Wednesday, 8 October 2014

On our third morning in Dubai, I woke up expecting to have the mother of all hangovers but was pleasantly surprised to be feeling absolutely fine.

We got ourselves ready and headed down to sample our first Westin hotel breakfast, and then made our way down to the beach where we settled down on sun loungers by the sea and made our base for the day.

We sunbathed, read books and magazines, chatted, swam in the sea (so clear and hot, it was like swimming in a warm bath!), had yacht envy watching a cluster of mega yachts gather out at sea, and generally unwound after a busy first couple of days in Dubai.

I somehow managed to overdo it in the sun although I'm sure I was in the shade for most of the day, and spent the remainder of the holiday looking like a lobster.
We had lunch at the beach, and then decided to venture to the Dubai Mall to see what the shopping is like in this neck of the woods. Shopping in Doha leaves a lot to be desired (thank goodness for Missguided deliveries!!) so we had our fingers crossed that the Dubai Mall would come up trumps for us.
We pulled up outside the mall to an amazing view of the Burj Khalifa.
They don't do anything in small measures in the Middle East.
We had arrived just in time for a fountain show, so we whipped out our cameras to attempt some filming and pictures, which don't do this fountain display any justice whatsoever!

We browsed the shops for a while, and to be honest I was a little underwhelmed by Dubai's retail offerings, but this is maybe in part due to the fact that the vast majority of shops are designer and a little out of my budget! The stock in the high street shops was no better than Doha, so I only came away with one purchase, after expecting to come away with a lot more!

Dubai mall itself is very impressive - it's huge for a start, but it is also home to yet another aquarium and also an incredible cascading water feature

As we were leaving, another water fountain display was starting. It was dark out by now so everything was lit up, and the Burj Khalifa looked amazing..

We filmed the fountain display, and then headed home to get ready for a very late dinner.

We accidentally ended up in JBR Walk in our little evening dresses, and got tutted at by an Emirati woman which really got me flustered. Living in Doha, we are so respectful at all times to the local traditions and are always covered up in places where we know we need to be. JBR Walk reminded us of Katara, where we would never go in a short dress, so it was a complete accident that we ended up there.

We eventually found Rocca, an Italian restaurant in the Rotana hotel. The outdoor area here was gorgeous, but for me the food wasn't up to scratch at all.

On the Sunday, we spent the morning sunbathing and then we went to the Karama Souq (I don't know if that's even spelt right?!) because we had been recommended to go by literally everybody!

It's basically an area full of shops selling good quality knock off designer handbags, shoes, watches etc. If you don't find what you are looking for in the shops, the staff take you to their 'special hiding place' or 'special show room'. Intrigued, we followed a man round some winding streets, up into a run down looking block of flats. Once he reaches the apartment he wants, he knocks softly on the door. A watchful eye from inside checks us out through the peep hole (to check we aren't the police?!), and then we are allowed to enter the apartment, which has been turned into an endless show room of more knock off designer wares than you will ever see collectively in one place anywhere else. Cabinets upon cabinets of bags, shoes, watches, of every designer you can think of, from Michael Kors to Louboutin. When you finish in one room, you step through into another room full of yet more stock, presented in glass cabinets under bright show lights. Tourists and locals alike were among the many men and women gathered in the apartment, of which there must be so many in the Karama Souq as each shop has it's own 'special show room'.

I'm not really sure how the operation is allowed to run (one woman we met said they raid the apartments every now and then) but it's a real tourist hotspot, and people seem to come back year after year to stock up on their fakes.

We got a bit snobbish and decided we would rather save up for the real deal (we both had our hearts set on Michael Kors bags), so we hopped in a cab back to the Westin to get ready for our final dinner in Dubai.

We had been recommended the yacht club by Andy Gray, so we made a reservation at Aquara and headed down for happy hour cocktails before dinner.

We sat out on the terrace sipping Mai Tais overlooking the beautiful marina.

For dinner, Jemma ordered a fish dish and I ordered a leg of lamb, which was honestly one of the best meals I have ever eaten out. I'd highly recommend Aquara for a meal in Dubai, for the food and for the setting.

We spent our final day in Dubai at the Atlantis water park, which was such a fun day! The rides are brilliant (especially the rides at the Tower of Posiedon which we didn't discover until right near the end of our day!)

Once back at the hotel, we got ourselves showered and changed, checked out of the Westin, chilled by the pool for a little while, and then got ourselves stuck in the longest queue of traffic ever on the way to the airport, resulting in us missing our flight back to Doha! Not the best end to the trip but luckily there was another flight an hour later.

Such a fun mini break in Dubai! I'm so glad I finally got to experience it, and I loved spending the weekend with Jemma. Can't wait for the next girls holiday!


1 comment:

  1. It looks Like a great trip and makes me get all excited about my birthday trip next month.