We have just returned from a lovely winter break in Dubai.
The hotel we stayed in was Rose Garden Hotel Apartments and we loved it there! The staffs were very welcoming and we got a free upgrade from a studio to a 1 bed apartment! The hotel is in a convenient location, right next to Sharaf DG metro stop and has a mini mart across the road along with a few food places that are open very late.
The facilities were great, the roof top pool was just what we needed – not too big, but big enough to enjoy and the loungers and towels were provided.
The gym was well equipped for a week stay and had a few cardio machines, dumbbells, 2 benches and two multi-use cable machines which were a lot better and useful than I originally thought they would be. Rose Garden Hotel Apartments
We flew with Gulf Air, and stopped off in Bahrain for 2 hours each way (saved us 300 pound from a direct flight) and was totally worth it! Gulf Air were very good, the online check in process from 24 hours before was easy to use and you could select your own seats, the leg room was standard, the food was normal airplane food and even had a chicken sandwich and water given to us on the 1 hour flight from Bahrain to Dubai. They provided blankets, pillows, headphones, socks, eye mask and ear plugs which was more than we had received with other airlines. The only 1 downside to Gulf Air was the lack of movie choices. Don’t get me wrong, they had movies to watch and you could always find 1 or 2 you enjoyed, but the selection was limited in comparison to other airlines we have flown with before. Over all the flight service with Gulf Air was great.
Next was how to fill our little winter break. Here are the main things we did and think are/are not worth doing.
We both knew we wanted to go here and see this magnificent building. We booked ticket before hand on the main website and i would definitely recommend doing this as it means you can skip the que to buy tickets and go straight through and pick them up. We booked normal tickets to go to floor 125 and 124. We didn’t feel like the cost to go higher was worth it and im glad we didn’t, going to floor 124 and 125 is definitely enough and you can see everything from here. We booked a 3pm viewing and arrived to pick up our tickets at 3pm, the process of getting to the floor involves a bit of queuing and waiting for the lifts but it wasnt too bad (30mins maximum). Once we got up to the floor you have one outside viewing platform and one inside. the outside platform in my opinion is slightly disappointing, especially when you compare it to the empire state building, due to the fact that it doesn’t go all the way around the building and only faces out into one direction. You can stay on the floor for up to two hours, but we had seen everything and enjoy it all after 45-60mins and were ready to head down.
On reflection one thing that we might have done differently would be to book a later ticket and go up when the sun was setting to see the city in the dark from the Burj Khalifa, but you do have to pay extra to go up after 5pm because of demand being higher.
All in all, I would say this is one thing you have to do when visiting Dubai, the views are nice to see and as the city develops im sure there will be more and more to see from the top.
This is a must see, the marina is beautiful and we didn’t even walk around the whole thing. There is a beach JBR The Beach by the marina which is definitely a must visit if you are in Dubai. As a couple on holiday we don’t particularly like walking too much, but we did spend the day on the beach, walked to the marina once the sun started to set and then walked around the mall before heading home.
This is somewhere you can spend the whole day! The beach, marina and mall are full of shops, restaurants, cafe’s, coffee shops and anything else you might need.
The beach its self is free to access, but you do have to pay for beds and umbrellas. We just took towels and laid on the sand, we didn’t think the beds were worth the money they were asking (roughly 170 dirham for 2 bed and an umbrella). The sea water was refreshing and wasnt even cold, so you could walk straight in! There is also free WiFi up and down the beach, although it is weak and disconnects in certain parts.
Eating and Drinking
Luckily enough we are not big drinkers and since im pregnant my finance isn’t drinking at all around me, so we didn’t spend/waste any money on drinks at bars in the evening. We did plan on going out to a few bars but when it came down to it we just wanted to spend time together and alone relaxing so don’t have much to offer in terms of bars and where to go. Plus we never really go on holiday to party and drink, which suits us fine!
Eating on the other hand is something we do and we do a lot of! I knew from doing research before heading out to Dubai that eating out isn’t the cheapest and is actually very similar to London prices. There are so many different restaurants to choose from out there and yes some are expensive, but generally you’re looking at typical london prices to eat out. Luckily we both are of the same opinion when it comes to eating out on holiday and that is generally we eat good food in cheap places and don’t waste money eating out.
We were smart because we booked an apartment with a fully equipped kitchen and I honestly think this is the best thing we could have done. It meant that when we arrived we found a cheap supermarket and bought eggs, bread, jam, butter and some snacks that we could easily make in the kitchen. This saved us so much money on breakfast and late night snacking, it also meant we didn’t have to stick to breakfast times at the hotel and could even do a packed lunch to take to the beach! This by far is what i would recommend if you don’t want to spend too much. We only needed to eat out in the evening, and most of the time we found something suitable and cheap enough in the food courts in the malls. They have a massive selection on anything you fancy and we always managed to find something we both fancied at a very good price!
This is something that we both wanted to do and had been told is a must when travelling to Dubai, but unfortunately it is not suitable for pregnant women and we didn’t want to risk it – so I really can’t comment on this!
This is also something I would have liked to have done, but my fiance wasnt keen and most of the rides were once again not suitable for pregnant women – so we gave it a miss!
Before landing in Dubai I had done a lot of research on the beaches. Which ones had great deals and how much they were. I was under the impression that the private beaches would be worth going to. Once we landed we both agreed that it seemed a bit silly to pay between 100-200 dirham for beds on a private beach when we could enjoy the free beaches that were just fine for us!
With the beaches I think it really comes down to personal preference and priorities. We are not big drinkers (me not at all at the moment) and we were there as a couple for a relaxing holiday, so going to the beach clubs really wasnt something we felt we needed to do. I can imagine a group of young friends in Dubai might feel like they want to experience the beach clubs and big drinkers might like to go because you can get some great deals on bunches that include all you can drink and special deals if you are a lady!
There are shopping malls everywhere in Dubai. I didn’t quite realise how big or similar they all were. They mainly consist of retail shops for women, men and children, some nice restaurants and a big food court with everything you could ever want to eat!
The biggest is the Dubai Mall which is right by the Burj Khalifa, you could easily get lost in there. It has a big waterfall inside aswell as an aquarium. You also have the Emirates Mall and the Dubai Marina Mall which are the main ones in the tourist areas.
I would say Dubai is definitely somewhere worth visiting and seeing, even if it is a stop over for a day or two on your travels.
It doesn’t have much to offer in terms of history or culture, especially in the new part, but it is incredible to see a man-made city that is still in the process of being built. The malls are massive, the weather is great all year round and you can stay connected to WiFi everywhere you go!
It was perfect for a little winter sun and relaxation in a new country for us that wasnt out of our budget, and we would go back again for the same purpose!