DUBAI

My husband and I wanted to do something big to celebrate our first year of marriage. We initially planned on going to Australia since it was high on both of our lists. After planning it all the way out, we realized we didn’t have enough time to do it like we would want to. We then decided to do a tour of Italy, with a short stop in Dubai. We bought flights, train tickets, everything. As we were planning out our ensembles, I didn’t like that it would still be pretty chilly during the time we would be there. By the time we left for our trip, we decided to just stay the majority of the time in Dubai, and just spend the weekend in Italy. Because we changed the location last minute, we planned the trip in just 2 weeks, and it ended up being one of the best trips we have ever taken.

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We stayed at the Marriott Al Jaddaf hotel, which is a 5-star hotel. The hotel has a complimentary shuttle to and from the airport to the hotel that runs 3 times a day. We arrived at an odd time (a little after midnight) so we were unable to take advantage of the shuttle. We took a cab to the hotel, which was about 70 AED, or $20 USD. Even though we arrived at the hotel around 3 am, the hotel was very accommodating and let us check into the room early. We were surprised, considering check in is usually around 3pm. We were so grateful, because we were so tired from the long journey.

Everyone at the hotel was EXTREMELY kind and accommodating from the moment we got there.  As I have said in other blog posts, I always ask for a room upgrade, and they were happy to accommodate. They even had a cake waiting in the room to celebrate our anniversary.  The hotel was SO NICE! There were several restaurants, a few clubs, and the rooms were AMAZING! They had  tub/shower combo that was out of this world. We literally could have spent the whole time in the hotel.

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The Sweet Message from the Hotel

The hotel had several complimentary buses to different locations around Dubai. They had several trips to the Dubai Mall, one to Jumeriah Beach, one to Emirates Mall, and one to the airport. We took advantage of the shuttle to the mall almost everyday. The only thing we didn’t like about the shuttle were the times, but we just ended up paying for our own ride to the mall when the time didn’t line up with when we wanted to go. It only cost between $5-$10 USD for our own transportation, so it wasn’t bad.

While we were in the airport someone approached us offering a “special gift” if we listen to a time share presentation. Normally I would say no, but one of my coworkers told me how they recently got a free hotel stay and some other benefits from sitting through one, so I decided to do it. This was our first time doing something like  this. We went to the presentation, and luckily the guy doing the presentation could tell we definitely weren’t buying a time share, so he played a 5 minute video and then gave us the option to pick a free excursion. We picked the Dhow Dinner Cruise.

After going to that, we headed back to the room where we slept a little before heading out for dinner. The hotel made dinner reservations for us at a restaurant at Atlantis. We ate dinner at Yuan Dubai. The food there was incredible! I had the crabmeat fried rice, and my husband had half of a chicken. It was one of the best meals I have ever had. I don’t know what type of rice it was, but it was SO good! The chicken was also amazing! They gave us a little treat for our anniversary that was just as delicious as the rest of the meal.

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Nice Treat from Yuan

After dinner we walked around Atlantis.  It was AMAZING! The decor, the fresh flowers, the grandiose buildings. Everything was really nice. I wanted to see what it looked like in the daytime.

The next day we slept for 12 hours.  I think we were tired from the traveling and the time change. It was so nice to rest and do nothing. We managed to take a trip over to the Dubai mall for a couple hours. The mall was on another level! There was an aquarium inside, an underwater zoo, and 3 levels of shopping. It was unlike anything I have ever seen. The mall is also where the Dubai Fountain, and the Burj Khalifa are.

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The buildings and architecture in Dubai are breathtaking. Everything looks futuristic, and the design of the buildings are so grandiose. It reminded me of the Jetsons. Everything is also very clean, and well taken care of.

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Later that day we had a safari excursion that we pre-booked online. The excursion included ATV riding, Dune Bashing, Sand Boarding, Camel Ride, Henna, and a Bar-b-que with belly dancers, and a fire breather. It was a great value for the cost.

The first part was the ATV, which was a lot of fun. I thought we would have been out in the dessert more, but they had everyone in one contained area, that you drive around in circles.  They tried to up-sell us on a “faster bike”, but we used what we paid for.

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The next part was the craziest thing I have ever done.  Dune Bashing. You will see this in the Vlog, but they basically take you out into the sand dunes in the dessert in a 4×4 SUV, and drive as erratically as possible. It was a like a violent roller coaster. We went up and down the hills, and sideways on the giant dunes.  The girl next to me almost got sick.  My husband had no idea what all we were doing on the excursion. He only knew about the ATV, and the bar b que, so it made it more fun for him.

After that, it was time to Sand Board. I was so shaken up by the dune bashing that I couldn’t even attempt to do the sand boarding. My husband did it, and did a great job. He said that it wasn’t too hard, but climbing back up the dune was the real workout.

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After sand boarding, we drove to a camp where they had henna artists, camels, and a plethora of other activities to do. We upgraded to a VIP table which allowed us to not sit on the floor, and we were served the food instead of waiting in a buffet line.  They said that there were gonna be hundreds of people, so it made sense to us.  They had shisha available, and had lots of performances during dinner. Overall it was a nice night, and a lot of fun. I would recommend it, as it includes a lot of activities, and is fun.

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His -N- Hers Henna Tattoos

The next day we went back to the mall. We did a little browsing at the stores, and then had a nice lunch at Wafi City. The food was so good, and they had the best smoothie I’ve ever had in life. They have water shows several times a day, so after lunch we watched the show. It was really nice.

