Dubai….what an experience! When flying from Australia to Europe, there is a high chance of a stopover in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi so why not get off thee plane and see it for yourself. The first thing I’ll say is about the climate. While it is lovely to leave Australia in winter, you need to be prepared for an unbearable heat in Dubai if you go in July/August.
The flight time from Melbourne was approx. 14hours and we decided to fly with Emirates as we didn’t think Etihad planes were up to scratch for a long haul flight and the service was not great. As I say that, some of the hostesses on our Emirates flight were quite rude and I was not expecting that so I am not sure who is the best airline, in my opinion.
Airport security was pretty quick and we made our way out front. I pre-organised a taxi through the Qantas app that was $21 per person and a gent was waiting at arrivals with my name (spelt incorrectly) on a piece of paper to take us straight to our hotel, it was worth it. The taxi took about 40mins to take us out to our hotel on The Palm. We booked our stay in Dubai using our Qantas points and adding some cash to it also, yes it was pretty damn expensive! We have not been on holiday in quite some time so we splurged a little to relax before going home to Ireland.
The design and architecture of the buildings in Dubai completely blew my mind, there is no other way to put it. The detail is like nothing I have seen before. The city itself is picture perfect and as a local told us, it’s for the rich and the ultra rich! I would be very interested to return again (in a cooler season) to see how the city has changed and how the never-ending construction has turned out.
The Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa is the best hotel I have ever stayed in but you pay a pretty penny to stay. The service is exceptional and you really feel like a VIP here as staff are ready to help you with absolutely anything. I would say that the general clientele is a mixture of couples and families mainly and a very relaxed vibe around the hotel. On arrival, we had a friendly receptionist who kindly added two free breakfasts for our stay and our bags were taken to our room.
Our room was phenomenal! The bathroom was beautiful with a rain forest shower and ridiculously huge bath. The room had a great sized balcony with a view out to sea. At a different time of year when it was not so hot, the balcony would be so enjoyable to relax on and take in the sun and the unobstructed view.
The resort itself has multiple restaurants including a steakhouse, Italian and Chinese to name a few. The most impressive meal was the breakfast buffet at Manava. I have never had an omlette with waffles, nutella, M&Ms and yogurt…all on one plate, there is literally anything you can think of available. In regards to price, be prepared to pay at least triple what you expect. The best option seems to be half-board so you have breakfast each morning and the choice of lunch or dinner in the evening. With such hot weather, we didn’t feel hungry enough to eat three times per day so this would have worked for us.
There are pools located around the resort, with towel and table service avaialbe at the main pool. If you are travelling with children, the pools have active and vigilant lifeguards. In August, the beach was not an option for us as the sea was 30°… the pool was the better option.
The Sofitel boasts one if the best spas on The Palm, however we did not go for any treatments. Another couple we spoke to found a voucher on Groupon and directly asked the spa to match the price, which they did.
There is a fully equipped gym on-site, we were extremely impressed with the facilities as there were qualified fitness staff on hand. There are agents regularly walking around the hotel offering boat trips, jet-skiing and other water-sport activities.
The only down side of the hotel was the cost of everything. The resort has an over priced mini mart. I went to buy a travel adapter and it was priced at $120, no, the zero at the end is not a mistake. We paid quite a sum for our hotel so I was disappointed that we had to pay $15 for a bottle of water. Everything at the hotel was ridiculously expensive and I was rather socked with the prices.
A few day trips are necessary in Dubai. We went to visit the Burj Kalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain and a Desert Safari during our time stay tuned for those posts. The Atlantis was just up the road with some great pools, the aquarium, water park and that famous arch way! I booked our day trip through the Qantas app and booked the Burj Kalifa with the help of the hotel staff.
Other recommendations we received were:
- the Dubai Gold Souk (markets)
- take a boat trip through the Dubai canals
- take a boat trip to see The World Islands- a group of various small islands constructed in the rough shape of a world map, we were told that Michael Shumacher has bought ‘Germany’
- Aquaventure Waterpark, Atlantis The Palm
- Skydive Dubai- The pictures I have seen from this skydive look amazing!
- Ferrari World
I had a few interesting experiences as a female in Dubai. One morning while walking down The Boardwalk, a man jumped out of a van and asked me to come over and take a selfie, innocent or not, this made me very uneasy so please be vigilant!
After a few days in Dubai, I am not keen to revisit any time soon but it is certainly worth a stop over to experience what it is like.