Plunging spectacularly into the Arabian Gulf for a third time, saltwater stings my lips.

Fourteen years after my first attempt at waterskiing I am trying again. This time, the surroundings are a lot more luxurious – I’m at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa. I’m still rubbish, but it's fun nonetheless.

Agreeing to give it a go had actually been a ploy to escape the searing heat for half an hour – it’s scorching. Dubai truly is a sun-worshipper’s paradise, but there’s a lot more to it than that.

From the moment I check in at the plush Oasis Beach Tower, with stunning views overlooking Jumeirah Beach and the Arabian Gulf, I experience first-class hospitality. The hotel has four fully licensed bars and restaurants, a swimming pool, jacuzzi and pretty much everything you could wish for.

A stroll to the beach will take you just a few minutes and the impressive Dubai Marina is just around the corner.

Guests can also hop on a shuttle bus and make use of the facilities at the luxurious Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa. The 128-acre award-winning resort, home to the Jebel Ali Hotel and Palm Tree Court & Spa, offers the perfect haven for relaxation, plus a wide range of activities for the more adventurous.

Tiger Woods and Ernie Els are just two of the golfing greats who have graced the pristine nine-hole golf course, and it was easy to see why Jebel Ali has been named the Middle East's leading golf resort for eight consecutive years.

But the first thing on my agenda is to get into the swing of things at the JOYA Beach Party.

We’ve all read news reports about drinking in certain places being illegal, but that doesn’t mean partying is banned – you just have to stick to the licensed bars and hotels to enjoy your tipple.

Later, I swap my shorts and flip-flops for something a little more formal, before boarding the Bateaux Dubai for a four-course meal while cruising down Dubai Creek.

From the top deck, the skyline views are stunning, and the food certainly matches the surroundings – the vessel has a lovely, relaxed atmosphere and feels classy and upmarket, without being pretentious.

Tucking into my tandoori spiced kingfish, we drift past some of Dubai’s key landmarks, including the Grand Mosque, Gold Souk and the Deira Tower.

From the heights of fine dining to heights of architecture – next morning I head to the half-mile high Burj Khalifa.

Dubai is a city that is constantly making statements – none more so than this architectural gem, the world's tallest building.

Towering above everything else, it even manages to make the skyscrapers around it look a bit small, and looking down from the 124th floor is surreal.

Despite being one of the most modern places on Earth, elements of Dubai's traditional Eastern elements are still apparent, and a great example of the contrast between old and new cultures in the city is in the shopping.

With more than 1,200 retail outlets, an aquarium and an ice rink, you could easily spend a whole day in The Dubai Mall.

But then you'd be missing out on the souks, the traditional markets, where you can buy anything from gold to herbs and spices. But with temperatures well into the 40s, a massage and water sports at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa appeal more to me than shopping!

The next morning I head to the Desert Ranch for a spot of horse riding and camel “cuddling”, which actually entails washing, dressing and feeding them.

Afterwards, I join a group on a short horseback jaunt.

Out in the desert, you can imagine what Dubai was like before its massive transformation. The Desert Ranch is certainly worth a visit.

Of course, this is a holiday and it’s only fitting that it ends on a less active note, so I tuck into another gorgeous dinner, this time at the Shooters restaurant.

Travel facts

Peter Thompson flew to Dubai with Emirates Airlines and was a guest of Jebel Ali International Hotels. Operators to Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa include Travelbag, which offers three nights’ self-catering in the Oasis Beach Tower’s serviced apartments from £639, incl Royal Brunei flights ex-Heathrow until June 20.


For more information about Jebel Ali Hotels, visit: jebelali-international.com . The group owns four hotels in Dubai.


Travelbag reservations: 0871 703 4240 and travelbag.co.uk