We travelled with Etihad airways and although it was my first time using them my expectations were slightly high as I have friends and colleagues that have used them before in the past and really enjoyed them…. I wasn’t disappointed! The aircraft was very spacious and new and all the crew were very courteous and went out of their way to ensure I was very comfortable throughout. After eating an enjoyable meal washed down with a couple of complementary wines and watching a couple of the latest movies we arrived into Abu Dhabi airport.
Although we were staying in Dubai, Abu Dhabi is very easily accessible to get there and Etihad offer a free shuttle service to take you the one hour journey. After the short transfer from Abu Dhabi you reach the bright sky scrapers of Dubai and Jumeirah beach where our first hotel the ‘Ocean View’ was located.
When I reached the room it definitely had the wow factor and I went straight on Facebook to upload a picture with the free wifi to make all my friends in the UK jealous! The room had everything you would expect from a good 4 star hotel, and was decorated in bright modern colours. We enjoyed a lovely meal at the onsite buffet restaurant which had a French theme for the evening then it was early to bed so as to be fresh for the morning. Upon waking up I thought I checked out the view from the balcony in day light and I was surprised to see how many cranes there were in the area!! Oh well it is Dubai and so I expected it and it didn’t really make any difference as we were on a very high floor so the views were great and facing right out to the palm.
We then met for breakfast and had the short transfer to the mightily impressive Atlantis on the palm. The hotel can be seen for miles and takes pride in place right at the top of the palm which is a huge man made area out at sea that resembles a giant palm tree! The Atlantis is more of a town than a hotel with dozens of bars restaurants and even has its own water park!! The reception area is massively impressive and features a huge stain glass centre piece with 3000 thousands of pieces of glass positioned in place to look like a huge multicolour jet of water shooting from the sea! After a look around the spacious and elegant rooms we then ate at the on sight buffet restaurant… I’ve been to lots of buffets in my time in travel but I have to say this one was heads and shoulders above any that I have eaten before. It had cooking stations from all around the world and even had roast beef and giant Yorkshire puddings so even the fussiest of people will be able to stuff there face!
After the gorgeous meal we were then shown around and had a look at the huge aquarium featuring sting rays and sharks and were informed they even have rooms that are next to the aquarium so when you open your curtains in the morning your window would be a view of the millions of fish and mammals that were in the tank… they cost a small fortune for these room and only have two so I don’t think I’ll be in a massive rush to get one booked!
The remainder of the afternoon was then spent at leisure to enjoy the Adventureland water park!! The water park is by far the best I have ever been to or seen and features rides for all sizes and ages from the 2 mile long lazy river right to the leap of faith which is a vertical drop kamikaze slide that actually takes you through a tunnel which on the other side is filled with sharks… I was brave enough to do this ride but I have to say I didn’t see the sharks as it was that fast and steep that I had my eyes closed and it was over but I could get out a full scream! There’s also a manmade beach and a wave pool so if rides aren’t your thing you can chill out and enjoy the Arabian sun.
After our long fun day in the sun we had an evening of leisure and enjoyed a lovely meal at the Ocean View Brazilian restaurant called Fogo Vivo which in principle is a posh meat buffet as you can indulge on a little or as much Brazilian barbecued meat as your tummy can handle.. You don’t even have to move as waiters bring huge skewers of chicken, sausage and even fillet steak for you to munch on till you pop! With our stomachs bursting after our lovely meal it was then time to get an early night for our hotel move in the morning… well not before a few little drinks at the hotel bar, be rude not to wouldn’t it?!
Early morning up and breakfast was then followed by a coach journey of around 30-40mins to reach our next hotel stay which was the opulent palm tree court, part of the Jebel Ali beach hotel-the only all-inclusive hotel in Dubai. I had read up on the hotels before I travelled so was aware how high it rated on the review sights so I was expecting a lot. After a simple and quick check in we were transported to our rooms by golf cart and our luggage followed just behind. The rooms were amazing, very spacious and the bed was up there with the comfiest I had ever slept in! The bathrooms had a double shower with a seat to sit in if you felt lazy and the bathe was the size of a small swimming pool and would probably fit a family of four! We then met up to have a look around the resort. The pool area is gorgeous and features two infinity pools with a swim up bar in both which then runs onto the beach which was very uncrowded and very easy to find a sun lounger.
There are lots of different actives which are all included in the all-inclusive plan so you can be as lazy or as active as you like. We opted to have a go on the 4 seater donut ride in which 4 of us were taken right out to sea on by boat for a fun ride along the waves. The extent of the all-inclusive is huge it features lots of restaurants whether you prefer buffet or al a carte and lots of bars all with premium spirits and drinks included as well as all the sporting activities, I even tried my hand at pistol shooting with a real gun in the nearby shooting range which is owned by the hotel!
I would highly recommend the hotel for families and couples who love the all-inclusive concept and want to do it somewhere different, the food service and amenities are first class.
We had the evening at leisure again where we enjoyed a meal at the white orchid restaurant which in a mixture of Far Eastern foods and is included in the all-inclusive, it was a la carte so we got the choice of what we wanted to eat which in some all-inclusive hotels and can be a little tasteless-not here though it was gorgeous and every single member of our group found the food to be the best they had eaten throughout the trip!
The next day we then visited the Dubai Mall… wow… it’s the biggest shopping mall in the world so those of you that enjoy shopping will be in heaven. Any brand or make you like you will find here and with Dubai being tax free you will no doubt be able to spend a good few hours finding yourself a bargain! If shopping isn’t your think you will still be impressed with the other things on offer here too, there’s an ice skating rink, cinema, Sega world which is an indoor theme park, an aquarium which features the biggest single pain of glass in the world and a shark tunnel which you can walk through and then there’s kidzania.
Kidzania probably impressed me more than anything else which I saw in Dubai and I don’t even have kids! It’s a town with shops, fire stations, police stations banks etc. all built for children! The kids get to try their hand at whatever jobs they fancy dong anything from working as a radio presenter to fixing cars at a garage, to even being a dentist! In return they are given money which can be spent in the local shops, I thought it was a fantastic idea to teach children the value of money and every child in there had a huge smile on their face so I’m sure any parent would appreciate a visit here! We had our evening meal in the mall and then it was onto the world’s tallest building the Burj Khalifa!
The Burj Khalifa is visible from most places around Dubai city and so we had seen the building from afar which looks impressive but it’s not until you come close that you realise the magnitude of how high this beast of a building really is!! It reach at its highest point 2.722ft and close up you can’t even fit it all on a picture it’s that big!! We didn’t get the opportunity to go up the tower but were lucky enough to watch one of the half hourly fountain shows which I can only really compare to that of the Bellagio in Las Vegas where the fountains dance In different colours to classic music, it really is a must watch and if you visit Dubai get it on your list of must see things and it was a fantastic way to spend our final night in this amazing city!!
For a Dubai holiday it literally has something for any age and it has hotels to suit all budgets, I would defiantly recommend a visit here to anyone and I can say that I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with what it has to offer!