Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel

We stayed at Bahi Ajman Palace while we were in Ajman.

Room:

The rooms were lovely. We made sure we asked for a pool facing room at reception, that way we were looking down at the pool and the sea from our room. The room had a little balcony with a chair so you could sit outside if you wanted to, it’s just a shame the balconies were too small for two chairs. The bathroom was a good size as well and had a really big shower in it. This hotel did not have a hairdryer in the room, I don’t know if I could have called down to reception to get one, as I decided to just let my hair air-dry while we were here. The rooms all had a safe as well as an iron and ironing board, which was really handy since we were living out of our suitcase while in United Arab Emirates because we were only staying at each hotel 2 nights.

Breakfast/Dinner:

This hotel probably had the most choice at breakfast out of all the hotels we stayed at while we were in United Arab Emirates. The food was lovely, and one morning when we walked down to breakfast, Phil’s parents were already there, as soon as the staff saw us talking to them as we walked in they offered to push 2 tables together so we could all sit together. We also had dinner at this hotel one night, we went for the Iftar buffet and the food was absolutely lovely. There was plenty of choice and they even made some things fresh there and then like curries. There were loads of different foods: pasta, spring rolls, curries, fish.. Anything.

Staff:

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The staff was lovely. We had to call down to reception when we first arrived at the hotel because the card-holder-thingy on the wall for the key-card was making a strange noise, and they sent someone up straight away. Normally we bring our own luggage up to the room when we go to the hotel, but the staff was insistent so we let them bring the cases up for us, what I didn’t realise until the porter brought the cases up was that I had left my purse with the money by the pool, so I wasn’t able to give him a tip. Luckily the porter just dropped the case off and left. At some hotels they would basically be pausing and hinting to get a tip.

Pool/sea:

The pool was lovely and big, there are plenty of sunbeds, most of them on the grass between the pool and the beach. There is not enough parasols, but you can get some shade under the palm trees. The sea was lovely and warm, there was some seaweed which made the water look a bit murky in places, but it wasn’t the long type of seaweed that gets wrapped around your legs, it was just loose and soft so once I was actually in it it didn’t really feel any different than just walking on the sand. The sea is lovely and warm as well.

Location:

We didn’t walk around the area a lot but there is a little shop across the road for snacks, which was nice as it was open even though it was Ramadan when we were there. There is also a couple of restaurants across the road. Getting a taxi to Dubai Mall was about 40 minutes, I was quite surprised as it is in a different Emirate, but it was nice to be able to get there in a relatively short time. This hotel is a dry hotel so there is no alcohol served, but right next door there is the Fairmont Ajman where you can get a drink if you want it, and there is a beach bar between the hotels for a drink in the daytime.

If you are looking for a holiday in the Emirates where you can just relax by the pool and sea I would definitely recommend Bahi Ajman Palace, it’s a lovely hotel and you can still get in to Dubai if you want to. The only thing I will mention is that I don’t know how easy it is to get to Dubai if you want to catch public transport instead of a taxi, because there was 6 of us travelling it was cheaper for us to get a taxi, about 100AED.

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Distance From Dubai Mall: 40 minute drive

Distance from Dubai airport: 30 minute drive

Distance from Aquaventure water-park: 55 minute drive

Hairdryer in the room: No

Iron in the room: Yes

Safe in the room: Yes

TIME Grand Plaza Hotel

While we were in Dubai we stayed at TIME Grand Plaza.

Room:

The rooms were spacious and clean, there was a decent size wardrobe to put clothes in and a good size bathroom. The rooms all had a safe and hairdryer as well as an iron and ironing board, which was really handy since we were living out of our suitcase while in United Arab Emirates because we were only staying at each hotel 2 nights. We had a room facing inwards, so instead of looking out at the surroundings we looked down at the atrium, which was nice enough.

Breakfast:

The food was nice, not as much choice but enough that we all found something to eat. They made omelettes to order at this hotel also. The hotel isn’t very big so they don’t have as many tables as the hotel we stayed at in Abu Dhabi (Grand Millennium Al Whada), but there were enough.

Pool:

This hotel has a rooftop pool. There is not enough parasols, so by the time we got up there on the first day, all the parasols had been taken, so we were all laid in the sun, roasting, but to be fair we only spent time up by the pool on the first day while we were waiting to check in. The pool is a decent size, and it’s really nice and comfortable temperature. They also have a smaller pool, which I expected to have cold water in it, because it was in the shade, but it was actually HOT water. I don’t know how anyone was able to get in it!

