Last Country, Last Stop

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
Trip End Aug 09, 2013

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Flag of United Arab Emirates  ,
Monday, August 5, 2013

5-9th Aug – Dubai

The whole point of us going to Dubai was to get some sun and not go back paler than we left England! So with this is mind, we booked a hotel with a swimming pool on the roof that also happened to be a 4* hotel with a club lounge offer including breakfast, soft drinks and afternoon and evening snacks, all for £32 each a night.  Bargain!  We were headed for the Sheraton Deira.  And having met Magda and Hannah in Mozambique who told us about all the ladies nights that Dubai does with free drinks, we were ready for chilled out tanning days and fun, free evenings dressing up and going out!

Little did we know that whilst we were in Dubai it was Ramadan, a period of fasting in which it is illegal to consume food or drink in public, so all normal bars and restaurants limited their open times or completely shut down altogether.  So no ladies nights or pool bar for us.  And as a result of it beige Ramadan and their quiet time, the hotel was under a complete renovation so the private club lounge was not open so all the "complementary" stuff we were meant to be getting was now in the normal bar downstairs.  Who knew these 2 alterations to Dubai would cause so many problems...

We arrived in Dubai after a day of travel, at midnight and quickly got a taxi with our 6 bags (4 from hold, 2 as hand luggage) in tow.  Arriving at the hotel we were checked in and taken to our room to be presented with a massive carpet blocking our door.  Waking up the next morning we found a note telling us we needed to speak to reception: they told us we had to move rooms because the one we were in was being re-carpeted.  With our bags barely touched, we were happy to move but our room was not ready.  So as the day went on, we asked at reception every 2-3 hours about moving.  It wasn't until 10pm after we'd eaten and got on the complimentary wine (this was a nice surprise; didn't know this was included!) they told us our room was ready to which Laura told them where to go and there is no way we were going to move this late.

Then having problems with our door, a manager walked us to our room, now 11, to find out that overnight the carpet next door was going to be changed.  Trying to stay calm, majorly helped by the wine, we simply said this was unacceptable to which he replied he'd moved us to a suite!  Ok, this was more like it.  Until we got in and it had a double bed: there was no way we were going to finish our trip getting interrupted sleeps sharing a bed.  So ringing reception once again they brought in a single bed, they guy looking at me and just saying "where should I put it?"  We eventually gorge to bed, Laura having got the double with heads on a coin, at midnight!

We also had an issue with what we actually got included with our 'club lounge' - it was meant to be snacks all day which ended as biscuits and canapés in the evening.  The biggest issue was drinks: initially it was soft drinks and hot drinks, then just hot drinks, then hot drinks and water, to finally soft drinks, hot drinks and water.  We had an iced coffee at lunch to be told at dinner that that isn't included.  The reason we made such a big issue of the free drinks is because of the prices were beyond extortionate; a small bottle of water was £4, a coffee £6, a piece of fruit £4.  It turned out that Dubai itself is just a rick kids playground we everything being extremely expensive!  We figured that with the change in location of the club lounge, probably change of normal staff to club members and because of Ramadan, no one really knew what was going on or what was meant to be complimentary! 

Though I have made our stay out to be a nightmare, amongst all the problems I had a brilliant time.  We did just spend the daytimes lazing around the pool, soaking up the sun and heading down for a sandwich to share each lunch time for a break from the sun.  Our first evening we made the most of the free wine, getting rather tiddley!  Our second night we headed out before sunset on the metro to go to thwarting markets and souks... The markets were closed and the souks were just overpriced (something Dubai seems to be everywhere) gold so we jumped in a taxi, back in time for free food and then chilled in our room watching TV.

On our last night of travelling we planned to have a big one, going to to tallest building in the world for some drinks in their bar on the 122nd floor with a minimum spend of £40 each!  We left ourselves an hour to get there but with it being the end of Ramadan and the start of Eid, the roads were manic and we made it just about on time.  The entrance was in the Armani Hotel and you had to go down to go up.  The lift to the bar was an exclusive lift that had only one option of the 123rd floor, then they make you walk down to the 122nd floor for some reason; not so fun when you're not used to wearing heels anymore!

The view from the bar was a bit of a disappointment in all honesty, with the better view only available if you are eating in the restaurant, where we were not allowed in.  It did not seem like we were 204m off of the ground, but you could see for what I assume would be miles into the dark distance.  The Burj Al Arab annoyingly wasn’t lit up at all, and supposedly only lights up from the other side, not in view from where we are!  Luckily, the minimum spend was only for men, so after 1 cocktail (at ~£18!), some free nuts and olives and a few pictures we decided we were going to go to the bar recommended to us by a private driver to the bar, at the Fairmont Hotel.

Jumping in a taxi and battling the traffic for the 10 minute journey, at the concierge desk we were told that the bar we were looking for was closed for another week, so instead we could go to the Cirque Club just around the corner owned by the same people.  So off we walked, feet now starting to hurt, to find out this wasn’t open for another hour.  As fate would have it, I don’t think the night was in our favour so we decided to head back to the hotel for a fanta and save the money for a night out when we’re home!

And that is it.  Our last day of the year travelling...I can’t put many words together to describe how I am feeling so I’ll attempt that when I home.  Dubai did what it was meant to though; we’re going home with a tan :)
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