Nia’s Travel Diaries: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Wondering what international travel looks like following the COVID-19 pandemic? Follow along with Notiq Agency founder and CEO Nia Hines as she explores some of the world’s most stunning destinations and shares first-hand insights in this blog post series called “Nia’s Travel Diaries.”
For this 12-day excursion to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, as part of our Wanderlust by Notiq getaways, our first flight leaving Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport dropped us off in Amsterdam, where we took a connecting flight straight to Dubai. The flight is not quick (it’s a total flight time of approximately 14.5 hours with both flights), but the destination is surely worth it!
Once we arrived at the airport in Dubai around 11 p.m., a private transfer took our group of 8 to our resort, which was situated right off Jumeirah Beach. The location of the resort could not have been more perfect! I stayed there once before in 2019 and knew our Wanderlust by Notiq travelers would enjoy the experience.
When selecting the location of our stay for 12 days, it was important the resort be within walking distance to key areas to make traveling and exploring that much easier, which is why we chose a resort that’s within walking distance of the Dubai Marina, Dubai Metro, and plenty of restaurants, to name a few highlights. It’s also not too far from the Dubai Mall (the second largest mall in the world). Plus, the resort itself has a rooftop pool and bar that overlooks the Ain Dubai (aka Dubai Eye)—you can’t beat that!
After a long day of traveling, the group’s first day in Dubai was a “free day” (a must-have on every itinerary). Naturally, most group members opted for a day of relaxation to rest up for the next 11 days in the city, while some soaked up the sun by the resort’s rooftop pool, others headed to the nearby beach. I personally enjoyed relaxing at the resort to re-energize for the next day, which included a half-day private tour of the city of Dubai.
From souks and spice markets to a water taxi and plenty of photo ops (we snapped pictures in front of the iconic Burj Al Arab, where nightly room rates can go as high as $6,000, as well as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world), the private tour showed the group a taste of what Dubai has to offer. The group had the option of exploring at their leisure for the rest of the day.
Highlights of the trip included a special desert safari complete with camel-back riding, an Arabian performance, and a local barbecue dinner; a full-day Abu Dhabi city tour, during which travelers saw the third biggest mosque in the world (Sheikh Zayed Mosque); a trip to the Louvre Abu Dubai museum; a half-day tour of Sharjah, where the group shopped at central souks (I’m already addicted to wearing my comfortable, authentic caftan!), ate a local lunch, and explored the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization; and a ladies night at FIVE Palm on the rooftop of the Jumeirah Hotel (it’s a prime spot for partygoers and those looking to enjoy Dubai’s nightlife). Another highlight of week one was an evening at Q’s Bar and Lounge, known for its live music, where the group dined on local fare and listened to the resident band playing Cuban music.
During a few excursions, while the group was soaking up Dubai’s culture, I was actually doing some behind-the-scenes work for resort inspections. I do this each trip to have my eyes on the rooms and hotels offered at a destination, so that when I match my clients with destinations and specific hotels for their stay, I can guarantee I’ve seen first-hand that it will offer them a truly memorable, luxurious experience.
To celebrate the end of a memorable nearly two weeks in Dubai, a private transfer took us to the Dubai Marina, where we boarded for the Dhow Cruise Dubai Marina on our second to last evening, which included a dinner on the boat and unbeatable views of the city lit up at night.
Following the dinner cruise, the group had a final free day to get ready to leave, take one last walk around the city, and make a few more memories before our flight back home. (For all Wanderlust by Notiq trips that have later flights, I ensure the group is able to keep their rooms during the day to store their belongings and have enough time to prep for the flight home.)
After checking out of the resort around 9 p.m. on the last day, a private transfer took us to the airport, where we departed on our flight back to Atlanta.
NIA’S KEY TAKEAWAYS
Dubai is a very well-rounded destination that’s perfect for families, couples, solo travelers, and everyone in between. Half of our group, for example, was 40 and under, and the other half was 50 and over, so the destination really appeals to all generations.
With this being the second time I’ve been able to experience Dubai, it allowed me to be even more of a destination expert and prepared me for a possible third trip to Dubai with my clients in the future!
WHAT THE GROUP HAD TO SAY
“My experience with Notiq Agency and their Wanderlust by Notiq™️ Dubai 2021 experience was absolutely amazing! I can’t stop thinking about everything we experienced in such a short amount of time. I’ll continue to refer Notiq Agency to anyone interested in traveling!” –Thelma C.
“Notiq Agency did a fantastic job planning our getaway to the UAE (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah). Our trip was worry-free and well-planned. We had a private tour guide and transportation the entire trip. We enjoyed a desert safari where we rode on camel backs and through the sand dunes on 4X4 SUVs. We did it all, including shopping for clothing and souvenirs, and a cruise on the water by night with the skyline of skyscrapers at the Dubai Marina. We also toured the Dubai Frame (124 stories high) where we could see Old Dubai on one side and New Dubai on the other. It was such an exciting and thrilling experience!” -Imani H.
“My mom and I recently traveled to Dubai with Notiq Agency. Dubai had been on our bucket list for years and to have this experience finally come to fruition was so exciting! Nia went above and beyond to make this trip memorable! I will definitely be booking another trip soon!” -Latasha B.
BONUS: Be sure to keep up with upcoming Wanderlust by Notiq™ trips here!