Can you do Dubai in a weekend?

It can be a devilish hot 38 ° C in the afternoon sun, but I can no longer be happy to be on solid ground, even if I melt.

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I just got out of a rather shaky six-hour flight from Zanzibar with a budget company with rock-hard seats, entertainment screens that don't work and a scarce in-flight service that Ryanair looks luxurious.

A visit to Dubai has never been high on my list – despite countless stops on the way to South Asia and Africa – but after two weeks of traveling through Tanzania and the aforementioned rocky flight, I would like to end the journey home.

I have decided to find out if it is possible to get a real aroma for the lush emirate, after a short stopover of less than 36 hours, which – if successful – could make future long journeys home a lot painless .

Fast forward a few hours and I sit down to enjoy the best Japanese food I have ever tasted at Akira Back at W The Palm, I am surprised that I am already addicted.

Siofra Brennan from MailOnline ventured to Dubai for a two-night stopover at W The Palm to discover if you can experience the best of the Emirate in less than 48 hours

Siofra Brennan from MailOnline ventured to Dubai for a two-night stopover at W The Palm to discover if you can experience the best of the Emirate in less than 48 hours

W The Palm is located on the amazing artificial Palm Jumeirah island, pictured
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W The Palm is located on the amazing artificial Palm Jumeirah island, pictured

W The Palm is located on the amazing artificial Palm Jumeirah island, pictured

Like so many travelers, I have often been to Dubai Airport without ever having set foot outside the terminal, and I have never liked it so much.

My ideal vacation is a nature adventure or a city trip with many museums and galleries, and Dubai's reputation for man-made beaches and vast shopping centers always seemed a little too far-fetched.

But while arranging my summer vacation, I thought about the long winter ahead and decided that a final burst of sunshine on the way home would certainly not be a bad thing.

The prospect of a weekend there also intrigued me because it could be the ideal way to get a quick solution of guaranteed winter heat in the future, without having to jet all the way to the Caribbean.

We arrive on Friday afternoon to see what we can pack that evening and the next day before we leave on Sunday morning, and W The Palm is our base.

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Located on the island of Palm Jumeirah – a short 30 minute drive from the airport – it is an ideal place for a short break, and while we settle in our spectacular room overlooking the Arabian Gulf, the memories of the rocky flight are already started drifting away.

Akira Back, which serves Korean-influenced Japanese food led by chef Giovanni Ledon, was one of the highlights of the trip

Akira Back, which serves Korean-influenced Japanese food led by chef Giovanni Ledon, was one of the highlights of the trip

Akira Back, which serves Korean-influenced Japanese food led by chef Giovanni Ledon, was one of the highlights of the trip

What I didn't know about Dubai before, is that hotel bars are destinations in themselves, rather than being on the road somewhere else, or for a nightcap – and the same goes for the restaurants.

For dinner we stop for a cocktail at SoBe, the rooftop cocktail bar inspired by the abandoned buildings of South Beach in Miami – decorated with graffiti murals by a local artist.

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People float to the bar while the sun sets on the brunch party that was in full swing when we arrived, while families gather to celebrate birthdays, which adds to the party atmosphere.

After tasting the inventive cocktail menu, we go for dinner next to Akira Back, still surprised that you only have to go a few floors higher from your bedroom for dining with Michelin stars.

The wet deck of W The Palm, complete with pods for relaxation and pink loungers that are perfect for Instagram-friendly poolside snaps

The wet deck of W The Palm, complete with pods for relaxation and pink loungers that are perfect for Instagram-friendly poolside snaps

The wet deck of W The Palm, complete with pods for relaxation and pink loungers that are perfect for Instagram-friendly poolside snaps

The day may have started with a tiny portion of microwave plane for breakfast, but it ends in such a high tone that I would go all the way back to eat this meal again.

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We are treated to hit after hit by chef Giovanni Ledon, starting with the characteristic tuna pizza from Akira Back – a crispy, light bite-sized cracker topped with strips of sashimi and truffle flakes.

The grilled octopus is like nothing I have ever tasted – impossible tender and melts in the mouth, just like the scallops, while spinach covered in the most more miso sauce is a surprise.

