A girl with her back to the camera at sunset with the Burj Khalifa seen in the background.

10 things to do in Dubai this summer

Dubai is the perfect summer getaway. Not only is the weather incredible, but there is no shortage of attractions and things to do. From theme parks and beaches to world-class shopping and cultural adventures in the desert – no one experiences boredom in Dubai. To help you start planning your summer itinerary we’ve rounded up […]

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10 things you’ll find at Atlantis the Palm in Dubai

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Atlantis the Palm is one of Dubai’s most iconic hotels. If you’re not familiar with the name, you will be familiar with the photos. This palace-like resort hotel sits at the end of the manmade Palm Island with coral walls and a giant archway. And, like everything else in Dubai, it offers luxury and excitement throughout. Not sure what is on offer at Atlantis the Palm? Here are 10 things you can expect.

An on-site waterpark

Aquaventure Waterpark is considered one of the best waterparks in Dubai. That waterslide that shoots through a pool of sharks, which you’ve probably seen images of? It’s here, along with 16 other attractions.

Beach-front location

Atlantis the Palm looks out onto Royal Beach, a 1.4 kilometre stretch of pristine sand. From the water, you can look back at the shore and witness the stunning architecture of Atlantis the Palm itself and the striking Dubai skyline.

23 restaurants

No matter what food you’re craving, you won’t need to go into Dubai itself to find it. Whether it’s Japanese, Steak, Lebanese, or a good old-fashioned buffet – you’ll find it at Atlantis the Palm.

Including celebrity branded restaurants

Celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay, Giorgio Locatelli, and Nobu Matsuhisa all have restaurants at Atlantis the Palm.

And you can dine under the stars

If you’re visiting Atlantis the Palm with your sweetheart, book yourselves a romantic sunset dinner along Royal Beach. Including a bottle of Champagne, set menu and some romantic stargazing. Group bookings are also welcome.

Its own Aquarium

Home to over 65,000 marine animals, this aquarium might be one of the largest you’ll witness. So large you can book yourself a diving tour of it – or you can opt for a relaxing yoga session from the viewing floor.  

Exclusive activities for children and teenagers

On top of all the family-friendly activities we’ve already mentioned, there are also activities just for the little ones. There’s a babysitting service, a kids club for 3-12 year-olds (which includes PlayStations and an underwater theatre), and the teen-only Zone.

Boutique shopping

Whether you need to pick up some stylish swimwear, souvenirs, or even some high-end jewellery – you’ll find it in the on-site shopping mall.

ShuiQi Fitness Centre

You can also maintain your fitness regime while staying at Atlantis the Palm. The state-of-the-art fitness centre includes fitness equipment, exercise classes, and even one-to-one personal training sessions.

Elegant rooms and suites

Atlantis the Palm offers some of the most luxurious rooms in Dubai. Their Guest Rooms offer either views of the ocean or of Dubai itself, and include a walk-in shower with separate bath, 24-room service, and complimentary WiFi.

Or if you require extra space, you can opt for a suite. These range from the Terrace Club Suite, which includes a balcony for sunbathing or alfresco dining. Through to the Two Bedroom Family Suite, which can accommodate up to 6 guests.

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Best places to visit in November

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For us Brits, November is the month when the clocks go back, Christmas lights go up and temperatures fall into single figures. It’s no wonder we crave winter sun…

It’s also the month when the northern and southern hemisphere switches hands. Many places that were not open to tourists due to the rainy season (or humidity) are now in full swing. If you’re looking to fit in a holiday before the festive season begins, here are ten places we recommend. 

1.    Caribbean

Sunset at English Harbor Antigua and Barbuda

First off, we have the Caribbean – all of it. November is when most Caribbean resorts open up for the tourist season but it’s not high season quite yet. Whether it’s dancing in Cuba, listening to reggae in Jamaica, or admiring the beautiful landscape of Saint Lucia, November is a great time to explore this beautiful part of the world. 

2.    Mexico

Traditional Day of the Dead Mexico

Just across the Gulf, Mexico is also a great option in November. Not only is the weather amazing, but the first two days of the month are spent celebrating the Day of the Dead Festival (Dia de Muertos). It’s a public holiday and is dedicated to remembering loved ones who have passed on. Janitzio in Lake Pátzcuaro, and Xochimilco in Mexico City are the best places to join in the festivities. 

