June 2014 and Katie heads off to stunning, cosmopolitan city, Dubai.
She was wowwed by everything this cosmopolitan city-by-the-sea has to offer. So if you're curious to find out if Dubai is the destination for you, give her a call in the office!
Meanwhile, here's her thoughts on the trip...
This is probably one of the smallest groups I have every travelled with and I knew we would be spoilt from the beginning. I have always wanted to see Dubai so I couldn't wait to get on that plane and get going.
I was really impressed with Emirates and If I ever travelled with them again I think I would definitely make sure I was on the A380 because it was so spacious and I really didn't feel like I was in Economy. The seats are bigger and there is more leg room, the food and staff were lovely and the films excellent! I always need good entertainment and that's what I had.
It was early hours when we arrived and so I knew not to expect too much and that I would start seeing the real Dubai tomorrow. I actually couldn't believe we were met by a Limo and chauffeured to our first accommodation. All of the hotels that I was lucky enough to see were amazing in their own right and had their own theme and service. The food, rooms and public areas were fab and you could just tell we were in a rich Country and a Country that's has hotels which like to impress. What I really like was that even though you were in hotels like this I never once felt uncomfortable and beach wear was allowed in public areas and restaurants throughout the day and the evenings that is when everyone would really dress up. But I like to people watch so I would notice this.
The beaches were beautiful and the Sea was so warm it was like literally getting into a warm bath. This probably wasn't as great as it was so hot and sometimes you just needed to cool of not that I am complaining.
Outside of the hotels is where I really got excited in the real Dubai. I loved the Souks and the buzz of life there... Buyers and sellers and the loud noises the smells. I enjoyed the water taxi and seeing the sights along the way. Even the malls were exciting! The Mall of Emirates even had its own indoor ski area and there was every shop you could think off here. What didn't appeal to me was Karama but I am not that keen on shopping and bartering for handbags but shoppers would absolutely love this.
I would definitely come back to Dubai one day as it has everything you would require for a sunshine break.
- 7 hour flights
- Guaranteed Weather
- Adventures – From Sand Dune Safaris to Indoor Skiing
- Pampering in the most beautiful hotels
- Amazing food
- Souks & Markets
- Beaches & Warm Sea
- Glitz & Glamour in the evening's – some excellent bars from Ice to 360 degree views and more!
We arrived really early hours of the morning so we didn't really get to see much until later that day. I do remember pulling up to the hotel and the drive way to the entrance was grand as in it was lined with golden statues and horses and I thought oooo this will be nice.
We were staying the Dar Al Masyaf section of the resort and my room was beautiful. The bathroom was massive and my bedroom had a large bed and sofa area and it had every amenity you could think of. I was so impressed and my balcony had a view of the river that run around the resort... it was beautiful and if I had any complaints it was just that the décor was quite dark which gave the room a dark feeling. This section of the resort was very quiet and very relaxing and I could see couples and the more mature clients staying here. It was so large that you would have to get water taxi's or golf buggies to get anywhere as in the beach or one of the many restaurants... and sometimes this did mean waiting in the heat for quite some time.
There was a small pool for each selection of rooms and again small but quiet and peaceful. The staff were so welcoming and made you feel so comfortable and spoilt it really did make the stay enjoyable.
The beach here was my favourite of all the beaches... it was beautiful and the sea was so calm, warm and blue and to have a view of the Palm one side and the Burj Al Arab just made it for me. It just did not seem real and I feel so lucky to have seen it first-hand.
- Couples or Mature clients
- Resort for a more relaxed and quiet stay
- Getting around was by water taxi or buggy's – too far to walk anywhere in the heat
- Rooms very spacious and every amenity to hand
- Staff amazing
Site inspections meant we got to see the other sections of the resort but as they were fully occupied we only got to see a couple of rooms and for what we seen they were lovely but in their own way. The Al Qasr section to me felt very business orientated and I would not have liked to have been in this section... Business traveller's only, but in saying that the breakfast area was out of this world and had everything you could think of from smoothies to freshly baked bread/waffles to Salmon just everything.
The last part we got to see only family room and this was the Mina A'Salam and what was nice about this was that it was for families and they rooms were great because they had a door that would lead to a foyer and then 2 doors – one rooms for adults and the other for the children. All rooms have amazing view of the massive pool and then the beach and Sea. There were a lot of rooms in this section but one thing I will say the resort never felt crowded or there were guests on top of each other.
- 20 pools at this resort
- Souks with about 40 restaurants
- Amazing views
- Rooms beautifully decorated
Jumeirah Beach Hotel
Well this hotel was certainly an eye opener especially since we had just left the nice quiet relaxing Madinat. But in all fairness I loved the life and buzz this hotel had to offer. It really is an iconic building and I loved the fact at night it lit up all different colours. Some people wouldn't like to stay her because the only balconies were with suites and they were down the side of the hotel. I didn't mind that I did not have a balcony because my room and view just blew me away.
Before we did check in though we spent half the day at the Wild Wadi Waterpark and what is great is that all quests have free entry here. If you were not a guest you would pay a £40.00 /£50.00 entry fee and that's quite a lot if your children wanted to go every day. It was a great waterpark and lots of rides... lazy river and of course the Jumeriah Scarer. Yes I and one other attempted this ride out of our group (other's too scarred) we tried it... I hated it and would never do it again but at least I can say I did it! What was funny was even the food at the park was really good and you can't really say that about fast food in theme parks so it goes to show you Dubai really does go all out.