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That night we went to the Dhow Dinner show that we had gotten for free for sitting through the time share presentation. It turned out to be a big waste of our time, and money, since we had to get our own transportation to and from the ship. The first clue should have been that the hotel staff didn’t know where we were going. They had been very helpful over the course of the trip getting us where we needed etc, but they didn’t know about the location of this particular activity. When we got there, we walked for what seemed like forever to get to the end of the dock where our boat was. It was an old wooden boat with LED lights strung all over it. They served a mediocre meal, and then had “entertainment” which was a strange character that danced around the boat. It might have lasted 2 hours total, which I’m grateful because I wouldn’t have been able to stand much more.  In hindsight we should have taken the tickets to the Burj Khalifa.

We took the free shuttle over to Jumeirah beach the next day. I was completely enamored with how nice the beach was. The boardwalk was spotless, the sand was perfect, and the water was crystal clear. There were TONS of little food trucks serving sushi, ice cream, crepes, you name it. Everything was picture perfect.

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We got breakfast from one of the little shops on the boardwalk, then relaxed for some time at the beach.  We really enjoyed the beach, but we would have loved to bike or roller skate down the boardwalk.  The boardwalk was pretty long, and we got tired walking down it.

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After relaxing for a few hours, we were ready to head back to the hotel. The hotel only offered one shuttle per day to and from the beach. The pick up wasn’t until 4, and it was a little after 2. We couldn’t imagine staying a couple more hours, so we took a cab back to the hotel.

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Back at the hotel, after we cleaned up and changed clothes, we went to the rooftop to check out the pool. There was only one other person at the pool, so we had it to ourselves.  The set up on the roof was really nice. They had lots of lounge areas, tables, and a bar. They also had covered cabanas that were complimentary for hotel guests. The view was also stunning. You could see all of downtown and the Burj Khalifa.

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We had dinner at the hotel that night. They had an amazing buffet, with a huge food selection. The food was really tasty, and there were so many varieties. Definitely something for everyone.  We loved the buffet so much, one day we went there and just ordered desserts. It was awesome!

The next day we visited the Burj Khalifa. It was less expensive to do a tour in the morning or late at night, basically the non-peak times. I highly recommend getting tickets in advance. The entrance is at the mall, and it is extremely busy, so the times fill up quickly. We tried to walk up and get tickets a few days before, and they were completely sold out.

The attraction itself is extremely nice, and very well thought out. The whole way to the top is filled with information, and they make it very interactive and fun. There are a lot of unique features. For instance, the elevator ride to the top is only 60 seconds. It doesn’t even feel like you are going that fast. The only way I could tell is from my ears popping.

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View from the Top

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That night we had dinner at Katana, which was AMAZING! It was by far the best dinner we had in Dubai. The food, the atmosphere, everything was PERFECT.  We picked a table that overlooked the fountains, and also had a direct view of the Burj Khalifa. They had a show at the Burj Khalifa every 30 minutes, and one big show was at 8. They also had water shows simultaneously at the Dubai Fountains. I wont spoil it, but the fountain shows are incredible. One even went along with thriller, but you have to be there to see how amazing it is.

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When we got back to the hotel, we were advised by the staff of a ladies night going on upstairs. We went to take a peek, and it was a very interesting sight. The patron were TURNED UP! Everyone was having a really good time. It was mostly the locals in the traditional garb. I would have stayed, but it was entirely too much smoke in there for me.

We were going to head back to our room, when we noticed ANOTHER club down the hall. We stopped in there, and it wasn’t as packed. The hostess told us in an hour the place would be packed wall to wall, and we wouldn’t be able to get in. It is a very popular club in Dubai that is open until 6am, called 24 Karat. It looked amazing inside, and I could imagine with the crowd, it would be a lot of fun.

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We spent the following day enjoying the amenities at the resort. We had been so busy exploring, we didn’t take time to enjoy the comforts of “home” or the hotel. We hung by the pool for a little, ate, and relaxed for the majority of the day.

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That night we headed out to Atlantis again to have our official anniversary dinner. We had reservations at Nobu. My husband proposed to me at Nobu in Malibu, so there was significance in celebrating our one year anniversary there. We had a really nice time there together.

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When we ate at Nobu, in Atlantis, we paid $150 US for our meal, and we only got 2 meals, and one roll of sushi. At Katana, we got cocktails, 2 sushi rolls, 2 entrees, and shisha, and it was only $120 USD. It was definitely a better value, and the food was GOOD! Not to mention we got to watch all of the shows right from where we sat.

While we were at Atlantis, we went to a club called Indulge.  The music was pretty good. They had a nice mix of both old and new music. There weren’t a lot of people when we went, but we went really early. The were VERY attentive, making sure we were ok at all times. The drinks and shisha were good also. We didn’t stay long, because I wasn’t feeling well, but I have no doubt that it would have been a lot of fun if we stayed longer.

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As you may have noticed, we spent quite a bit of time in Dubai. We were supposed to leave to head to Italy, but we never did. We ended up spending the whole time in Dubai. We enjoyed it so much we didn’t want to leave! We even ended staying an extra day longer than we planned for the whole trip. A nice surprise was that the last day we were there was mothers day, so they had free dinner for the moms at our beloved buffet. It was a nice touch.

Although we were in Dubai for a long time, we feel like we didn’t even scratch the surface of all there is to do. We cant wait for our next trip back!

Be sure to check out the vlog of or trip!

Vlog Part 1 – Vlog Part 2 – Vlog Part 3

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