What’s The Plan?
We’re headed to Dubai and more specifically the Burj Al Arab; known as the ‘7 star hotel’, you won’t have even made it past the ascending water feature before you reach that conclusion for yourself. Wipe off your forehead with your fresh, hot towel, accept your fresh juice and follow your chaperone up to what is practically your split-floor apartment.
I have my own butler? Sure, why not? (Yes, he IS on call!)
Sounds too good to be true. What’s it like?
Roomy would be an understatement. Once you’ve acquainted yourself with the opulently decorated downstairs living area and huge HD TV (which you won’t use as you’ll be so busy staring out on to that ocean view), office space and bathroom, you can make your way up to your bedroom and schedule in your use of the hot tub and it would be a crying shame not to mention the Hermes toiletries, including bath bombs which I WILL be using in the hot tub, thanks.
Talking of hot tubs, is there a spa?
Is there a spa! The award-winning Talise Spa is the perfect place to unwind, you may find yourself visiting more than once. You may decide to watch the sun rise from the infinity pool or prepare yourself for the bustle of the downtown souks (marketplace) in the panoramic sauna.
I’m feeling peckish post-massage…
The Al Mahara (or ‘The Oyster Shell’ in Arabic,) with its gigantic aquarium centerpiece, is arguably one of the best dining experiences in Dubai. The award-winning chefs can put together a tasting menu that will certainly not disappoint. Alaskan crab and foie gras ravioli, anyone?
If there is such thing as over indulgence, where else can I stay?
Well you won’t be able to avoid indulgence at the Madinat Jumeirah! It’s home to two hotels, many summerhouses and more restaurants than you can count, all along a 3km stretch of water. You had better get acquainted with those water-taxis, but don’t worry - they’re free!
So many restaurants, where should I go?
Head straight to Tortuga and immediately order a margarita and choose the seabass from their ceviche selection. It’ll make you think twice before ordering that McDonald’s fillet-o-fish ever again! But if there is one thing you do at the Madinat, guest or not, attend their Friday brunch.
From midday to mid afternoon the behemoth of all buffet brunches is a foodie’s dream (or nightmare depending on how you look at it. Those boat-taxis have a weight limit, right?!).
Sushi, pasta, steaks, burritos – you name it, they’ve got it! A plethora of cuisines all perfectly cooked and perfectly presented. We won’t even get started on the dessert room (yes, we said room. How about that donut wall?).
I’m stuffed. I’m going for an afternoon nap. What should I do this evening?
The Madinat’s own Talise Spa offers a wide variety of treatments but definitely sign up for the daily sunset yoga on the beach. First timers needn’t worry, it’s for all levels - beginners and pros alike (there will definitely be one pro right at the front making you feel like a plank of wood).
The yogi might be the most zen man alive and he WILL change your life (ok, not strictly true but he will probably crack your spine and you will be amazed for the next 3 hours.) And above it all, doing stretching and breathing exercises whilst listening to the dulcet tones of your yogi and watching the ripples of yellow and orange sunset across the sea and beach is a really beautiful experience.
Yoga-phobes will definitely be converted.
Food, check. Full relaxation mode, check. What next?
Let’s start off with a spot of shopping in Old Dubai where culture beyond spas and skyscrapers is revealed to you. Going on a city tour with Arabian Adventures means seeing the ‘real’ Dubai and learning about its rich history.
It’s not a snooze history lesson though - you’ll feel the breeze in your hair soon enough on a boat ride heading to the souks, where you can haggle til your heart's content. If shopping doesn’t do it for you, perhaps a overnight stay in the desert will float your boat…
Yes, please. That sounds amazing!
It really is. Platinum Heritage will take you on a truly unforgettable desert experience. From a Land Rover ride desert safari (know what an oryx is? Well you will now!) to a spectacular falcon show.
But before darkness falls you’ll have been transported to a Royal desert retreat for a truly Arabian experience - dancing, music, camp fire, camels (there’s also camel on the menu, yikes) and when you’re worn out from your day on the dunes, crash out in your luxury tents with mattress, pillows and linen. Feeling romantic? Then take a snooze underneath the stars. Magical.
How can we possibly top this?
After last night’s excitement a 5am wake up call may not sound appealing but trust us, it’s worth it for a bucket list-worthy hot air balloon ride over the desert with Balloon Adventures.
Prepare to get the feels as you rise 4000ft in the air with nothing but the sound of the roaring fire and the sight of of the sun rising in the horizon, gazelles, oryxes and camels roaming the sand dunes below. Dubai, could you be any dreamier?
It’s my last day in Dubai. What should I do?
Afternoon tea at the highest spot in town? How high you ask. Well over 400 metres in fact, with you sit for High Tea on the 122nd floor of At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa. We had to ask the guide to repeat herself when she mentioned the life goes up 11 floors per second. Better pop those ears.
Once you reach the top, any apprehension is forgotten as the spectacular view of the world below is mesmerising as it is beautiful. You really will be on top of the world whilst eating traditional sandwiches and cakes.
Right I’m off to Dubai… Wait, better book first.
For more information about Dubai call Dubai Tourism on 020 7321 6110 or visit www.visitdubai.com.
We stayed at:
Burj Khalifa for high tea. This experience starts from £96 (AED 530) per person.
Our Heritage Overnight Safari was courtesy of Platinum Heritage
The overnight desert safari starts from £162 (AED 895) per person.
Balloon Adventures, Emirates took us on a Sunrise flight during which we witnessed a stunning sunrise.
Prices start from £180 (AED 995) per adult and £154 (AED 850) per child aged 5-12 years.