This recent trip to Dubai has made me think that this ultra-modern city has now become my third home. Since 2010, I have been visiting annually to see my family, and lately, friends who've been based there for nearly a decade.
These lovely friends, one of them I've known since the early 1990s, have been very generous and kind to whisk me away to a holiday resort in Ras al-Khaimah, one of the 7 Emirates.
Located in the northernnmost part of the UAE near the border of Oman and overlooking the Arabian Gulf, The Cove Rotana in Ras al-Khaimah is dubbed by locals as the Santorini of the Middle East.
No, it wasn't my birthday and this wasn't my birthday cake. The UAE was celebrating its 43rd Unification Anniversary in the first week of December. My friends and I managed to avoid the full booking as we stayed two days before the public holiday which stretched for five days.
|Guests may help themselves with tea in the reception. The teapots reminded me of the Egyptian brass ones that my mother purchased in Saudi Arabia where I lived as a child.|
|Dates, of course, rather than biscuits or cookies|
|I love balconies (as some of my readers may know from previous travel posts) and hotels with balconies. . .|
|. . .especially when this is my view!|
|With Gale's partner, Cindy. On my Instagram account, I captioned it, "Whatever it was, it was indeed funny." We all had a good laugh during this trip.|
I don't know of any beach sunset that wasn't mesmerising.
We headed back to our room while taking in the below sights. En route, we relaxed at the sauna and took a dip in the jacuzzi.
|To the right, you'll see that some of the exclusive villas have their own swimming pools.|
Dinner was served at Basilico, where the interiors stunned me more than the food. A trio serenaded us, and unsurprisingly rendered some Filipino songs. I used to sing for a living and know how distracting it can be for the audience when the lyrics are made up or muddled up. That was my only issue, which I suppose was quite serious, as I wanted to grab the mic off the singer and sing the songs myself.
My friend Cindy is a make-up artist in Dubai. As with any professional in her trade, a face is a canvas. That night, I went to dinner with full eyebrows that's a trademark of Arab women's everyday make-up. I've been trying to recreate the look myself, but my handiwork looks more like a Cray-Pas oil pastel disaster.
We called it a night afterwards, but not without me enjoying the tranquility of the balcony view.
We got up early the following day and headed to the beach first thing after breakfast, which by the way, was one of the best breakfast buffets I've ever had in my life. It was served in a room -- a ballroom, more appropriately, in terms of size, and everything you could think of for breakfast was available. If we weren't pressed for time, I could have had breakfast until the place closed, or until I'm told to leave because they have to clear out the tables for lunch.
It was overcast at 8 a.m., but the water temperature was bearable. Don't be fooled by the sun hiding though, as I still managed to get a tan! My colleagues were gushing about it, which I thought was only concentrated on my forehead area.
|The bikini shot that nowadays can only be taken from a distance. I don't have photoshop skills and power to hide a multitude of acquired sins.|
|. . .but for holiday-makers to put their feet up.|
Spent the remaining time in this infinity pool before checking out. It's the same one seen from our balcony. The water wasn't temperature controlled as with the main pool, but it was relaxing nonetheless. I must say that I felt being purged of negative thoughts.
I'd like to end 2014 in a reflective and contemplative mood, which this photo sums up.
Many thanks Gale and Cindy for a wonderful break, and thank you to The Cove Rotana Resort for a very warm welcome and lovely stay!
Sheikh Mohammad Bin Salem Road,
Al Kouf Bridge
Al Kouf Bridge
+971 7206 6000