There are two to choose from, both offering an action packed day out with a variety of features. We personally chose to go to the Aquaventure, located within The Atlantis Palm resort, as it was closer to our hotel and gave us the opportunity to see part of The Palm up close, as well at the renowned Atlantis Hotel. The other park is called Wild Wadi.
We booked our day out through our hotel's Tour Manager, for a slightly reduced rate of 260 Dirhams each, which included entry into the aquarium (inside the hotel) called 'The Lost Chambers'. I would advise pre-booking, as it really reduces your wait time when you arrive. *Note that transport is not included, but from JBR a taxi costs around 40 Dirhams, so is relatively inexpensive.
Lockers can be hired for 40 Dirhams, with the small locker being perfectly sized for a large rucksack and small handbag. If you are travelling with a member of the opposite sex, then you will need to decide which of you has the locker wristband, as the locker rooms are split for men and women. The wristband issued has a barcode on it, which when passed across the reader in the centre of the lockers will designate you a locker number. It will then open that locker and once you have loaded it, you push it to lock it. All very straightforward and efficient – plus the air-con in that room is a real bonus for a few wonderfully cool minutes!
You can hire towels there for a nominal fee, but we took our own as we were going door to door by cab, so it really was not a hassle.
The rides on offer cater for all, with everything from the lazy river, rapids and torrents, a near vertical drop slide and several tube slides with a mix of twists and turns and total darkness. If you are there for a full day, you would easily be able to do everything more than once. We went in August and did exactly that, plus spent most of our time 'commuting' from ride to ride on the lazy river.
One tip – find a sun lounger by one of the lagoons as soon as you arrive and leave your towels and any other non-valuables there. It gives you a base to return to and catch your breath for 5, or to sit and eat an ice-cream/have a drink or to have some time relaxing in the sun.
Another tip – if you choose to buy one of the refillable drinks cups, note that only the larger food outlets and restaurants can refill them. The smaller kiosks do not, which was a bit of an annoyance in 45 degrees when you're THIRSTY!
There are so many in Dubai, catering to all different tastes and budgets, but I will offer an insight into a couple that we personally tried and loved.
In the evenings, we often went to the Pure Sky Lounge on the 35th floor of The Hilton on the walk. It has a wrap around balcony with glass walls, offering an uninterrupted view of Dubai by night. There we had the Sharing Board, which was amazing both times we had it. You get mini burgers in buns, tempura prawns, potato wedges, a divine mixed salad with dressing and fried chicken. So filling and flavoursome – and it worked out at about £15pp. We usually ate this with a Dubai Iced Tea on the side, which was a stunning blend of gin, rum and vodka. It was almost too pretty to drink. Almost!
As we were staying at the Hilton JBR The Walk, we tried a few of the eateries there. Firstly there are the breakfast restaurants at The Walk, of which there were 2 to choose from or be shown to (depending on how busy they were), Crave and Hartisan. We preferred the vibe in Hartisan, as it is much bigger and airier, meaning you are sat with a wide variety of people and cultures. The food is the same in both and they are simply separated by a corridor, but Crave really felt a little too cramped and awkward for our liking.
Another great find was the beach bar restaurant at The Hilton Jumeirah Beach, called Wavebreaker. There we sampled the burger and the fish and chips. It was honestly one of the best burgers I have ever eaten and the fish and chips meal was fish goujons in the most delicious melt in your mouth batter. All very reasonably priced too, with the Arabian sea as your backdrop. Who could ask for more?
For a romantic adult time consider a cruise on the river past old town Dubai.
A desert safari is a great way to escape the busy hot streets (you won't escape the heat) but in your 4x4 air con safari jeep you will bash up the dunes with your skillful driver..
It is really a modern city in every sense. With the political will and technology anything is possible even skiing in Dubai!
We visited the two big Malls whilst in Dubai and neither left us wanting. The first we went to, upon the recommendation of our hotel concierge, was The Dubai Mall.
Here you have all the expected and anticipated stores from Ted Baker to Cartier, but there is also an Aquarium thrown in for good measure!
Personally, this one had a feel like most shopping malls, just on a much bigger and grander scale, that you quickly come to expect when in Dubai. The dress code was pretty relaxed, with ladies in shorts and shoulders bared, though the official line of respect is to cover your knees and shoulders in public. From what we saw, not much attention was paid to those apparent 'rule breakers'. The air conditioning here was pleasant - not icy.
The other is The Mall of the Emirates. This one had a much more 'top end' feel, if that's even possible. The shops were bigger, as were the brand names, with Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton all jostling for your attention.
Here the general feeling was more what we expected, with fewer people dressed in anything above the knee etc., though again those that had chosen to show their shoulders or knees were not seemingly bothered by the locals or security.
This Mall does have a big sign at the entrance with the requested dress codes though, so it's probably down to your own personal comfort zone choices.
Oh - and did I mention there is a ski slope inside too?! That's right, you can pop along to pick up the latest bag trending at Hermes, then cool off on the slopes complete with chair lifts and cabins. I kid you not.