I have to admit, I have somewhat neglected my blog recently. As one of my resolutions for the year I plan to get back into the saddle, blow the cobwebs off my keyboard and get writing again (who am I to kid…the keyboard has been browsing the post-Christmas sales for the past month). And what better way to see in the new year on A Stylish Review then my favourite type of post of all – a travel post!
At some point in autumn as the final few cells in my body froze over I decided enough was enough and I needed to plan a holiday. We landed on Dubai – people to see, a beach, good food and SUN (hallelujah). Fast forward to the first week of January and summer clothes were released from vacuum-pack imprisonment from my kitchen cupboards (lack of wardrobe space requires crafty storage solutions didn’t you know?) and passports were at the ready. Nine hours, a fuel shortage, a pit-stop in Oman and a severe onset of pins and needles later and we had landed. My Out Of Office was activated and the defrosting process could officially begin.
The last time I visited Dubai my trip was very different. I was on my own for much of it so spent a lot of time trying to tick the top sites off my list (if you haven’t already read it, click here). With less need to keep busy all day and more time spent socialising and catching up with friends, there wasn’t quite as much to blog about this time round. BUT here are my three highlights.
Whether you’re tired, run down, stressed or have just spent too much time in a city a beach will always prove to be the perfect antidote. Nothing quite beats it. There are several nice beaches in Dubai – my favourite is Kite Beach. Yogi bunnies limber up and bow to the lapping sea in child’s pose. I, however, just lie and soak up rays and enjoy doing little else. So no matter what camp you fall into and no matter what end of the fit spectrum you are you’ll be right at home.
When I go on holiday I love to try all of the local food and I feel guilty if I don’t. One of the nice things about Dubai is that it doesn’t really have a traditional cuisine so you don’t feel even the slightest bit guilty by going off piste! My favourite restaurant is Fish Taverna. With painted wooden furniture, sharing plates of fish casserole, grilled octopus, delicious vine tomatoes and handmade bread it reminded me of places in Mykonos and Milos. Not only was the food divine but it was relaxed and easy-going unlike some of the fancier and smokier places in town (and there was a cute cat). Other great restaurants include Maine (great for cocktails and atmosphere), Nathalie’s (healthy food and incredible smoothies) and Salt on Kite Beach (greasy American burgers – so bad but so so good).
I know it doesn’t technically count, but a day in Abu Dhabi is one of the best things you can do! It’s just a short drive from Dubai and it’s a good way of escaping the hustle and bustle if it’s getting too much to handle. After a quick stint at the beach trying out wetsuits (I wasn’t included in this exercise I hasten to add) we headed to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Most of the enormous buildings in Dubai are actually, in my view, pretty ugly so my expectations for this mega mosque of Guinness Book of World Records proportions were not great. How wrong I was. The Grand Mosque is impossibly beautiful. Pearlescent, its giant domes gleam in the low light as the sun slowly sinks towards the horizon and its architectural magnificence is elegantly mirrored by the still shallow pools that surround it. Bare feet welcome the feel of the cool marble and fingertips trace the winding vines and flowers that decorate every surface. Sorry for the photo overload – I did my best to edit but it was very very hard!