We are also treated to the Giovanni & # 39; s look at truffle rice, which is not yet on the menu, with our black cod, which he declares is there to meet demand, despite the concern that it is somewhat clichéd .

It is served as a meaty fillet, rather than the usual strips of fish, and is all the better for it, again better than any other version I have tasted.

The Aquaventure water park is only a short taxi away in Atlantis and is a great place for families, making The Palm an ideal place to stay if you have limited time

The Aquaventure water park is only a short taxi away in Atlantis and is a great place for families, making The Palm an ideal place to stay if you have limited time

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The Aquaventure water park is only a short taxi away in Atlantis and is a great place for families, making The Palm an ideal place to stay if you have limited time

We float, or rather roll to bed in a haze of the gourmet heaven, and if I had to get back on the plane the next morning, it would have been worth the visit for that meal alone.

Because I realize that there is so much demand for the best restaurants in the hotel, I would recommend booking a table in advance because they run out quickly.

The next morning we enjoy a relaxed start to the day with a light breakfast at Liv, although there are endless options to choose from if you have a strong appetite.

If you don't want to go far for a short visit, you can relax by the pool or enjoy treatments at the on-site spa.

I also catch up with the very charming W Insider Sitora Rasulova-Skudutis, which is like a super-concierge for visitors with limited time and great desires.

The Lost Chambers Aquarium is home to 65,000 marine animals and the calming atmosphere offers a welcome respite from the heat

The Lost Chambers Aquarium is home to 65,000 marine animals and the calming atmosphere offers a welcome respite from the heat

The Lost Chambers Aquarium is home to 65,000 marine animals and the calming atmosphere offers a welcome respite from the heat

She specializes in tracing everything from sought-after concert tickets to reservations and fully booked restaurants, even at the last minute.

If you are staying for a weekend and want something special to happen, she is the woman to talk to, although of course you pay a premium for her services.

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We go to nearby Atlantis to view the Aquaventure Waterpark, with all the water slides imaginable that adventurous types might hope for, and lazy rivers for those who want something more restrained.

Travel facts

Room rates at W Dubai – The Palm start from AED 950 (around £ 210) per night based on bed and breakfast.

To book a visit wdubaithepalm.com.

Return flights to Dubai with Emirates start at £ 329.

It is certainly a great place for children and an ideal activity if you want to be outside, but want to stay cool in the XX heat, although some may be uncomfortable about activities offered, such as swimming with trapped dolphins.

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To escape the heat, you can also enjoy bowling and lunch at the Wavehouse, where we stop for a welcome cocktail to cool off, for a fun session in the alleys.

We opt for lunch back at The Palm in the pastel-colored surroundings of Torno Subito, Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura, who goes back to the vintage Italian 60s style.

A delicate appetizer offers a twist to panzanella, with tomato sauce and crispy crumbs, and while tagliatelli with wagyu ragu or a delicious stonebaked pizza go down well, certainly leaves room for dessert – a surprisingly light tiramisu made with espresso sorbet.

The staff here are particularly charming and eager to talk you through the dishes, with the vast majority of ingredients imported from Italy, the passion and care for the food is abundant.

Italian restaurant Torno Subito exudes retro glamor and serves fresh turns of classic Italian dishes

Italian restaurant Torno Subito exudes retro glamor and serves fresh turns of classic Italian dishes

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Italian restaurant Torno Subito exudes retro glamor and serves fresh turns of classic Italian dishes

Later in the day we are back in Atlantis to visit The Lost Chambers Aquarium, where 65,000 marine animals live.

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We enjoy a stroll through and enjoy the calming and enchanting atmosphere as we watch small sharks and rays float by, and it is definitely a good stop to add to the list if you have children in tow during a short visit .

The evening ends with a meal at Gordon Ramsay & # 39; s Bread Street Kitchen, which offers chic classics such as Cornish fish stew and lobster tagliata.

It is an early start the next morning, but we feel energized after packing so much good food and entertainment in less than 36 hours.

I may have been cynical about Dubai before, and I admit that some parts of it are a bit of & # 39; style over content & # 39; but a nice weekend with great food has definitely been the perfect way to end a vacation.

. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) femail

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