Located on the Crescent of the beautiful Palm Island is the formidable Atlantis Resort, which was my home away from home for eight days this October Half-Term. The Atlantis has been recognised as the Middle East’s Leading Resort of 2010, 2011 and 2012 (as named by the World Travel Awards), and after my week there…I know why!
Aptly named, the hotel is an elaborate illustration of the ancient underwater city of Atlantis. With everything centring on water and marine wildlife, the resort is certainly the place to go if you fancy yourself as a bit of a ‘water-baby’. Children and adults alike will love the Aquaventure water-park – to which guests at the Atlantis have unlimited and complimentary access. The rides vary from the lazy river that will whisk you around the entire park at a leisurely pace to the Leap of Faith, for the daredevils amongst us!
Occupying pride of place in the heart of the water-park is the vast Shark Lagoon, which is filled with approximately 11.5 million litres of water. Species including reef sharks, leopard string-rays and guitar sharks all reside in this immense aquarium. The marine life is so prolific that you could simply spend an entire day at the park merely gazing at the tank, trying to spot all of the different types of fish! And for those of whom spotting the fish isn’t enough, guests are invited to take to the water and discover the creatures for themselves. Plunge to depths of up to seven metres and be amongst the abundance of wildlife that inhabits the Shark Lagoon. Using a special helmet, you’re able to breathe underwater and experience the thrill of walking amongst a wealth of sharks, stingrays and tropical fish. Completely fearless, they’ll swim right past you as you are walking on the sand bottom of the tank. Other visitors to the water-park who are on the Shark Attack Waterslide will be slightly confused and surprised by your presence in the tank as they also pass through the Shark Lagoon on inflatable rubber rings. However, those going down the Leap of Faith Waterslide won’t even see you as they’ll be plunging from a height of 27.5 metres at quite a speed! If you’d prefer to be close to the water’s surface, you can snorkel alongside the animals in the Shark Lagoon. You even get a brand new mask and snorkel to take home with you as a souvenir of your experience!
To encounter a different type of marine animal, Dolphin Bay is where you’ll find the Atlantis’ most playful residents. The wide selection of packages on offer allows everybody, of all swimming abilities, to interact with these beautiful animals. I took part in the dolphin adventure which encourages more confident swimmers to revel in a truly unforgettable experience which finishes with an exhilarating belly ride back to shore! Alternatively, guests are invited to make for the shallows and partake in a personal dolphin encounter where you can enjoy cuddles, kisses and even a dance with one of these gracefully charismatic creatures!
There is a common conception amongst holiday-makers that Dubai is simply a city that is being built from the ground up, with huge cranes towering over every inch of its landscape. Having just returned from my holiday in Dubai, I think it’s fair to say that this perception is somewhat dated. Years ago, in the city centre, you’d see construction work and industrial development everywhere you went. However, for the most part; the development of the city has been completed. Now, Dubai is home to some of the most stunning architectural buildings in the world and also boasts a large collection of the world’s best hotels. Its warm climate ensures that days on the beautiful beaches will be long and relaxing, even in the winter months of October and November! With service levels that are second to none, incredible facilities that will keep you busy all day and accommodation that ensures ultimate comfort in the most stylish of settings, Dubai promises you and your family a truly fantastic, wonderfully luxurious holiday.