3.    Deep South of America

The skyline of Memphis Tennessee at sunset

The tourist season in most of the USA begins to slow down in winter, but the Deep South is still in full swing. So whether its rodeos in Texas, music in Memphis or parties in New Orleans you’re after, now is the time to do it. 

4.    Hong Kong

The skyline of Hong Kong from an birds eye view

Most of South East Asia is at its best during our winter, but Hong Kong needs a special mention. The city can sometimes get too much for tourists during the summer heat, but the winter boasts breezy days perfect for exploring this glittering metropolitan gem. 

5.    Phuket

Kamala Beach in Phuket Thailand

November is shoulder season of Phuket and a great time to visit before prices go up. The rainy season has just ended (though you might still experience light drizzles) and the beaches are sunny once again.  

6.    Mauritius

Chamarel seven coloured earths on Mauritius

November is the start of summer season in Mauritius, with daily temperatures of 24°C. The temperature also increases gradually over the next few months, normally reaching 28°C. November is also just before the tourists start appearing in large numbers, so it’s a great time for good weather and secluded beaches.  

7.    Dubai

Dubai Marina Dubai

If you’re looking for dazzling sun, but don’t want to travel to the southern hemisphere or across the Atlantic, Dubai is a great option. The Middle East is typically too hot for British holidaymakers during the summer months but when winter begins to set in, a cool breeze appears and it becomes the prefect short haul getaway. 

8.    Turkey

Sea beach in Alanya Turkey

Roughly the same distance from the UK as Dubai, Turkey is also a great winter sun destination without a long-haul flight. Whether it’s the cultured capital of Istanbul or one of the many family-friendly resorts in Antalya – it’s a great all-round winter sun destination. 

9.    Canary Islands

Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Finally, we have the always-popular Canary Islands. Set off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean, these islands are permanent inclusions in best winter sun destination lists. Whether it’s the volcanic landscape of Lanzarote, the hiking in Fuerteventura , the adventure in Gran Canaria or the all-round fun of Tenerife, the Canary Islands are always a good choice. 

10.    Christmas Markets

Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market in Berlin at night

Not everyone is looking for sunshine at this time of year. City breaks to some of Europe’s best Christmas markets are extremely popular in the later months of the year. A few of the biggest also open shop in mid-November so you can get your Christmas shopping finished before everyone else. 

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Best cities for the most spectacular Fireworks Celebrations

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It’s that time of year again when the UK skies are lit up with mesmerising light shows for Guy Fawkes Night.

Like a lot of the British population, you might wish firework displays were more common throughout the year. But we see that as an excuse for a holiday. Here are seven world-famous cities that are famous for their firework displays (including somewhere in the UK).

Sydney

Sydney Harbour Bridge and fireworks.jpg

Sydney is one of the first cities in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and we witness their spectacular fireworks display every year on TV. Then on the 26th of January, Darling Harbour lights up again for Australia Day along with a boat parade. Between the spellbinding light shows and the terrific weather – January is a great time to visit this iconic city.

Dubai

duabi marina.jpg

Dubai never does things by half measures, and that includes its fireworks displays. Every New Year, revellers gather around the Burj Khalifa to witness the world’s tallest building light up with fireworks. Other areas of the city that light up with fireworks include Jumeirah Beach and Atlantis the Palm.

Montreal

Montreal’s 375th anniversary.jpg

Montreal loves fireworks so much, there’s an official competition. Going strong since 1985, the Montreal International Fireworks Competition is held every summer and features synchronised music. Tickets are pricey (usually $52 to $70 plus taxes) but there are plenty of places to view them throughout the city for free.

London

London Fireworks.jpg

Since its Guy Fawkes Night we can’t not mention London . While many UK cities put on their own amazing firework displays, London’s are a step above the rest. You’ll find firework displays at Crystal Palace Park, Battersea Park, Alexandra Palace and Wembley Park (to name a few).