Location:

TIME Grand Plaza is very close to Dubai Airport, but we didn’t really hear many planes or anything, which I expected when I saw exactly how close it was. If you are travelling alone or as a couple and you want to take the monorail to get anywhere, there is a monorail station just up the road from the hotel. We took a taxi to the centre of Dubai a couple of times, which only took 15-20 minutes. There is no bar serving alcohol at the hotel, but if you turn right as you exit the hotel there is Dubai Grand Hotel a little bit further down the road, on the other side of the road, and they have a sports bar serving alcohol.

Top tip if staying at Time Grand Plaza Dubai: If you go anywhere and you need to get a taxi back to the hotel, bring the little folder that your room card comes in! It has the address of the hotel on the back of it. Every time we were getting a taxi back to the hotel none of the drivers knew where the hotel was so we had to show them the address.

Distance From Dubai Mall: 15-20 minute drive

Distance from Dubai airport: 10 minute drive

Distance from Aquaventure water-park: 40 minute drive

Hairdryer in the room: Yes

Iron in the room: Yes

Safe in the room: Yes

Grand Millennium Al Whada

While we were in Abu Dhabi we stayed at Grand Millennium Al Whada.

Room:

The rooms were spacious and clean, there was a decent size wardrobe to put clothes in and a good size bathroom. The rooms all had a safe and hairdryer as well as an iron and ironing board, which was really handy since our clothes had all gotten a bit creased in the suitcase.

Breakfast:

The food was nice, the staff made omelettes to order and there was plenty of choice and also plenty of tables. As we went during Ramadan, this is the quiet season so I don’t know how busy it gets during the winter months.

Staff:

The staff was really nice and friendly, and really helped us out when it came to travelling to Ferrari Wold. We had been planning on catching a bus or something as we figured this would be cheaper, but the concierge pointed out that a bus pass would be at least 35AED each, but for a taxi it would only be around 90AED for all of us if we shared a 7-seater taxi. Not to mention a lot quicker!

Pool:

The pool at the hotel was closed while we were there for maintenance, but it looked ok. It was only a small pool at the top floor. It looked like it would be quite pleasant actually as it had a roof over it so it was in the shade along with the sunbeds (can you still call them sunbeds if they are permanently in the shade?), but the “room” was open on the sides so you still got the heat from outside. It gets so warm in the sun, that it would be nice to just lay and enjoy the heat without having to worry about getting sunburned. There is also a bar next to the pool, but it wasn’t open when we had a look around so I don’t know what that’s like.

Location:

The hotel is connected to Al Whada Mall by a passageway on the 3rd floor. The passageway was nice and clean and felt very safe to walk through, it was about a 2 minute walk through the passage from the hotel to the Mall. There is also a bar where you can get alcohol, right next to the main entrance to the hotel, just turn left as you exit.

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know how central it is in relation to things in Abu Dhabi, as we arrived in the middle of the night, we only had one full day in Abu Dhabi, which we spent at Ferrari World, and we left for Dubai around 8.30am the day after. So I didn’t get to see Abu Dhabi itself and we didn’t explore the area surrounding it, other than Al Whada Mall

I would recommend staying at Grand Millennium Al Whada if you are in Abu Dhabi, although like I said earlier we didn’t explore the surrounding area while we were staying there, so other than the Mall we don’t know what is there. But if you are going to Ferrari World or anything else on Yas Island, this is only a 30 minute taxi ride away.

View from the room

Distance From Ferrari World: 30 minute drive

Distance from Abu Dhabi airport: 30 minute drive

Hairdryer in the room: Yes

Iron in the room: Yes

Safe in the room: Yes

UAE Day 7 – Last day

The RSD travel guide did try to sell us a trip to Oman for today, and although I would have loved to go and see another place he did explain that all the trip was is; a drive to a boat and then all day on a boat before you go back to the hotel again, so we decided against it as we wouldn’t really see that much. It might be nice to go to Oman another time though.

Instead we had another lie in today. We are not being picked up by the coach to go to Abu Dhabi airport until 7.30 tonight, so as long as we check out before 12 the hotel is happy. Today when we went to breakfast Jackie and Phil Sr was already there so we sat down next to them, and 15 minutes later Paul and Ellie turned up as well so we all ended up having breakfast together without having planned it.

Jackie and Phil Sr had already reserved sunbeds for all of us again, so after breakfast we put our toiletries and clothes for travelling separate from the rest of our luggage and got checked out. This way we can spend the day by the pool and sea again and just have a shower and get dressed before the coach picks us up, while still leaving our suitcases with the concierge. So this is what we did.

The coach picked us up at 7.30pm, we had gotten showered and dressed in plenty of time, so we had been sitting in hotel reception for at least an hour by this time just passing time. To get to Abu Dhabi airport it took roughly 2 hours, so Phil and I watched the new Jumanji film on his tablet.

