SATC 3 !
Not really. Although our ages are similar to Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda regrettably our figures and lifestyle are not.
Although I did buy some Manolo Blahnik shoes (of which more later), that was the only similarity.
This time there were 4 of us – me, my sister, my best friend and her sister (a Dubai first timer). Three 40 somethings and one 50 something with a mission to relax, chill out and shop.
So this report is not a tale of cultural significance and those that expect that should look away now.
It is a vacuous and shallow tale of sunbathing, shopping, great times with friends and to quote Craig Revel-Horwood, WE LOVED IT.
It is also very long so those of you that are interested put the kettle on and settle down with a coffee/tea and I will begin.
Left Manchester on Thursday 18th on the 2pm Qatar flight via Doha. Excellent service and fabulous flights. We booked them this year as they were by far the cheapest option when we booked and we were not disappointed. Business class flights as a treat because my mate wanted to treat her sister to the holiday of a lifetime.
Very short connection time in Doha – as in, off one bus into the terminal and then onto to next bus and plane with no time for even a loo stop.
Arrived in Dubai airport at 3.10am, followed the well worn Latti dash to get to the front of the immigration queue, in duty free and changed money, picked up bags, stopped for a cigarette and in taxi by 4am.
Rocked up at our home for the next few days – a 2 bedroom apartment in Jumeirah World Trade Centre apartments – we were in the apartment by 4.15 and in bed by 5am.
I asked the guy at reception if we had a nice view from our room and in typical Jumeirah and Dubai fashion he said ‘Yes, of course Madam. You are in apartment 511’
By now I’m already thinking 5th floor in a 40 storey building ain’t gonna be all that in terms of view but hey ho at least we have a balcony for the smokers in the party.
Room 511 turned out to be on the 5th floor (as anticipated) with a view of the car park, the world trade centre roundabout and the new Etisalat building – so my assumptions on the view were accurate. Rather disappointingly whilst we had our balcony, they are not supplied with furniture so the smokers in the party felt that they were back at school and in the bike sheds but no matter we were in Dubai and the fun was about to start.
Friday 19th Nov
Set the alarm for 10.30am so we could get up and appear at brunch in the Observatory restaurant Marriott Harbour hotel bright eyed and bushy tailed at 12.30pm.
My sister and I are old hands at this whirlwind start to a Dubai trip but I think it was a little daunting for the Dubai First timer that was with us – to be whisked at speed without breakfast into a full blown feed and drinkathon 53 storeys above Dubai with 8 people she hadn’t met before would, I guess, phase most folks.
Lobster tails in garlic butter, a full Sunday roast and a heavenly desert station washed down with sparkling wine and a raspberry martini for breakfast anyone ?
Good value brunch at 400 dirham (£68) per person with alcohol and 300 without.
Brunch finished at 4pm ish and then we caught a cab to IBN Battuta Mall for some retail therapy (still firing on all cylinders, despite 5 hours sleep and liquid start to the day)
Our Dubai first timer LOVED IBN Battuta and for me it remains one of the most real malls in that it has mostly normal shops and is low on designer outlets – consequence is more ‘real’ people and a very busy atmosphere, especially on a Friday. Toyed with the idea of getting the metro back to our apartments but aching feet and tired people meant the taxi option won the day. So at 9.30pm 4 tired and happy shoppers wended their way back to the apartments.
Some Pimms and a chat and we were all in bed by 11.30pm
Saturday 20th Nov
We opted to include breakfast with our stay at Jumeirah World Trade Centre apartments (a snip at £14 per day for all) so we headed off to their club lounge on the 30th floor. This was our first opportunity to show S the views of Sheik Zayed Road and over the creek to Festival City and suitably appreciative noises were made.
This morning our mission is to visit the textile souk, ride an abra, visit the gold and spice souks and then head to Basta Art café with a mooch round Bastakiah Heritage area thrown in and perhaps some time back at the hotel pool to chill out and relax. So we left the hotel at 10.30am
I thought I was world champion for mooching the textile souks and buying table cloths etc but met my match in S. She has taken my crown.
With 2.5 hours in Silk Wonders next to the Arabian Courtyard and a further 2 hours in the textile souk itself – all shops we visited resembled an explosion in a sari factory when we left. Who knew there were so many embroidered runners in a shade of Teal that had to be just right to choose from ?
Had a lovely relaxing drink in the Basta Art café and chilled out from buying frenzy.
We eventually escaped from the area with 2 king sized bed throws, 4 table cloths, 4 runners and assorted cushion covers and arrived back at the hotel just as the sun dropped into the sea.
