Happy New Year to you all. This is my first post of 2018 as I just haven’t had chance to post since getting back from Dubai and going back to work. I thought I would start the New Year with telling you about our fabulous trip to Dubai.
There isn’t loads to tell you about this day really, as it was all travel. We got collected for the airport at 9.30am, checked in, did some airport shopping and the rest of the day was spent travelling. We arrived at our hotel, Dubai time, at 2am. So it was a long day. We got our room upgraded, which was lovely and then ordered some room service.
28th December – Afternoon tea in Dubai
We had a great lie in, until about 11am and then got up and got ready. We had afternoon tea booked in at the Burj al Arab at 1pm, so made our way over in a taxi. On arrival, you immediately felt how grand this place was, one of world’s few 7 star hotels.
You can pick from a few different locations within the Burj for afternoon tea, but we opted for the Skybar, which is on something crazy like the 31st floor. The service we received from start to finish was impeccable. We sat outside the lift after checking in to a reception on the second floor, who told us to wait to be called. We then had our name called and was sent up to our floor in the lift. Outside of the lift was a member of staff waiting to greet us and take us to our table.
The afternoon tea was great for gluten eaters ( I know that isn’t a real phrase.) I had a gluten free one though, which they did their best with (I did tell them at the time of booking) but the gluten free bread wasn’t great. That said, they did their best to make sure I still had as many exciting things to eat as Andy did.
We had two savoury courses, before the sandwiches themselves. The first was a fancy prawn cocktail and the second was some form of savoury pumpkin pie for Andy and a spinach dish for me.
We then got brought our sandwiches. Andy got the top plate and I got exactly the same sandwiches but on gluten free bread, on the bottom plate. You did get the typical cream cheese and cucumber – always my least favourite, but there were also some really delicious ones. The two finger sandwiches were the best, I just cannot fully remember what they were, but I do remember they were great.
After scoffing these within 5 minutes (no exaggeration) they brought us over another round of sandwiches. I should be ashamed of the sheer amount I consumed, but I’m just not. I was on full “its holiday, lets eat everything I can” mode.
They then brought us over a sorbet, to cleanse the palette before the sweets.
The sweets then came out and they really finished us off. We had the normal two plate tower of desserts; however they were just for Andy. Mine came out on three separate plates. So it is safe to say we were really full after this.
The Pièce de résistance
Included with the afternoon tea was a glass of champagne each and unlimited tea and coffee. So we had already had a good selection of drinks, but I really wanted to try out a cocktail. I ordered Mrs Big, which totally blew me away when it arrived.
The menu gave nothing away about its presentation, but it couldn’t have been more perfect for me. You had to paint a little of each of the “nail polishes” which were in fact blood orange, passion fruit and another flavour I can’t quite recall. You also had to rub grenadine lipstick around the rim and then poor in the cocktail from the beautiful teapot.
Dubai really knows how to do it. The service was amazing and just made the whole experience fantastic, you were made to feel like royalty.
We had a good mooch around the rest of the building and got a few pictures of the beautiful Christmas decorations and then headed over to the Dubai Mall. Andy’s best friend and his wife live in Dubai, so they were coming to meet us after work. We had a look around the mall and then they took us to see the massive fish tank in the middle of the mall. They also took us out to see the fantastic fountain display and the Burj Khalifa (which is the world’s tallest building.)
Surprisingly, after all of that food, we managed to find room for dinner and went to eat at Namu in the W Hotel. It is a Korean restaurant with a Japanese slant, and it was incredible. We started with a cocktail on the rooftop bar and then headed down to the restaurant. We really enjoyed the food and the views were spectacular too.
29th December – Yoga and Bottomless Brunch, Dubai style.
Today was an early rise – well for me, on holiday, it certainly was. Andy was heading out to train with Martin and I was going to outdoor Yoga with Fiona. We were being collected at 7.50am. Yoga was great and reminded me how much I love yoga and it was really different being outside – and in Dubai.
Fiona dropped me back to the hotel to get ready for our bottomless brunch. These are a big thing in Dubai on a Friday and Martin and Fiona said we had to go to one, which was a great shout. The four of us had such a great time. Yet again Dubai impressed us. The brunch we went to was Toro Toro at Grosvenor House. The selection of food was totally amazing. I couldn’t possibly list all of the food, but there was a big station of incredible cold starters. There was one stand out dish for me from there, which was the tuna and mango dish.
They explain to you that once they see you making your way up for the cold starters they will start bring out the hot starters too, which were also delicious. I didn’t catch any pictures of these, as they were inhaled too quickly.
