After a big year in 2018 with getting married, a pretty sweet honeymoon (India & Seychelles), getting our dog and buying our house – neither of us were in any mood to plan a holiday… so instead we headed off to Dubai for a week in March!
We booked our flights through eBookers and we got a great deal on flights and hotel. We heard some bad reviews of eBookers but we used it previously for Krakow with no issues, so decided to try it again. For flights and our hotel for 5 nights it was around €1k each, considering flights alone to Dubai are between €500-€600 this wasn’t bad!
As part of the eBookers deal we stayed in the Sofitel The Palm. As our flight landed at 8am we got to the hotel pretty early (I had emailed about this the week before) but we were unable to check in until 3pm. We went for lunch in the poolside restaurant and for a swim until it was time to go to our room. We had a beautiful king room on the third floor over looking the reception area and the Persian Gulf. The resort was stunning with a number of different restaurants and two bars. It stated online there were 6 swimming pools, but aside from the main pool the others seemed to be private or kids pools.
Restaurants and Bars
Porterhouse – On our first night we decided to try out one of the restaurants in the hotel, so we visited the Porterhouse which is a steak restaurant. Sean got a steak but I went for a roast chicken with mushroom sauce. The food was fantastic but it was extortionate prices and in no way good value for money.
Indego by Vineet– On the Tuesday night we decided to check out an Indian restaurant and I came across Indego which was down by the Dubai Marina. I booked a table, which I don’t think was really necessary but anyway. The staff were excellent and when we arrived we had about 4 people serve us before we even got our drinks. I ordered the smoked chicken tikka to start, which was 4 pieces with an unbelievable yoghurt sauce. As a main course, I got the chicken korma which again was amazing and just the right size portion. We got a mixture of breads, each of which was delicious! They also had an exceptional cocktail menu – one of which was a scotch whiskey with smoked rosemary. We were too full for dessert but can only imagine it being as fantastic as both starters, mains and cocktails. It was a little pricey – but the quality of food was very much worth the price.
Replay – We found a little sports bar upstairs in our hotel, that was slightly hidden. Every day from 4pm they had a happy hour until 8pm, so we hit that pretty much every day. We even bumped into Manu Tuilagi on one of the days in the bar. Given how extortionate the food in the hotel was, a few days we got some bites from here to share, which were nice.
Arabian Tea House – We visited here for a late lunch on the Wednesday when the weather was a bit crap. I got the hummus and a main course of chicken/rice/tomatoe etc. while Sean got falafel and a chicken curry type main dish. Everything here was unbelievable – they had a tandoori over so the bread was amazing and the hummus and main courses were exceptionally fresh. This was one of my favourite places to visit and would highly recommend it to anyone who was visiting Dubai.
Zahr El Laymoun – We stopped in here on our last night and made a bit of a mess of our order. As it was a Lebanese restaurant, I was a little unsure of the menu so I followed Sean’s lead in ordering a couple of things. Only once we ordered, we realised that Sean only had half the menu and hadn’t seen the main courses so we proceeded to order more. The food none the less was amazing, and with the fountains in the background it was a great place to stop.
Buddah Bar – After Indego, we visited the Buddah Bar in an attempt to get to their rooftop bar. It was early enough when we visited here, about 8:30 or 9pm ish but it felt like it was about 4am in Coppers. We only had one drink here and decided to head back to the hotel.
Things to do
Aquaventure – On the Thursday we visited the Atlantis waterpark which was only a 20 minute walk from the hotel. It was pretty big and Sean did the Leap of Faith which looked pretty scary! There was over 2km of interconnected lazy river which included river rapids and torrents and was pretty cool! We also did the slide that goes through the shark tank which was cool.
Dubai Mall – We visited the Dubai Mall on Tuesday as its one of the biggest mall in the world. It was impressive, but still just a shopping centre. When we visited the Dubai fountain on Friday night there were thousands of people there and as there is very little else to do in Dubai, it seems everyone just goes here on a Friday night. Outside the Dubai Mall is the Burj (worlds largest building) and the fountains.
Dubai Souks – There was a bit of rain on Tuesday, so we decided to head to Deira to see the Gold Souk. It was good to walk through and see but hated being hassled by everyone every few seconds.
Dubai Museum – We visited here after the Souk, it was pretty cheap to enter (3AED each) and the first part its pretty small. We thought we just walked around the outdoor complex and were getting ready to leave when we were brought downstairs to the basement to find out more about the history of Dubai and how it grew from a tiny fishing village to the tourist centre it is now. It was really interesting to find out about the UAE and how the city was planned out.
Dubai Aquarium – On the Tuesday, we visited the aquarium in the Dubai mall which was pretty cool. We saw the worlds largest fish tank that had two divers inside feeding the fish (one kept getting covered by a stingray which Im sure was nice for him!). Once we walked through the fish tank, we got to go upstairs to the underwater zoo, which was bigger than I was expecting.
The Walk, Dubai Marina – I read about The Walk, which is 7km along the Dubai Marina, so after our dinner we decided to walk some of it. It was lovely to see the water and the abra’s but apart from that there was nothing going on. There is still quite a lot of building work going on, so its not fully complete.
Dubai Creek – After visiting the souks, we took an abra across the creek from the Deira to Dubai.