Sunday, April 15, 2012

April 12th & 13th – 5 Star Dubai

You don't come to Dubai for history or culture. You come to be amazed by its ridiculous toytown architecture, and for shopping and 5 Star Hotels. Having done the architecture and shopping to death on previous visits, it was time to see the Hotel side of the Dubai experience.

Of course, this wasn't a totally altruistic fact-finding mission – a special offer from our credit card company had given us a free night at the Le Meridien Royal on Jumeirah Beach. Not being ones to look a gift horse in the mouth, we gladly took them up on their kind offer and had a night off the ship.

As you'd expect of Dubai, the hotel was luxurious and the service impeccable, although we were coming for a slightly different experience than the rest of the guests, who were happily roasting themselves on the beautiful white beach or around one of the three large pools in the hotel complex. Instead, we set up camp in our room and used the hotel's wifi to do a million boring administrative tasks that had built up over the last 3 months at sea. We got a lot done and caught up with friends and family, so it was just what we needed.

In the evening we went out for a meal at Wagamama's – in Arabia, of course, you need to eat Japanese. It was a strange experience walking around "The Walk", a strip of restaurants that really couldn't be more Westernised, and to see all the holidaymakers walking around in their shorts, mini-skirts and skimpy clothing. Only the lack of booze in the pavement cafes told you that you were in a conservative Muslim country.

I guess that that air of unreality is part of the Dubai experience.