Saturday, 2 May 2015

When I clocked that the Mr had a rare run of days off in a row, I suggested a long 'weekend' away. I say 'weekend', as we both mainly work every actual weekend, but the opportunity to escape the sandpit from Tuesday through til Thursday was too good not to take.

It didn't take long for us to decide where to go.
Only an hours flight away, Dubai is the perfect mini break destination for any Doha dweller. We are also lucky to have Oman, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain on our doorstep, but on this occasion Dubai was the clear winner.

After miraculously squeezing everything except for my hairdryer which I smuggled into Matt's carry-on into the worlds smallest suitcase, we hopped in a taxi to Hamad International airport, and left the small sandpit of Doha for the bigger sandpit of Dubai.

We arrived at Fairmont the Palm, our home for the weekend, and Anicia gave us the warmest possible welcome as she assisted us with our check in, before we set off to snoop around our room.

We dropped off our bags and hopped aboard the free shuttle to the Mall of the Emirates in search of lunch and suncream (in that order)

I was so excited when we stumbled across the Cheesecake Factory - I've heard good things about it but never come across one before. My mac 'n' cheese burger with sweet potato fries was just what the doctor ordered. I may have dragged Matt back here on our final day to actually sample the cheesecake as I was too full from my burger on this trip to manage one! Have a peruse of the cheesecake menu and you'll see why a return trip was necessary...

Full of food and stocked up on suncream, we headed back to the hotel and made a beeline for the beach.

The hotel grounds were stunning - a huge expanse of golden sand overlooking the Marina skyline (ruined slightly by the ugly red ship which sadly didn't move for the whole weekend!), and two huge palm tree-lined pools.
Weary from our epic one hour flight and afternoon of sunshine, we decided to stay local for the evening and wandered down to Ba, the Chinese restaurant in the hotel.
Down the candle lit corridor, you enter a relaxed lounge area - I can imagine when the weather heats up (even more) that this bar is flooded with people seeking refuge from the humidity.
Down the winding staircase, you come to the main restaurant.

By the time we had finished dinner, the main restaurant had filled out a little more, as had the garden area where we were seated, which when we left was completely full with diners making the most of the warm pre-Summer evening.

The setting was beautiful, the staff super friendly and attentive, and the food was delicious. We shared honey glazed BBQ pork (actual, real, proper pork!), pan fried duck breast, sticky rice and sauteed vegetables, washed down with a glass of red for me and a beer for the Mr.
I would highly recommend a visit to Ba if you are in Dubai and looking for delicious food in a stunning setting.

The next morning, breakfast was the first port of call, so Matt suggested a trip to Eggspectation.

After some serious perusal of the menu, my eggspecations were certainly high, and were absolutely met when this beauty of a breakfast was set down in front of me...
The lightest, fluffiest pancakes I have ever eaten (drizzled with maple syrup, of course), eggs scrambled to perfection, rosemary potatoes and delicious fresh fruit, all preceded by a bread basket with jam. Breakfast would totally be my favourite meal of the day if it always came in this form!

If you are in Dubai, skip the hotel breakfast and head on over to Eggspecation and try and grab a table outside, overlooking JBR the Walk. We were beaten to it by earlier risers, so we ate inside and took a walk around after instead. The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Resort is lovely - restaurant upon restaurant line the beach, and yet more restaurants can be found tucked away behind.

After breakfast, it was back to the hotel for us for a full afternoon in the sun, where Matt took up prime position in the pool.
It was a couple of hours after taking this picture that I realised our sun bed neighbour over to the left was Gaz from Geordie Shore, and his current lady friend. Way-ayyy! Not quite an A-List spot but it gave me the same buzz I used to get from spotting famous faces in the canteen when I was working back at ITV in London. Sad, I know!

That evening, we got ourselves ready for dinner and wandered down to the pool bar for happy hour.
We headed over to the Dubai Yacht Club for dinner, where we had made reservations at Aquara, overlooking the marina.
This was my second visit to Aquara, and once again the food was spot on (I highly recommend the lamb rump), but sadly the service was unbelievably slow and the staff literally paid us no attention whatsoever - one even let the door to the restaurant close on me, charming! The setting is beautiful though, so we tried to over look this and enjoy our meal overlooking the yachts docked in the marina.
Our next and final stop for the night was Barasti, a lively beach bar, for a beverage and some apple shisha.
We spent our final morning at the hotel soaking up some last minute sunshine (despite the fact that we would soon be heading back to more 30+ degree weather in Doha!), before venturing back to the Mall of the Emirates to satisfy my cheesecake craving.

Sadly I didn't get to see the penguins, but SkiDubai looks so amazing... shopping centres of the UK should really take note, the malls in the Middle East put ours to shame!

We had such a blissful, relaxing couple of days in Dubai, and it was just what we both needed. Bring on the next mini-break :)

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