Then we changed and went to Boardwalk restaurant at Dubai Yacht and Golf Club. I love it here and it didn’t disappoint. It is licensed so 1 Pina Colada, 1 Margarita, 1 beer and a vodka and cranberry at very reasonable prices together with 4 main courses – two were free because of Entertainer vouchers. Whole thing cost about £60 including the drinks.
Then off to Festival City mall for more mooching. Very quiet in here tonight even though it is Saturday. Makes you wonder how the shops stay open and not much atmosphere. Enjoyed ice creams at Cold Stone Creamery where the staff didn’t disappoint with their ice cream throwing prowess and then it was off back to the apartment at about 10pm for Pimms and chat.
Sunday 21st Nov
BIG surprise planned for today and that is our spa day at the Burj. On the basis that S would be so excited she wouldn’t sleep if we told her beforehand, we had convinced S that she needed to get up at 7am because we were going to visit the horses at the Polo club and have breakfast.
So 7am dawns and my sister and I rushed into their room like kids on Christmas day to be there when she was told about the Burj day. It took us some time to convince her that we weren’t joking and I will always remember the look on her face.
I had also booked the Burj Rolls Royce to take us there in style and managed to keep that a secret from her and my sister right up until we were in the car park and she said ‘my God look at that posh car’
So we were whisked off in style and arrived at the Burj at 9.30am. Straight in and up to the spa were we were given lockers for our clothes and then off to the Burj beach until 1.15pm.
Then mad dash back to spa to get changed in time for afternoon tea in Junsui at 2pm. I thought this was excellent, great variety of food and washed down with a free bottle of champers they had provided because it was my birthday. I was also presented with a birthday cake that they boxed and held for me until we were leaving later.
Then we went to visit friends of ours that were staying in the Burj at the same time. If S was stunned by the Burj décor so far then sight of their suite nearly caused her to pass out – remember this is a lady that was on her first trip to Dubai, with a monthly subscription to House Beautiful and she LOVES beautiful furnishings.
I thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head and she is still talking about it being the absolute highlight of the trip – my heartfelt and grateful thanks to our friends for enabling S to have that experience, it will be a life long memory and your generosity and kindness is very much appreciated.
Then we were off on another mad dash to make our spa appointment at 5pm, enjoyed a fab spa treatment and then made use of the Burj Spa facilities until 7.15pm.
We left our small hand luggage bags with changes of clothes and my cake with the front desk guys at the Burj and hopped on a buggy to Madinat Jumeirah because we had a restaurant reservation at Segreto for 9pm.
Needless to say S loved the Madinat – lots more textile places to look at and nearly an hour in the Marina home ware store. My sister and I escaped to the courtyard for a sit down and a cigarette – there are only so many cushion covers I can exclaim over in a 48 hour period BUT S was having the time of her life.
The food in Segreto was exceptional and because I had weighed in some Sirius vouchers was all free – hurrah !
Drinks however were not included and we pushed the boat out on some wine. The manager (nice bloke) let me have the 20% off if paid with Amex deal even though I had already used vouchers for the meal so total bill for drinks including wine that night was 620 dirham ( £106)
Caught abra for a quick tour of the Madinat complex, hopped on a buggy back to the Burj to collect cases and cake and off back to the apartment tired and happy at about midnight
Monday 22nd Nov
We are leaving here today for the Address hotel at about 4.30pm so first day with nothing planned except catching some rays. We packed and checked out at 11 and then lay by the pool until 3.30. Quick shower and change (excellent facilities in the gym) and then collected by cars for the short journey to the Address Downtown.
S was blown away by the Jumeirah World Trade centre and kept saying that she couldn’t believe anywhere was nicer than that and then we checked into the Address ……..
Whisked straight up to club lounge and greeted by all the staff in there, some of whom remembered my sister and I from last year. Just in time for a little afternoon tea and then off to the rooms to unpack watch a fountain show or two and then change for this evening’s mission of Souk al Bahar.
We were a little apprehensive because ‘Time to say Goodbye’ was played at S and B’s mums funeral and S hasn’t been able to listen to that song for many years so I was hoping that it would be played as the second song (like it used to be) and they could have some quiet time in their room. However, a lot of the music has changed and so I just assumed that had too.
So into Souk al Bahar where joy of joys there is another branch of Marina home furnishings and many more textile shops – my sister and I retired gracefully to Baker and Spice for chilled mint lemonade and café latte x2.
S and B arrived at 9.30pm clutching more shopping bags and just as they where about to sit down ‘Time to Say Goodbye’ launched over the speakers – cue sister and I beating a retreat to pay the bill and if anyone saw two ladies sobbing then now you know why. At least it provided a new memory to have to associate with that song; a fabulous view of the fountains and a good time with friends.
