I trust you have been dutifully following my most recent journey at Golden Circle 2013. I have arrived in Dubai which is for me a brand new destination. As a widely traveled, highly skilled (if not particularly modest) travel professional, what do you suppose was the very first thing I chose to do upon arrival? Head straight for the world-renowned Dubai shopping mall? No, you must have me confused with Paris Hilton which isn’t easy seeing as how she weighs slightly less than my right leg and she carries more money in her coin purse that I have in my retirement account. Oops, that’s right, I don’t have a retirement account. Sorry!
No, to the contrary, I set off to do a series of hotel site inspections. I realize you lay travelers have trouble identifying with such odd behavior. You are normally slipping your swim suit on under your clothes in the airplane lavatory so your hotel transfer can bypass check in and take you directly to a waiting deck chair and a towering pina colada. You have to remember, we in the travel industry are consummate professionals who routinely put duty before personal gratification. (If you are buying that, could I interest you in Paraguay on the Dubai World Island? It’s a steal – this week only – and if you pay cash I will throw in Sri Lanka and a set of steak knives.)
As entertained as you no doubt are by my witty banter, we had best move on and take a look at the first two hotels I visited.
Just in case you think I write these blog posts from a cabin in northern Minnesota and all my travels are a figment of my imagination, here is a shot of me standing in the entry way of said resort. At first glance, you may suspect I might have appropriated a stock photo of Tom Cruise from the internet but, no, this is really me.
Everything about this hotel is both spectacular and colossal including its domination of The Palm skyline. Regrettably, there will be space here only to touch on a few of its amazing features. I promise to return soon to give Atlantis The Palm the robust treatment it richly deserves. I would love to talk about the decor, the vast array of room types, the selection of more than 20 restaurants and bars, shopping options and so forth. But for now, let me highlight just three features worthy of special attention:
Adults and children alike will enjoy exploring the underwater mazes and tunnels of the lost civilization of Atlantis. Along the way you will encounter sharks, eels, seahorses, and piranhas. The aquarium boasts over 20 remarkable marine life exhibits including a touch tank. That’s right and if you don’t believe me, just ask the director Nubs.
Aquaventure Waterpark is billed as “non-stop water, non-stop fun”. For the thrill seeker, they tout “the Leap Of Faith . . a 27 meter near vertical speed slide” and “other heart-thumping slides that catapult you through shark filled lagoons.” Just when I thought I was going to have to either up the amperage on my pacemaker or discretely check out and find a hotel for wusses, I discovered the option to relax on their private beach surrounded by lush tropical landscapes. To give you a sense of its scope, virtually everything you see in this picture I took is part of the waterpark.
Another option is to upgrade your Atlantis experience with one of their up close marine animal adventures. For the uninitiated, “upgrade your experience” is hotel speak for pay a little more. But hey, in this case, it is well worth it. The options include feeding eels, groping groupers or petting piranhas (OK, I might have thrown in a couple of my own verbs there) in one of their Behind The Scenes Tours.
You can even do a ten minute photo session at the water’s edge where you can “hug, kiss and dance with dolphins”. Apparently, there are lots of lonely people out there finding it a challenge to to meet someone. If you are a certified scuba diver take the plunge into the largest open air aquarium in the Middle East.
My goodness how time flies when you are penning classic literature for the ages. I seem to have run out of space to tell you about the second spectacular “A” lister, the Anantara Dubai Palm. Please don’t be dismayed. I will be back in two shakes of a shark’s dorsal fin with a sequel to this post in which I will extol its equally impressive virtues.
If you are simply too famished to wait for the main course, sample this starter I wrote a while back to whet your appetite: Jumpin’ Jumeirah: The Anantara Dubai Palm. Stay tuned!