For me, Dubai always seemed like a faraway land with an abundance of wealth and something for everyone - I was right!! It's like they picked everything good about every major city in the world and plopped it into theirs...that's seriously the best way to describe it. We arrived in Dubai on Friday, which also happened to be Gary's 35th birthday!! Part of the reason we extended our trip was to celebrate and celebrate we did!! I decided to split the Dubai posts up into two - there are tons of pictures and I had the time of my life - so I didn't want to limit it to just one and leave something out! The difference between these posts and the India recap, is that this will have a lot of tips & advice on things to do, see and book if you have the chance to visit!
Narrowing down a hotel in Dubai was harder than expected, not because there weren't enough to choose from, but for the mere fact there are almost TOO many to choose from! After about 3 weeks worth of research, I let the travel book do the picking and landed on Centro Barsha, a Rotana hotel. We tried to google the location before, but couldn't really tell distances, but when we got there it was about 25 minutes from the airport, 15 minutes to the Burj Khalifa and about 15 minutes to the marina area. To say it was centrally located would be an understatement, it was perfect!!
The room was bright & airy - super clean and exactly what we were hoping for!
The food was impeccable, the service outstanding & the staff incredibly friendly!! We stayed a total of 4 nights and I wish it could have been longer!!
That's pure & organic honey right there for the breakfast buffet!
We actually ate at the hotel quite a bit because we opted into the buffet breakfast (outstanding) and had lunch twice and dinner our last night there!
The pool was welcome in the heat, especially on our last day because it happened to be the hottest! I was surprised that there weren't many people up there, but then again it was a Monday!
I didn't realize when booking (and neither did Gary) how close the hotel was to the Emirates Mall!! Lucky for me, not so much Gary. Totally lucked out on this because it was so centrally located that we were within walking distance of the mall (5 minutes), which was a hub for a bus tour I'll be talking about later!
Turning 35 is a big deal, so I wanted to make sure that Gary had an incredible weekend, which started out at Buddha Bar in the Grosvenor House. Before talking about the food, I have to rave about the incredible service I received before even entering the restaurant!!
It's a hot spot in Dubai, one of their top rated restaurants and when I tried to make a reservation online about 3 months out, they were completely booked! I had my heart set on it and emailed the management team and explained that we'd be celebrating a milestone birthday and would there be any chance of a table becoming available!!
They immediately responded with an amazing reservation time and even a surprise birthday cake for Gary!! Like I said, incredible service!!
The food was melt in your mouth delicious~ I think by now we all know I have a thing for lobster and their lobster dumplings were so good that we ordered two helpings! We had the best time and spent over 3 hours at dinner, never once feeling rushed and the whole time staring in awe of where we were!! I can see why this is one of, if not the best, restaurants in Dubai!
Huge thank you to Buddah Bar for an outstanding dining experience!
Safari Desert Tour/
If you visit Dubai one of the first things people tell you to book is the safari dessert tour. I booked ours through Viator, which was then locally done by Orient Tours. I pre-booked about 3 weeks out and chose the standard experience. One of the drivers picks you up from the hotel and then its about an hour drive into the desert.
Some of you may have seen the snaps of sand duning in the desert, but I assure you it's about 10x more fun!!
After about 30 minutes in the dunes (trust me you don't want any more) they take you to visit a camel farm and then over to the Bedouin village where we enjoyed dinner, belly dancing and some other local fare.
The camel rides did leave a little to be desired, I felt like it wasn't long enough, but it was still fun!
Its a long day, your pickup is around 2:30 and then you don't get back to the hotel until close to 9, but it's so worth the experience! Our entire group (6 people total in our car) had the best time!!
One more camel photo because, why not!!
Next week I'll be sharing all about the shopping & how to see all the sights in two days!
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