I was surprised at how small the part of Abu Dhabi airport that we were flying from was. It has been a long time since I went to Abu Dhabi airport, and that time it was just a stop-over on my way to Australia, but I’m sure the airport was bigger… Unless I’m getting it mixed up with one of the other airports I’ve been to. That being said, the airport had what we needed, there is two floors, duty free is downstairs and then some fast food joints and little shops upstairs, everything is in a circle in the middle, and then there are branches leading you to different gates.

And then we went home…

UAE Day 6 – Dubai Mall again

We had a nice lie in today for the first time on this holiday. We hadn’t made plans to eat with anyone for breakfast but happened to bump into Paul and Ellie in the lift, so we had breakfast with them. As we were sat eating Jackie and Phil Sr walked past us. They had already eaten and also gotten sunbeds for everyone. We had breakfast and then enjoyed the sea and pool for a few hours, with no incidents this time, before we headed to Dubai Mall for the evening.

The taxi to Dubal Mall from Ajman was only around 100AED, which I though was quite surprising since we are in a different Emirate, but I’m definitely not complaining.

We ate at the Rainforest Café today. The food was ok, nothing special. But at least we’ve tried it.

After we ate we split up into couples and walked around the Mall to do some shopping. I found myself a new Pandora charm, a camel. Phil saw a lovely Puma jacket, but sod’s law they didn’t have his size. We must have gone into every store that might have sold it, including the Puma store of course, and not a single one of them had it in stock or in his size.

Since the last time we were in the mall, they had replaced one of the divers in the waterfall with Deadpool!

I feel like I am finally starting to know where I am in Dubai Mall and I can find my way a lot easier. So when we met back up with everyone, Ellie and I walked ahead of the rest of the group to get to the fountains in time for the next show. Since we watched the show while eating at Carloccio’s a few days ago we had both wanted to watch it again with a better view. We got to the fountains 5 minutes before the next show started so we quickly got a soft serve ice cream each to eat while we watched the show. It wasn’t the best ice cream I’ve ever had, it was a lot more “watery” than the soft serves back home. I don’t know if maybe there is less dairy in it here than back at home due to the heat? It was ice cream though, and it was ok, it just wasn’t what I expected.

When we were trying to find the taxis again to get back to the hotel there were some blokes that were trying to get us into 2 5-seater Lexus’, but of course we wanted 1 big taxi, they weren’t the normal white and orange taxis that we normally take, so we walked away. Just be wary of these guys, they want a lot more money than the normal government taxi’s. We did find the normal taxis just a little further down the hallway and they had a big 7-seater that we could get in and get back to the hotel.

UAE Day 5 – A relaxing day in Ajman… Mostly

Turns out we didn’t get away from the organised trips completely. We were picked up from our hotel in Dubai at 8.30 am today and then taken to a gold and precious stone souk, followed by a leather souk. Now, don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that things work differently in different countries in regards to how shop assistants behave and what is considered good customer service for them. Like for example, my dad had told me that in the Philippines there are assistants at the end of every aisle ready to help if you need it. But at the same time I think that if you work in a place that many tourists comes then maybe it would be a good idea to adjust your approach accordingly, as this would probably work out better for them in the long run.

Basically what happened, in both souks, is that as soon as we arrived the assistants were on us like vultures! I might have bought something in the jewellery souk if had been given the freedom to just look around on my own, but when someone is hanging over me telling me to look at certain things, or trying to make me try on different things it just makes me feel uncomfortable. What I really don’t understand is when we did look like we weren’t interested in anything due to them pestering us, they basically kicked us out! “Exit is that way!” I would have loved to have a look at all the jewellery they sold, and maybe even buy a little something if I had managed to get it cheap enough, since we were told they were open to bartering, but with the way they behaved I was happy to get out of there.

Just a tip if the same happens to you though; wait inside the souvenir shop! In the first souk, we walked outside, and the coach had gone somewhere else, so we couldn’t sit and wait in the coach for the rest of our group. The stop was scheduled for 1.5hr, and it did get rather warm and uncomfortable after a while. At the leather souk we just stopped inside the souvenir shop, it was still boring to have to wait, but at least it was air conditioned and we didn’t get kicked out.

After the souks the coach drove around Sharjah to show us a couple of landmarks, excuse the yellow tinge to the pictures but they were taken though the tinted coach window as the coach didn’t stop to let us off.

Again we arrived at the hotel in Ajman before we were able to check in. So we changed into our swimwear to use their facilities while we waited. This hotel is actually on the beach, which we have been looking forward to since we found out about the holiday. The first thing Paul did as he was about to run into the sea, was to step on a dead fish, which had a bone sticking out of its body! The bone went straight into his foot so he had to get checked out by a lifeguard, luckily he was fine, they put some iodine on it, but he had to wait a bit before going into the water.

