In 2015, I wanted to go somewhere more exotic than I had been before. Somewhere hot, with lots to do and within 7 hours flying time of the UK. It was an ‘ip dip dog shit’ kind of job between Dubai and Cape Verde but as I’d heard Cape Verde is a very relaxing place, I chose Dubai.
Many people had put into my head about the strict rules for tourists and I did a lot of research and bought shawls and jackets to cover up but it really wasn’t as bad as everyone had made out! As long as you respect the culture and religion and dress appropriately to what you’re doing, you will be fine!
We stayed at Hawthorn Hotel & Suites by Wyndham on Jumeirah Beach and it was the perfect location! The hotel had everything you needed and the staff just couldn’t help you enough. There was a Spa which is where I treated myself to a 1 hour Balinese massage, a a small shop right next door to us which really helped to stock up on water due to the 40 degree September heat!
Before flying out, I had pre booked lunch for 2 at the Burj Al Arab. I had booked it for our last but one day so we had it to look forward to throughout the week. There are so many different restaurants to choose from there but I wanted to try Al Mahara the seafood restaurant. It was AMAZING…. and we were the first table in for lunch so it felt like the staff were extra attentive! Our waiter was from Sri Lanka and really took good care of us, bringing out extra dishes and telling us some funny stories! We had 5 courses (main course was salt encrusted seabass) and 4 cocktails.. cost us about £350 for 2 people but when in Dubai do as the…no actually it was just fucking expensive!
…but let me add 100% totally worth it!!
Through our hotel, we booked the evening dessert safari which was my favourite part of the week (even better than the £350 I kissed goodbye for lunch). After getting picked up from the hotel, we went quad biking in the dessert, dune bashing in a 4×4 and after that we did some sun set photography. We then had a short camel ride, watched an Arabian dancing and Belly dancing show, had a BBQ, smoked lots of shisha and I got a henna tattoo!
Another excursion we booked, was deep sea fishing – if you can cope with the waves you have to try it! Although the weather was as usual very hot, this day I think a mixture between the heat and being on a small boat made me so sick! It wasn’t like being on a cruise ship because you feel every wave on small boats! Between us we caught some coral (OK I caught the coral but I was sick and had to give up like half hour into it) and a baby shark!
We also visited the Burj Khalifa, the World’s tallest skyscraper and watched the Dubai Fountain show which happens every 30 minutes so we got to see it a few times that night. We ate at the Social House with great views of the show and had been shopping that day in the Dubai Mall.
There was a local market a short taxi ride away from our hotel, which we visited half way through our stay. I managed to get some really great presents and souvenirs from here but it is bit annoying being pestered all the time to buy stuff! I tried to keep as refreshed as I could drinking fresh coconut water and fruit juices from the market but unfortunately it was just too HOT! Of course, you are outdoors at this market, so there is no air con and I did get very sick again 😦
At night, there were some really cool shisha places on the beach where you could sit on beanbags and watch the sunset. I always had moroccan tea or mojitos too, it was really relaxing to sit there and in front of you have the sea and behind have all these buildings and hotels lit up. Our pool at our hotel allowed us to see some amazing sunsets too, it was just the perfect location!
So Dubai is definitely worth exploring, but do be very careful when you choose to go.. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the… no wait just don’t go to Dubai in September!