Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Downtown Dubai- Burj Khalifa: A blend of old and new age that will keep shinning the most prestigious address in Dubai for many years to come.

When I arrived in Dubai back in 1996, I was living the opposite side of the Sheikh Zayed road and army compound which is today the Down town Burj Dubai area.

The all area of Burj Khalifa once was empty quarter and then the army barrack. It was made with high rise wall, looked like fort and on each corner, a tower raised with anti-aircraft guns on top although most of the time covered. Also the famous round about known as defence round about (That name originated from the army camp mentioned above) or “the Toyota” roundabout, the first intersection of Sheikh Zayed road, I cannot believe how it is changed today and still construction is going on with many flyovers coming up to smooth the traffic.  The vision of Rulers of Dubai to turn this vast piece of land was more than just keeping the protection of the Emirate - Dubai; they managed to turn to the most luxurious place with the tallest tower and largest mall - Dubai Mall without losing touch the old heritage of Islamic / Arabic cultural building models in this modern time. What they believe is that we can move forward and go with the changes without changing our values.
I personally thanks & salute them very much for their vision in mind. So when you visit downtown Burj Dubai now known as Burj Khalifa area do not think you will find only model structures such the tallest tower the Burj Khalifa, but at the same time you will be taken back to the old century of Arabic / Islamic culture which are present close to the towers surrounded by the water like lake. When you see the photos you will know what I mean, I can't explain enough, I'm not expert on that.

Hotels in Dubai at lowest rates Present:

During the summer months in UAE (May – Sept) which is the low tourists season, many hotels offer summer promotions, and is a good chance for us residence to take this opportunities to visit different hotels in Dubai or around the UAE, this apply even for the tourists from neighbouring countries or from around the world as Dubai is becoming the all year round tourist resort. At the Downtown Burj Khalifa I checked in with my family at the prestigious 5 stars hotel - The Address hotel, a 63 storey property.

Located in the heart of the downtown Burj Khalifa attractions nearby the tallest tower, Dubai fountain and the largest mall -Dubai Mall. In this hotel, also there are serviced apartments which already owned by residence those apartments particularly facing Burj Khalifa lake and the Old town, including Dubai Fountain. You can find more information about the hotels by visiting the links mentioned at the end of this blog and explore yourself.

The other hotels to select from if one wish to stay around this area are:

The Address – Dubai Mall:
The hotel is attached with the Dubai mall one of the largest shopping and entertainment spot in the world and overlooking the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa. The Address Dubai Mall offers a luxurious experience.

The following remaining hotels are all build in old style Arabic structures that present the perfect blend of old and new: include The Palace, Al Manzil and Qamardeen hotels. It will transform you and discover the richness of life; as you explore the area. Just a few-minute walk from Burj Khalifa Dubai Mall and right in the heart of the Burj Khalifa commercial and residential areas.

Back to the hotel the address, the main reception located already in the 5th floor. But honestly the style of their reception in my view will need improvement as guests arrived one cannot know who is turn to go the next counter and only about 4 staff are check in the guests. Same happened during check out, hotel staff seems cannot keep up with the flow of the guests who were check in and checkout in the peak time of the weekend. Security is excellent around and in the hotel, no one can go upto the room unless got the room key to swap in the lift. Also bear in mind that the key will not work if time to check out already passed. The swimming pool area is great, you can see in the photo which I took form the 13th floor.

There are four pools; all interconnected facing the Burj Khalifa, Dubai mall and old town. Also pool bar located at the last pool and there is excellent sitting area with the view of half of Dubai fountain, old town / souk bahar and Dubai Mall. I was swimming in the pool next day and facing the tallest tower in the world. It was unique experience. I always like to explore the area where I’am staying, and below are part of the areas that’s make the Downtown Burj Dubai a new city within the old city.

The old town:
The old town consists of low-rise three storey apartment buildings and mid-rise buildings. Architectural designs are taken from traditional buildings that once was Old Dubai. Is it divided in different residents quarters known as Yansoon, Reehan, Miska, Zaafaran, Zanzabeel, or Kamoon. These are Arabic terms.

Souk Bahar:
Don’t miss to visit Souk Al Bahar and explore the charm, Souk is Arabic word means Market and Bahar means the sea. It is a waterside shopping and entertainment destination located in the Old Town Island. A shining blend of traditional architecture set with a modern context, over 100 shops including more than 22 restaurants and cafés lining the waterfront promenade. You cannot cover in one day and it is also is an extraordinary meeting place for residents and tourists of Dubai. For more details check their website below.

The Residences:
The Residences are the very new way urban living in Downtown Dubai, present new city. The towers surrounded by open water and greenery. Residence enjoy lake views in the morning, and in the evening the Dubai skyline comes alive with light. Here you will find urban life at its best. Construction is going on.

South Ridge:
Is a planned resident of 6 Tower development on the Burj Khalifa Masterplan. Just walking distance to Old Town and The Burj Lake including vibrant Burj Khalifa Boulevard, with its stylish boutiques, cafés, restaurants, enchanting street life of The Old Town and shopping at The Dubai Mall.

The Dubai Mall:
I think until now I could not cover the whole area of the mall. Is huge vast mall and I don’t recommend if you plan to come with aged person unless he or she on wheel chair as you will have to walk a lot to get around the mall. I cannot say enough as I will leave for you to explore their website below and see what you will be interesting in, so next time you will know where to visit first when in the mall.

