After a gorgeous week soaking up the sun and cocktails in the Maldives, we headed off to our third and final stop of our honeymoon: Dubai. Having both spent endless hours milling about the airport awaiting various connections, we were excited to see more of this new and decadent city. It was all going so well until we arrived at the hotel to no booking and I broke the news to my wife that I had booked dinner at the Palm and she would have to get ready in the toilets as we didn't have a room ready… However, the Lord works in mysterious ways and this little glitch meant that we were upgraded to a suite for the rest of our stay so she didn't strop about for too long.
After we emerged from the toilets, as radiant as you can imagine, we hopped in a taxi and made our way to the Palm. Whilst we knew that Dubai was a place of conspicuous consumption, we didn't quite expect it to be as obvious as it was. We pulled up to the Atlantis only to rudely interrupt a young woman in a ball grown, having her photograph taken draped across a Bentley (that wasn't hers…) in front of the hotel sign, only to get back in a taxi and leave… Selfie sessions aside, the hotel was amazing. Incredibly lavish and adorned with Rolex stores, the walk into the restaurant made it very clear that we weren’t headed for just any old dinner.
From the large choice of high-end dining experiences in Dubai, I decided to treat us to a 3 Michelin starred meal at Ossiano; an under water seafood restaurant. Everything about the restaurant was spectacular. We were warmly welcomed to our seats by the hostess and then offered fresh bread rolls by the waiter whilst we chose our menu. Though delicious, the bread rolls were ultimately our downfall… Being absolutely ravenous we looked at the 5 course with wine accompaniments option and thought that we would make light work of it. Oh how wrong we were! Once we factored in the entrees, extra honeymoon dessert gift, truffles with the bill, pallet cleansers and those devilishly good bread rolls, it was more like twelve courses and we expanded so much that Mrs Worldwide couldn't get her feet back in her shoes. I won’t try to recall the menu but everything that passed our lips was divine, and looked equally as beautiful on the plate. Food aside, the restaurant was beautiful. Candlelit tables meant your eyes were drawn to the vivid blue of the fish tank. Filled with sharks, manta rays, and hoards of tropical fish, it was a beautiful backdrop to the meal. After waddling back to the hotel, we fell into bed and tucked into our honeymoon cake that they packaged carefully for us, because you know, we weren’t quite full enough...
The next day we woke up with food hangovers to end all food hangovers. The breakfast buffet seemed like an impossible task, but never ones to refuse food, we ploughed on ready for a full day exploring Dubai. We had already booked the Burj Khalifa in advance so decided to have a wander around the mall beforehand. It was nothing special, almost exactly the same as any shopping centre or mall anywhere in the world, but with added ‘look how much money I have charm’. We arrived at the entrance of the Burj Khalifa, joined the queue, got in the pitch black lift in a sardine style formation (not for the claustrophobics amongst us) and arrived on the wholly underwhelming 124th floor. Now, while that sounds reasonably high there are more than 160 floors and for an extra payment (obviously), you could go a little higher, so we felt a little hard done-by when we weren’t at the very top. The views were amazing, but not as amazing as we expected. Everything below is so tall that the sense of height is skewed and everything around Dubai is desert, so you didn't get a sense of distance either. The only real point that you can look down and think ‘woah I’m high’ is above the fountains that are on the ground. Tiny black dots scurry around and suddenly you realise they’re people. But then you have to join a 40-minute queue for the lift down and the sense of wonderment is gone. We then wandered outside take some photos but realised that it was a near impossible task unless you wanted 12 chins…
After a little rest, we decided to take a taxi to Jumeriah beach. Our plans of an ice cream and maybe a little snooze in the shadow of the Burj al Arab quickly dissipated when we arrived. It was essentially Brighton beach on the one day of British summer. Packed. Children everywhere. Seagulls swooping like crazy. Bitterly disappointed, we had a coconut and ice creams and hastily departed, opting instead for a walk along the waterfront. However, by waterfront, I mean rows of hotel gates and taxi ranks. Being the culture vultures that we like to think we are, we really missed being able to wander and people watch in coffee shops. We admittedly struggled with having to drive everywhere and have a set destination in mind, but ultimately enjoyed the cityscape nonetheless.
One of the highlights of the trip was our evening at the Burj al Arab; the world’s only 6* hotel and quite deservingly so. The hotel lobby was the definition of opulence. Gold on everything, fountains the height of the hotel and a flurry of people willing to meet your every need. We arrived at the Sky cocktail lounge and were seated at the bar. The waiters operate a rotation system so everyone gets to sit right at the edge with a view at some point during their evening. In true Dubai style, the cocktail menu begins with a ‘would you like to show off how much money you have?’ option. If so, a cocktail costing in excess of £1500 complete with actual gold could be yours. For the more frugal big spenders, the next option was a mere £600 and you could keep the glass. The most impressive cocktail we ordered was called Mr. Big. Served in a handbag shaped tea pot and complete with nail polish liquor to flavour your glass, it was a fun change to the usual. All cocktails were served with a selection of nibbles and olives in a Burj al Arab shaped ‘snack rack’. We ate every.single.one.
As far as last nights of honeymoon’s go, it was a decadent end to our holiday and ticked a fair few items off the bucket-list. Whilst Dubai wasn’t the most thrilling place we have ever been, it was undoubtedly interesting and an insight into the new Middle Eastern cityscape.