Jess' picture onboard the A380 to Dubai
Posted: 27 March 2015
Day 1 The early wake-up call no longer mattered once I arrived at The Emirates Business Class lounge at Manchester Airport and indulged in a glass of veuve-clicquot and Eggs Benedict, along with views of the runway. It really was an exciting start to my first Business Class flight experience. As I boarded the cabin of the Boeing 777, I was in complete awe. The interior is so luxurious − with flat-screen televisions complete with all the latest blockbuster films − that I completely forgot that I was on a plane. I was escorted to my seat where there was (another) glass of Champagne waiting for me and the dedicated Air Steward for the right hand side of the cabin made sure that it kept flowing throughout the flight. The lunch menu was similar to that of a five-star restaurant and I could not believe the standard of food we were about to be served. I went for the smoked duck appetiser, chicken and risotto main course and a cheeseboard for dessert.
Before I knew it, it was time to land, although for me the Emirates Business Class experience was like a little holiday in itself!
I transferred to Madinat Jumeirah Mina A’Salam where our host, Surina Hunjan, greeted us and we were shown to our gorgeous Ocean Deluxe Room where a personalised bathrobe with my name embroidered on it was waiting for me − I loved this personal touch. As it was getting late, some of the group decided to stay in their room and take advantage of the huge baths, while I headed out with the rest of the group to Bahri Bar to enjoy the stunning skyline views of the Burj and a few cocktails.
Day 2 I was up early for yoga and worked up an appetite for breakfast which I enjoyed along with the stunning view over Al Qasr's pool, before heading to the beach where the white sand and turquoise water reminded me of the Maldives. Then it was time for lunch at Tortuga, the Mexican restaurant at Mina A’Salam, where hotel Manager, Gisele Clark, joined us for strawberry margaritas in true Mexican style. The food was amazing, freshly made guacamole, cute tortillas and tuna tartar for starters, and a big slate of meat, steak, chicken and lamb cooked to perfection. Afterwards, we visited the famous Talise Spa, that smelt divine, for an hour’s aromatherapy massage. I then headed back to my room to get ready for pre-dinner drinks in the Club deluxe lounge at Al Qasr where we enjoyed Champagne and canapés, as well as views over the ocean and the truly unique layout of Madinat Jumeirah with its waterways and abras. The Burj Al Arab, in true ‘Burj’ style, sent a Rolls Royce Phantom to take us to the hotel for dinner and although I’m not that into cars, it felt very special and like something you would see in a movie − we felt like royalty. Driving up to the Burj, I realised why it’s classed as one of the world’s most luxurious hotels as soon as I stepped into the lobby. We took the elevator up to a Deluxe Two Bedroom Suite where the floor-to-ceiling windows gave way to the amazing Dubai skyline by night. The luxuriousness of the interior blew me away; it was the little touches such as the bottle of Hermes perfume in the bathroom that guests are free to take away with them. We then took the ‘submarine’ to the underwater restaurant, Al Mahara, which was like walking into an aquarium as floor-to-ceiling tanks are home to a variety of stunning fish. A private dining area had been allocated for us and dozens of red roses were on our table, while the standard of food couldn’t be faulted. I had lobster to start, fillet of beef for my main course and a salted caramel dessert. To our surprise we received Burj Al Arab gift bags with Hermes perfume, flowers and lots of other goodies in − we were extremely spoilt. I was very upset we had to leave and said goodbye to the Burj with a heavy heart. On arrival back to our rooms, I was delighted to receive a rose and a gorgeous candle from Madinat − we were showered with gifts.
Day 3 We left for our visit to Beit Al Bahar Villas at The Jumeirah Beach Hotel where our gorgeous One Bedroom Villa, complete with private pool, had been beautifully dressed with rose petals all over the bed and the bath was filled with bubbles and more rose petals. The lounge area had been set up as a dining room so we could have breakfast by ourselves and again, the food was amazing − I had Bircher muesli and eggs cooked to perfection. Afterwards, we were treated to a massage outside on the patio whilst enjoying the sea views. We then headed to Jumeirah Zabeel Saray on the Palm, which in itself in mind-blowing to see this manmade island in the sea. We were met by the lovely Ross Park and admired the Arabic décor as we were taken to Plaj, the outdoor restaurant which we had sole use of. We were told that our lunch would be a barbecue and out of the corner of my eye I could see the chefs preparing the lobster and steak especially for us. Eating this delicious food outside in the sunshine is my idea of heaven. We then had a quick tour around the hotel, where we saw the Deluxe Rooms, the Royal Residences, the famous Talise Ottoman Spa, MusicHall and Sinbad’s kids’ club which is the only children’s club in Dubai that has sun loungers so that adults can rest and soak up the sun whilst their children are entertained.
We then departed Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, goodie bags in tow, and were escorted to Dar Al Masyaf to our villas where we would spend our final night. Our Butler took us to the recently renovated Arabian Summerhouses, and although I have stayed here before, I was still amazed by how stunning and huge they are. I was stunned to find another personalised dressing gown from Jumeirah Beach Hotel that was extremely luxurious. We then dressed for dinner and took full advantage of the ‘happy hour’ at Dar Al Masyaf where complimentary drinks are actually served for two hours from 6pm to 8pm. We then headed for dinner at Pierchic restaurant, set out in the sea with Madinat lit up its all its glory as a back drop, where we were greeted by mixologists who catered to our every need cocktail-wise. Both the atmosphere and the stunning views made this location my favourite, the food was ‘to die for’ − lobster bisque with lobster dumplings for start with, yellowtail for main and an array of glorious treats for dessert. We ended the evening at Pacha nightclub within Madinat’s Souk where we were whisked up to the VIP area for cocktails and danced the night away.
Day 4 On our last morning we went down to breakfast an enjoyed our last meal at Madinat before saying goodbye, with an extremely heavy heart, to our hosts who had made the trip so special for us. I was however very excited to be returning home on the Emirates A380. This was my first experience of the aircraft and I was doing it in Business Class! As I boarded the plane I could not believe the size of it compared to all of the other aircraft that were lined up. Again the cuisine on the plane was outstanding and I never wanted for anything − as soon as my glass was half full it was topped up for me. It was the little touches including the perfume and individual toothbrush/paste in the bathrooms that made me feel so pampered. At the back of the plane was the spectacular bar − I still can’t get over the fact there was a bar on the plane. This was a perfect way to end a fabulous trip that I will never forget.