So we thought we were immune to the charms of Dubai, with its stratospheric towers, supersonic hotels and refrigerated beaches… Then we saw these pictures, and our love for underwater destinations got the better of us. The tiny Arab state's urge to do everything bigger and better than everyone else has created Atlantis The Palm – and, boy, has it delivered.
Yes, this is hardly a boutique hotel. It's Disneyland on speed – yes, we get it. But, forget the waterslide parks, the ritzy penthouse suites, and the celebrity-spangled opening gala that made Vegas look dowdy… Then imagine staying the night in this place.
Floating in this hot-tub. Having dinner in this restaurant. Innertubing with sharks.
As much as it pains us to admit it, this is cool.
You can visit the Atlantis The Palm for the day. The Lost Chambers, a maze of underwater halls and tunnels, is surrounded in thousands of fish, eels, piranhas, rays and sharks. But why go all that way when you could visit Long Beach Aquarium?
The thing to do is stay the night in the Lost Chambers Suites, which boast bedroom and bathroom walls looking out over the water. And 24-hour butler service so you never need to stop gawking.
I haven't been to Dubai since 1993, when I stopped off at the airport on the way to Japan. I was overwhelmed with Louis Vuitton, bling and gold Ferraris, and had no urge to go back. I think I may be changing my mind. RM
Images: Atlantis The Palm