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

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.

UAE Day 3 – Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountains and Burj Khalifa

We only set one alarm for this morning, for 6am. Which I managed to turn off only to lay back down and go back to sleep. Luckily I managed to wake up again at 7am, which is when we had planned to meet up with the others for breakfast, so it was a mad dash to throw some clothes on quickly and get down to breakfast for 7.10am just as the others were about to call us to find out where we were. I do love the blackout curtains in hotels, but at the same time they do make it more difficult to wake up if you have to get up early because the room is so dark. At least we packed everything last night, so once we were finished eating breakfast we could just have a shower and get ready properly and then check out. I don’t understand why the tour guide had arranged a wake-up call yesterday when we had a meeting that didn’t start until about 10am, but when we’re being picked up at 8am there is no wake-up call?

The tour guide told us about United Arab Emirates on the drive from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, I thought it was quite interesting to learn more but I think some people wishes he had just been quiet. A couple of facts that stuck with me was;

UAE is working on creating artificial clouds to lower the temperature in the summer months so that they still get tourism during those months

UAE have created a village for some scientists to live in to find out if they can live off solar power, because due to the sandstorms that UAE get they have been worried about the solar panels getting covered and damaged, the scientists have to live in the village off solar power for a certain amount of years to prove it can be done.

When we arrived in Dubai the coach driver dropped off the people that had paid for a Dubai tour at Dubai Mall before taking the rest of us to the hotel. Because it was still quite early by the time we arrived we were not able to check in yet but the hotel let us use the facilities until we were able to check in. We got our swimwear out from our cases and headed up to the rooftop pool. All the sunbeds with parasols had already been taken so we had to lay out in the sunshine, so we all made sure we put on loads of sun cream! It was nice to just be able to relax for a couple of hours and go in the pool. Because it is so hot here the pool was more like a bath so I didn’t have to brace myself or get used to the temperature of the water.

Once we were able to check in at the hotel around 3.30pm we all got showered and ready and caught a taxi to Dubai Mall. The hotel is close to a monorail stop, but again we figured that because there are so many of us it would probably be cheaper to get a taxi, as long as we get a big taxi to share. I think the taxi was around 80AED as the hotel is at the outskirts of Dubai, near the airport.

As soon as we got to Dubai Mall we found the counter for tickets to Burj Khalifa and Phil Sr and Jackie treated us all to tickets up to the 124th floor at 9pm!

Dubai Mall is a lovely place to walk around. Just like the mall in Abu Dhabi it didn’t feel busy at all. Someone told me there is a ski slope in the mall, but I think it might have been a different mall, as I didn’t see any signs for it. But what we did see was a massive aquarium, a couple of waterfalls, an ice rink and a small football pitch. The food courts were sectioned off so that non-Muslims could still get a drink and bite to eat before fast ended. There are a lot of high-end shops in Dubai Mall, but also “normal” shops like Boots and H&M etc. It keeps surprising me how many shops from the UK and Europe is in the rest of the world.

We decided to head outside for something to eat, it is absolutely beautiful outside the Mall where you can see the fountains and Burj Khalifa, I had seen Burj Khalifa in the distance, but this time we got really close to it. It is a stunning building. We decided to eat at Carluccio’s, where we had a nice view and the food was lovely, I’ve never actually eaten at a Carluccio’s back home, might have to now. We ended up seeing the fountain show twice, the first one was at 7.30 pm and then it was on every half hour after this . I don’t know if it is normally on earlier outside of Ramadan or if it is just a night-time thing. I want to come back another night to watch the fountain show so that we can stand a bit closer and see it better.

The entrance for Burj Khalifa is inside the Mall where we got the tickets, normally I am quite good with directions and finding my way places but I think because we are a group and we are obviously talking to each other while we are walking around I had not paid attention to where we had been walking earlier and so we got a little bit lost… We followed the signs for “At the top Burj Khalifa”, but then suddenly the signs just seemed to stop. Turns out we should have taken a lift downstairs, but the lift was hidden behind a billboard type thing. We did make it to the entrance and only a couple of minutes late. Seems it is a day for being late today.

The lifts at the bottom of Burj Khalifa displays what floor the lift is on and how long the lift has been travelling for, from the ground floor to floor 124 it took 1 minute exactly! My ears popped when I was in the lift.

The view from 124th and 125th floor was amazing. The viewing area on the 124th floor is actually outside, I didn’t actually realise it at first but then I looked up and realised there was no ceiling, the heat should have tipped me off really. There is also a gap between the glass panes so you can put your hand outside if you wanted to, just make sure you’re not holding anything that could drop, as it’s a LONG way down! I would love to go back up in the daytime, maybe even to the 148th floor, but I think this might be best to do during the “winter” months, as the heat haze does obstruct the view a lot now in summer, and there’s no point paying all that money if you don’t even get a decent view. 125th floor was all inside, but still amazing view of course, and they also had a little gift shop. Phil, Paul, Ellie and I bought a frame for Jackie and Phil Sr to say thank you and we’ll put a picture of all of us in it before we give it to them.

We are going to United Arab Emirates

Up until recently I was never been that bothered about going to UAE. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’ve never wanted to go, it just hasn’t been on the top of my “places to go” list. With that being said, now that I am actually going, I am super excited and I can’t wait to see and experience a new culture and location!!

When Phil and I was planning our honeymoon we did actually consider stopping in Dubai for a few nights before moving on to either Maldives or Mauritius to break the journey up. However we then decided to go to Dominican Republic so there was no need for a middle stop.

The reason we are going to UAE in less than 2 weeks now is actually because it was a Christmas gift from the in-laws! I can’t believe how lucky we are! Last year my mum paid for us to go to Tallinn with her, her husband and my sister, for her 50th birthday. And now we are going away with Phil’s parents, brother and his brother’s fiancée! We really are blessed with amazing families! I have never been away with a partner’s family before so that will be an experience also.

The thing that most people “know” about the Emirates is that it is really strict when it comes to dress-code due to it being a Muslim country. However when I have been reading about it it’s not like you have to be covered from head to toe. From my research it seems they prefer it if you cover up from the shoulders to the knees, which is probably for the best anyway as it will be scorching hot and at least this way I won’t get sunburned on my shoulders and back. Some people do say that they’re not all that strict on it and it is mostly in the malls that you might get told to cover up by Emirati women. Personally I think learning about and following a country’s customs is part of travelling. What’s the point of travelling if you are just going to act like you would at home instead of learning something and embracing someone else’s culture?

It also means I can go shopping for new clothes! Not sure if this is a good thing or not as I’m so picky that I’ll probably just end up sitting down in the middle of Meadowhall and cry because I can’t find anything I like.

We’ve made a couple of plans whilst we are there. We are going to Ferrari world whilst we are in Abu Dhabi, and whilst we are in Dubai we are going to Aquaventure Waterpark, Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall so far. We might do some other things as well but it’s quite nice to have some “free days” as well while we are there. We shall see what happens when we get there though, it might just be so warm that I’ll just stay in the hotel room with the aircon on full blast!

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