Lynn Jamison from Oasis Travel Bangor joins the Jet Set in sun-drenched Dubai, courtesy of Travel 2, Qantas and Emirates.
Glitzy and glamorous, Dubai has become one of the world’s holiday hot spots as well as the hub of choice connecting long haul flyers to destinations right around the world.
Luxury is absolutely the name of the game here, and there is just no question of ‘less is more’. Everything is bigger, better and built to impress, from sightseeing attractions such as the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, to shopping malls that come complete with mammoth aquariums and indoor ski slopes.
But, as I was to discover on my visit, this city’s foundations are set firm in a fascinating heritage. Dubai is vibrant with cultural highlights, home to marvellous cuisine, mystical music, incredible museums and art galleries. Its magical half-hidden souks are packed with Eastern promise while a short drive will take the curious traveller into stunning desert landscape.
It is the ultimate destination for an escapists’ break.
My own escape started with a magic carpet to this glittering destination courtesy of Qantas. The superb service and chic surroundings in Business Class set the tone for what was to prove an amazing break and, as I stepped off the plane, I was already imagining myself as some sort of latter-day Jackie O, born to privilege and the finer things in life.
First stop was the One & Only Royal Mirage, bustling and vibrant even as we checked in just after midnight. Fabulously well-appointed facing Palm Island and overlooking the Arabian Gulf, the hotel boasts amazing facilities discreetly arranged around private beaches and lush gardens. A short boat ride away and we found ourselves in the equally resplendent One & Only The Palm. Both hotels are excellent and the shared facility agreement adds to dining options – a great plus if you are staying more than a few days in a destination, I find.
The Sofitel Downtown Hotel provides a very different offer for travellers, specialising in catering for business travellers. Close to the Financial District, it offers panoramic views of Burj Khalifa and Dubai Fountain and just a stroll away from the Dubai Mall & City Walk … in fact there’s a covered walkway through to the Mall. Shopping heaven, I reckon!
I was delighted to find a great family-friendly approach at The Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, a really lovely hotel with its own cinema, super decked area, huge pool and great kids’ club. This hotel does a ‘Dine Around’ half board option with more than 50 restaurants to choose from.
If you’re planning to take kids to Dubai remember to make time for Aquaventure waterpark with its thrill rides plus the chance to get Up Close and Personal with Cownose Rays.
You can access Aquaventure direct from one of my very favourite hotels, Atlantis The Palm. This fantastic hotel often hosts superstars and I rather fancied myself staying in the suite recently vacated by Kylie Minogue with its floor-to-ceiling windows featuring underwater views. There’s a spa, a salon, a gym and an expansive water park. Other amenities include a kids’ club and a nightclub, plus are 23 restaurants. What’s not to love?
All too soon I was flying home again, this time courtesy of Emirates, another airline with well-deserved reputation for luxury in the clouds. Down to earth and, as they say, ‘back to porridge’. A girl can dream however and I’m already planning my next trip!
If you’d like to find out more about Dubai, feel free to call me or drop by the Bangor branch.