If it weren't for the gigantic silhouette of Atlantis The Palm, Dubai's 1,539-roomed hotel, in the distance, you might think you were in Thailand.

Water ripples around the resort; boatmen paddle around the three swimming lagoons delivering ice-cold drinks, and you can float across to the pool bar for fruit daiquiris. The over-water villas are divine; you can see teeny fish flitting about below your toes through the glass panels at the foot of the bed. Pagoda-style roofs are gold-tipped, and cheery staff wear silk pyjamas.

Unfailing Thai hospitality is here, too. Massage therapists flown in from 'the land of smiles' press out stresses in the spa. Thai restaurant Mekong is a tad eccentric - there are novelty tables with rickshaw-like hooded seats - but the food is the real deal. Skewers of chicken satay come out sizzling, and the green curries are as authentically spiced as they are huge. For something Middle Eastern, go for the Dining by Design feast of mezze and seafood on the beach, followed by cocktails at Atmosphere, a head-spinning 122 floors up the Burj Khalifa.

WOW FACTOR The soporific sound of lapping water in the over-water villas instantly de-stresses, guaranteeing the best night's sleep.

FLIGHT TIME 7hrs from the UK  

GO ITC Luxury Travel www.itcluxurytravel.co.uk offers five nights from £1,169 per person, half  board. Includes flights and transfers

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