United Arab Emirates
This country is made up of 7 Emirates, Abu Dhabi (serves as the Capital), Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujairah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain.
I was invited to join a group to visit Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah (part of the United Arab Emirates) on Friday 6th February 2015.
The flight to Dubai was 6 and a half hours going out, the seats in economy class are very spacious and generous legroom, the staff at Emirates were very helpful and attentive to the passengers, Emirates in flight entertainment system has a range of films from New releases, Comedy, Drama, Disney and many more. Passengers can also play games on the in flight entertainment system ranging from Tetris to Trivia Quiz. Emirates also have a range of music stations to listen to throughout the flight. Passengers are supplied with drinks and food throughout the flight. I found Emirates one of the best airlines to fly with and would definitely recommend them.
Dubai is a very clean but busy city, Dubai is split into districts, you have the financial district with many buildings for the university and head offices for businesses, The marina is within the main city surrounded by skyscrapers and high rise buildings, you also have The Walk which has lots of bars, restaurants, coffee shops and shops which line the promenade of Jumeirah Beach. On the beach people can take a camel ride and do water sports. As the traffic within Dubai is very busy all of the time journey times can take around 40 minutes to get from the city to the Palm. Downtown Dubai is where you will find the famous Burj Kalifa (the second tallest building in the world), the fountains at the bottom of the Burj Kalifa play to Arabian music every 20 minutes throughout the day and night. Around the fountains you will find al fresco restaurants shops and hotels; at the entrance to Downtown Dubai you will find the huge Dubai Shopping Mall, with hundreds of designer shops, restaurants and even an aquarium. The Madinat Jumeirah Resort is a manmade Arabian resort housing 3 hotels (Mina A’Salam, Al Qasar and Dar Al Masyaf), Souk Madinat, and 44 restaurants. From this resort you can also see the views of the Burj Al Arab. Visitors can also take an Open Top Bus Tour around Dubai taking in all the sites. From Dubai Creek visitors can take a Dhow River Cruise in the evening, you will be giving a meal on board and you can see Dubai lit up at night.
Tips in Dubai
- There is a lot of heavy traffic on Dubai’s Roads so leave plenty of time to get to places.
- Some of the Dhow River Cruises do not serve alcohol on board.
- Dubai class the weekend as Friday and Saturday so these days are exceptionally busy.
- If you are trying to flag down a taxi from Dubai city, try avoid the change over shift time which is around 4pm each day and you have to make sure you are on the right side of the road in the correct direction of where you are going as the road networks do not have islands for cars to turn around.
- You cannot buy alcohol from any shop in Dubai. Alcohol is only served in hotels and restaurants.
Ras al Khaimah
Ras al Khaimah is very different to Dubai (it is a separate emirate), it is less busy, with a lot of derelict buildings, and the city of Ras al Khaimah is a working Arab city where a lot of locals go. You will find the hotels are also situated around the city with man made beaches. Ras al Khaimah is in the middle of the desert.
Tips in Ras al Khaimah
- Alcohol can be brought from local supermarkets in Ras al Khaimah.
- The transfer from the Dubai airport is around 40 minutes depending of traffic around the airport.
Hotels we visited in Dubai
Fairmont the Palm – the hotel is very big with spacious rooms and balconies. The hotel has a number of restaurants for guests to pick from including a Brazilian and Seafood restaurant. The hotel has a gym, spa, a kids club and private beach. There are 4 pools, 1 of these is an adult only pool. WIFI is chargeable locally. If guests book into the Fairmont Gold rooms, they get added benefits of complimentary WIFI and the use of the Gold Lounge.
Jumeirah Zabeel Saray – this hotel is very grand with Turkish style decor. There are 443 rooms, suites and villas. There are a variety of restaurants and a music hall with live bands and entertainment (Thursdays and Fridays only). The hotel has a spa and kids club. And throughout the ground floor of the hotel there are many shops including clothes and jewellery.
Jumeriah Madinat Resort – This resort is of Arabic style with 3 hotels within the resort (Mina A’Salam, Al Qasar and Dar Al Masyaf). There is also Souk Madinat that lays between Mina A’Salam and Al Qasar which houses over 95 shops. Guests that are staying in any of the 3 hotels on a half board basis have over 44 restaurants to dine in.
Dar Al Masyaf is 2 storey Summerhouses with 8 rooms in each summerhouse. This hotel is very quiet and each summerhouse has its own pool. Dar Al Masyaf is surrounded in lush gardens and very peaceful.
Mina A’Salam is the grand hotel of Jumeirah Madinat and it is the main entrance of the waterways throughout the Madinat Resort. This hotel has many restaurants, cafes and bars, a spa and fitness centre. Guests staying at the Mina A’Salam get complimentary access into the Wild Wadi Waterpark.
Al Qasar is a top class hotel with elegant decor. Al Qasar means “The Palace” in Arabic, the hotel has been created resembling the Sheikh’s Palace.
Hotels we visited in Ras Al Khaimah
Rixos Bab Al Bahr – This hotel is made up of 4 blocks of Pyramid shape style buildings, this is an all inclusive hotel very good for families with a range of daytime and evening entertainment. The hotel has its own private beach that is made of coarse white grit. Some rooms have small balconies and some have Juliet Balconies. The rooms are quite small with 2 single beds. The hotel has a pool bar, Mojito Bar with live entertainment on some nights and a variety of speciality restaurants (some at a local supplement) from Italian to Seafood. There is a hotel run kids club, complimentary WIFI, a gym, spa and water sports (additional cost).
Hilton Resort and Spa – This hotel is very spacious bright and airy with a modern feel. This hotel is built with its own private bay only 20 minutes drive from the boarder of Oman. The rooms are large with a modern decor. Some rooms have balconies and some have very large patios. The hotel has a range of amenities for guests including 7 swimming pools, Complimentary WIFI, 13 restaurants and bars, a spa and Hotel run kids club.
Banyan Tree Alwadi – this stunning 5* hotel is situated in the middle of the desert. As soon as guests arrive they are greeted with a relaxed atmosphere. The hotel is classed as an environmental friendly hotel, as everything around the grounds is natural. The hotel has animals that are hand reared and looked after by game keepers. Guests can enjoy the fantastic rainforest spa within the hotel. Guests can also book onto an archery course and the hotel also has its own falconry centre where guests can complete a falconry course. The rooms are very spacious and luxurious. Each person is given a bicycle to get around the resort or they have the choice of being driven on a buggy. There are many restaurants within the hotel. There are also extras guests can purchase such as an evening out to the Bedouin Camp for an Arabian Night. If guests staying on a half board basis want to go on the Arabian Night, they can swap the evening meal (that is included on the half board) for lunch and the Arabian night will be charged at a supplement. This hotel is great for guests wanting have complete relaxation or great for guests wanting to do a twin centre with a city hotel in Dubai.
On the way home to Birmingham I was fortunate enough to be put into Business class. These are fantastic, extremely spacious, with champagne to depart, a 6 course meal including afternoon snacks, each seat in business class is given a pack with an eye mask, flight sock, pillow and a blanket. The best part of all, the chairs all turn into beds. The crew’s manner in business class with Emirates is exceptional. They are very assertive, polite and caring. For extra comfort I would definitely recommend travelling Business class.
For more information on Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah contact Kayleigh Allen at email@example.com