08 December 2016

 
Anantara Resort on the Palm
Splashing out in Dubai
Luxury on the lagoon for swimming star Rebecca Adlington - and she even buys her not-yet-born baby her first swimming suit
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y husband Harry and I knew this was going to be a landmark holiday - the last one on our own for a long time. Our baby girl was due shortly and when we touched down in Dubai, I was 28 weeks pregnant. You can't fly after that without a doctor's note. We had left it until the last minute and, by the time we arrived, both of us were ready to relax.

I'd been to Dubai once before as a swimmer, but this was completely different - and utterly amazing. The Anantara is part of The Palm project. It has over-the-water bungalows but when we went to the Australianthemed restaurant I imagined I was back in the jungle on I'm A Celebrity - even though there weren't any luxuries in that jungle. Everything in Dubai is so clean, luxurious and new. Our room was on the lagoon, with direct access to the water.
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One Bed Beach Villa Bedroom at Anantara
We tended to spend a couple of hours in the morning by the main pool, then, after lunch, we retreated to our gorgeous room, where we had sunbeds on the balcony. Some days we went for a wander around the whole resort, which is about two miles round but it is cleverly laid out. It never felt crowded.
"I was also pleased to see how kind everyone was to the children. The staff went out of their way to be helpful. "
We had a lot of time to discuss what name we should give our baby. We always wanted to know what to expect because we both like to plan ahead, but we couldn't agree on a name. It was vital that her first name goes with her last, which will be Harry's name, Needs. One day, we went out on a boat and I hoped to see David Beckham's house, but no one seemed sure where it was exactly. But what we did see were some of the most expensive properties ever. We also went to the famous Dubai Mall, which is bigger than a football stadium. And guess what? We bought our not-born-yet baby her first swimsuit.

It has a French look to it, with jaunty stripes. Swimming is something we will always be able to do together. I regard swimming as a valuable life skill which is why I've started Becky Adlington Swim Stars for three to 11-year-olds. Already we have 17 venues and 3,500 children are learning to swim with us. There were lots of British people in the hotel and they were all very friendly. It never bothers me if someone wants to come up and have a chat or have a photograph taken.
I was also pleased to see how kind everyone was to the children. The staff went out of their way to be helpful. This is a real family resort. After I retired from competitive swimming at the age of 23, I didn't go near a pool for six months. Then I started to swim again as a way to keep fit and I still love it. I love the feeling of being weightless and this is especially welcome when you're pregnant.

As an athlete, I was so focused and driven and I left the sport knowing that I could not have given more of myself. All that training was really tough, but I chose to do it - but now there is not the tiniest bit of me that ever wants to compete again.
Now, I have a chance to get on with the rest of my life and I'm excited about that, too. It gives me an opportunity to try new things – like coming to Dubai with Harry and spending most of the time lying around. I am so pleased to have done I'm A Celebrity. It helped me find my feet and I've always loved Ant and Dec. But it certainly made me appreciate a holiday like the one in Dubai. Footnote: Rebecca and Harry's baby was born in June 2015 and they decided to name her Summer.


Original article published in Nov 2015. All info and prices correct at time of publication.


"We also went to the famous Dubai Mall, which is bigger than a football stadium."
Dubai city view from Anantara
Looking out across the tranquil lagoon to the towering metropolis that is Dubai
The fascinating aquarium in the Dubai Mall
 
 
 
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