Debbie Mulholland from Oasis Travel Lisburn samples the Middle Eastern delights of Dubai with Emirates.
Breakfast time and it’s already a welcoming 25 degrees! Stepping off the Emirates plane and into the glorious sunshine of Dubai I didn’t quite know what to expect … but, after some Emirates-style pampering, I was sure it would all be good and I was already getting a taste for service and luxury!
In line with those high flying expectations, private transfer whisked me from the ultra-modern airport to the Jumeriah Beach Hotel, a striking building created in wavelike shape and overlooking the Arabian Gulf and just beside the Wild Wadi Water Park, one of Dubai’s key tourist attractions (guests have complimentary access). I stayed in an Ocean View Club room on the 12th floor and the view was breathtaking. It is excellence all the way with carefully considered facilities to suit all types of travelers: business people, families, honeymooners, golfers and more.
I also checked out the JA Ocean View and the JA Ocean Beach Hotels, both of which are popular choices with travelers from Northern Ireland – and for good reason. Great facilities and service, plus The Oasis Beach is completely made up of self-catering suites which makes it ideal for families and groups of friends traveling together.
The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, located on the Palm, is a beautiful 5 star property with Arabian themes throughout. My insider’s tip here is to book one of its Club rooms as the benefits include return private transfers and drinks package
Nearby the Jumeirah Madinat located on Jumeirah Beach is yet another truly stunning property. This luxurious 5 star resort, designed to resemble a traditional Arabian town, spreads across over 40 hectares of landscaped gardens. A five minute boat trip took me to my ‘private villa’ and gave me a real taste of what supreme luxury means.
I would also recommend the excellent Fairmont The Palm Hotel with its Frevo Restaurant where I enjoyed a Brazilian BBQ themed meal with 18 different types of meat served straight from the skewer to my table: delicious!
Dining – fine, casual and often themed - is a major attraction in Dubai, with a wealth of choices. I even dined at The Burj Al Arab which proved to be an amazing experience. It’s easy to see why this has been rated the Number 1 hotel in the world!
Dubai's nightlife is vibrant and diverse. I’d recommend the open top Bar 360 right under the Burj Al Arab: great music, drinks flowing and all whilst gazing up at the night sky. Amazing!
As with any destination there are a couple of real ‘must do’ attractions … here my favourite was a visit to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, where a super-speedy lift took me to the 124th floor viewing gallery in an eye-watering 40 seconds! A desert safari is also great fun, with some gravity-defying dune driving followed by desert barbeque party with local food and entertainment and belly dancing.
Designer shopping is a fantastic attraction in Dubai and I certainly couldn’t resist its lure, but for sheer fun and a true cultural insight, the Spice and Gold Souks add a touch of true Middle Eastern magic.
As part of a facility visit specially arranged for overseas travel consultants I was privileged to visit The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding and treated to a traditional lunch and a very informative talk delivered with humour and insight, on the culture and history of this fabulous region.
My time in Dubai was nothing short of delightful and what struck me most was the multicultural and welcoming atmosphere of this fast-developing city. That warmth stays long after you bid farewell to the Dubai sunshine.
I’m more than happy to speak to you if you’d like to find out more about Dubai - call me on 028 9260 4455 or drop by the office.