Trip report first time in Dubai

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Jan 23rd, 2006, 09:25 PM
  #1
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Trip report first time in Dubai

On a recent trip to UK from Australia my 15 year old son and I stopped over in Dubai in both directions. We had a great time and would definitely return.
On the outward journey we stayed at Le Merdien Dar al Sondos hotel. The hotel provided free pick up from the airport and they were waiting for us once we cleared Customs. The hotel is situated in a quiet street in Bur Dubai about 20 minutes from the airport. It does not look very impressive from the outside but we found it more than met our needs. We wanted to stay somewhere reasonably priced which is quite hard to do in Dubai. The package on their website included breakfast and it was $A200 a night. Our room was large and clean with a little balcony. The best asset was a small kitchen which also had a washing machine. This was great as we had been to Bangkok before Dubai and needed to do our laundry. The hotel provided at clothes airer on request and everything dried on the balcony. The breakfast provided was good and well presented. The pool area was well kept, but the tiles were treacherously slippery underfoot, a great deal of care was needed with wet feet. The hotel provides a daily shuttle to their sister beach property. There were local supermarkets in the street as well as a bakery, shawerma shop and a good Indian restaurant.
On the return journey we stayed at the Ramada. They also provide free transport from the airport. The hotel was also located in Bur Dubai and was in a similar price range the other hotel. The rooms and service were lovely, but the breakfast was a bit pricey and not included in the room rate. The pool area was good though we only had time to use it once.
We used taxis to get around and they were very reasonably priced. The drivers did not seem to speak much English and on a couple of occasions were a bit quick resetting the meter and asking for more than was on the clock. I took great exception to this (much to my sonís embarrassment), but I would not be ripped off. It was also very hard to get your bearings in Dubai and often we would be taken the scenic route somewhere without realising it until the cost of the taxi was double the same journey the previous day.
We did the usual tourist things including a dune safari, which was brilliant. A fun day at the Wild Wadi water park. We caught the hop on/off bus and did the city tour, we particularly enjoyed the museum and souks. We also did the beach tour which was not as interesting in our opinion. Basically it was like touring a construction site. We did not get off at the beach, even though it looked quite pleasant. We are too spoilt in Australia and flat water has no appeal. We had afternoon tea at the Burj al Arab which was a bit disappointing. The building is very pleasant but the afternoon tea I thought was very ordinary for the price (give me Raffles in Singapore any day). I did however get mistaken for an actress from the UK soap Coronation Street which amused my son no end. I have never got asked for my autograph before. One thing which we found very informative was a tour of the Jumeirah mosque. These are only held twice a week and the chap that runs them does a great job and has a wicked sense of humour. My son was a reluctant participant but ended up really enjoying himself.
We did not do much shopping though we did enjoy wandering around the malls especially Wafi City and Mall of the Emirates. We had several meals in the Wafi City food court. I did buy quite a lot of Clarins beauty products which were much cheaper than at home. Jack also convinced me to buy him some Timberland boots (ĎMum, I canít go to afternoon tea in my runners.í) which he said were a really good price.
We both enjoyed Dubai, the weather was great and the people very friendly. We will be back.
marthagrif is offline  
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Mar 9th, 2006, 06:22 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Hi marthagrif

Your post was fantastic! I'm travelling to Europe from Australia in October and have a two day stop over in Dubai on the way there - your post has been very helpful!

Which hotel did you think was better - and would you recommend more - Le Merdien Dal al Sondos or the Ramada?

Also - how did you go about organising your trips - like the dune safari - did you do that before you went, or were you able to do that through the hotel? Are there any particular sites/things that you would recommend I see/do in my two days or anything that you would suggest I miss being that it is only two days?

Thank you in advance!
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Mar 10th, 2006, 05:52 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Thanks for the report. I just booked a trip to Dubai for November for a week, when I plan to visit all seven Emirates and Oman.

I am interested in staying at a centrally located hotel, from where I could walk to the creeks and the souks. No interest in glitz, but rather location. Were either of your locations within walking distance of the creek or the souk area?

Thanks, Michael
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