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dubai holiday : spas and other stuff too!

(56 Posts)
sis Fri 28-Jan-05 13:23:20

At long last, dh, ds (aged 6) and I are due to go to dubai fo a week next month and we can't wait!

We are staying at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel (but not in the premier club bit) and know about the wild wadi water park and that we will catch the tail end of the shopping festival. What i am now after - if anyone can help - is info on what we really should do and where is the best place to get it. Examples of the sort of thing we'd like help with is:

- planning a desert safari which includes sand buggying (where to book for value for money)

- a relaxing spa session - I'd like a massage with a bit of oomph rather than feather strokes type massage. Would love a traditional arabic massage but is there anywhere I can do that which won't be too daunting as i won't have a clue as to what it involves?!

- we are vegetarian and have a fussy ds to boot (pasta, pizza, not very spicy Indian food is his basic diet)- is there anywhere in particular that we ought to try or will most places cope? We are thinking of having afternoon tea at the Burj Al Arab - is this the best thing to do or is the food/service/view better elsewhere?

- If I want to have a couple of suits made, should I take material and samples with me or will they provide all this. Also, where should I go for well made clothes but that doesn't use slave labour?

- Are there any tips for the shopping festival? I am not into shopping but I understand that the festival should be visited as a tourist attraction if nothing else! Are there any bits that are particularly family friendly? any times to avoid due to overcrowding etc?

All thoughts really welcome as we have waited a year and a half for this holiday and want to make it memorable by doing stuff that we would be either unable to do or unable to afford to do elsewhere!

sis Fri 28-Jan-05 13:28:21

Hammam - that's what I meant for the massage treatment!

sis Fri 28-Jan-05 19:27:09


Satine Fri 28-Jan-05 19:29:23

I'd be really interested too as we're considering Dubai this summer! Bumpety bump

LIZS Fri 28-Jan-05 19:40:01

Satine , it is horrendously hot there in the summer ! We visited in October 10 years ago and arrived at 3am to be hit by over 30o c

RTKangaMummy Fri 28-Jan-05 20:07:05

take a peek

sis Fri 28-Jan-05 20:24:46

thank you RTKangaMummy I am so excited that I keep on looking at the various tourism sites!

Are there any mumsnetters who live in Dubai, have lived in Dubai or have visited that could answer some of the more specific questions or share other useful information? I have promised dh that Mumsnet, the font of all information, will come up with the goods!

RTKangaMummy Fri 28-Jan-05 20:26:32

have you talked to high commision?

RTKangaMummy Fri 28-Jan-05 20:27:08

They sent us a huge pack of info

gingerbear Fri 28-Jan-05 20:32:32

Have you tried Thorntree - the LonelyPlanet chat forum (a bit backpacker-ish, but some useful info sometimes there)


moondog Fri 28-Jan-05 20:35:37

I just got back from Dubai on Monday! Stayed at the JBH and had a day at the Burj (as a friend was there, so we enjoyed it without paying a cent ha ha!!) I'll look at your questions in more detail and answer ok!!?

MancMum Fri 28-Jan-05 21:06:31

i went to dubai last year and loved it - however we did not do any of things on list... I wish - a SPA!!

will ask my mate who lives there for some tips - she thinks Burj way too expensive for what it is - we went to loads of really nice other hotels for about 20% the price...

moondog Fri 28-Jan-05 21:08:13

OK, made a note of what you want...

JBH is completely fab. Loads to do, gorgeous pools, pristine beach looking out at the Burj (and they even bring around ice lollies!) 'FREE' morning child care for 2-4 year olds (and even other babysitting is cheap.)Staff are utterly charming.

There is a sports centre/spa thingy. As it's the JBH you could get exactly the massage you want-no probs!(That is drop dead gorgeous too!)

Didn't do the safari thing as parents live in Saudi and I've done that stuuff (plus ds only 6 mths) but you coud do that through the hotel. probably cheaper through others though. DBH is great but you do pay a premium on everything!

Wouldn't worry about the food. LOADS of restaurants in the hotel and some very very nice buffets too. Actually you should go into town to Karama where a lot of Indians live. There are hundreds of lovely vegetarian restaurants there that cost next to nothing.

Clothes....don't worry about bringing stuff. there is a big textiles area there, where you could get anything done. My advice to orientate yourself is to take the Big Bus Company tour on the 1st or 2nd day which will take you on two tours-around town (ie Bur Dubai and Deira) and along the beach (Jumeirah, the strip out of town where most of the big hotels are) The commentary is live, the guides are charming and I would ask them for advice re safaris and clothes making

The shopping festival seemed to me just to be an excuse to flog you even more,but there were extra things going on (eg fireworks by the Creek, Noddy show in one of the parks) There will be a copy of Time Out Dubai in your room which is excellent.

