In July I enjoyed a whirlwind four nights of being taken care of by Dubai Tourism, who left nothing to chance and ensured that everything was near perfect. There are so many people to thank for the incredible service and awesome experience, this I will do along the way with links, as I share with you some of the fabulous encounters and experiences.
We were greeted at the Airport by Arabian Adventures https://www.arabian-adventures.com/en/tours-and-safaris/index.aspx , who patiently drove us around for the duration in their air-conditioned bus, which daily provided a welcome relief from the 40+ degrees that envelope you like a warm blanket as you step into a Dubai Summer. Fortunately Dubai as a destination provides for the heat and everywhere you go you are welcomed by the cool air conditioned interiors.
Late arrivals and warm weather, encourage lazy mornings, which while on holiday provide a splendid opportunity to relax before venturing out into a long and busy day.
Our first day started with a fresh breakfast at our hotel Manzil Downtown Dubai http://www.vida-hotels.com/en/manzil/ where this Arabian inspired hotel provided a peaceful respite, in-between activities, and the rooms ensured all my creature comforts where met.
Lunch at 3in1 Vida was a wonderful way to be welcomed to the fabulous cuisine available in Dubai, this contemporary modern restaurant overlooks the terrace and pool, which in the winter months would provide the perfect lunch venue, however during the Holy month of Ramadan, and due to the heat, we enjoyed the interior of the restaurant, where we were served fabulous company, fresh berry cocktails and authentic and oriental inspired dishes. Dubai http://www.vida-hotels.com/en/vida/restaurants/3-in-1.aspx
After lunch we were taken to the Dubai Mall where we hopped on the City sight-seeing bus, with its open top. I decided to brave the elements and enjoy the summer heat for the first part of the tour, where-after I moved to the air-conditioned enclosed section. Audio through ear phones, provides commentary of the history, architecture and locations and definitely gives you a better perspective of Dubai as a whole. www.citysightseeing-dubai.com
Straight from the bus tour we were whisked into the incredible Burj Khalifa, where the high speed lift transported us 442 metres up to the 122nd Floor, other than a slight ear popping at one point, I could hardly tell the lift was moving – amazing! Photos on the cantilevered stair case with the incredible panoramic view of the city far below, was just a teaser to the high tea that awaited us in the At.mosphere Restaurant. A trip to Dubai is not complete without a visit to this incredible restaurant, where we were spoilt with both a visual and literal feast – http://www.atmosphereburjkhalifa.com/
We then refreshed in the hotel, rooms have both bath and shower, and the most insanely comfortable beds and all the necessary amenities expected, with friendly room service at the touch of a button. http://www.vida-hotels.com/en/manzil/
Just a note the taps turn in the opposite direction to South Africa, just as they drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Hair Dryers have hold in buttons, so they do not get left on, but this does provide a challenge for long hair – definitely pack your hair iron – as the Dubai heat has a way of providing bad hair days – especially for those of us with fine hair that has a life of its own.
We enjoyed irresistible Cocktails at Neo’s on the 63rd Floor of The Address Hotel, overlooking the largest dancing Fountains in the world, before being taken to the Emaar Hotels tent for Iftar and Suhoor. Iftar is the meal at sunset when Muslims break the fast with their family and friends and Suhoor is the meal before dawn. We arrived long after sunset but the local Emirates where still enjoying the festivities of food and relaxation in the exquisite Emaar tent, where we enjoyed flavourful authentic Arabic dishes. www.theaddress.com /
Some of the girls ventured to night shopping after our departure after midnight, and while my good intentions were there, after an incredibly busy day my body decided that the bed in my room at Manzil Downtown was just what I needed – and that was Day One.
Mmmm waking to the smell of coffee – well that was what you would think, but delicious juice of spinach, celery and apple along with yoghurt and fresh fruit provided the perfect breakfast before we departed at 11am for the Coffee Museum. Only open in Dubai for six months, this wonderful collection of coffee artefacts and antiques inspired interest in coffee culture and history…
“They say it all started in the Ethiopian highlands 100’s of years ago. The legend of Kaldi says that coffee was discovered when a goat ate some unknown berries from a tree and became alert through the night. A drink was prepared from these berries by worshippers of the local monastery which was found to help them stay awake during the long hours of prayers. This discovery starting spreading rapidly until it reached the Arabian Peninsula where the Arabs have taken this newly found drink, coffee, with them around the world.”
The Arabic coffee we enjoyed at the museum was a light, fragrant and aromatic coffee which they served with the traditional fresh dates that you will find in all the hotels in abundance. www.coffeemuseum.ae
Every girl wants lunch at The Palace and we enjoyed a delicious and sumptuous lunch at Ewaan, with its Arabic and Oriental influence at the magnificent Palace Downtown Dubai, this exquisite hotel provides an eclectic retreat in the heart of the City. http://www.theaddress.com/en/hotels/the-palace-downtown-dubai/dining/index.aspx
At Four o’ clock we took off into the skies on a magnificent, unforgettable Seawings flight over Dubai. With my silver boarding pass in hand I excitedly boarded the plane and up and away we glided around the airspace over the city, flying over The Palm and the World Map, around the magnificent buildings and back onto the waterway, that was the provided runway, we glided safely back to land, enlightened, and encouraged by the oasis that is Dubai. Definitely recommend www.seawings.ae
With just an hour and a half to rest, we then visited Atlantis, The Palm; wow, arriving just in time to enjoy Iftar with 900 other people in the opulent Asateer Tent, the flagship venues for large events. An incredible way to end an amazing day in Dubai – the final close was a trip to Neo’s at The Address for some girl chat – be aware that alcohol is expensive in Dubai so budget accordingly.
It is not everyday that you get to lunch in the Armani Hotel in Dubai, but if you do, I recommend the the Italian Deli, here Italian culinary flair meets contemporary flavour in the freshest ingredients which are displayed for your choice. http://dubai.armanihotels.com/dine/dine_armani_deli_en.html
An afternoon tour of the Ajmal Factory, both old and new, where fragrance is still being crafted in the original way was a fascinating experience. I was at the disadvantage that I contracted a cold, so I visited the perfume factory with a partial to zero sense of smell, which was most unfortunate, however the art of this age old tradition was not lost on me, as I like most women have a fond desire for fragrance, and learning more about the unique essence of perfume making was fabulous. Ajmal began in a small village with one man, and today this conglomerate has 157 speciality outlets over 30 countries. Ajmal blends Agarwood Oil (Oudh) and heavy natural Orientals with special synthetic notes, lending a twist to French Fragrances, thereby merging east and west. www.ajmalperfume.com
Fittingly on the last night of this fabulous Dubai trip, we enjoyed dinner and a mosque tour at the SMCCU, where we learnt about Ramadan and the Emirate Culture. Their program ‘Open Doors Open Minds’ is enlightening and provides an insightful discovery of the culture and beliefs. www.cultures.ae
From there we departed for Abra Crossing and Souk Shopping, and enjoyed an hour or so, of bargaining and colourful shopping.
I hope you have enjoyed this journey with me, and are encouraged to Discover Dubai, it is an incredibly welcoming destination and I definitely ‘found fabulous’ in more than one corner.
Also Read my Article in Issue 20 of TravelmagSA
Visiting Dubai in Ramadan -http://issuu.com/travelmagsa/docs/travelmagsa_issue_20/c/sc74p89