Experience 11: Sleep with the fishes in Dubai (If you can afford it)

by Oliver Smith
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Dubai’s top-end accommodation has a nasty habit of leaving smouldering craters in people’s bank balances.

With this in mind, we paid a visit to a hotel room designed for people who don’t count the zeros on their credit card bills – the Neptune Suite at the Atlantis Hotel, costing $8,800 a night. When you step through the front door, it’s very posh, but not unusual. There’s a tasty-looking bowl of fruit. There’s even a pleasant-smelling collection of bath products, pleasantly arranged around the bathtub.

The shock comes when you part your bedroom curtains to see a hammerhead shark admiring you in your pyjamas. This is because the Neptune Suite is parked beside an 11 million-litre fish tank – full of stingrays, various species of shark plus smaller, understandably nervous-looking fish keeping out of the way of said sharks. This same hotel also happens to be set on a humongous chunk of artificial land shaped like a palm tree. Short of strapping rockets to your hotel room and firing it into space, there’s not much else you could do to make it more triumphantly extravagant.

Furthermore, these fish boast some of the most exclusive celebrity access in the world. Swimming past the Neptune Suite, they’ve seen guests including supermodels, Hollywood A-listers and rock stars in various states of undress, on the loo, trimming their toenails. If they could sell their story to the tabloids they’d make a small fortune. Sadly, they are fish – which means they’ll almost certainly forget any scandal they’ve witnessed in three seconds flat and go swimming off in search of lunch.

In the event, we couldn’t afford to stay the night here. The fish were disappointed. They probably had to make do with a supermodel instead.

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