Back to Address hotel for a few drinks and bedtime
Tuesday 23rd Nov
The whole holiday so far had been a combination of dashing here and dashing there with the alarm set on the phone in case we missed anything and so the next 5 days contains not much more than a big round zero of chilling out.
Stayed by the pool until the sun dropped away and then changed to head off to Cara in the Gold and Diamond Park for some jewelry shopping. As usual they were very busy but made time for us and we were all very happy with everything.
Off to a friends house for dinner and we had a lovely relaxing time with dinner in the garden and possibly the best steak I have ever eaten in Dubai – our hosts were welcoming, the champagne went down a treat, as did several bottles of red wine and the company was excellent. I miss them all the time and wish we lived closer.
Wednesday 24th Nov
Off on a mission to the Antiques Museum, affectionately known to me and my friends as the ‘House of Tat’ Not a museum but a warehouse full to the brim of everything you could possibly want souvenir wise, a textile area (I know, I know) and lamps, ornaments and lots of other stuff. If anyone wants any more info on this place then you can find it by using the search engine on the forum.
I think we were in there for 3 hours, haggled hard and left very happy with our purchases. Then we nipped back to Cara to collect some things. Back to the hotel around 3pm where a snooze was in order.
S and B are off to Dubai Mall in a sense of high excitement and sister and I stayed in the club lounge where we were joined by another friend. The booze flowed, S and B returned with more bags at 11 and most gave up at midnight, however, the die hards left the club lounge at 4.30am after putting the world to rights.
Thursday 25th Nov
Thank God today contains nothing but more chilling out. I wore my sunglasses to breakfast as this 48 year old looked like she’d slept in a doorway after a Kings of Leon concert.
I made up for my lack of sleep with several hours snoozing on a sunbed and I am reliably informed that my friends have seen me looking better – snoring and drooling open mouthed on a sun bed does not a good look make.
Tonight S and B continued their missions in Dubai Mall whilst sister and I met up with friends in the Club Lounge followed by an excellent dinner in a Thai restaurant – Mango Tree – in Souk al Bahar with a great fountain view.
Set meal for 8 people was 300 dirham (£51) each and was excellent value. Of course this being Dubai, with alcohol the damage was 500 dirham (£86) per person.
Then the party split off with the die hards heading to Neos bar on the 63rd floor of the Address and then back to the club lounge where the bloke who was polishing the floor greeted our arrival with bemusement. No alcohol at that time 2.30am so more chat and then off to bed at 3am ish.
Friday 26th Nov
More chilling by the pool and another chance to restore sleep deprivation. Tonight we are all going to Dubai Mall but splitting up to attack specific targets.
I want some shoes but am thwarted by the fact that shoes in my size (35) are like hen’s teeth – apparently there is little demand so I guess most folk in Dubai have large feet.
We abandoned the shoe search to regroup in Joe’s Café for a lovely light dinner overlooking the fountains and then I continued alone - armed very dangerously with a credit card and no one to stop me.
Fell in love with a bag in Stella McCartney and some shoes in my size at Manolo Blahnick so apologies in advance to my bank manager. Where else can you buy stuff like that at midnight ?
Back to club lounge for a drink to recover, display my wares to my sister and off for one last sleep in beds that S described as like climbing into a cloud.
More chilling by the pool. Our check out time is 7.30pm (the great thing about club rooms at the Address is the 24 hour check out) so lay on sunbed till the sun went down and then packed, changed and into the club lounge till the cars collected us to head to the airport at 8.15pm.
Flight to Doha and then 3 hour wait to catch connecting flight to Manchester. Slept all the way home and tried to adjust to the shock of the Captains announcement ‘Welcome to Manchester, where the temperature is – 9oC.
So a fabulous time was had by all. I don’t know how we all managed to shut our suitcases; we did leave some textiles in the shops for others.
I can highly recommend Jumeirah World Trade centre apartments – great for families because it provides everything you need and also free access to Wild Wadi and the private beach at the Madinat.
The Address Downtown is fabulous and I will continue to recommend it – the club lounge offering at an extra £40 a day is well worth every penny. We ate breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner there (on several evenings) so it really paid for itself, especially with the drinks.
Qatar airlines was excellent too and in many ways better than BA.
So there you have my trip report. Everyone had a great time and it was just the antidote I needed after a hellish 3 months in work. I dumped my stress on the pavement at Dubai airport so anyone that trips over it please don't send it me back - just put it in the nearest trash can.
Till next year.