Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A Perfect Weekend in Dubai. Feb 2011.

Dubai is a good choice for a weekend break from the UK, especially in the depths of a long cold winter like it has been this year. It is easily accessible from many regional airports; Emirates fly from Glasgow, Newcastle Birmingham and Manchester at least once a day. Flights from Heathrow and Gatwick are more frequent. It is a short 6 ½ to 7 hour flight and the time difference is either 3 or 4 hours depending on time of year. Unfortunately, I do have to acknowledge that Dubai is also a very expensive destination....but sometimes we all deserve a treat.

So I boarded EK 18 from Manchester to Dubai on a Thursday. The flight was due to leave at 13.30, but was delayed and left at 15.00. Subsequently the flight was late into Dubai.
If booking a hotel in Dubai it is pertinent to remember that many of the flights from Europe land at around 00.25 hours in the morning. So if booking a hotel and wanting to use your room upon arrival you would have to book it from the day before.
I had booked in at the Madinat Jumeirah Mina A’Salam hotel. Unfortunately, as I had not done as I have suggested! I was unable to check in till after 13,00. to while away the hours I decided to partake in a Dubai weekend tradition, The Brunch. 
Dubai Brunches are Famous, or Infamous if you end up being accused of having sex on Jumeriah Beach, put in prison, lose your job and get deported as did Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors in 2008. No such scandal for me, just Brunch please.
The lovely girl took us to Latitude at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. This Brunch started at 12.30 and we feasted of cuisine from around the globe till 16.00, not to mention the pitchers of cocktails that just kept coming. After that I was ready for bed!

Madinat Jumeirah, is the largest resort in Dubai, spreading across over 40 hectares of landscaped  gardens. Madinat Jumeirah is located along one kilometre of now private beachfront adjacent to Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Burj Al     Arab and Wild Wadi Water Park. I have wanted to stay at the resort for ages. If you do want to look around you don’t have to stay, just book in for a meal at one of the many restaurants and eating places, then just mosey and nosey about!
Madinat Jumeirah encompasses two hotels and clusters of 29 traditional Arabic houses, all built around the souk, the traditional centre of Arabic life. The resort also provides conference and and banqueting facilities, and loads of various dining options.

It is designed to resemble a traditional Arabian town. The resort has a courtyard of summer houses called Dar Al Masyaf and two Hotels, Al Qasr and Mina A'Salam.
Mina A’ Salam or 'The Harbour of Peace' was the first of the boutique hotels to be completed, and features 292 rooms and suites. It reminded me of the Taj hotels in India. This was the hotel I stayed in. The rooms were very comfy, and the bed one of the biggest and best I have slept in. The gifts left each night were eclectic. the first night it was a bright red sweat band, chocolates the second night and finally lip barm.
Al Qasr, which literally translates to 'the Palace', comprises 292 rooms and suites, designed to reflect a Sheikh’s summer residence, (What!!)

Dar Al Masyaf consists of 29 stand-alone, two-storey residential retreats inspired by traditional Arabian summer houses. Each of the 29 'houses' features 8–11 rooms and suites which are extended across the resort grounds, surrounded by landscaped gardens, with some located on the beachfront. I had a look in the villas, all decorated in slightly different way, very posh!
There are 5.4 km of waterways linking the different areas of the resort, and water taxis, called Abras,  allow guests to travel along them to all parts of the resort. This is free for hotel gests or costs 50 Dirhams if you are a non resident.
The next day, it was more of the same, sunbathing pool side. A quick trip to Wild Wadi, this has to be the best Water park in the world! It is such fun, just make sure you wear and old costume, as the rides go up hill and tend to shred your cozzie! 
The raucous fun was put aside for more formal activities such as the taking of afternoon tea on the terrace of the Al Fayrooz Lobby in the Al Qasr Hotel. I did not have Champagne as I really could not justify the £20.00 per glass cost! But otherwise the afternoon tea was all it should be and the perfect end to the day.
Finally, and all to quickly it was Monday and time to return to Manchester.  
Manchester was just as we left her, cold and raining, but at least you can afford a glass of Champers to cheer yourself up!

Till next time folks, Cheers and Tarar.