I have a confession to make. I have sold Dubai for over 15 years and never visited, until now. There was something about the rapid development and unreal existence out there that made me question its’ appeal.
I am just back from my first trip to the region and am a complete covert! “This is the life,” I thought as I sat drinking Whispering Angel in the sun overlooking the beach and Burj Al Arab.
It is true that the scale of building work is immense and is often visible from the properties. Two that stood out for me as being (currently) pretty free from this are the Mandarin Oriental and Jumeirah Al Naseem. They are both utterly exceptional properties.
Al Naseem is the perfect cool offering in the incredible Madinat property. The choice of restaurants on offer with the half board could keep you busy for weeks. It is slick and so well established for a new hotel with sparkling new rooms and top-notch service.
The Mandarin Oriental had our jaws on the floor the whole show around. It is absolutely spectacular and super stylish. The restaurants are all achingly cool as are the rooms.
What I wasn’t expecting is the quality of service and food out there. It was mind blowing. Rockfish at Jumeirah Al Naseem was one of the best meals I have had in a long time. Sea Fu at The Four Seasons was the same incredible service and just sensational food. Whatever you want you can get and that pretty much sums up Dubai.
We also visited Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi and stayed at the superb Jumeirah property there. I’ll be honest, it isn’t the prettiest of buildings on the outside but inside it is incredible and the rooms brilliant. The food was so good again and even the main buffet was extremely high standard and served sushi, which kept me happy. It is very reasonably prices for how good it is.
We also stayed at the newly re-managed Al Wathba in the desert and the peace and calm of this place is definitely to be recommended.
I am so impressed with how things just work out there. The faces are all smiling with happy families and couples. The rose wine flows and sushi everywhere you turn. It is not for everyone but for me, for now, I am calling it my easy access happy place.