I recently ventured to Dubai with Western & Oriental and just had to report back after having such a wonderful time in this vibrant city!
We flew to Dubai
from Heathrow Terminal 3 on the Emirates A380 and were lucky enough to get lounge access - a luxurious way to start our trip! On board I was so impressed - the seats were roomy and comfortable, we had great service, delicious food and a vast selection of entertainment. It was certainly one of the best economy cabins I have flown in.
Once we’d arrived in the city it was time to head to our first resort: One&Only Royal Mirage
. I love this grand Arabic hotel as it really makes you feel like you’re in Dubai as soon as you arrive. We had a light dinner at the Eauzone, where the sushi is to die for.
The hotel has been refurbished since I last visited and this was very apparent in the rooms. I loved the new décor: it was more contemporary than before but still had a heavy Arabic influence and felt much lighter and airier. I was on the third floor and lucky enough to have one of the rooms with a very good sea view.
The next day our first stop was ‘At the Top’ at the Burj Khalifa. This is an absolute must do! The views are amazing and luckily it was clear so we could see for miles. We spent half an hour here taking pictures and enjoying the views, then walked across to the Dubai Mall for a few hours’ retail therapy. Dubai Mall is great for designer labels, while the Mall of the Emirates is ideal for bargain hunting and high street, local and international brands.
Then we headed back to One&Only Royal Mirage Arabian Court for a chill by the pool and a strawberry daiquiri, followed by dinner at the Beach Bar and Grill; the perfect setting and an amazing steak! An evening at the One&Only would not be complete though without a visit to the Jetty Lounge – by far my favourite bar in Dubai – a wonderful end to a wonderful day.
Whilst in Dubai I took the opportunity to visit JA Ocean Towers and JA Ocean Beach to have a look around. These hotels are both located on the Jumeirah Walk, an area great for dining. There’s every type of restaurant you could imagine and as they’re not linked to the hotels the cost of eating out is lower here. However, no alcohol is served in these restaurants. The Walk is definitely worth a visit for something to eat, shopping and a nice place to walk.
In regards to the hotels, the JA Ocean Tower is great for business visitors or guests staying for a longer period of time as they have a lot of apartments with multiple rooms, lounges and fully-functional kitchens. JA Ocean Beach is aimed more at the leisure traveller and is very affordable.
From here it was off to One&Only The Palm for lunch…in my view one of the most elegant and luxurious hotels in Dubai. It is finished beautifully with subtle golds and blues making it feel light, cool and classy. The Palm is a small hotel by Dubai standards and as soon as you arrive it feels very quiet, with a relaxing pool area unmarred by mobile phones ringing, children jumping in the water or music playing in the bar. The rooms are beautiful; a generous size, nicely decorated and airy, and the restaurants serve the most delicious food…I recommend the asparagus salad! This hotel really is one of a kind.
The final hotel I stayed in was Atlantis, the Palm -
a vast resort with every facility imaginable. First impressions are, well, impressive, with the glasswork in the lobby created especially for the Atlantis by Dale Chihuly.
You’d never get bored of the dining options here with 23 bars, restaurants and lounges to choose from. The facilities are superb whether you’re a family, single traveller or a couple looking for a resort with plenty of activities going on.
After a swift check-in I decided to head off to the desert for a trip to a Bedouin camp, to get a real insight into life in Dubai before the skyscrapers arrived. The camp was incredible with the opportunity to ride a camel, receive a henna tattoo and try on traditional clothing. We were served a delicious traditional dinner with soft drinks (alcohol was available if wanted) and then we were entertained by a belly dancer, local musicians and finished the day star gazing. It was a wonderful way to spend the evening.
My final day in Dubai was spent relaxing at Atlantis, The Palm
where there is a choice of two buffet restaurants for lunch, and I would recommend Kaleidoscope.
In the morning I went snorkelling in the large aquarium, home to reef sharks, rays and countless types of fish. I love snorkelling anyway and being able to swim with this variety of marine life and not having to worry about currents or being out in the ocean was really quite relaxing.
In the afternoon we went to AquaVenture. This place is great fun! We reserved a cabana which meant we had our own area with sunbeds and shade, as well as a waiter to serve us drinks and order lunch with. I ventured into the lazy river and watched my friends who were brave enough to tackle some of the bigger rides before heading back to the cabana for sun bathing and a good book.
Later that afternoon I decided to try the ‘Shark Walk’ – where you are given a helmet to wear which means that you can breathe underwater without having to use diving or snorkelling equipment. The helmet is also heavy enough to weigh you down so you can walk on the base of the aquarium. This tank has three different types of shark as well as rays and the guides feed the latter to encourage them to swim around you. I really enjoyed this activity and felt it was something I might not have had the chance to do anywhere else. The perfect end to a memorable trip to Dubai.
If Dubai is a destination that you'd love to explore, call our Destination Experts today on 020 7666 1364 or learn more about Dubai holidays here.