• Middleeast

Short breaks in Dubai

A journey along the Silk Route or on the Trans Siberian train is undoubtedly a fabulous experience, but even explorers deserve a luxurious short break on occasion. With guaranteed weather, unsurpassed shopping and only a seven-hour flight from London, Dubai is a popular candidate for its superb beaches, unrivalled water sports, golf courses and souks. Choose from a whole range of hotels, each with a very different atmosphere.  Here are just a few, but we have plenty more we can suggest.


Fiona’s ideal places to stay

The Royal Mirage is one of the top hotels in Dubai and consists of three separate properties within the hotel grounds. The Palace rekindles the grandeur, dignity and charm of old Arabia: it has 250 rooms and suites, four restaurants with the finest traditions of the Middle East and a large pool. The Arabian Court gives new eloquence to an old and enchanting civilisation: 175 rooms and suites offer tranquil accommodation in the original building. Meanwhile The Residence and Spa has an exclusive air — 50 prestigious suites and villas, a sumptuous dining room, a library and an emphasis on pampering. The whole property has a kilometre-long private beach, floodlit tennis courts, a putting green and expansive gardens.

The Ritz Carlton Hotel is an oasis of pure luxury amidst flourishing, mature gardens where the clear blue waters of the Arabian Gulf meet the shimmering sand of a private beach. It has 138 rooms and suites with classy interiors and delightful swimming pools. Enjoy a treatment in the top class spa where you will absorb the Balinese influence — an idyllic retreat for the body and mind.

Al Maha Resort is a heavenly oasis of exclusivity set within a 25-square-km desert-conservation reserve about 45 minutes from Dubai. Framed by the distant Hajar Mountains and designed to reflect a Bedouin encampment, Al Maha offers amazing suites with canvas roofs, glorious views and private pools. Just enjoy this sanctuary of tranquillity or complement it with a touch of exotic adventure in the form of a camel safari, a falcon-training hunt, a 4WD wadi experience or archery practice from under a Bedu tent.

Burj Al Arab is the first seven-star hotel in the world. Built to resemble a sail, the hotel towers 321m above ground level and offers a wonderfully opulent stay of sumptuous decadence and self-indulgence. The foyer has breathtaking fountains and glass walls that feature an exotic aquarium. Of the five restaurants, the Al Muntala at the top has an amazing view of Palm Island. All suites are duplex and include every luxury you could desire.


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Trip reports for the Middle East

Middle East

Fiona’s travel tips

TOP TIP: The Musandam Peninsula is just a 90 minute drive from Dubai — an easy way to combine the two countries.

READ: Wilfred Thesiger’s Across the Empty Quarter.

Jordan and Syria: Spring and autumn
Lebanon: year round
UAE/Oman: October to April 

Jordan: 5½ hours (direct)
Lebanon: 4½ hours (direct)
Oman: 9 hours (indirect)
Syria: 6¾ hours (direct)
UAE: 6¾ hours (direct)


Clients’ comments

“One of the very best holidays we have had. In fact we are seriously talking about going back to Oman next year. The agency was excellent….The guide and the trips were more than adequate, and the rest days perfect. Thank you for your efforts”.  

Mrs Joan Dampney, Oman

“We had a truly memorable trip to Jordan from start to finish and cannot thank you enough for putting it together so professionally and in such a short space of time. One of the best holidays we have ever had.”   

Paul Crayford, Jordan

“We wanted to write and thank you for arranging our recent holiday. It was superb and we had a very happy time. I wrote a little travelogue – I’ve attached it for your possible interest (less a travelogue and more a novel...it’s 5 pages long!) The itinerary was fine, we saw and experienced a great deal but never felt rushed. Loved all of it, I think my ‘travelogue’ speaks for that; planned experiences were as hoped but, as so often, it's the unexpected things that make you smile which are mostly to do with the people you meet. A most wonderful experience was up in the mountains and stopping at a ‘lay-by’ where suddenly we were aware of goats and a Bedouin and two tatty chairs and a little table placed to overlook this beautiful valley below which was the Dana Nature Reserve; the Bedouin produced two plastic cups of the most exquisite Arabic tea and there we sat, drinking in both the tea and this wonderful place which was silent and still and the air so fresh. Asked if I may take a photo of him, the Bedouin seriously and graciously adjusted his headdress and beamed into the camera. Such happenings as this and many others could not have been possible if we’d come on a tour holiday.”

Stewart and Sue Thomson, Jordan, April 2011