During all of this, there was unlimited drinks. So we had red and white wine as well as sangria, mojitos, vodka and coke, whiskey cocktails and probably some bubbles (although I can’t quite remember.)
Once the starters were finished, they started bringing around skewers of the most tender, delicious meats. There was everything you could think of. Lamb steaks, beef, chicken tikka etc. as well as a selection of sides in the middle of the table. You got given a card to put on the table to indicate if you wanted more or not. So red was no thank you and green was yes please.
After all of the meat came dessert. They cleared the middle of the table and put down a piece of cellophane and then drizzled a raspberry coulis and a caramel sauce all over it. They then showed us a large chocolate bowl, that looked like half of an Easter egg, filled with chocolate brownie, chocolate mousse, strawberries and little pieces of crunchy. After showing it us, they then smashed it on the middle of the table and then gave us a fruit skewer each. We then ate it from the table. It was a really lovely way of doing dessert – something I will definitely be replicating at my next dinner party.
Once sufficiently full and (some of us) tipsy, we headed upstairs to get another cocktail. We sat out on the terrace overlooking Dubai. I had a gorgeous pornstar martini. We then headed back to Martin and Fiona’s apartment and spent the evening there. We had some more drinks and some cheeses.
30th December – The best breakfast and exploring Dubai
Today we had another lazy morning, after lots of drinks the day before, and then made our way down to JBR for breakfast. Jemeirah Beach is quite touristy, but we did want to go and have a little look around. So we tied it in with breakfast. We ate at Eggspectation which was another fantastic breakfast. It was super busy here and you can’t book. So you have to head down and get your name on a waiting list. Andy and I ordered a dish each and said we would share. (This was where I made a big mistake. I caved and ate gluten. It was a big mistake as I was poorly later on.)
We had one waffles and fried chicken – AMAZING doesn’t even cover it. I know to some of you it may sound gross, but it was anything but. The second was French toast with strawberries, Nutella and marshmallows. It was tasty, but nowhere near as tasty as the waffles and chicken.
Andy’s cousin Lisa, also lives in Dubai and has done for 9 years. So she knows the area very well and kindly offered to take us out and see some sites in Dubai. So she picked us up from our hotel and took us firstly to see the sun setting from the Boardwalk on The Palm. This was really beautiful, and we saw the amazing Dubai skyline. It had a real New York feel to it.
She then took us in to a couple of the hotels to have a look around, as they really are works of art inside. So impressive. We ended up at Jumeirah Beach hotel and had fantastic burgers for tea in one of their restaurants – the name itself I can’t remember. The burger – just like all the other food we have had, was sensational. Lisa then took us up to a rooftop bar on something crazy like the 30th floor. This was another amazing view and excuse for some more cocktails.
31st December – The Spa and NYE
We met Fiona and Martin for a really unusual but lovely breakfast. It was somewhere that I imagine only locals would know, as it wasn’t in a central location. Both Andy and I had some amazing sweetcorn fritters with poached eggs.
We then headed back to our hotel for our afternoon at the spa. We had booked for a couples hot stone massage and facial. When we arrived we were greeted with a lovely hibiscus and rose drink and a cold cloth to freshen up.
We were then shown to the changing areas and taken in to our couples therapy suite. Both Andy and I agreed it was one of, if not the, best massage we have had before. The therapists were really great. We came out of our 90 minute treatment feeling very relaxed indeed. The facial was with Espa products, which is one of my favourite brands. We then were given a glass of champagne each and went and sat round by the pool to enjoy it.
In this spa the men and women have their own separate areas for jacuzzi, steam room, sauna etc. So we spent half an hour or so relaxing in our own areas and then headed back to the room to get ready for our NYE party.
Martin and Fiona had booked for us to go to the Westin to their NYE event. It was like something I have never seen before. There were stations all over the hotel, with every type of food you could imagine. Chinese, Thai, Indian, fish and chips, roast dinners, lobster , fish, cold meats, cheese – and I don’t just mean cheese, I’m talking three full rooms of cheese. The options were endless. There was then also a whole room set out like a sweet shop. Huge chocolate fountains, rooms of desserts. Just phenomenal.
All night we were topped up with Laurent Perrier champagne, as well as limitless drinks stations. There were vodka watermelons, whiskey stations, frozen bellinis, pimms, mojitos, as well as all the normal spirits and mixers.
There was live entertainment on all night, right by us, which was great and each table had top hats and other fun props.
When it hit midnight we were able to see the fireworks from Atlantis, The Palm as well as from The Burj. So we had a great location too.
We finally made it to bed at about 2.30 am and had to be up for out flight at 8am. Thankfully, all of the packing was already done.
That was the end of our amazing flying visit to Dubai. We had a great time and would definitely go back.