Category Archives: Holiday

Your guide to Atlantis The Palm, Dubai

One of the highlights for anybody’s trip to Dubai is undoubtedly a visit to Atlantis, The Palm. It is the second Atlantis Resort in the world, after the original on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. In 2017, the third Atlantis Resort will open in Sanya, China. However, perhaps the most impressive of all these designs is the Arabic-themed façade of Atlantis, The Palm. But how can you make the most of your stay?

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As is typical throughout Dubai, coming here will not be a cheap experience for you, but Atlantis is certainly one of those one-of-a-king experiences that you must do once in your life. From deluxe rooms to royal suites, and from swimming with sharks to dining in celebrity restaurants, you can find everything you need (and then some!) here at Atlantis.

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Atlantis, The Palm is located on the crescent of the largest man-made island in the world, The Palm Island. The resort is approximately 30 minutes from Dubai International Airport and 90 minutes from Abu Dhabi International Airport. From Dubai Airport, you can take a taxi directly to Atlantis (approximately AED 90). Alternatively, from anywhere in the emirate, take the Dubai Metro to Dubai Marina, hop on the Dubai Tram, and finally onto the privately-owned Palm Monorail, which runs along the trunk of Palm Jumeirah right up to Atlantis Resort at the far end. I would recommend doing this to get a glimpse of the stunning panoramic views.

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There are two major aquariums in Dubai: the Dubai Aquarium in the Dubai Mall, and The Lost Chambers here at Atlantis Resort. The one at the Dubai Mall is larger (the largest in the world, in fact) but the Lost Chambers is slightly better and slightly cheaper. In house guests can enter the Lost Chambers for free. Once inside, apart from the regular exhibits, there is the chance to dive and snorkel.

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Aquaventure is the name of the water park at Atlantis Resort. In terms of sheer size, it is larger than any other water park in the region. It’s main competitor is Wild Wadi on Jumeirah Beach, and the two parks are pretty similar in terms of attractions. As well as the water slides, there is the chance to experience (for additional fees) a shark safari and stingray feeding! Aquaventure admission is completely free to Atlantis hotel guests and we ended up going every day!

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Rooms in the hotel are not cheap (very rare to see even the cheapest rooms available for less than £300 per night most of the year), but you can be assured of absolute luxury while you’re there. In the absolute heat of the Arabian summer, hotel prices all over Dubai will fall by almost 40%, although even if you take advantage of this, you can’t really do any sunbathing or swimming because you’d crisp in the heat! Almost all of the rooms at Atlantis have sea-facing views due to the location of the hotel on the main Palm frond. 20 amazing restaurants and bars, including the “underwater” Ossiano Restaurant and a new Bread Street Kitchen concept by British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, will keep you fed and watered during your stay.

Amalfi Coast

After a hectic few months of wedding planning, most couples look forward to spending two weeks chilling out on a beach in the Maldives. Not us. We decided to take a minimoon. A minimoon is a romantic short escape, usually close to home, which provides the chance to save up or take the time off at a later date.IMG_7445 It became popular during the credit crunch as it allowed couples to save money. Rajiv always wanted to go the Amalfi Coast and I was sold as soon as I realised how beautiful it is. We went over the Easter weekend from 1st April to 6th April and these are our tips:

  1. The best time to see the Amalfi Coast is from April to June,IMG_7549 the when the spring flowers are in bloom the weather is just warm enough, and the temperature of the Mediterranean allows for the first dips of the season. By choosing late spring or early summer, you can also avoid the tourist crush of July and August and the oppressive temperatures later in the year.
  2. Eat like a local. Local fish, including octopus, prawns, calamari and clams, are plucked from the sea daily and are as good in a light summer salad
    as they are tossed over linguini. The regional wines are delicious, with prices that don’t break the bank. Some of our favorite restaurants were small family-owned joints that served some of the best pizza andIMG_7465 fish we’ve ever had: a few of our favourites were Ristorante Max and Palazzo Murat
  3. Put on your walking shoes. Walking and hiking the Amalfi Coast, with its hills and endless steps, is not for the feint of heart. But if you are in good shape, there is no better way to visit the small towns and villages that dot the coastline. We walked the breathtaking Il Sentiero degli Dei, the
    Pathway of the Gods, that runs above the towns of the Amalfi Coast.
  4. Visit Pompeii on the way to/from the Amalfi. The archeological site of ancient Pompeii is one of Italy’s top tourist attractions. It is the only place in the world where you can begin to understand, face to face,IMG_7719how the Romans of the first century lived: from brothels to posh dining rooms and bathing establishments. Pompeii is best visited in the morning, before the heat of the mid-day sun. At just 18 miles from the Naples airport, it is ideal to visit when
    you are either arriving or departing from you trip to the Coast. No need to hire a guide as they are often pricey and don’t always add much value to the information
    you can get in your guidebook.
  5. Go shopping but don’t buy the tourist stuff.
    Shopping on the Amalfi Coast is crazy expensive and you are guaranteed to find something you like. Italy is famed for its fine leather goods and this calfskin napsack by Bruno Rossi is no exception. In a beautiful distressedLeather rucksack tanned leather with brass hardware this timeless piece will only get better with age. Sturdy and spacious this has become my everyday bag, fit for my lunch, laptop and everything else. The leather has developed a beautiful natural patina and will always remind me of my minimoon and birthday #thankshubby 

City and Colour

A while ago, Rajiv and I had a mini holiday in London and have finally managed to put this blog together about everything we got up to

We began by venturing into town and seeing an amazing building I had never seen before – the British Museum. We saw lots of interesting old Egyptian artefacts (rosetta stone, tombs and hyroglyphics) and some boring naked Greek people. We saw Africa too and I was drawn by the throwing knives – so lethal and sharp.

rosetta stone, a scarab (boy didnt know what this was?!), the amount of pills an average person would take in their lifetime and african throwing knives

rosetta stone, a scarab (boy didnt know what this was?!), the amount of pills an average person would take in their lifetime and african throwing knives

We toured on the Greenwich cable cars. This was exciting and the views of London were amazing. We were lucky enough to get a private car (these usually cost around £80). Sharing our own car was quite special and romantic – I got excited about what I could recognise from the London skyline, while Rajiv took some photos. Would definitely recommend this, even as a cute date idea. North Greenwich (jubilee line) is the closest tube station and its open 7 days a week. We also had a mooch around The Tate Modern and looked at some Picasso et al. We had some time to spare before dinner so we popped into Ice Bar.  We were given these large blue jackets with some thermal gloves attached. It really is ICE cold in here and we were not going to last long so we downed our drinks before we turned into ice and left before our 40min slot was over. Another couple left immediately after us so we didn’t feel like the only pansies.

cold as ice!

cold as ice!

American diner for dinner – Bodeans. If you havent been before and you like your meat check it out. Be warned they do not take bookings and are always very busy so rock up early, around 6pm, if you want to be seated for 7.30! We arrived at 7.20pm and the waiting time for a table was 1.5 – 2 hours! They have two sections – 1. a proper restaurant downstairs and 2. a quick, self service, pay and eat (similar to nandos) situated upstairs. We had a tasty BBQ chicken with ribs, slaw and chips served on a roasting tray. Great American feel to the restaurant with frozen meat you can buy and cook at home. The Basketball game was on tv and there was lots of memorabilia. Next time, we will be sitting in the booths downstairs.

Doing touristy type stuff in our own country felt a little strange but it was super fun. A proper holiday with sun and water is looming but you can easily make alternative plans. So if my pictures are making you feel like that, then…Call the person you love. Choose a date. Go online and book a holiday. Its never the right time. There are always important things to do at home. At some point you just have to go. I can tell you right now, you will never regret it. As my wise friend Nick once said to me “you’re not going to lie on your deathbed wishing you spent less time with the man you love”.