Brian Dick escapes chilly Britain and warms up in the opulence of Dubai.
The permafrost of jet-lag, compacted by weeks of hard British winter, melted away so quickly I had to check I wasn’t standing in a puddle.
Such things, you see, are frowned upon in polite Emirati society and when one is residing in a five-star hotel one does one’s best to suppress the inner Jim Royle or Rab C Nesbitt.
But then staff at the Jumeirah Beach must be used to such things, so rejuvenating is the view from their 13th floor.
Having stumbled bleary-eyed from my king size bed, whose sheets were so brilliant white and pristine I had to check whether the M&S label had been removed, I managed to navigate across my suite, without GPS, in search of natural light.
And did I find it. Not so much a window as a whole wall of transparent therapy, which as the curtain retreated, revealed a scene so breathtaking it was only the existence of movement that reassured me I had not stumbled across a cruel optical illusion of a giant post-card or post-modern Arabian fresco.
A few hours ago I had left a Narnian landscape, where snow and ice had ruled for one hundred years, yet here I was peering out on paradise.
The Persian Gulf lapped the white beach, which was dotted with loungers, parasols and families frolicking in the surf and sand as the heat rippled the image resolution.
The only building to interrupt the desert island panorama rose defiantly out of the ocean, tethered to the land by a causeway – the internationally feted Burj Al Arab.
Yet had it not been tied one suspected, with its haughty, sail-shaped architecture, the world’s only seven-star hotel could have jibed and ploughed off into the distance. The post-card industry needs it more than the other way round.
Slowly as the thaw set in my senses recalibrated only to be startled by the day’s first conscious thought: “If I can see them, they can see m... boxers shorts!” No need now to explain to me the properties of one-way glass. Having swallowed hard and returned my heart to its regular location I spent the next ten seconds scattering the contents of my suitcase and dressing, for we shall call it thus, for further investigation.
The only word to describe the temperature outside is, perfect. The UAE in December is very warm without ever lapsing into hot. You can broil in July and August but when the English weather is at its most spiteful, Dubai offers insulation for the body and soul.
As soft as cotton wool is the sand of Jumeirah beach is which gently shelves into a whispering sea that refreshes without ever chilling. It is almost as if the respective temperatures have been manually set.
After all, if it could be done they’d probably try it in an emirate where the concept of impossible is seen as provocation.
World’s poshest hotel? We’ll build it. World’s tallest building? We’ll have one of them too. World’s highest colon irrigator? Try the Jumeirah Sceirah slide at Wild Wadi water park, an intense and alarming 50mph descent on which it is best to cross your legs and fingers. If you’re a fan of aquatic thrill-seeking, take it from someone who’s been twice, Wild Wadi is almost worth going to Dubai for on its own, especially if you have children.
Indeed the whole Jumeirah Beach set up, with its free pass to the adjoining water park, three swimming pools, inviting shoreline, gym and disarming luxury is an ideal destination for travellers of all ages.
Further out of town – and if horses are your bag – there’s The Meydan, another five-star venue that curves around the race-track, of which every room has a view.
Indeed it is even possible, should you want to try, to remain in your highly-automated room – where even the loos have gadgets – and watch the whole race card from your bath. Or there’s the roof-top infinity pool if you feel like a spot of public bathing and the sensation of swimming off the top of a very large building.