Whenever I speak to fellow expats out here, they always say that they receive a good flow of visitors throughout the year. It’s true that we already have a schedule of friends and family booked up for winter months, however it takes a very brave soul to plan their summer holiday in Dubai for August. Luckily for me, my sister Sian is one such woman and landed in Dubai last week despite the humidity, rising temperatures and a notoriously sun-sensitive porcelain complexion.
A summer visitor takes planning of military precision, and prior to her landing I’d jotted up an itinerary of indoor activities that would see us through the weekend without having to spend more than ten minutes outside. Her visit was the perfect excuse to tick some touristy things off the list, so as well as the mall (naturally) I planned a trip up the Burj Khalifa.
Forgive me, but I previously thought of the Burj Khalifa as a Dubai version of London’s Shard where I had often zipped up to level 31 for a drink with a view. Using the same Shard tactic (going to the restaurant rather than paying for the viewing platform), I booked us a table in Atmosphere which is on the 122nd floor. Turns out those extra 91 floors make quite the difference!
We emerged from the speed lift with popped ears feeling slightly light-headed, but at once the view was spectacular. We sat with our drinks and watched the pink glowing sun set into the sea whilst a fiddler entertained on an electronic violin. I expect the skyline looks fantastic by night also, but highly recommend going for the sunset slot if possible.
Also on the list was a brunch. We opted for a low-key affair and headed over to Anantara on The Palm for an afternoon at Fork and Cork. It was my first experience of a brunch so I don’t have much to compare it to, but there were lots of live cooking stations and a vast dessert area, which suited us fine.
After all the eating, Saturday’s plans were to hit the waterpark at Sian's request. It was here that I realised I have become a massive wimp. Not sure when that happened, but I was truly alarmed at the speed and angles we hurtled down in a tube at Wild Wadi. What made it worse was tiny kids were on these rides as calm as cucumbers. All good fun, but by 4pm we’d all overheated and retreated home for a Mars ice cream. On the flip side, being the sort of person who goes to a theme park in 40-degree heat means you don't have to queue much. Silver linings, eh?
Photos: @burjkhalifa, @wildwadiwaterpark