First look at Dubai's Tr88house: the sprawling family-friendly venue at Bluewaters Island

The space also offers laser tag in a bioluminescent jungle and a soft-play area with treehouses galore

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Same same, but different. That’s the look and feel the founders of Tr88house, arguably Dubai’s most eccentric family entertainment destination, are going for. And if the sneak peek The National got inside the 65,000-square-foot Bluewaters Island destination is anything to go by, they seem to have succeeded.

Consider: floating cocoon lights illuminate 12-metre-high treetops, where you might just spot a fairy or two. On-ground, you can tee off on a miniature nine-hole golf course, but one that’s located in a glow-in-the-dark tropical rainforest, complete with crouching tigers, perching toucans and illuminated tribal figurines.

Elsewhere, a game of laser tag takes on a mystical air, played as it is in a bioluminescent jungle filled, we are told, with “strange, abandoned technologies”. Players can hide behind neon-sprayed walls or blend in with the wildlife.

While these two arenas are more likely to appeal to teenagers and adults, Tr88house aims to be a destination for all the family. Those with younger children can make a beeline for Munchkin Monster, the venue’s sprawling soft-play area.

Designed to stimulate young minds, the space is part-jungle, part-maze, part-“ocean” (or ball pit, if you’d rather). From makeshift tree houses and cartoon animals to slides, swings and ropes, there is plenty to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

More family fun is to be had in Skyfall trampoline park, which features a gravity-defying slack line, climbing wall, ninja course and bouncing court in addition to a number of trampolines for children and adults of all ages. Done up in lashings of pumpkin orange, this area, too, channels Tr88house’s overarching psychedelic vibe.

“TR88house is not a business venture or a theme park … I call it a ‘journey into a dream’,” says James Kamyar, chief executive and co-founder of 88Alpha, a hospitality and entertainment management company. “A dream that grew when the world came to a standstill due to the pandemic. It’s a collective effort of artists, where every detail adds up to something [proving] there are no boundaries, no limit to imagination.”

If all this high-octane energy leaves you feeling famished, there are no fewer than six restaurants to feast at.

Asianica offers Asian-inspired street food dishes such as noodle salad from Bangkok, chicken bites from South Korea, Tokyo-style ramen and Thai curry.

Burger8 serves Wagyu and chicken burgers, plus hot dogs and loaded fries. Sample the signature Ghost burger, which comes with red peppers and a fried egg; and the Gangster dog, stuffed with Flaming Cheetos.

Arabic food lovers can head to Little Beirut for everything from zaatar and halloumi fries to pocket sandwiches and fatteh, plus a delectable-looking osmanliyah (two layers of crispy kunafa with qashta and sugar syrup).

8taly does freshly baked focaccia, all manner of pizzas and a “truffleshroom” mac and cheese.

Healthier gourmands can sample the fare at Greenlett, which offers superfood salads, and gluten-free and keto-friendly bowls.

Finally, Coffeelicious claims to offer whimsical desserts like no other” (in addition to hot and cold beverages). The bombs, in particular, combine a medley of flavours, from coffee fudge and mascarpone cream to toasted marshmallows, biscuit crumbs and hot fudge.

Tr88house opens on Sunday, December 19

Updated: December 13, 2021, 7:32 AM