Paris

New Year in Paris France.jpg

You know what makes every fireworks display better? The silhouette of the Eiffel Tower. Every year on the 14th of July, fireworks are set off from the gardens of Trocadéro for about 30 minutes and the public are welcome to watch from the Champ de Mars.

Rio de Janeiro

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.jpg

Watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks in the UK might be a chilly affair, but in Rio de Janeiro it’s a warm and tropical experience. At the start of every New Year, thousands of people gather on the sands of Copacabana Beach for a 15-minute fireworks display.  

Washington, DC

United States Capitol Building.jpg

The USA dazzles every 4th of July – but nowhere does it better than Washington DC. Fireworks are set off from National Mall, and they are viewable from a plethora of places around DC. Including the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial and numerous rooftop bars.

Where have you witnessed an amazing fireworks display? Let us know in the comments.

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Six people jumping on the sand dunes in Dubai

Staff Travel Diaries: Dubai

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Hi Claire, tell us a little about yourself, what you do at Barrhead Travel and your trip to Dubai?

I work within the Business Development Team and I was given an amazing opportunity to see Dubai. I spent 4 nights in this amazing place and was literally blown away with every hotel and place I saw.

I had always wanted to visit Dubai but was always concerned that it may not be for me. I was wrong! Dubai has something for everyone. Whether you are looking for a family holiday, culture, city break, nightlife, beach Dubai has it covered. It really is one of the safest and cleanest places I have ever been.

What did you get up to while you were there? What attractions did you see?

There is so much to see in Dubai one of my favourites is the sundowner desert safari. Watch the sun go down as you drive through the dunes to arrive at our traditional Bedouin style camp where a delicious dinner awaits. The trip included:

  • Leave your hotel and the city behind, drive into the desert in a four-wheel drive Land Cruisers
  • Enjoy the fun of a dune drive in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve
  • Stop to watch a falcon display
  • At sunset, stop for photos from the top of a dune
  • Arrive at our Bedouin-style camp where desert activities and a bonfire await
  • Try a camel ride, mini sand-boarding, and henna hand painting or relax on large carpets and cushions with an aromatic shisha
  • Move to the seating area and sample an Arabic style, three-course buffet

Another must is Dubai Mall – Make sure you allow plenty time to see this place. You can do some serious spending here and you can access the Burj Khalifa and the Fountains from here so really is worth a visit.

What did you think of the hotels you stayed in?

Jumeirah Zabel Saray – Stunning luxury hotel on the palm. The infinity pool is beautiful and the spa is one of the best I have seen. Would suit families and couples. This hotel even has its own cinema room. Food is fantastic with a great choice of restaurants.

JA Ocean View  – On Dubai Walk close to the Marina, smaller pool though great beach access hotel will even supply a beach bag and umbrella. Good location for eating out.

Shangri La Hotel – On Sheikh Zayed Rd so more of a city feel. Close to Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa. Great pool area which is also home to Icandy which hosts a great brunch and is a great location for an evening drinks.

Jumeirah Beach – Great family hotel with Wild Wadi Water Park attached. Amazing views over the Burj hotel. I felt this hotel had more of a relaxed feel. Very bright and airy.

Jebal Ali Hotel – A great hotel which would suit families and couples. In a quiet location around 30 mins from the downtown Dubai. Has its very own 9-hole golf course and a wealth of activities. This hotel has an all-inclusive option and even a swim up bar.

Atlantis the Palm – Amazing huge hotel and a must see even if you aren’t staying here. With so many facilities from its very own water park, aquarium and beach club it really has it all. The eating options in this hotel are fabulous.

What would you recommend someone packs when visiting Dubai?

I was surprised at how relaxed Dubai actually is in terms of dress code. Of course visiting any religious areas, malls, souks, eating places etc you are required to dress more respectfully elsewhere was like any other holiday destination that I have been too.

What are your top tips for someone visiting Dubai?

  • Look out for Ladies nights – It’s usually a Tuesday night and ladies get free drinks in most places.
  • Dubai isn’t cheap so I would recommend half board as eating out can be expensive.
  • Stay at the Jumeirah Hotels and get free access to the Wild Wadi water park.
  • Taxis are so cheap, safe and accessible.
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