell on a Thursday, giving us all a three-day weekend. Hurrah!
Having decided we’d get away “somewhere”, I chose super-tacky Atlantis, much to the surprise of both DH and my discerning friend A (“Seriously?” she asked. I’m sure an eyebrow rose). Not because I have a love of rubbing shoulders with Russian tourists, but because there’s so much there for the children to do and, having nipped up there the other week to hang out with a friend, I’d seen how much DS loved splashing about in the “zero entry” pool (fake-beach style).
DH sighed. He wasn’t keen. “Too busy, too tacky and too full of tourists,” he said. “But, if you must book it, make it good…” (he knows me well).
So I treated him to a Terrace Club Suite – a suite with a living room big enough for two single beds for the children, a separate bedroom (with a door you could close, very important), and a large terrace.
The Imperial Club access bit wasn’t intentional but, as the weekend went on, I realised I’d always choose that, even if it meant taking a smaller room. It gave us a dedicated lounge for check-in – a life-saver when the hotel was at 100% occupancy and the lobby was heaving with stressed tourists – a place to pick up our free Aquaventure wristbands without queuing, snacks throughout the day, a cream tea in the afternoon (hot scones – proper clotted cream – yum) and a fabulous cocktail hour from 6pm to 8pm during which there were free-flowing free drinks, along with what I can only call a light supper: Canapés, maki rolls, bruschetta, salads, breads, crackers, cheeses, cold cuts, sandwiches, hummus, crisps, nuts, cakes, pastries, fruit… Needless to say, we didn’t need any dinner.
The children absolutely loved having Aquaventure on tap. It was great to be able to dip in and out as we fancied, rather than feeling we had to spend the whole day there because we’d paid for it. We’d go as soon as it opened, nip home for lunch and a lie-down, then slip back in for a final ride ‘n’ slide as the sun started to dip and the day-trippers headed home. It was a bit like having the world’s best water park in our back garden. Oh, hang on…
The best bit about the whole thing though was that, despite being just 15 minutes from home for only two nights, we felt like we’d spent a week in the Seychelles.
So would we go back? Even DH said yes.