Tony’s UAE and Maldives

Tony’s UAE and Maldives

A first-time opportunity to explore the incredible UAE taking in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, followed by a luxury escape to the Maldives was one that I simply could not turn down last year. Starting off with the Emirates flight on the Airbus A380, a double-decker aircraft of enormous size, space and comfort. No upgrade to club class this time but the front cabin of economy was very spacious with good in-flight entertainment and acceptable in-light catering. As the flight was seven hours and an overnight service the seats and legroom were adequate to at least grab an hour or two of shut eye before landing in Dubai with a spectacular sunrise.

What an airport Dubai International is – One word to describe it ‘HUGE’ with the walk from the aircraft to baggage reclaim and immigration feeling like a half marathon it was a relief to be met by our hosts Arabian Adventures for the next five nights.

Our hotel for the first two nights was the Ramada Hotel & Suites by Wyndham Jumeirah Beach. With great views of the Arabian Gulf and The Palm Jumeirah. Very functional hotel with great facilities and a comfortable executive club lounge serving drinks and light snacks. Then we drove 90 minutes south on Sheik Zayed Road for two nights in Abu Dhabi staying at the Beach Rotana Resort returning for one last night in Dubai at the amazing JW Marriott Marquis Hotel ranked as one of the tallest hotels in the world.

I visited many hotels and experienced many great attractions, but the highlights of the trip were…

  • The Burj Al Arab hotel – A six-star hotel situated just off Jumeirah Beach
  • A visit to Burj Khalifa – The world’s tallest tower standing at 2,716 feet and the ‘view from the top’ on the 124th floor with an experience of an elevator that takes just 50 seconds from the ground floor!
  • Atlantis Dubai – Situated at the top of The Palm with it’s amazing waterpark and an underground suite that looks straight into the tropical lagoon!
  • Desert Safari in Abu Dhabi with Dune Bashing in an off-road vehicle followed by a BBQ and entertainment in the middle of the desert under the stars.
  • Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque – Abu Dhabi. A very uplifting and incredibly moving experience. What a building!
  • W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island Hotel. A 5-star luxury hotel situated in the heart of the Formula 1 racetrack.
  • Ferrari World Abu Dhabi – A theme park ideal for the adrenaline junkie with the highlight ‘Formula Rossa’ The world’s fastest roller coaster where you go from zero to 240km/hr in less than 5 seconds!

After five action packed nights in the UAE it was time to say goodbye and head to the airport for our Emirates flight to Male in The Maldives for three nights of relaxation at the newly opened ‘Hertiance Aarah’ hotel. After clearing customs and baggage reclaim, we were met by our hosts at Aitken Spence hotels who transported us to the Trans Maldavian sea-plane terminal for our 30-minute flight to Heritance Aarah. What an amazing experience flying at just over a thousand feet above the azure coloured Indian Ocean and the myriad of tiny island resorts.

Following a traditional Maldavian welcome at the sea-plane docking port at the hotel and a swift check in with welcome cocktail and cold towel, it was time to head off by ‘golf-buggy’ to my room. What a surprise as it was an over-water villa with direct access to the sea.

The following three days seemed to simply drift by with time spent snorkelling on the amazing house reef, walking around the amazing resort and dining in any of the five restaurants as the property is featured as premium all-inclusive as standard. The main bar area serving over 100 different cocktails! Heritance Aarah is a very relaxing and welcoming with Over Water Villas having their own 24hr butler service!

All good things then ended, and we said our thanks and goodbyes for an amazing few days in The Maldives before our sea-plane back to Male and our Emirates flight via Dubai back to the UK.

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