We sent our Travel Experts to Dubai & Abu Dhabi with Qantas & Rotana Hotels to discover what these UAE hotspots have to offer.
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Travelbag Diaries: Dubai & Abu Dhabi

by Travelbag on 08 August 2017, 15:08PM

When it comes to holiday destinations in the UAE, it’s hard not to conjure up images of shifting desert sands, ancient structures and wondrous, sprawling cities. Many travellers have no doubt heard of the awe-inspiring Dubai skyline or the historical highlights of Abu Dhabi, but what is the food like? What sort of impact does Ramadan have on the area? And what tips should travellers be aware of before planning their trip?

We caught up with three of our Travel Experts to find out more after their recent trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi –

So now that you’re back from your time away, tell us about your airline experience, how did it set the tone for the start of your trip?

Scott Smith (Travelbag Solihull): I travelled in Qantas’ Premium Economy on my outbound flight which certainly lived up to its impressive reputation. The service was great, the food was tasty and the seating was really comfortable.

Katie Ellis (Travelbag Winchester): We flew out in Economy Class and I was really impressed with the level of service. A cosy reclining seat, nice food and snacks, and some good film choices made it a really relaxing way to start our trip.

Had any of you been to Dubai or Abu Dhabi before? If not, what were your impressions of the areas?

Hugh Stanford (Travelbag Cheltenham): I’d been to Dubai before but it was a long time ago, since then I could see the place has only gotten bigger and better. A lot more hotels and shopping outlets have cropped up.

Scott: I’ve been to Abu Dhabi once before and it was just as friendly and exciting as I remembered it. There’s so much to see and do, lots of shops, bars and restaurants to discover.

You all stayed at a number of Rotana hotels, a brand well known for its high level of quality and service. Were there any particular highlights for you?

Katie: The Amwaj Rotana in Dubai was a very impressive hotel; it had a great location on The Walk and had these huge balconies with fantastic views that looked out onto the beach.

Hugh: The Beach Rotana Abu Dhabi had to be my favourite, it had the Abu Dhabi Mall connected directly to it, making it the perfect place for visitors looking to shop and explore. The rooms were spacious and had a balcony with great views. The pool area was nice and big, and there was even a small beach to relax on.

Scott: I knew in advance that the Centro Capital Centre Rotana in Abu Dhabi didn’t have balconies, but it more than made up for it with the rooftop swimming pool which offered beautiful views. The hotel was located right next to the National Exhibition Centre which would be ideal for business travellers too.

Hugh: I really enjoyed my time spent at the Media Rotana in Dubai. The lobby was huge and the rooms were really nice and spacious. The pool area in particular offered a great space to relax and enjoy some down time. The hotel is a good choice for a one night stopover.


Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi are renowned for their unique sights and landmarks, what can you tell us about some of the places you visited while on your trip?

Katie: The Dubai Parks were incredible; easily one of the biggest highlights on the trip, families and couples everywhere having fun. The on-site hotel even had this relaxing Caribbean vibe to it which was great.

Hugh: We paid a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi where we learnt lots about the history of the region – any lovers of architecture have to see it at least once.

How did you find the local cuisine? Any recommendations for foodies?

Scott: The trip was right in the middle of Ramadan so most of our dining experiences involved Iftar meals which celebrate breaking fast after sunset. I was surprised at just how much variety there was on offer to us and how delicious all of the food was.

Hugh: The hotel food was really good too; it was mostly buffet food but good quality stuff, nothing rushed and lots of options. One place worth checking out for an incredible dining experience is Ewaan on Mohammed Bin Rashid Boulevard; it has a huge choice of local and international dishes and offers fantastic views of the Burj Khalifa Fountain.

Finally, are there any tips you would give to holiday-goers considering visiting these two destinations?

Hugh: Figure out what the focus of the trip is. Is it a romantic getaway? Are you there because you want to see the history? Are you treating your family to an adventure holiday? With that in mind, we can tailor your hotels to suit your needs.

Scott: Take into consideration the weather as it can be very hot during the height of summer, and keep an eye out for when Ramadan falls each year so you can be prepared.

Katie: Make sure at least one of the Dubai Parks is on your itinerary - you won’t regret it!


Call our Travel Experts for more information, or start browing our incredible deals for Dubai & Abu Dhabi today.

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