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 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.