This educational was being held by the Dubai tourist board, Qantas Airlines and Kerzner group. The itinerary was full on but I loved every minute of it. It showed me that you can do Dubai in a weekend if you wanted. The flight left Heathrow at 2pm and we landed local time at midnight. Flying out, my seat was in Economy with Qantas and I was surprised at how much leg room you actually got, the crew were lovely and I had personal seat back entertainment. As we arrived into Dubai it was midnight and we were told it was 33 degrees...at midnight! The airport was air-conditioned so not too much of a shock from the 10 degrees I left back in the UK.
Our first hotel we stayed in was Atlantis the Palm, from the airport to the top of the palm takes about 40 minutes at that time of night. Depending on what room type you’ve booked depends on what check-in area you use. The standard desks can be seen as you arrive or there’s a lovely club lounge for the guests who are staying in the club rooms, this is just off of the main reception and is more personable and intimate. Check-in was quick and easy and then I was on my way to my room. It was a great size with wonderful décor and all the amenities you require, but by now it was heading towards 02:30hrs in the morning and I was in need of that big comfy bed. It did not disappoint!
We had a full tour of the Atlantis with some great surprises; the suites (they have two that look onto the aquarium from the bed and bathroom), the facilities, the waterpark (which gives you free entry when you stay), the hidden chamber with behind the scene tours and plenty of restaurants. If you really didn’t want to you wouldn’t have to leave! What I will say about the Atlantis Hotel is although it is 5 star with the service and standards, it is also a relaxed hotel so is perfect for all ages to feel at home. After the hotel tour and a sneaky peak of the new hotel plans, we just had to do a tour of the waterpark and test all the rides. I focused on the Lazy River and I can highly recommend it. It's a great waterpark, which again all will enjoy. As a little extra the Atlantis was kind enough to give us a cabana for the day, it is great for a group who wish to have a private area and even an assistant to arrange lunch. That night we had a hosted dinner in the Lebanese restaurant which was first class, again with perfect service and décor to complement the food.
Day two in Dubai and another early start as we were going to see the Burj Kalifa. This is the tallest building in the world and based in downtown Dubai. It is connected to the Dubai shopping mall, probably the biggest mall I have ever been in, it has everything. This area is probably 30 minutes from the Atlantis the Palm which you can easily travel to by monorail or taxi, both are cheap.
From here we moved onto the One&Only Royal Mirage and had come back around lunch to check-in. The One&Only Royal Mirage is basically three hotels within one area. The first is Arabian Court which is the entry level in regards to price, but still a prestige hotel with the highest of quality and service. We had a look around the hotel and were treated to lunch which was magnificent. After lunch we went to the Residence and Spa which is a much smaller, intimate hotel. The Residence & Spa is the top rated hotel out of the three, for guests staying at the Residence they can use the facilities at all three of the hotels but you have to stay at the Residence if you wish to use the pool here.
The Palace was the last hotel we looked around due to the fact this is where we were staying for the next two nights. It was beautiful, I have been fortunate enough to stay in wonderful hotels around the world but I will honestly say this hotel wowed me. The One&Only truly know how to look after a guest. The furnishings were of the highest standard, the service again was first rate and all little touches and any wants were covered. What you will see if you ever stay here is that the rooms are sea facing. This is due to the fact that the hotel is only a few stories high and in line with the palm trees so you don't get in some cases to see the sea in full view.
Our evening was spent enjoying a 4x4 desert safari, for the adrenalin junkies it's a must and the drivers are such fun. Not recommend for the travel sick, anyone with back injuries or any pregnant ladies as it is extremely bumpy. We laughed and screamed the whole way to our camp for the night where we then had great food, drink and entertainment all included in the cost.
Our final day started with a few hours free time and I chose to test out the sunbeds. I feel like all I'm saying is that everything was perfect, but even these were perfect and to add a little touch, the pool assistant even came over and offered to clean my sunglasses. I know this is a little over the top and some people wouldn’t like this, but it's just another little touch the hotel offers and I liked it.
After the sunbed inspection we had an afternoon at the One&Only the Palm, which you can get to via the courtesy boat shuttle service if you wished. It is on one of the branches of the Palm. To me the Royal Mirage was like a wonderful oasis in a busy growing city. Once you were within the grounds, Dubai life seemed to disappear. The One&Only the Palm however made me feel like I was in the Maldives, it was so peaceful. The beaches were amazing and it is again on another level from the Royal Mirage (which I would not have thought possible). You'll find a top rated spa, a main pool area and a smaller quieter pool, plus fabulous restaurants. I know I have just said that the Royal Mirage is one of the best places I have stayed, but I feel this hotel knocked spots off of it. The One&Only The Palm, by hook or by crook I will be back!
Our last stop was back to downtown Dubai to see the Palace hotel and have a great bit of steak by the lake. If you wanted a short break or a stopover then the Palace or the downtown area is for you as you can walk out of an evening and have plenty of entertainment at your fingertips.
I'm personally sold on Dubai, be it for business, a short break, a full holiday or a stop over to the Far East and beyond. It has everything and anything you could possibly want.