Other than spend time by the pool and sea we didn’t do much today. We were going to get a taxi back to Dubai this evening, but because Phil didn’t feel great we decided to have a meal in the hotel instead. The hotel was doing an iftar buffet, so we decided to see what that was like. The food was really nice. They had all sorts, curry, pasta, rice, desserts, and just lots of different things. I love buffets, it’s the easiest way to try something new, but not feel like you’ve wasted you money if you don’t like it, because even if you don’t like one thing, there is sure to be something else that you do like.

After dinner we walked to the Fairmont Hotel next door, which is the other hotel we might have ended up at instead of Ajman Palace, and we had a drink. Ajman Palace is a “Dry” hotel, so they don’t serve alcohol but Fairmont had a really lovely bar where we could get a few drinks, and because it is low season and Ramadan it was really quiet, there was hardly anyone else there, and luckily, no one that was smoking!

For the first time on this holiday we are planning to have a lie in tomorrow! We haven’t been able to so far because we have either had plans or it has been transfer day. But tomorrow we have nothing planned, so I am looking forward to being able to just wake up naturally and get up when I feel like it. We’ve not even made plans to meet the others for breakfast, we’ll all just meet at the sunbeds when we’re all up.

UAE Day 4 – Aquaventure waterpark and The Walk Jumeirah

We caught a taxi from the hotel to Aquaventure Waterpark today. The waterpark is at Atlantis hotel on the end of The Palm Jumeirah, I would have loved some more time there to explore the palm, as driving through the middle of it you didn’t really see it properly, although I’m not sure if you can just wander around or if you have to be staying at one of the hotels there to gain access to it… But then again, I guess you would get the best view of the palm from above, so it would probably be even better if I could go in a small plane or helicopter.

Just like roller-coasters I am a little bit scared of water slides, not as much, but they still terrify me, especially the ones that are quite high up or have sharp drops, I worry I am going to go over the edge. But I decided to be brave again, and the only one I didn’t go on was the one where you go into a pod and then the floor gives out underneath you! Yikes! Makes me feel a bit sick with worry just thinking about it! Paul, Ellie and Phil went on that one and loved it.

I really like the layout of the waterpark, a lot of the slides comes out into the lazy river, and the lazy river has different branches to it, so you can just float into the rapids or onto a conveyor belt which took you to the start of a couple of slides again. Just make sure you lift you bum up so the slides or conveyor belts doesn’t scratch you.

Before we left the UK for this holiday we all went to the water sports section in Decathlon and got some water t-shirts with SPF50 in them, I’m glad we did because it meant that we didn’t have to worry about topping up with sun cream on our shoulders and backs all day with being in water. I am glad we bought them and wore them, Paul took his off halfway through the day and ended up getting sunburned.

Another thing I am glad I brought was my flip-flops, normally I just wear sandals and leave them in a locker while I’m in the park, I say normally I’ve only been to a waterpark once before that I’m aware of. The ground was absolutely scorching hot! A man ran past me at one point with no shoes on and said he was willing to give me £100 for my shoes, he was running from shade to shade to keep cool. I was doing the same in the one tower where we had to leave our shoes at the bottom rather than take them on the slide with us, so when we came off the slide on the other side of the tower we had to run around to get our shoes back.

There is also a lovely beach attached to the waterpark, it’s the first time I’ve been able to go in the sea since we arrived. The sea is like a bath, just like to pool was. I could just walk straight out and not worry about the water being cold or anything. I could spend all day in that sea. While we were at the beach we found some shade under some palm trees and everyone else fell asleep. I didn’t have my phone or watch at that point because I had put it back in the locker so I didn’t realise what time it was until everyone woke up again and we had to get going because the park was about to close.

For dinner we decided to go back to Jumeirah, not on the palm this time but just before the palm island starts, it’s called “The Walk” and we had heard that it’s quite nice there. And it was, it’s a really nice area, I wouldn’t mind staying in that area if we ever go to Dubai again. Because it is transfer day again tomorrow we didn’t explore as much as I would have liked, by the time we got to Jumeirah it was already quite late. I don’t think we have ever decided on a place to eat so quick before. Paul spotted a Cheesecake Factory and we all decided to go there. I’ve heard of the Cheesecake Factory before on the Big Bang Theory, but I’ve never actually been in one. The waitress walked us past the cake stand before we sat down at our table and we all decided we would definitely have dessert here after dinner. Then the food came… The portions were MASSIVE! I didn’t even finish my food, which doesn’t happen very often. The food was really lovely, there was just a bit too much of it. Phil Sr was the only one to finish his meal. Jackie was set on having a slice of cheesecake, so we all ended up sharing one piece, and it was lovely, but there is no way I would have been able to have more than a couple of bites, unless I just didn’t eat any food before I had the cake.