Last August I was lucky enough to board the Emirates flight from Glasgow to Dubai, and this is my holiday experience.
When I was told last year I would be heading to Dubai that August with one of our luxury suppliers, I was immediately hit with excitement, followed by the slight anticipation of the unknown.
As a Travel Agent it’s easy to offer masses of information to our customers and letting them know what to expect when travelling to the Middle East, but it’s not until I found myself going, did I question every item of clothing to pack.
Before arriving in this hugely diverse city, I expected lots of rules and regulations to follow within a concrete jungle, with not too much soul contained in the shiny buildings. Although the Middle East has strict laws and cultural differences from the West, the reality is a liberal and cosmopolitan city with much more to offer.
Arriving in the early hours I was tired and needed to head for the comfort of the hotel room knowing I had a full day of activities to follow in the morning. The first thing to hit me when stepping off the plane was the immense contrast of thick, hot air once leaving the comfortable cabin temperature. Our team bundled ourselves on to the waiting bus to take us to the terminal.
On clearing customs and collecting our luggage we made our way to our hotel transfer. The greeting received from the tour company was warm and friendly, and we were introduced to our driver for the duration of our trip, Mr Tahir who was so excited to welcome us to the city he now calls home. Mr Tahir was originally from Pakistan, but much like lots of people he and his family moved to the Middle East for a better working life.
We arrived at the Sofitel the Palm around 2am and were met with huge welcomes from the staff (and a very much needed cold lemon towel), who checked us in promptly before showing us to our rooms. WOW, that was all my mind could think as I took in my surroundings. Everything oozed luxury and elegance, from the hand carved wooden walls in the elevator, to the stunning rainfall shower in my room; everything was just stunning. It didn’t take me long after a quick snoop around my room to fall asleep (travelling + cloud like bed = happy, sleepy Adele)
I woke early to my alarm the next morning to get ready for a good breakfast for our first day. We were heading to the Atlantis! We all met down stairs in the breakfast restaurant where I was greeted with lots of amazing smells. The variety of food on offer for breakfast time was astounding. The Sofitel certainly know how to make breakfast and covered breakfast for all nationalities; there was the usual sausage (beef or chicken as pork is prohibited in Muslim culture), toast, eggs, pancakes and more, but there were also curries, chutneys and many other dishes on offer that I didn’t even recognise.
After breakfast and numerous cups of coffee we headed to Reception to meet Mr Tahir to leave for the Atlantis. Arriving at the Atlantis, I didn’t think I could been more wowed than I already had been in my short time in Dubai so far, but the Atlantis has that effect on you where you just can’t help but gaze in wonder.
Entering the bustling Reception area, the room was filled with happiness, chatter and a strong buzz of atmosphere. Adam, the Atlantis UK Representative met us and after introductions we set off on tour of the Atlantis, visiting restaurants, shops, bars, the famous aquarium, and the leading room for the Atlantis offer (at 95% occupancy in low season they were unable to show us any other room types). After a tour of the hotel we set off for lunch.
Lunch was delicious and we were all totally fit to burst and ready to hit the waterpark! Adam walked us to the waterpark entrance where we said our goodbyes and made our way to our Private Cabana for the day. We were spoiled for choice on where to start in the water park, so naturally we headed on over to the Lazy River (which I swear was a maze in disguise of a lazy river) where we floated around for an hour or so with a water slide in-between, before finally arriving back at the area we entered from.
That night we had an amazing dinner at the Sofitel. Before dinner we had a site tour of the property where we saw numerous room types. The family apartments were by far my favourite, as a mum to an 18 month old, the appeal of the family apartment was huge for me and I could visualise my family holidaying in this hotel. After dinner with the Sofitel representative, we had a few drinks and headed to bed. Have your own sneak preview here:
Another an early rise, it was checking out day and I was sad to leave but looking forward to the city tour.
After another delicious, coffee fuelled breakfast, we checked out and met our tour guide Dhana.
The city tour was incredible, catching both the glamorous Dubai and old traditional Dubai. First stop was the beautiful Marina, followed by Jumeirah Beach where we took great pics of the Burj Al Arab. We then moved on to the Dubai Museum, and a quick trip through the Dubai Mall gave an insight into the city’s wealth. We were typical snap happy tourists when it came to the Burj Khalifa of course. Now to my favourite part, we hopped onto a little boat known locally as an abra which took us across the creek to the bustling Souk. With the smell of amazing spices, surrounded by the colour gold and the sound of the call to prayer, I was immersed in the culture of the Middle East. The Souk was our last stop with Dhana and our last beautiful Dubai, it was now time to head up the coast to Ras Al Khaimah.
Dubai was a city that intrigued me, I only skimmed the surface of this incredible place and know for sure Dubai is on my list of places to return to.
Put Dubai on your wanderlust wish list, you will not regret it.
- Sun cream. Lots of sun cream.
- Visit to the Atlantis Water Park
- Burj Khalifa observation deck
- Something to cover upper arm and shoulders for women (required in certain places)
- Dubai City tour
- A good book for your chill out days
- Make a trip to the Souk Market
- A camera to capture all the wonderful memories
- Dinner on a Dhow in Dubai Creek
- And last but not least your sense of adventure