I AM sitting on top of my suitcase willing it to close, when it explodes – and breaks.
Looking at the clock, I only have 25 minutes before my taxi arrives to take me to the airport in Dubai.
As panic begins to set it, I run to the hotel lobby and throw myself upon the mercy of the smiling concierges dotted around the plush reception of the FIVE Palm Jumeirah – where celebrities, including Cristiano Ronaldo, flock all year round for a dose of sunshine.
But I need not have worried – as making the impossible possible is exactly where this five star resort excels itself.
From the moment I stepped into that very hotel lobby five days before, my every wish was granted – often without me even having to say what I wanted.
The FIVE Palm Jumeirah is a site to behold, with Lamborghinis and Ferraris dotted around the car park at the front and a plush 150metre private beach at the back.
It’s an Instagrammers paradise and it’s not hard to see why, as every inch of the hotel complex makes for a perfect picture.
Music is at the heart of the brand and within the hotel, guests are treated to special performances from world famous DJs and perfectly curated playlists which match the mood of every location within the resort.
Like most Brits, I headed straight for the sea and grabbed lunch at Beach by FIVE.
Large parasols protect you from the bright sunshine – it was 28 degrees in the middle of February – as you dine on an extensive menu, which offers everything from sushi and Arabian delicacies to amazing pizzas and sumptuous salads.
As I ate I admired the view over the water, with the incredible Downtown Dubai skyline in the distance, I watched as young and old, families and groups of singletons relaxed and partied in equal measure.
Burnt to a crisp from enjoying a few too many frozen strawberry daiquiris on the beach to help my lunch go down, I headed back to my room.
I could have spent hours there soaking in the luxury, with a huge super king bed and palatial bathroom, complete with a free-standing bath tub.
That evening I went to The Penthouse, which is billed as Dubai’s most famous sunset and nightlife hotspot.
It did not disappoint. Not only are the views second to none, the Japanese inspired menu is to die for – I highly recommend the Wagyu beef sliders.
The Penthouse is the perfect date night location and tables look out over the beach where you can watch the sun go down, or ogle at the super yachts which are moored across the water near Downtown Dubai.
You can eat and drink until the early hours at The Penthouse until you’re ready to hit the dancefloor.
Skyline Thursdays at the venue are so much fun, with amazing DJ sets and drinks flowing all night long.
I dragged myself off to bed around 3am and luckily didn’t have far to stumble, with my room just around the corner from The Penthouse.
Breakfast was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach. There is a huge range of food from around the world on offer, and the delightful offerings at The Delisserie – from scrummy eggs royale to enormous omelettes.
Tired from last night’s party and stuffed from breakfast, I set myself up on a generously sized sun-lounger by the pool and drift off.
After a dip in the pool – and a cheeky nap – I wander down to the beach and set myself up on a daybed.
The service at FIVE is second to none, and an army of staff attend to your every need – from rearranging your towels when you head down to the sea to bringing endless buckets of ice to keep your drinks cool.
Feeling refreshed – I swear by the frozen daiquiris to cure any hangovers – I get ready and enjoy cocktails in The Penthouse.
FIVE Palm Jumeirah has a range of restaurants and that night I chose to eat in their authentic Amalfi Coast restaurant, Cinque.
It immediately became my favourite, with delectable pasta dishes nestled among incredible fish and meat options.
A pianist and singer accompany the meal which adds to the opulence of the evening. I’d advise booking ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Another gem in the hotel’s crown is the Maiden Shanghai restaurant.
Award winning chef Luo Bing has curated an amazing menu which is inspired by four renowned Chinese cuisines – Cantonese, Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing.
The food was outrageously good and I’d recommend the organic chicken in black pepper sauce, the sizzling MaLa beef and the wok-fried sea bass.
As well as the food, the Maiden Shanghai also offers a private karaoke room which is perfect for the vocally adventurous and the tone deaf – as it’s completely soundproofed.
COVID: All passengers are required to present a valid vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test taken within the last 72 hours.
GETTING THERE: Non-stop flights from to Dubai depart from London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle – with prices starting from £330 return.
STAYING THERE: A week’s stay based on two adults sharing has prices starting at £1200.
After another late night I spent some time relaxing in the hotel’s REFIVE spa, which also houses an upmarket hairdressers and barbers.
I opted for the full body massage and 45 minutes later I felt like a new woman.
Next to the treatment centre is REFIVE’s rooftop pool which has a more relaxed vibe, with big beach beds and hydrotherapy jets ready to pummel away any aches and pains.
Saturdays at FIVE see the hotel come alive with expats and free-wheeling locals – many of whom flock to see the DJ sets at Bohemia presents Anjunadeep.
A section of the beach transforms into a festival – complete with bars, seating areas and a huge dance floor in front of the outdoor stage which appeared out of nowhere.
The atmosphere is electric and the feel good vibes float around as freely as the music.
While the drinks are flowing, this festival isn’t the kind where you’d have to queue for a porta-loo or drink warm lager and instead revellers sip posh cocktails and dance with the sand between their toes.
After spending the day – and night – enjoying the music I head for an early night and while the music outside is thumping, inside my room it is peaceful and quiet, and I can barely hear the celebrations going on outside.
As well as the festival on Saturdays, FIVE Palm Jumeirah host incredible parties at their glamorous nightclub BLING.
The exclusive spot is great for a dance if you like hip-hop and R&B – and celebrity spotting if you like rubbing shoulders with the stars.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been seen enjoying the nightlife in Bling on a number of occasions and if you’re lucky, you will watch as the superrich drive straight into the club – where the keys to their supercar will be taken by a valet and they will be taken to one of the exclusive booths.
I watched in awe as someone drove a bright red Ferrari into the club when I visited on Sunday night.
Cameras flashed and Instagrammers flocked around to watch and bottles of champagne with huge sparklers on top of them were waved around to welcome them.
After grabbing a member of staff I was told the stunt was a favourite of the rich and famous but that for a large fee – you could hire one of the hotel’s supercars and give it a go yourself.
I head to bed dreaming of how long it would take me to save up for the stunt and log onto my lottery account to check my numbers from the night before.
Sadly, driving a supercar into the nightclub will remain a pipe dream for now.
When it is time to check out I really do not want to go – and given my suitcase decides to explode, I don’t think it wants to leave either.
Although time is not on my side, the aforementioned smiling concierge – his name is Hyginus and if you need help he is your man – came to my rescue.
Within minutes he has my snapped suitcase in his arms and is carrying it like a child to the reception. In the meantime, without me even realising, Hyginus has organised for my taxi to take me to the nearest shopping centre where I can get a new case and then head to the airport.
He even briefed the driver who in turn helped me find the right shop and with a smile bundled my broken old case into my shiny new one before driving me to catch my plane.
It was service like no other.
As soon as my feet touched down at London’s Gatwick airport I created a Dubai 2023 WhatsApp group – and I am now booked back into FIVE Palm Jumeirah to do it all over again.
The only thing I won’t be doing this time around is panicking if my suitcase gives up the go again.