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Not content to rely on its year-round sunshine and duty-free shopping to draw us in, Dubai is always offering something new.

Opening soon in the dunes is Al Sahra (, an eco-desert resort featuring Arabian culture from the whole region and including Jumana Secret of the Desert, a Cirque du Soleil-type show with extravagant pyrotechnics and narrated by Omar Sharif.

For a more wintry experience, there's Chillout (, a new ice-lounge where everything is frozen, from the seats to the glasses. Or make for the indoor ski-slope, which has 6,000 tonnes of real snow and a 400m black run. For a snow 'n' shopping holiday, try the Kempinski Mall of the Emirates, just off-piste and attached to the world's largest shopping centre outside North America.

Between October 13 and December 19, Elite Vacations (01707 371 000; is offering five nights BB in a deluxe room for Pounds 1,160 per person with flights from Heathrow or Gatwick a ski chalet costs pound;26 extra per person per night.

The new Raffles Dubai is got up like a glittery Egyptian pyramid, albeit one with a champagne bar on the top floor. Kuoni (01306 747 002, offers five nights' BB for pound;899 per person, including flights.

Or if the whole family wants to escape Christmas, the Emirates Marina Hotel and Residence, opening at the beginning of November, has apartments overlooking what will be the world's largest man-made marina when it is finished in a couple of years' time. With Emirates Tours (0870 128 6000, five nights for a family of two adults and two children sharing a two-bed apartment are from pound;1,345 per adult and Pounds 1,190 per child, room only but including flights. Two adults can share a studio from pound;1,430 per person

Teachers' tips

Where to stay

All the hotels are very nice, better than any five stars in Europe, and anyone can use the bars and restaurants in nice hotels. The Royal Mirage (Al Sufouh Road) has a spa, three pools, loads of restaurants and a great club for a bit of dancing. The shops are fabulous and the diamonds cheap.

Kathryn, Cheltenham

What to do

We were only there for two days (globe-trotting on our honeymoon) but loved it, although we went in July and it was unbearably hot. The Wild Wadi waterpark is well worth a visit, or you can go sandboarding or quad biking in the desert. You don't have to cover up in the hotel, but if you leave the complex and go into Dubai itself, keep your shoulders covered and don't show too much leg.

Natalie, Cardiff

The thing that's brilliant here is the spa life. Every hotel tries to outdo the others in spa-tasticness. The best are at the OneOnly Royal Mirage, the Madinat Jumeirah and Amara Spa at the Park Hyatt.

Gemma, Watford

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