By Pete Thompson Plunging spectacularly into the Arabian Gulf for a third time, saltwater stings my lips.

Fourteen years after my first attempt at waterskiing I am trying again.

This time, the surroundings are a lot more luxurious — I’m at Dubai’s Jebel Ali Golf Resort and Spa.

To be honest, agreeing to give it a go had been more of a ploy to escape the searing heat for half an hour — it’s scorching.

Dubai truly is a sun-worshipper’s paradise.

But as I’m rapidly learning, there’s a lot more to it than that.

With year-round sunshine and white sandy beaches, it’s easy to see why tourists flock here, but the vibrant desert metropolis has so much more to offer than just a suntan.

Of course, the jaw-dropping modern skyline and scores of expats taking advantage of a tax-free salary were also on my list of expectations.

Dubai is already offering up surprises, though.

We’ve all read news reports about drinking (among other things!) in certain places being illegal, but that doesn’t mean that partying is banned - you just have to make sure you stick to the licensed bars and hotels to enjoy your tipple.

GETTING THERE: Peter Thompson flew to Dubai with Emirates Airlines and was a guest of Jebel Ali International Hotels.

Operators to Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa include Travelbag, which offers three nights’ self-catering in the Oasis Beach Tower’s serviced apartments from £639, incl Royal Brunei flights ex-Heathrow until June 20.

Connecting flights from Manchester begin around £109 return.