We enjoyed Wild Wadi (open an hour earlier for Jumeirah guests so get there at 10 and you'll have the rides to yourself!) going on an abra (boat) on the Creek, the Dubai Museum (not heavy, our 4 year old liked it)strolling around the amazing shopping malls on our Big Bus tour (they stop to give you enough time for a recce-enough for us as I'm not really a shopper.)Wasn't bothered about the souks-enough of that sort of stuff here in Turkey.

Our day in the Burj was fab!! Our friends were on their way back from a business trip and we had a day with them. Amazing! Champagne in their suite with huge glass windows, wall-to-wall Hermes toiletries, butler, the works. I think afternoon tea would be fun,although as you are at the JBH you can go in anyway. (Saw their spa at the top-unbelievable) Actually, you leave feeling a bit---horrified. It's just WAAAAY over the top.

There is another hotel next door that completes the trilogy. It has a big fake souk in it a fake creek, restaurants and all sorts. Got lost-twice!!

BTW as it isn't boiling there at the moment, the pools and WW are heated! Talk about spoilt...

Let me know if you have more questions. Enjoy yourselves!!

sis Fri 28-Jan-05 21:09:04

Thank you, I will try all the suggestions and eagerly await more info from moondog. I hope you had a good holiday!

RTKangaMummy, did you get the pack because you are planning on going too, or have you already been?

Have I mentioned that I am a bit excited?

moondog Fri 28-Jan-05 21:11:28

They even have nice ladies giving you orchards and activity bags at the airports. Dd has just had a bath with her JBH rubber duck (well, a few hours ago!)which she even sleeps with!

sis Fri 28-Jan-05 21:17:36

Thank you moondog that is really helpful. I had a feeling that the Burj Al arab may be a bit too much for my system, but hey, I've seen the Taj Mahal, surely I can cope with a hotel build in the sea designed to look like a sail with a personal butler for each room/suite...!

moondog, coulsld you see the daily fireworks from the hotel? Ds is dyspraxic/autistic and finds sudden loud noises difficult but loves looking at fireworks, so I was wondering if there was a soundproof way for him to enjoy them.

Happy to have more tips from your friend too MancMum, in fact talking about the trip is part of the fun so please keep adding your experiences.

sis Fri 28-Jan-05 21:18:38

Oooo, i am such a sucker for goodie bags/freebies!

RTKangaMummy Fri 28-Jan-05 21:19:43

It was originally part of the itinery of our "round the world" trip 2002

Then we changed our minds and decided on spending the time in Fiji.

We went all the way round in 80 days so the timings were very acurate

We decided that Dubai was so close we could go there anytime

moondog Fri 28-Jan-05 21:24:29

I wouldn't have gone to the Burj had I not been invited tbh. There are lots of lovely and far more tasteful hotels in Dubai. I didn't see the fireworks (the Creek is about 1/2 hour from JBH) but as with all fireworks, could be a bit scarey for a child with Autism.
JBH is so nice. Every hour there seemed to be something new and lovely to see. The family pool even slopes in slowly like a real beach and there are loads of beach toys lying about to play with.
Another thing-there are lifeguards EVERYWHERE!!
Me and dd swam one night and were the only ones in the pool. Had about 6 of them watching us. Felt like Jackie O!

sis Fri 28-Jan-05 21:30:57

Fiji - another one on my extremely long list of places I want to visit <<sigh>>.

Satine Fri 28-Jan-05 21:46:26

When is the 'high' tourist season? DH in Iraq from Apr to Nov so was thinking of meeting him in Dubai for the week off he gets halfway through but not if it's so hot (ds 2.5 and dd 8 months!) but might go in Nov/Dec when he gets back. JBH sounds like a dream - how expensive? (sorry, I'm being really lazy asking you guys rather than doing my own research!)

sis Fri 28-Jan-05 21:56:22

Satine, I think the best temp are betweemn October and February. As your children are not school age, November may be a good time to go as a lot of hotels seem to be incredibly expensive over Christmas and New Year. Flights and seven nights at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel for two adults and one six year old comes to just under £2500 - ds's accommodation at the hotel is free ( i think two children under twelve can stay in a room with the parents for free). For the price we paid, we will be missing a few days of school before half term as the prices shhot up again for half term week. HTH

Satine Fri 28-Jan-05 21:58:25

Thanks so much sis!

moondog Fri 28-Jan-05 23:10:00

Sis, forgot to sat that booze costs a PACKET in Dubai and is only really available in hotels (for tourists at least.) If you like a glass of wine (like us!) it's worth getting a few bottles in duty free or whatever else you like to drink.
Even if I was absolutely rolling in it, I point blank refuse to spend £25 on a bottle of crappy Chateau de n'importe bloody quoi!

We did the PLC thing (because the hotel is in the same group ar the Burj and our flashy friend there wangled us a good deal!) It was lovely, best part being 'free' cocktails and canapes and they were divine. Dh and I enjoyed that part particularly !

gingerbear Fri 28-Jan-05 23:21:55

<<whispers>> moondog, did you mean an orchid, not an orchard given as a gift at the airport??

Do they still have the car raffle at Dubai airport?? I know someone who won it and they flew the car to UK for him!!

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