UAE

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Chillout Ice Lounge – Dubai, UAE

This will be my last post about the UAE (at least until I remember something else or go again one day). One of the days in Dubai, we didn’t have much planned so we looked up random things to see and do. We came across a very interesting place called Chillout Ice Lounge. We contemplated for a while whether we should go or not but ultimately ended up going because, well, why not? When else would I experience an interior which is mostly made out of ice? It gives you a taste of winter which is a good concept for the people who live in such a hot climate. The entrance fee includes thermal clothing to keep you warm as well as a voucher for a hot chocolate. Unfortunately, I don’t really remember the hot chocolate being memorable (but I liked the cup it was served in). It was a pretty unique experience…

Madinat Jumeirah – Dubai, UAE

Imagine being able to stay in a place that takes you back to ancient times. The hotel, Madinat Jumeriah does exactly that. It’s designed to make you feel like you are in a traditional Arabian town and I absolutely loved it! I came here solely to check it out as I did with so many other hotels during my UAE travels and I think this ended up being my favorite one. You will know why as you continue to look through the pictures! We walked in from the entrance and through the hotel to the back. (I don’t even know if it was the back or not because it has so many different areas.) Regardless, we came to the part with the canals which have boats that take you on a tour of the hotel. You even have a good view of the Burj Al Arab from here! Honestly, I don’t even…

Atlantis Hotel – Dubai, UAE

A lot of you have probably heard of the Atlantis Hotel. It’s pretty famous and I had the opportunity to stay in the one in Dubai (there is one in the Bahamas as well). This one is situated on the iconic Palm Jumeira Island in the middle of the Persian Gulf. It has incredible views of the Dubai skyline and the gulf. Also, I just want to point out that the service and hospitality here was so good! When we were checking in, we hadn’t paid for the skyline view room, but they gave it to us anyway! Here is our room: There was a wooden sliding door that opened up to the bathtub in the bathroom. There was also a balcony with amazing views which we sat on every morning to have breakfast! Now for some more hotel pictures! This sculpture is located in the lobby and is made from hand blown…

Desert Safari – Dubai, UAE

If you are ever in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), you HAVE to go on a desert safari! Without any hesitation, I can tell you that this was by far my favorite thing the entire trip! What happens is, you show up at the location of the tour and wait to be taken into an SUV. When it’s your turn, you sit with a guide who drives you into the desert. It looks exactly like how you would have imagined it. You are in the middle of sand dunes that stretch for miles on out. Everything looks exactly the same and you wonder how the guide knows where to go. There are no markers or anything else, just piles and piles of sand everywhere you look. Then, you come to a stop. Everyone comes out of the car and goes crazy taking pictures. Then out of nowhere, our driver came out…

Burj Al Arab, Dubai, UAE

Now on to the things I did in Dubai! My first post is about the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel that Dubai is so famous for. It sits in the Persian Gulf on a man-made island in the shape of a sail. The idea behind it was to have an icon that Dubai would be known for much like Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York City. The structure was designed by Tom Wright and completed in 1999 just in time for the millennium celebrations. The interior was designed by Khuan Chew and is a fusion of contemporary and classical design. When you enter this self proclaimed seven star hotel, you find yourself in a sea of vibrant colors and shapes. Then, you are pulled towards the escalators that lead you to the atrium (my favorite part). When you look up, you see this amazing view…

Yas Island Viceroy Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The Persian Gulf is known for a lot of man-made islands, one of which is Yas Island. It was being constructed during my visit and even though it was not complete, the Viceroy Hotel was finished and opened to the public for the first time. This was one of the places I looked up before going and once again, I dragged my friend there on a hot afternoon. I wanted to see it during daylight and nighttime. I like to get the full experience! lol It’s main focus is the diamond mesh that covers it, like a veil. This  steel and glass panel structure stretches 217 meters over the hotel which is what attracted me to it in the first place. You are able to access what is called the Skylite, a poolside restaurant/bar area which is directly under this beautiful grid-shell. After touring around and seeing the contemporary interior as…

Biking on the Corniche in Abu Dhabi, UAE

In Abu Dhabi, our apartment was near the Corniche, so almost every day whenever we went out, we’d pass by it. Corniche is a main waterfront road that spreads 5 miles in the city. It features beaches, parks, restaurants and cafes. I always saw a bike rental place on it and thought we could do it one of the days when we didn’t have anything big planned. That day came and I was ready to pitch the idea to my friend. I told her since we weren’t doing much that day, we could go explore the Corniche on bikes. She wasn’t too keen on the idea because I wanted to do it in the middle of the day. No one really did outdoor activities there that early in order to avoid getting overly hot and burnt in the desert heat (especially in the month of May and June). I was on a travel high and…

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Now to share one of my favorites places in Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. This mosque was a vision by the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan who set the foundation of the structure but was completed and opened for worship in 2007, after his death. When I went back in 2010, I had a basic point and shoot camera. While going through my pictures, 6 years later, I feel that they do not do justice to the beauty of this mosque (well…I don’t think any picture can really do justice to it). However, I hope that you will still enjoy looking through them. It features several different styles of Islamic architecture like Mamluk, Ottoman and Fatimid. There are four minarets and eighty two domes and it can accommodate up to 40,000 worshipers. Most of the mosque is made in the iconic white (favorite color of the sheikh who founded it) marble. It features ornate…

Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi, UAE

When I was in school, I randomly used to look up luxury hotels and go through their photo galleries for inspiration and also just for fun. The Emirates Palace Hotel was one of the first ones I had heard about in the UAE (besides the famous Burj-Al-Arab). When a friend told me about it, I immediately looked it up. From the pictures, I remember being more impressed with the exterior design and architecture of it rather than the interior. When I finally went and saw it with my own eyes, I still felt the same way. It definitely lived up to it’s name in that it looked like a palace.We didn’t get to go in any of the rooms or suites (I’m sure they are magnificent) but we did get to go inside and see the main areas like the lobby and the courtyard. When you enter through the main entrance, it is…

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