Dubai edition: making time for yourself
Every so often we all deserve a break of our own simply to re-energise, even though I miss my travel buddy when my daughter isn’t there.
This time I decided to revisit Dubai. I have been once before, but things change here frequently, even a couple years later you can have a completely new experience, which I did.
I have stayed in the 7 star hotel: the Burj Al Arab and the Ritz Carlton in Dubai.
Personally I am a big fan of Ritz Carlton resorts globally, the brand name is synonymous with ultra-luxury, the experience is rejuvenating and exclusive without feeling boastful. Extra touches of every member of staff knowing my name, really add to the experience of creating the dream ‘home away from home’.
For a hotel-enthusiast like myself, the Burj Al Arab, is a must to visit and also to stay. Private butler service and in-room technology are as confusing as they are exhilarating, the views are incredible (especially what feels like an aerial view of the Palm from the top floor bar and restaurant). Although the Burj doesn’t have the cosy feeling the Ritz Carlton has, having been the opulent, flagship hotel in Dubai for so long, it was top on my list.
On my most recent trip, I tried the Hilton Jumeirah Beach. I wanted to stay somewhere smaller with a variety of restaurants and shops at walking distance. And The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residences offered exactly that.
The decorative style of this hotel is a bit more old-fashioned but the area is lively, relaxed and offers a multitude of culinary and shopping experiences with a varied amount of activity options on the beach.
As this was a short stay of 3 nights, I only managed one excursion a “desert safari” which was wonderful. It was my first desert experience and I can’t wait to do it again some day.
From dune bashing in a 4×4, to dining in the desert while watching the sunset. It was certainly very romantic. The night time bonfire and belly dancer definitely added to the experience. And before you ask: no I didn’t have a go at belly dancing.
For a fine dining experience I highly recommend La Petite Maison. The burrata was exquisite, as was the duck à l’orange. Word of caution: brace yourself when you open the menu and see the prices!
On the opposite end of the scale, I went to a wonderful Iranian restaurant in the old town for which you compromise on luxury in favour of what I would call: ‘food for the soul’ that was clearly made and served with love.
There are plenty of family run restaurants around there and the area gives a nice contrast to the more opulent tourist areas Dubai is known for. The one thing that baffled me was the note on the door saying that women and men eat separately, and I don’t mean on separate sides of the restaurant…. it was literally a couple of doors down the street away from each other. Initially I was nervous because nowhere on my travels have I encountered this and I was with my (male) friend trying to enjoy a nice lunch together. I felt awkward but he took me in with the men and I saw a couple more women in there so I felt more at ease and all the waiting staff and the male owners made me feel very welcome…. the food was incredible too.
In short: don’t be afraid to venture out. It is definitely a place to visit at least once in your life for the sheer scale of the concept of what money can achieve in a desert where nothing grows. What it lacks in cultures, it makes up for in opulence, thrill, lifestyle and the variety and quality of culinary and shopping experiences.