Atlantis Dubai: The new gem of Arabia?
Dubai's colossal new Atlantis, The Palm resort is the ultimate fantasy hotel – in the ultimate fantasy destination, says Fiona Duncan. It must have been a terrible summer because here I am on a plane to Dubai. Nothing other than an overwhelming desire for a sustained blast of heat after the summer washout would have persuaded me to return to that building site in the sand, so unappealing had I found it five years ago. Back then I had been invited to sample the delights of Dubai's Summer Shopping Festival, which meant dodging the unbearable heat by dashing from air-conditioned cars into overblown shopping malls, where I saw little I wanted to buy. The clothes were too spangly and frilly, the jewellery too shiny, the endless displays of electrical goods mind-numbingly dull. As for the evening of dune bashing in 4x4 Hummers, followed by a display of belly dancing and a camel ride in the tourist-trap desert camp, it made me smoke my first cigarette in 30 years. That was my first-ever visit to Arabia, a word which for me, as for most, means mystery and romance.