HOLIDAY REVIEWS • September 2020
In this new series, we get a glimpse into the cherished travel memories of our British Airways’ Executive Club Members. To kick us off, Lisa Yardley dishes on the city break her family loves best, and the hotel she’ll never forget
I’ve travelled to many places around the world, but nothing compares to Dubai. It’s a beach break and city break wrapped into one, with just about everything you need to make some truly special memories. Luxury hotels, helicopter rides, desert safaris, decadent shopping malls… It’s definitely captured our hearts, which explains why we’ll be going back again next summer!
If you’re going to stay anywhere, make it Atlantis The Palm (pictured below). It has breath-taking views of the Arabian sea and Dubai’s one-of-a-kind skyline. The latter is the best, especially come night-time when the whole thing sparkles. Here, five-star means five-star, and we’ve found you’ll get impeccable customer service whether you’re in a standard room or one of the more luxurious suites. From the moment you walk in, you feel that you’re in another world.
It’s worth upgrading to the Imperial Club: the suites are great for families and it’ll give you many extra advantages, including complimentary airport transfers, a private check-in area, Imperial Club Lounge access, breakfast every day, afternoon teas, happy hours, two-for-one spa treatments and more. Plus, it’ll get you all-day entry to the hotel’s water park and aquarium.
You could venture into Dubai for food but, to be honest, the hotel has it covered. Nobu has exceptional sushi (we had it for brunch as well as dinner). Seafire keeps my husband happy with fantastic steaks, while I go in for the oysters and lobster – the best I’ve ever had. At Ayamna, the Lebanese restaurant, you’ll spot belly dancing on certain nights (if that’s your thing!) but it’s well worth a visit for the chef’s famously crispy shrimp kunafa, served with a delectable saffron and tahini sauce. And look out for Atlantis bars offering 50 per cent off during happy hour.
“Seeing the Burj Khalifa from those heights is something I’ll never forget.”
When it comes to excursions, make it a desert safari and helicopter ride over the Palm and World Islands. The hotel’s concierges can set up both. The desert safari included dune bashing, watching the sun set over the desert and a few other lovely, authentic touches. Just watch out for the huge dips in the dune bashing! And our helicopter ride was outstanding. Seeing the Burj Khalifa from those heights is something I’ll never forget.
We have a teenage daughter who loves to shop, so when we wanted a break from sunbathing, we’d simply jump in a taxi to the Dubai Mall (pictured below). Dubai is so hot, it’s quite nice to be in an air-conditioned mall for a while. And it’s huge, with so many fabulous shops, restaurants, cafés and even an aquarium. You could easily lose a day there.
The temperatures can be extreme in summer, but we found when we went in August that air conditioning and a cold pool can do wonders. We’ve also visited in November, which was a touch cooler (unlike the 50 degrees we experienced in the summer). I think you’re pretty much guaranteed heat all year long in Dubai – it’s just one of the things that makes it so great!
We’re still trying to get it right. We’ve done a week in Dubai and 12-night trips, too, but I think next summer we’ll make it two weeks. Dubai is a relatively short flight from London (under seven hours), so you could get away with an extra-long weekend, but we want to try and stay out there for as long as possible. I love my holidays – the longer they last, the better!