Dubai - downtown

Suzanne Barney on 22 February 2016
The last time I was in Dubai was 10 years ago when I first joined Travel counsellors. So it would be good to see all the completed buildings that were at that time being constructed. We flew from Heathrow taking the overnight flight and arriving early morning. This way we didn't lose a days accommodation and hopefully wouldn't have to wait to long for our room to be ready. When you get off the plane there is a quite a walk to immigration /luggage reclaim so make sure you pack comfy shoes! The first thing that hits you when you arrive in Dubai is how modern it is. It reminds you of 'metropolis' with the assortment of sky scrapers and designs of buildings. It is very clean and there is a lot of traffic. But not any old traffic all the cars are new and not unusual to see Ferraris, Rolls Royces and luxury vehicles on a regular basis. Our first hotel was the Rotana Al Murooj in downtown Dubai. Classed a s a business hotel I would not dismiss this hotel as a holiday stop as the location is really good The hotel is a little oasis in downtown with good pool areas , facilities . very friendly helpful staff and a great location. On day one we explored the Dubai Mall which was walking distance from the hotel ( though you do have to cross the main roads to get there) The mall isn't just about shopping it also houses an ice rink, the aquarium and the wonderful fountains . These fountains are amazing and are far better than the ones at the Bellagio in Vegas. By the fountains there are lots of eating places and also the Burj Khalifa the tallest building in the world. ..and the Urban myth about alcohol we ate at a Mexican restaurant Fuego located in the Souk Al Bahar and were informed it was ladies night free margaritas for me ! The hotel was in between 2 metro stops Financial Centre and Burj Khalifa. This is one of the cheapest ways of travelling about though taxis were inexpensive there was a lot of traffic. We were going to watch the tennis so opted for the Metro to get there. The metro is so clean , safe and comfortable and new and is a great way of getting about in Dubai as it is air conditioned. The Dubai ATP tennis tournament draws some of the worlds best stars. We had pre purchased tickets for a nominal £15 for centre court where you can sit where you want . There are other courts where it is free to watch. But the hi-light for me was Irish Village which completely took me by surprise. This is connected to the stadium next to the Jumeirah creek hotel. It is lovely atmosphere of a green area and a lake plus lots of outside eateries and bars with a wonderful care free atmosphere. It even had a large screen so people not on centre court could watch the game with a beer lounging on a bean bag. The next day we explored Dubai Marina again by metro/tram . This was what was being constructed 10 years ago and is a really nice area to stay as you are able to go out and walk on the beach with bars and restaurants. We also went horse racing at Meydan with a meal /drink package which was a very luxurious evening with wine included ( they never stopped topping it up and it was a very good quality) We went to the gold souks and spice markets in the old town. We ate Thai at the Dusit Thani, Indian at the shang ri la Hotel at a Michelin starred restaurant all close to where we were staying

In all the time we were there I found the Dubai people to be very engaging, respectful and at no time did I feel intimidated . In the evenings I found people generally smartly dressed so it wasn't really 'resort wear' but a little more 'designer'. Everywhere was spotlessly clean. Yes there are building projects going on everywhere but you tend to accept that after a while and enjoy Metropolis with some of the amazing architecture