It all began with Bertie the Bunny. We found him tied to the end of the extra bed when we checked into our 10th-floor suite at The Address Dubai Mall. Calvin, our eight-year-old son, jumped with joy and I let out a whoop. "Calm down," said my husband. "It's only a helium balloon." Calvin, who as far as I know hasn't played with a balloon since he was two, untied the enormous thing and took it on to the balcony to gape at the Burj Khalifa.
"If I put out my hand I might just be able to touch it," said Calvin, and stuck his arm out. Bertie promptly made a break for freedom but was yanked back in a daredevil manoeuvre by my husband. "Bertie stays tied to the bed for the rest of the weekend," he snapped unreasonably. So we shut the door on Bertie and kicked off Calvin's summer holidays with an elevator ride to Qix, the kids' club on the third floor of the hotel. Here, a pretty attendant showed us into a room the size of a football field. It was filled with all kinds of stuff, including a slide, a wooden house on stilts and a cosy library.
"Bye, Calvin," we said. He didn't even look up from the plastic egg he was cooking in the playhouse, so we left him to it. Two hours later, we pulled him out of Qix and headed to the infinity pool at the other end of the floor. The pool was such a welcome respite from the hot, humid day that it took all our willpower to hoist ourselves out and go in search of dinner at the adjacent Dubai Mall. We ate at a quiet pizzeria in The Grove, then strolled outside to catch the mall's famed musical fountain in action. Squeezing through the crowd milling around the lake, we finally found an empty spot and sat down to wait. Twenty minutes later, a sudden hush fell. The first notes of Con te Partirò filled the night, and the fountain began its graceful dance. Beside me, a woman was unashamedly wiping away tears.
"Wow!" said Calvin, after the last jet of water had fallen with a flourish. "I'd like to be a Dancing Fountain Controller when I grow up. Can we go to the sweet shop now?" "Not Candylicious!" groaned my husband, but we went anyway, and also visited a toy store and an ice-cream parlour. Thus our weekend went by in a haze of sugar-induced bliss, until it was time to check out. "I'm not going to drive back to Abu Dhabi with that thing staring at me through the rearview mirror," said my husband as I stubbornly tried to stuff Bertie into the back of the car. "Give it to the doorman."
A short argument later, we made a detour to my sister's, where I presented her toddler with his very first helium balloon. "Boon," said Keith, and grabbed it in his chubby hands. Four nanoseconds later, he let go. Bertie was finally free. My husband, who found this incredibly ironic, laughed his head off all the way home. email@example.com
Summer deals at The Address Dubai Mall (www.theaddress.com; 04 438 8010) cost from Dh4,676 for three nights in a premier room, including taxes and one ticket per guest to Dubai Aquarium and the Ice Rink. Valid until September 9.