As I sit here in wintry West Yorkshire, I sigh and briefly let my mind wander back to the sunny weather and luxury of Dubai, where I have just enjoyed a fantastic break courtesy of Netflights.com.
Azam Marketing won the holiday back in August as part of a competition for affiliates to sell as many flights as possible to Dubai over a set period. Thanks to a lot of hard work and, after a tense few days constantly checking our campaign stats, Azam was declared the winner!
The prize, kindly arranged with the help of Andy Crowther at Brilliant Media in Leeds, included three nights at the five-star Raffles Hotel in Dubai and return flights with Emirates Airlines. When Nadeem offered me the chance to take the prize, I was absolutely ecstatic and couldn’t wait to pack my bags!
And so it was that my husband and I found ourselves excitedly heading down to Heathrow last week. The drive proved costly – an errant stone chip on the M1 cracked our windscreen – but with the prospect of some winter sun to look forward to, nothing could dampen our spirits as we checked in at Terminal 3.
The journey to Dubai took seven hours, and I passed the time by watching films on the widescreen seat back TV (the low budget horror Paranormal Activity was great, but in hindsight I should have given the poor Ricky Gervais movie The Invention of Lying a miss).
On arrival, we took a taxi from the gleaming marble halls of the airport to our hotel. The Raffles has been built to imitate The Great Pyramid of Giza, and although it seemed a bit strange at first (the Egyptian architecture reminded us of a Las Vegas-style theme hotel), we were soon won over by the grand interior and the gleaming Lamborghini and Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren parked outside.
After a quick freshen up, we headed out sightseeing and our necks quickly became tired from gazing up at the gleaming skyscrapers that Dubai has added to its skyline over the past few years. No expense has been spared in the construction of this modern city which is surprisingly green, thanks to its daily water consumption of around 500 litres per person per day.
One of our ‘must-see’ sights was the newly-opened Burj Khalifa, the tallest man-made structure ever built. Our tour of other Dubai landmarks included the cavernous Dubai Mall shopping centre, the sail-like Burj al Arab hotel, the Al-Fahidi Fort, the Ski Dubai indoor snow resort, and the man-made islands of the Palm Jumeirah.
Our final night was spent in style, soaking up the atmosphere in the Raffles bar sipping on a couple of Dubai Slings (the local version of their Singapore sister hotel’s more famous cocktail) and watching wealthy locals smoking aromatic tobaccos through shisha pipes. A blissful end to an unforgettable break.