Over the past few years, the travel bug has really hit me hard. One of the things that brought my husband and I together is our mutual love of travelling, and we promised ourselves that we would try and fit in as many holidays as possible before doing more grown up things like buying a house or starting a family. I enjoy a mix of beach and city breaks but having grown up surrounded by majestic mountains, the beach has lured me more. We had an amazing honeymoon last year in the Maldives, it truly was like paradise on earth with it’s pristine turquoise water and colourful sea-life, clear blue skies, sparkling sunshine and smooth feet sinking sand – the highlight of my trip was to spot a sea turtle close to the beach whilst out snorkelling. In the summer last year we did Bali (having been inspired by the movie eat, pray and love). Bali is rich in culture and history and is full of beautiful temples with intricate carvings and delicious food that tantalises the tastebuds.
Having done two beach holidays, we felt that it was time for a city break. Dubai is a city that has always been on my husbands’ bucket list but I have always had mixed feelings having heard various things from visitors. But something about that place (maybe the shopping ;)) has always attracted me and hence we decided to visit Dubai for my birthday week. As soon as I landed I fell in love with the city – it is modern, multi-cultural, vibrant, glamorous and also a city that never sleeps – we landed in the middle of the night and the city was alive. We stayed in doubletree by Hilton in the business bay (a brand new hotel) with a room overlooking the tallest building in the world – The Burj-Al-Khalifa. Here are some of the highlights of our trip:
The Dubai Mall – I absolutely love shopping, I could shop all day without a break which requires both skill and energy 😉 but this mammoth mall, surrounded by a canal, was truly the king of all malls. It has got a million designer stores and chains from all over the world, chic cafes with delicious smelling freshly baked pastries and cakes, tall bubbly fountains with clever lighting dancing to the rhythm of the music, restaurants with cuisines from all over the world with tasteful decor and a soothing ambience, and wait for this….a massive aquarium filled with several tropical and reef fish including sting/manta rays and reef sharks as well as a zoo with an impressive selection of animals including crocodiles – right in the middle of the mall! This left me absolutely flabbergasted and awestruck!
For shopping – well the designer items are cheaper in the U.K. including high street items. However, they seemed to have a wider selection of clothes in stores such as Zara, Ted Baker and Kurt Geiger. However, I did splurge on a lot of make up (Huda Kattan’s) and face packs from Sephora, which is not available in the U.K.
Afternoon tea at the Burj-Al-Arab – This was a truly breath-taking experience. This entire hotel (claimed to be 7 star) has got a royal feel to it with tall gold plated interiors and a beautiful view of the serene sea. We were whisked off to the sky view dining area where we had a table by the window overlooking the magnificent sea. The afternoon tea in itself was delicious with a number of courses of sweet and savoury nibbles and sandwiches and a huge selection of tea from all over the world to go along with it.
Desert safari – This experience left me absolutely giddy headed. It’s a full days trip where they drive you and a few other tourists in an SUV to the desert, straight to a camel farm to start off with, followed by a 15-30 minute fast safari ride over the velvety sand dunes. This is topped off by watching the blazing orange red sun set over the horizon of the dunes which is truly a surreal experience and then an Arabian nights styled barbecue dinner and entertainment (belly dancers, sheesha, egyptian and fire dance) to end the day.
Dinner at the Burj-Al-Khalifa – This was a special birthday treat for me, thanks to my sweet husband. This building is as breath-taking from the outside as the view of Dubai is from the inside. We got a table right by the window where we we had a gastronomic experience comprising of a seven course meal from the tasting menu (and to my delight there was an entire vegetarian menu option too) and just soaked in the sparkling lights of the city.
The rest of time time was filled with lots of arabic tea, smooth sheeshas with various deliciously aromatic flavours and just exploring this lovely city. So if you want a city break this one is definitely one to consider. I am hoping to visit again in the future for sure 🙂