When you fly into Dubai you see a cluster of skyscrapers looming through the mist, surrounded by desert. It doesn’t look that impressive from the air because of the veil of humidity mist this time of year. For the 3 days we were in Dubai the temperatures hit a high of 460 with 85% humidity. That’s hot, too hot to walk any distance.

That was my first surprise about Dubai, I was expecting it to be a dry heat because of the surrounding deserts but it was more like a steam bath.

At the airport Ryan had arranged a limo pick up for us to the One and Only Mirage Palace Resort. When I stepped into the entrance hall of the hotel, I have to admit I shed a tear because it was so very fancy and 5*. Ryan told me, mum your worth all this and more!

I was interviewed by someone from the Dubai tourist office at the airport this morning as I was waiting to leave Dubai. She asked me about the Dubai service I’d received at the airport, at security checks, whilst travelling by taxis, in the shopping malls and at the hotel where I stayed. None of the ratings I gave were below 10/10 apart from 7/10 for poor wi-fi in the terminal.

And here’s the second thing that surprised me about Dubai, it’s still under construction! New hotels are springing up everywhere, even an underwater one is being built with a massive theme park planned too. On the journey to our hotel the limo driver pointed out the Burj Kalifa, the tallest building in the world and also the world’s largest plasma screen that will be ready to screen it’s first film about the history of Dubai later in the year.

Everything is the worlds biggest, and it’s no exaggeration.

You don’t check into the One and Only Mirage Palace Resort you’re escorted to a comfortable seating area, served mango tea and dates and welcomed back. Ryan had stayed there before . I mentioned it was my 60 days half way round the world for my 60th birthday and later that night our room was decorated with balloons, rose petals and towels in the shape of a heart.

The resort is 1 kilometre in length and if you want to travel between the 3 restaurants, they’ll arrange a buggy to transport you.

This morning, the sweetest pool attendant, Charan asked where are you from? Such a common question, I replied London and he told me he wanted to work there next. I couldn’t help think that he might be disappointed by the surly service we come to expect in the UK. He then proceeded to clean and polish my sunglasses while I lounged by the pool. As soon as you arrive at the pool you get towels, water and this morning I was offered ice cold melon. All part of the service.

Ryan and I had more fun on the beach, we were the only people there. Too hot for most but under the shade of the umbrella and with plenty of ice cold waters and a few gin and tonics to keep us refreshed we enjoyed watching the party cruisers and the jet skiers having fun in this millionaires’ paradise.

When you step into the sea, it’s just like stepping into a hot bath. The only slight relief is when air currents blow over your body. Apparently, it’s the impingement factor. I love having a scientist in the family. And oh my goodness the sea is salty, it’s so easy to float on your back and swimming is effortless.

And the other unexpected delight were the birds in Dubai, the hoppees, the green parakeets and huge sparrows. I felt like I was inside a menagerie, such a racket. I loved listening to the birds from the balcony of our room, where Ryan and I played backgammon as the sun set over the Persian Gulf.

We did several tourist things, we went to the Dubai Mall, the world’s biggest shopping mall and obscenely the most visited tourist destination in the world. Ryan and I spent a few hours there covering only a small fraction of the mall

The central atrium was one thing but the full size ice skating rink was something else.

One of the avenues called the Souk was where I bought a kaftan at a knocked down price of 300 dirams instead of 450 dirams, apparently I was the first customer of the day. And that’s meant to be lucky.

I’m going to reference here the Reverend Billy and his Church of Stop Shopping. Steve loved the Reverend Billy and his rants about consumerism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverend_Billy_and_the_Church_of_Stop_Shopping

Ryan organised afternoon tea for my birthday at the Burj al Arab. There’s nothing like extending your birthday by a few weeks! ?

The views from the Burj Sky bar were stunning, the journey up in the lift breath-taking we couldn’t see the Palm and Atlantis because it was too hazy but there was plenty of other hotels to see, one that Ryan went to last year with Helena has canal boats to ferry customers from one part of the resort to another and from 27 floors up we could see these canal structures.

7 courses were served on signature Burj sail trays, sandwiches, scones, sorbets, cakes accompanied by a glass of champagne but the best thing was the milk oolong tea, which my waiter wanted me to smell because it does indeed smell of freshly boiled milk, very refreshing

We popped over to the Atlantis Hotel too, on the Palm with its 7000 rooms and huge aquarium full of sharks, rays and shoals of fish. Grand and over the top.

What to say about Dubai, yes it’s been built by poor workers from the sub-continent but how could they find jobs with regular salaries like these in their own countries?

Yes, Dubai is very rich because of its oil rich neighbour Saudi but jobs are being created.

I wasn’t sure I’d like Dubai but it was an incredible experience with the best service I’ve experienced anywhere in the world.

I’m sure this will spark debate. Please let me know what you think.