After the park and when we finally did check in and a busy check in that was you had to wait quite a while for the lifts because the queues were so big due to there being 2 lifts that will take you right to the top of the hotel and right down to the beach entrance at the bottom.
They were busy constantly but it was worth the wait. My room was beautiful and large and very modern. The view just... photos won't do it justice! It was very modern in the way you curtains and blinds would only open at the touch of a button... lights and the TV were also switch on by a remote buy my bed and all of this took me some time so work out, but was great when I got the hang of it. Nothing better than not been able to get off the bed and open your curtains to look at that amazing view.
The nightlife is brilliant and very lively. I would definitely say young couples and families would enjoy this hotel. The best lamb I have ever tasted in my life was at this hotel and the pre-dinner drinks at their 360 degree bar was chilled but very funky is the only way I can describe it. The breakfast that followed the next day was even better than the Madinat... I have never seen so much food and different varieties. Amazing and I really liked it here.
The only disappointment at this hotel was that even though you knew it was busy it felt very busy and was quite crowded in some areas. More so the main reception as the staff didn't seem to be quite in control and the lifts were so busy people were left waiting and filling the reception area where guest were checking in and out it really was madness. I hope when their building work finishes they can sort this problem out.
- Really big beach and a lot busier
- Excellent Wild Wadi Park – free entrance for guests
- Restaurants beautiful
- Lots of entertainment and activies – Talise Spa and Gym is the best I have ever seen
- Love that's the children on had Xbox time if they exercised first!!
- Very busy hotel
- Simba Club – Infant and toddler play group and pool
- Rooms very modern, spacious and beautifully decorated
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
On arrival to the Zabeel Saray we got to see what the Palm was about and it is really busy this part of Dubai. You could feel it more in the traffic and just by seeing how many hotels and how big they are here! When we finally arrived it didn't look that much to look at from outside but when you entered it was so grand and gold with water fountains it did not seem real.
It has a very Turkish influence here and you can see it with the lanterns... furniture, colours and fabrics but really is something else. We were met by Ross the manager and before checking in he took us to lunch in their main restaurant area. It was not the biggest restaurant or buffet area I had seen but it was the best without a doubt. I was in seafood heaven and I didn't even make the main course I skipped to pudding and all of it was absolutely divine it makes my mouth water just by writing this and remembering how good it was.
Again what surprised me about this hotel was how quiet it felt and they were almost fully occupied too... So much that we were all kindly upgraded to the villas with our own walk in pools (what a shame!).
It was really nice to be checked in here by sitting comfy in their check in area and the fact they had noted I was allergic to feathers and the room I was staying in had been removed of all feathers and I thought this as an extra service was brilliant. After check if we were showed to our Butler villa and it was absolutely beautiful... that would be the only way to describe it. A massive living room and dining room... our own gym and pool entrance. Large kitchen and 4 bedrooms upstairs all on suite and the décor was perfect in every room. Very spoilt!
The rest of the day was at leisure so we thought we would inspect the beach and pool areas... be rude not too! The beach was lovely but the sand was abit rockier and hurt getting in and out of the sea. Free water available by the pool and beach which was a nice extra touch.
After an amazing meal in their Turkish restaurant and drinks outside we retired to our Luxury Villa for a good night's sleep.
We had a really good hotel inspection today and what I thought was interesting is if you pay to stay here half board you can upgrade low season £65.00 high season £120.00 per room and with this you can unlimited soft drinks, lunch, afternoon tea and canapés and alcohol drinks from 6-8pm... its almost all inclusive but they DO NOT like to use this as a brand. Excellent value if you ask me and I would definitely advise to upgrade.
All of the rooms were lovely here and sea facing. The pool area and beach area felt slightly busier but still not over crowded.
- 1 free ticket to Ferrari World or Wild Wadi
- Cinema with free pop corn
- Spa – free to use facilities and treatment was the only extra
- Upgrade to Club includes all the extras above and free airport transfers
- 10 bars and restaurants
- Simba Club and is free for guest and will cover for children up to 16
- Music Hall
- Nice beach and Pool area
- Couples of all ages and Family hotel
- Friendly staff that could not do enough for you
Dinner at the Burj Al Arab
What an experience. As you pull up to this grand hotel after you have cleared security you are met by a giant water fountain and cars lined up from every amazing make and model you can think of and you know that this is going to be something special... either special in your eye's or you could take it as way over the top. I still can't decide!
The entrance is grand with giant water features, red leather seating and the biggest fish tanks I have ever seen and you look into them and you ride up and down the escalators.
If you look up you can only just see the top of the building from the inside it's just rows and rows of levels and different colours and almost makes you dizzy.
We were lucky enough to see the Royal 2 bedroom suite and I don't think I have ever seen a suite like this or ever will again. The TV and bathroom taps were even gold... it was so colourful and luxurious when we seen the leading rooms it was like...oooo ok I think we shouldn't have seen the suite!!
The food was lovely here and we got to try a mix of Korean, Chinese Sushi, noodles just everything you could think if and it was cooked to perfection. The level of service was in a different league and the staff were so happy helpful and kind. It was such an experience to see this only even if it was just for a few hours I know I am a really lucky girl!
I would just like to say and more so from the outside and in the daytime or evening it's one of the nicest looking hotels that I have ever seen and would never ever get bored at looking at it.