Nothing is impossible in Dubai
Come to Dubai they said….The weather is fab they said…..You’ll love it they said……
And they were right, except the weather was a bit up and down. Highs of 26, lows of 22 and it did feel cold getting in and out of the pool a few days, but then it is February.
I can totally see why people have been raving about this city for years now. The building site is very much alive and well, with construction showing no sign of slowing up. In saying that, a taxi driver told me that he believes pretty much all building will be done by 2020 when the world expo comes to town. The buildings are incredible.
The thing about Dubai is that 20 years ago most of it didn’t exist. Reclaimed land, constructed beaches, the ‘Palm’ and tower block after tower block form the landscape. A city of bright lights, opulence and where nothing is impossible.
Someone told me that coming to the UAE would give me a culture shock. There is no culture shock here, the only shock you get is the price of things particularly eating out and the price of alcohol. A glass of Prosecco and a G&T cost on average the guts of £30. That aside when it comes to service, surroundings and the welcome you receive you can’t go wrong. I’ve never been anywhere where the people are so polite particularly with kids. They are patient, the service is first class and there isn’t a spot of dirt anywhere. Everything is pristine, no graffiti, no chewing gum, no litter.
We stayed at Jumeriah Beach resort at the Hilton. They have great family rooms and suites in a tower block of only 42 floors. It certainly isn’t the tallest in town, not by a long stretch. One thing in this city you have to get used to is the wait for lifts (elevators if you prefer).
Everywhere you go, you need to use lifts with the exception of the Ritz Carlton hotel a block or so down from where we stayed. It only has a few floors and probably another reason for it’s nice price range. I loved where we stayed as it’s in the heart of ‘the walk’ an outside mall where boots meets Starbucks and Prada meets Burberry. There is something for everyone even if it’s just window shopping. We ventured out to Atlantis for an evening meal and to see the aquarium. It was incredible to see, I am sure it’s one of the biggest hotels in the world. It is beautiful but crowded with thousands of people. Getting a table reservation was difficult with long waits and I imagine check in and check out at the wrong time would be a nightmare. Staying at #JBR also means you are close to the Dubai marina which has the wow factor as the skyscrapers with their fancy lights line the water on both sides. We tried the Simon Rimmer (Sunday Brunch) restaurant at Pier 7 which was brilliant. Awesome food and great views plus a brilliant singing celebration for my daughter Ivana’s 8th birthday from the staff. Talking of birthdays and the reason for our trip was my Mums 70th. For the big night we went to downtown Dubai. It was incredible with views over the Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world with a fountain show outside which eclipses the fountains outside the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The restaurant matched the occasion with food to die for and a jaw dropping backdrop. It was a pinch yourself evening.
Our trip was a family trip, I did get to see on one evening what a night out in Dubai had to offer if you’re with a group of friends or away without the kids. I met up with an old friend who has lived here for over 10 years. We took in a few venues and ended up in the bar where the Dubai Liverpool Supporters Club meet to watch the Champions League game against Bayern Munich. It was a 0-0 draw, the atmosphere was incredible. A sea of red and the singing of Liverpool songs all night was superb. No matter what night of the week you go out, with 5 million people in the city you can find a party and a great atmosphere.
Before I came to Dubai I had reservations about the culture. No public displays of affection, holding hands etc etc. It’s true you don’t see much of it but never did I once think about it when I was there. I felt incredibly safe and everyone I met was friendly. Society here is a fusion of people from all over the world from different backgrounds, cultures and religion. As a parent I thought it was brilliant to bring my kids here to experience it. They have had a ball from the beach, to Kidzania (a must do at Dubai Mall) to Ski Dubai (indoor skiing with real snow) its been a trip of a lifetime. Will we be back? I hope so. We need to get saving first.
So as I finish writing this we’re about to board our flight back to Dublin. A quick word on Emirates. They are possibly the best airline I’ve flown with. Definitely up there with Qantus. Now, I’m turning right on board. I’ve never turned left or been in business so I’m comparing economy with economy. Spacious seats, really comfortable and the best inflight entertainment with a huge tablet type screen and and a controller for inflight games which the kids loved. I also got to finally watch ‘Bohemian Rapsody’ on the way here. It’s brilliant and worthy of a few oscars on Sunday.
So there you go. Dubai – pricey but brilliant. Would I come back? Definitely.