Atlantis The Palm

LOCATION: Surrounded by sea on the crescent of The Palm Jumeirah, about 45 minutes’ drive from the airport and half an hour from downtown Dubai.

LOCATION: Surrounded by sea on the crescent of The Palm Jumeirah, about 45 minutes’ drive from the airport and half an hour from downtown Dubai. The best way to arrive is surely by helicopter (the resort has a helipad on-site), but mere mortals will have to content themselves with driving by way of the tunnel connecting the crescent with the rest of The Palm.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: This resort looks more like a fairytale castle than a hotel, with vast pink towers rising majestically out of the sand on a backdrop of clear blue skies. Its most striking feature has to be its size – a huge lobby gives way to a maze of rooms, restaurants, bars, shops and attractions inside the hotel, plus enormous grounds which seem to go on forever. Its colourful decoration and under-the-sea themes won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but will definitely be a winner with younger guests.

THE FACTS: There’s a reason those towers look enormous from the outside – they’re home to 1,539 rooms, including 166 suites, plus a host of other attractions. Rooms are spacious with great sea views, and 90% of them can be interconnecting making it a great choice for families. I stayed in an executive suite, which was as impressive as it was large, with separate bedroom, lounge, bathroom, dressing room and guest bathroom. It’s hard to decide whether the view was better from the enormous bedroom windows – on the corner of the tower and affording great prospects of the beach on one side and vast pool complex on the other – or from the spacious balcony. The freestanding bathtub has to be the highlight of the bathroom, but the dual sinks and powerful shower deserve a mention too. I got a peak inside the luxurious Bridge Suite too – it comes with a hefty price tag but is perfect for impressing and entertaining all at the same time.But the rooms aren’t even half the story for this hotel. What’s most remarkable is its range of on-site facilities: guests can dive at Lost Chambers Aquarium, swim with dolphins at Dolphin Bay, feel the fear at Aquaventure waterpark, go shopping for designer brands in The Avenues, party the night away at N’Dulge nightclub or book in for a treatment at ShiQi Spa – all without leaving the hotel. If they’ve got time, they can splash around in two family-friendly pools, soak up the sun on nearly a mile of private beach, and enjoy a bite to eat at one of 19 restaurants and bars offering everything from fine dining to the finest burgers in town. I can certainly recommend the perfectly-cooked steak at Seafire Steakhouse and Bar – simply superb.

A GOOD BASE FOR: An action-packed family beach break. While you could happily spend a week sunbathing, that would be a waste of Atlantis The Palm’s assets, so encourage clients to make the most of the resort and fit in as many activities as they can.

WOW: I could have stared for hours at the incredible aquarium which spreads across several storeys of the hotel, home to 65,000 marine animals including sharks, rays, cobia and wrasse. But my most memorable moment has to be hurtling down the Leap of Faith, the iconic waterslide at Aquaventure. When I saw a rather burly chap turn and flee from the queue, I did wonder whether my inner daredevil might have bitten off more than I could chew. The vertical drop into a pool of water is certainly not for the faint-hearted, but it did serve up a classic theme park combination of sheer terror and exhilaration all in one.

HOW MUCH: A deluxe room starts at AED 1,260 (approximately £213) plus 20% tax