Last month we took our second babymoon. They’re a little different when you have a four-year-old in tow! Not quite so far as Seychelles this time! We settled on Dubai as it was under 8 hours in the air, only 4 hours time difference, and Matthew hadn’t experienced the future-ness of it all. Also, we had a companion voucher to use up!
We arrived in 35-degree heat. A nice change from a rainy English departure, but still a little hot. We stayed at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel near the airport (the worlds busiest) for the first few days to give us a base not too far from the glittering towers of downtown Dubai.
Our first stop was to check out our rooftop pool! It had a glass bottom and you could see down 10 storeys… and Amelie loved her first taste of Dubai swimming!
Later that day we took a trip to the Dubai Mall (the world’s largest) and stood under the Burj Kalifah tower (the world’s tallest). It’s so tall you have to look up twice.
We spent the evening dancing under the fountains and watching the spectacular light show.
One of the days we went to the Wild Wadi water park, which was included in our Jumeirah hotel package! As it turns out, Amelie is a fearless tube rider! She and Matthew spent the entire day on Wild Wadi’s many rides, while I spent the day trying to spot them in one of the many tubes, as I wasn’t allowed to go on any…
The Biggest Tower in the World
After our enjoyment of the Burj Khalifa from down below on our first night, we decided we had to go and visit the top. The Dubai skyline looks like blocks in a sandpit from such height. It’s quite a feat of engineering. Its definitely go big or go home in Dubai – proven by a quote in the visitor area of the tower in very big letters:
“The word impossible is not in the Leaders dictionaries. No matter how big the challenge, strong faith, determination and resolve will overcome them.”Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
When you want to visit the top of Burj Khalifa they make sure you walk through Dubai Mall and ultimately past the 10-million litre Dubai Aquarium tank, one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world. Amelie was so impressed, we had to go in.
It houses thousands of aquatic animals, comprising over 140 species. Over 300 Sharks and Rays, including the largest collection of Sand Tiger Sharks in the world. Amelie and Matt even took a little boat tour to watch the tiger sharks from above. Again, pregnant ladies weren’t allowed on the boat, but luckily there was this amazing walk-through tunnel, that provided 270-degree views from 11 metres below the surface of the tanks. This was definitely an adventurous afternoon.
The old Dubai
The Jumeirah Creekside hotel was in close proximity to Bur Dubai, the historic district of Dubai and the old fishing village located on the western side of the Dubai Creek. There we visited Dubai Museum and the Textile Souk. I am still impressed how this former fishing village could get transformed into a future city in 3 decades. Amelie wasn’t the biggest fan of the museum, outside it was too hot and inside a bit too dark and scary for her, but she loved all the colours at the souk.
It was finally time to leave downtown Dubai and head to the man-made island of the Palm Jumeirah and the Atlantis Hotel! A mega-resort and the crown of the palm. Styled after the lost city of Atlantis by the South African developer Sol Kerzner (he also made the Lost City in South Africa – Matthew adds). I stayed at this hotel once before for a business conference, in fact almost 5 years ago when I was pregnant with Amelie. So it was nice to see it as a tourist. Atlantis is definitely full of wonders.
A definite wonder was the Dolphin Bay, where you can meet and swim with Dolphins. I was a bit worried about the welfare of captive dolphins and did quite a bit of reading about it first and had to visit the facility, to see how much space they had and what their living conditions were. In the end, we did decide to allow Amelie to have this very special experience – I still have the secret hope she might one day become a Marine Biologist.
Lost Chambers Aquarium
One fascinating detail of the Atlantis hotel is their incredibly large Aquarium that sits right in the middle of one of the hotel wings. Its called the Lost Chambers Aquarium. It is one of the top 10 largest aquariums in the world – and I would almost say it’s more impressive than the Dubai Aquarium because of the sheer number of fishes inside. You can even have a fancy dinner by the Perspex wall, or go diving, or just sit and watch the fish pass by from the comfort of your incredibly expensive suite. Maybe one day…
Then there was pool after pool after pool… oh and a looong beach and a water park! The days blended as we splashed and swam until it got dark.
We really had an amazing time and enjoyed our last holiday as a family of three and even did some sand art in expectation of our newest addition to the family: “Hugo”.
Every time I leave Dubai I have mixed feelings about this place. I always really enjoy my time there and love the fact that you have a 100% sunshine guarantee. However, I can’t help but wonder about the costs (financial, environmental and humanitarian) of making all these attractions work and bringing millions of tourists every year to the middle of the desert. And Dubai is showing no sign of slowing down. Wherever you look there are new buildings popping up and there are even new plans of a bigger tower than the Burj Khalifa… as in only two years, the World Expo is coming to Dubai. I would love to see how Dubai welcomes the world, hopefully with greener priorities for a more sustainable future.