Friday, July 20, 2018

HOW TO SPEND FOUR DAYS IN DUBAI

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Photos by Kirsty McLachlan 

I’ve really been looking forwarding to writing up my Dubai blog post because it’s the first place I've visited that’s totally turned my expectations on their head. I’ve always heard mixed things – some love it, some hate it – and I couldn’t quite figure out which camp I’d sit in. I was worried it’d be too flashy for me and, whilst there’s no denying that there is that side to it, there’s so much to it that I didn’t expect. We flew over with Emirates on our first ever business class flight which was the best plane adventure I’ve ever had. I’ve always wanted to experience the sheer decadence of a chair that reclines into a delicious bed mid-air at your choosing and it did not disappoint. There were also duvets and sheets involved which I did not see coming, it was all very thrilling. The staff were all so lovely too (which I’m sure you’ll know if you’ve flown with Emirates in the past) and made the whole experience really special. So, we arrived in the morning and were welcomed with 35 degree heat which was like walking into a breakfast time oven and very, very disorientating for our Scottish skin. Our lovely driver came to the rescue and sat us directly in front of the AC where we returned to our normal, less sweaty state and started to take in the views around us. Dubai is really built up so it's very fun to look up and wonder what’s going on in each building and who’s doing what,c so I spent most of the journey playing that guessing game. We arrived at The Atlantis Hotel about 35 minutes later and it was honestly just the best place to stay. You may or may not know it for its pink exterior, for the Dale Chihuly sculpture in the lobby (made up of a whopping 3000 hand blown pieces of glass), its waterpark, its famous underwater suites or maybe even its giant aquarium but I’m sure you’ll very well know something about it without realising! The room was pretty perfect to be honest; comfortable bed, big bathroom complete with bath, bathrobes and a balcony with the most incredible view down to the pool and across The Palm Jumeirah.

DAY 1
The Little Magpie How to Spent Five Days in Dubai: A Guide The Little Magpie How to Spent Five Days in Dubai A Guide The Little Magpie How to Spent Five Days in Dubai: A Guide The Little Magpie How to Spent Five Days in Dubai: A Guide The Little Magpie How to Spent Five Days in Dubai: A Guide The Little Magpie How to Spent Five Days in Dubai: A Guide The Little Magpie How to Spent Five Days in Dubai: A Guide The Little Magpie How to Spent Five Days in Dubai: A Guide
 So, for our first day we headed along to Tom & Serge which is absolutely not the kind of place I expected to find in Dubai – it’s very minimal and cool, like the kind of café you’d see in Shoreditch and immediately know sells matcha lattes (they do sell matcha lattes FYI and you can bet your a$$ I got one). It’s a really cute wee brunch/lunch or coffee spot and has a nice big workspace upstairs that you can take your laptop to and work away. Bellies full, we headed over to the Dubai Mall. We spent about an hour and a half here and didn't manage to even scratch the surface - which makes sense considering it's one of the largest malls in the world - so I’d recommend at least half a day here for sure! We did manage to see the big aquarium which was really special, but it's also home to some of the largest cinemas in the world as well as the largest sweet shop, 1200 shops and an Olympic sized ice rink so make sure to get exploring. After that we headed to Burj Khalifa which you absolutely need to put on your to-do list! Just in case you didn’t know, it’s currently the highest building in the world, three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower, and has the most incredible views right across Dubai. To put its height into perspective, you’d need to walk for seven hours to reach the top by stair. Holy. Mumma. I know. Personally I'd recommend taking the lift, which travels around 10m per second and will get you up to the observation deck in roughly a minute. We were lucky enough to be there at sunset which I’d definitely recommend just to make it that little bit more special... although to be honest I'm positive it'll take your breath away at any time of day. We finished the night up at The Ewaan restaurant at The Palace where we filled our tummies with a whole variety of foods – three plates worth, if I remember correctly – from the buffet. Seriously, they’ve got everything imaginable there! As you probably know, I’m gluten intolerant and the chef made me up some amazing garlicy, cheesy gf pasta (cooked in its own separate pot) which was one of my favourite dishes we had that evening. It's situated right beside The Dubai Fountains so we went out to watch it do it's special magic water dance before we left which happens every half an hour if you're looking to catch it yourself!

