FROM the edge of the Arabian desert rises a city so cosmopolitan and sleek that you might be forgiven for thinking you're seeing a mirage.

World class golf courses, designer shopping complexes and sunshine alone have made the United Arab Emirates a premier holiday destination for the A-list.

But Dubai is renowned for its luxury hotels - each one more impressive than the last.

With so many to choose from you'll be spoiled for choice and you can't go far wrong at the five-star deluxe Jumeirah Beach Hotel (designed to resemble the crest of a wave), or if you're feeling extra flush try its sister hotel, the sail-shaped Burj-Al-Arab - the only seven-star hotel in the world.

However, choosing to visit the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in August was perhaps not the wisest choice.

We stayed for 11 nights, flying from Manchester with Emirates Airlines.

Temperatures can rise to an unbearable and oppressive 50 degrees with high humidity levels between April and September, whereas you can expect a more modest 26 degrees from October to March.

I've never experienced heat like it (excluding the time I accidentally locked myself into my parents' conservatory during the height of summer - but that's another story) and it quite literally takes your breath away, even at night when you'll start to perspire the moment you step outside.

Fortunately the very hospitable Jumeirah staff know exactly how to cool you down, at least for a good five minutes at any rate.

Relaxing around one of the many swimming pools, we were frequently spritzed with cool Evian water and handed cold flannels, ice lollies and fruit kebabs - they'll even give you slices of cucumber to put over your eyes (or to eat, if you're as peckish as my sunbathing companion was!).

Thankfully, being a resident guest at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel meant we had unlimited access to the adjacent Wild Wadi Water Park.

One of the most technologically advanced water parks in the world with 30 rides and attractions, it will keep you blissfully cool and occupy the children for hours.

Or if a thrill a minute is not your thing, try being ferried to your executive beach by golf buggy every morning.

But when it's just too darn hot outside, staying inside the perfectly air-conditioned hotel is equally as acceptable and just as rewarding, whether you want to be pampered in the spa or fancy a spot of retail therapy.

Yet it's the quality and choice of dining available that will inevitably draw me back to the hotel.

With more than 20 options there's something to suit every mood - feeling refined we enjoyed a delightful afternoon tea while listening to live classical music and sitting among an oasis of lush gardens in Palm Court.

Style setters will love The Apartment lounge with its trendy dinners and chilled house music (I was particularly impressed with the cushion provided to rest my handbag on), and highly recommended is La Parrilla, where you can experience live tango dancing and expertly cooked chargrilled and flambéed meats at the first Agentinian restaurant in the Gulf region.

For seafood lovers the Marina is a must - with elegant décor and the freshest fish, there is a delectable combination of traditional dishes blended with an innovative Asian fusion menu.

And if all that fine dining becomes just a touch too much you can always head to the hotel's Dhow and Anchor - an English pub with great traditional food and a happy hour but minus the lager louts.

While the service at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel cannot be faulted, it's inevitable that the Burj-Al-Arab continues to draw the well to do.

Think round-the-clock attention in this all-suite opulent hotel (you'll need your sunglasses for the amount of bling!), with chauffeur driven Rolls Royces, private reception desks and your own personal butler who will run your bath and cater to your every need (within reason obviously).

It may be a bit over the top for some, but combining the latest technology with Arabian hospitality and taller than the Eiffel Tower, the Burj symbolises the essence of Dubai - embracing the best of the new alongside traditions of the past.

If you only dine at one restaurant there make it the Al Mahara - an award-winning restaurant with a vast aquarium which is accessed by a three-minute virtual submarine voyage (don't be fooled into thinking it's real).

In the unlikely event that you ever want to leave the comfort of your hotel, Dubai is a shopper's paradise so make sure you take a good supply of Dirhams. Aside from the numerous shopping malls it's worth heading to the gold and spice souks (markets), although be warned that you will get harassed to the point of exhaustion by the locals wanting you to snap up some of their bargain jewellery.

But a real highlight of our trip was the popular desert safari.

Collected from our hotel and transported into the Arabian night, we experienced an adventurous car ride over sand dunes followed by a camel ride (Dromedaries to be precise) and barbecue dinner by starlight, complete with belly dancers, falconers and henna designers.

It's argued that Dubai is now becoming the Los Angeles of the Middle East, but for true exotic luxury you'll be hard pressed to find anywhere better.

Just don't book in August.