A journal, inspired by my love for my daughter, that embraces quality food, service and experiences which make life worth living. In the words of Tennyson's Ulysses, " I cannot rest from travel. I will drink life to the lees." Seeking that incredible dining or hotel experience and writing about it. Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Al Seef Resort & Spa by Andalus, Abu Dhabi
I love hotels. I enjoy booking online. Arriving at the hotel. Checking in. Everything about it. And when a new concept in hotels is introduced, OI sit up and take note immediately. After all, there is not much you can with the concept, is there. However, In the Abu Dhabi context, Andalus Hotels & resorts recently brought its suite hotel concept to the capital, and I was very excited to receive an invitation to try it out.
My room was a one bedroom suite. Yes, suites are by definition supposed to be spacious. Still, at 77SQM it is very generous. Add to this an ultra spacious terrace, and you have a really large living space. I love the colours; they are clean and fresh and certainly give me that resort feeling - shades of blue-greens and whites.
The room is functional, with a fully fitted kitchen being something rather special. Don't you hate it when you have all that space in a suite, but you end up calling housekeeping for chinaware and silver? Not here. Once I checked in, there was really no need to have my stay disturbed. Everything I needed was in the room!
Fully equipped kitchen
There are four pools from which to choose. Palm trees line the pools, really creating that resort aesthetic element. At night, it takes on a certain romance, and while the temperature was a bit low for me to swim, I came across a couple kids swimming in 16 Degrees - the joy and abandonment of childhood! And, in a city of superlatives, you will find Abu Dhabi's largest jacuzzi right here. Finally, while I had no chance to try it, the resort has its own spa, offering a floor for ladies and one for men.
One of my pleasures was walking through the hotel grounds.
The hotel's proximity to the Al Seef Village Mall means that if you are not in the mood to cook, you have a choice of restaurants not away. In fact, there are some restaurants on the hotel grounds, but I chose to explore the mall. Incidentally, you can access the mall from the hotel. From my room, it took me 5 minutes at a leisurely strolling pace. In addition to a Carrefour, the mall offers everything from casual American dining outlets like Wildfirez American Grill, Macdonalds of course, Papa Murphy's Pizza and even a Tim Hortons. However, for my dinner, I tried Royal Biryani, a high-end Indian restaurant in the mall. Highly recommended. Options a plenty!
On my visit, the last Thursday of the month, there was a street market. Stalls featuring some of the outlets housed in the mall were showcased. Clothing, books and jewellery were the popular items, although I found myself hanging out with a falcon! The street market offers Abu Dhabi residents and visitors alike something different. However, it is very much a work in progress and I would like to see buskers, more activities for kids and street food in the near future.
The resort allows for a great deal of privacy. In fact, once you check in, you need never pass by the front desk again until you check out. As for the rooms, all in villa style, are spacious and combine elements of the home with the resort concept. Thanks to a mall right there, your suite becomes even more homely because you can stock up the kitchen! Furthermore, the resort is genuinely family friendly. Swimming pools and lush greenery ensure that children have space to either swim or run and play on the lawn. So, for a break from city life within a city, Al Seef Resort & Spa by Andalus offers a very nice alternative.
There are those things we aspire to in life and the luxury of first class travel will be on many mortals’ bucket list. It is an almost hallowed space on the plane, separated by that dreaded curtain, and in today’s changing flying climate, it is even more sought after as airlines cut down on first class routes.For those who love champagne, it might be a fabled label that has attained almost mythical status in your life as one to be enjoyed. Now bring together first class travel and champagne on one of the world’s finest airlines, and you have something pretty special. My recent flight on Qatar Airways’ ultra luxurious A380 in First Class to Bangkok showed that bucket lists are there to be realized. More than that, it allowed me to have some of the best champagnes available in the sky right now.
The cabin is indeed luxurious, but it is understated, calmingand soothing on the eyes. There is none of the bling that is often associated with airlines in the region. Amenities are functional, …
Brunch. We all know what a big part of expat culture it is in Abu Dhabi. Last year I had the opportunity to try a lot of brunches with the aim of honing in on the top brunches in the city. People ask how one judges a brunch because they are so diverse and it is impossible to compare a family brunch to one that is more geared towards adults. That is true to some extent, but not entirely because there are certain criteria which cross all concepts. Nowadays, value for money is a very important factor. This doe snot mean a brunch has to be cheap though! Excellent Service is one of those things that you want at a brunch regardless of the concept. Also, remember that a brunch without atmosphere is just a lunch - a big difference. Quality of ingredients and dishes and drinks are crucial too. Finally, the most important factor for me is the concept. With so many brunches morphing into one another, I looked for a brunch that will be memorable; a brunch where the concept tries to break the mo…
There is something about Q's Bar & Lounge as my guest and I walk in. There is a sophistication about the venue that also has, in the same breath, a decidedly relaxed feel. It is small and intimate, and therein lies the beauty of this place. People are gathered around the bar, while some are seated at small tables. Cool. Chic. Trendy. Chilled. These are my first impressions of Quincy Jones' bar at the luxurious Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai. We start off with a glass of the hotel's house champagne, the Ruinart 'R de Ruinart' Brut Champagne. It is, after all, one of those occasions that I feel I will not forget. The anticipation builds as we await the arrival on stage of multi-talented American performer Sheléa.
I remark to my guest that the bar is really a great equaliser. You have the overt opulenece that is the hotel, from the moment we walked in. But now we find ourselves in a space, while still having Versace touches like the signature cushions, just has ex…