DAY 2
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 Day two started early with some underwater yoga at 8am in the hotel. Initially when I saw it on the itinerary I was like, ‘oh my god how on earth does this work how do I breathe what do I do’ but panic not (I was the only one panicking, wasn’t I), it’s just in the Lost Chambers Aquarium rather than actually being underwater. An aquarium that is home to more than 65,000 marine animals may I add*. Once we’d finished, feeling revitalised and slightly embarrassed at how difficult it was to touch our toes, we headed to breakfast. There are four different breakfast rooms in The Atlantis, each with their own style, so if you stay there then make sure to try them all! And brace yourself for being overwhelmed, they have EVERYTHING. Even a sweetie stall; I saw someone put fizzy sherbet sweets on their scrambled eggs and was very uncomfortable. We were then treated to a little tour of the Royal Bridge Suite which is the hotel's biggest room, so beautifully and ornately decorated and hands down the most extravagant suite I’ve ever seen in my life. The room will set you back a cool $28,000e roughly per night  - this includes amenities like gold flecked soap, a butler and much much more - so it makes sense that some Kool and Kwite rich people have stayed there (I mean the Kardashians, yes, was that subtle enough?). I needed to calm down from the excitement of it all so we headed over to Atlantis’ very own waterpark – I told you this place has everything – for an afternoon of fun. Honestly, it’s something else. If you heard your hotel had a waterpark you’d expect one measly wee slide and some floats, right? Not here. There's a 2.3km river ride, marine animal experiences, a zipline and double twinned slides. Carrying on the day’s watery theme, we finished up at Ossiano which is run by award winning chef Gregoire Berger and was such an incredible experience. It’s in the Atlantis Hotel - there are most than 20 restaurants in the hotel FYI - and has floor to ceiling views of the aquarium, so you can watch all the fish go by as you eat (just don’t make eye contact if you decide to have the salmon). I’d definitely recommend starting your night at the bar with a Pearl Diver cocktail – though be SO careful because it comes with a little white chocolate ‘pearl’ filled with passionfruit juice and if you go about it in the wrong way you might end up with passionfruit all over you. Yes that would be me.

*now there's a pub quiz fact for you

DAY 3
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 We started the day with some jet skiing at Nemo Watersports which was of of the highlights for yours truly. I’ve only ever done it once before, a couple of years ago now, and it was a favourite back then too. If you haven’t done it before then you absolutely need to, you feel so free. Seriously, once you’re out there and you crank it right up (I think you can get to about 60kmph on it and, honestly, do it. You won’t regret it) there’s no feeling like it. It’s literally just you and your wee jetski, screaming your head off without a care in the world. We went right up to the Burj Al Arab – the snazzy seven star hotel – and took some snaps there and then jumped in the sea which genuinely felt like a bath it was so hot. I also decided to swallow as much seawater as I possibly could when I did this which I wouldn’t recommend. Nemo were such a great company to do it with, they absolutely know their shit and they’ll also make sure to get you some classic tourist photos along the way. After that we headed over to Cove Beach which is beautiful and is also filled with beautiful people. It’s pure white sand and has a cute wee bar too. This was the place that most lived up to my original Dubai expectations and was maybe just a weee bit posey for me but I know so many people love it there so don’t let me put you off. We stopped off at the Surf Café for lunch which is a really cool wee spot for gluten free/vegan food and is very chilled out. We nipped home for a wee walk along the beach and then tried out another of Atlantis’ restaurants, Seafire, which was my absolute favourite restaurant of our time there. They were so good with gluten free – they even knew to fry my chips in separate oil – and everything was seriously delicious. Plus the staff were really lovely too and so nice to chat to! Oh, don't miss out on their espresso martinis, they do a very tasty one. After that we rushed over to see La Perle which is hands down one of the most curious things I’ve ever seen, it was kind of like a cheese dream come to life. It’s a water based acrobatics show and, although I genuinely still have no idea what the plotline was, the acrobatics were so, so impressive to watch and made me wish ten year old Amy hadn’t so eagerly abandoned gymnastics.

DAY 4
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 Free People white jumpsuit

The next morning started with some unease – we were doing a Seawings seaplane flight and I am far from world’s best flier. But we did it and it was amazing! The captain was the best and chatted away like it was the most normal thing in the world to be in a tiny seaplane – although to be fair to him it is – and kept everyone at ease. It’s such a nice way to see the whole of Dubai, you’ll pass everything from the Burj Khalifa to The World to Burj Al Arab. After that we met up with Platinum Heritage for a desert safari which was another of my favourite things we did there and something I couldn't recommend more. You’re picked up from your hotel and driven out to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve where you're transferred to a vintage 1950s land rover – the first cars the British brought over to Dubai – and driven through the resort, which is 225km sqaure and protects local species like Oryxes, which you'll spot on your travels. You finish the night up at the Bedouin camp with some traditional food and coffee, henna tattoos and dancing under the stars. It was such a special experience - and something I’ve always wanted to do - so it was a real pinch me moment that I won't forget for a long time. Also, it was made even more special by our guide, Joel, who really was just the best.

OUR LAST MORNING (SOB)
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 And then, alas, it was time to go home! We managed to squeeze in a last wee hour on the Atlantis beach on the Friday morning and I’m so sad we didn’t get longer because it’s such a lovely beach! Also the beach food is 10/10 – again when I told them I was a gluten avoider they told me my food would take a bit longer because they were going to cook my chips in a completely separate frier. On the beach! Amazing. We headed back to the airport for a direct flight back to Glasgow with Emirates – another lovely and smooth as smooth can be experience – and that was us!

Amy
   The Little Magpie How to Spent Five Days in Dubai A Guide 2

Thank you so, so much to My Dubai for such a wonderful trip! And to Kirsty McLachlan for always taking the best, best photos.

6 comments:

Lisa Autumn said...

Dubai has been on my bucket list for ages! Looks gorgeous!

x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

The Gold Lipstick said...

This place is amazing!

Mireia from TGL
https://thegoldlipstick.com/

Greta said...

These photos are so gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!
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Teresa Hamilton said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing the trip! All the outfits are stunning! I wish someday I could visit Dubai, too.

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JVA said...

Dubai looks beautiful! I really want to go now x

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alexisrenny said...

wow !! thank you for sharing the trip.
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