Dubai Fountain:
Is an added attraction not to miss when you visit downtown Burj Khalifa the show is on every 15 minutes from 6pm to 9:30pm.

So that’s all I can say about the place, and also you can be staying in other hotels around Dubai and visit Downtown Burj Khalifa attractions which I mentioned below with their links to you can find more about them.

Useful Links:

Hotels around Downtown Burj Dubai:

Friday, August 7, 2009

UAE Summer Short Vacation: From the advanced cool city of skyscrapers to the beautiful mountainous landscape and beaches.

Summer short vacation in United Arab Emirates - UAE is best choice for both residence and tourist alike from international or just nearby countries, as UAE offer more in choices of places and accommodation in the region. Visitors visiting any of the emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman or Um Al Quwain, can be assured that one will not run short of interesting places to visit or to stay.

The country is peaceful and safe, if at night or day light, necessary facilities available both on the main roads and in the cities. Travelling by road between each Emirate mentioned above is easy to navigate around as road networks are well constructed even around the mountains areas on the way to Fujairah or Ras Al Khaimah. Petrol pump / stations are located in such a way none of the road travelers will run out of the petrol, facilities including, grocery shops and restrooms.

discount hotels in khor fakkan

Shark round about in Khorfakan, from Dibba.

I would like to share my four days trip by road with family started from Dubai to Fujairah and Ras Al khaimah and back to Dubai. I work and live in the UAE. One of the reason, to make this rip is that, I did not plan to travel outside of UAE this year for vacation for several reasons and second, Summer promotions and special offers from 5 stars to 3 stars hotels right here in the UAE. The one which grab my attention was Rotana hotels.

Therefore, for this particular trip our accommodation of two rooms in Fujairah and Ras Al Khamaih was Rotana Fujairah and Spa one night and in Ras Al Khaimah was Rotana Cove Resort two nights. Please note that I do not associate with Rotana group of hotels or work with the organization. Reviews and comments on these hotels are as guest from the hotel and from my personal views.

I would like to suggest having a Navigator in your vehicle; it will be much easier to reach your destination. As for me, I had Navigator and also not first time traveling to Fujairah and Khorfakan. Ok let say you starts travelling from Dubai, you should take Emirates road to Sharjah, then you should take Sharjah airport road then straight to Dhaid road, follow the signboard mentioned “Dhaid”. 

When you reach city of Dhaid, there two main roundabouts from the first one, turn to the left straight to another round about from this one tale right. From here the road is level straight for about more than 6km before entering down hills road. You will enter a small city just follow Masafi /Fujairah on the sign boards. Here you will huge round about which clearly indicated right turn is to Fujairah and taking left turn is to Masafi.

The Easier way is to take to Masafi, you can also reach if you take to Fujairah but then you will cover more distance and also you have to pass through outskirt of Fujairah city and to enter the middle of Khorfakan city, which can be confusing before reaching Fujairah Rotana & Spa or Le Meridien Al Aqa Beach resort both are nearby to each other.

When taking Masafi road, it will take upto to Dhaid Al Hisn city before reaching the road along the shores of UAE. Then the road it will take you along the Dhadna mountain and as soon as drive down to the first round about (Shark R/A as seen in the pic above) you will be already reaching the hotel. From the same R/A also you can enter to the Le Meridien Al Aqa Beach resort. The name Al Aqah is came from the nearby mountain which is known by the same name.

Please try to explore below Google map click + or – to zoom in and out and try to find out location of Masafi where you can find clearly the road divided either to the right – Fujairah or left to Masafi.
(Click - minus zoom out to get the map clear)
View Larger Map

For me it was first time taking the Masafi road to the hotel. We reached the hotel at around 4:30pm and we got two room interconnected so that we can be nearby with our children. Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa Al Aqah Beach hotel is very nice with friendly staff. We got the room on the second floor; the rate we got was including breakfast. Kids love swimming pool so we did enjoy swimming with kids up to to the sunset. It is very relaxing atmosphere from the rush and pressure of the big city and work.

Later we drive to Khorfakan city which is about 25 minutes drive from the hotel to visit our relatives. Next morning, as usual I go to the gym and sauna. They had nice gym with a medium size sauna. Swimming pool is large and for both children and adults. We had our breakfast at the restaurant on the ground floor. The food was good although no much choices to choose from. The service is excellent and we did check out next day on Tuesday at around 1:30pm. We did ask for the late check out and it was acceptable upto 2:00pm since there was no much rush. You will find photos by Visiting Dubai Travel UAE!.

Left hotel and on our way to Ras Al Khaimah, same road from Dhaid to Masafi, but then you will not reach Masafi there will clearly turn right road and indicated Ras Al Khaimah. This road is under repair on the side of the mountains to prevent falling rocks. Good job is done there. The road is passing through three mountains, Mubrahah, Ruwaydah and Satif . Always take precautions and drive safely and watch speed limits. 

discount hotels in fujairah

The road will take to the Ras Al Khaimah Airport road. You will be entering into the city and I suggest asking or taking the road to Sharjah from the city of Ras Al Khaimah. I know a bit about Ras Al Khamiah as I participated three times on their yearly Half Marathon. And also selected next year 2010 to host American Cup for sailing competition. Ras Al Khaimah will be come more famous and another tourist attraction from UAE.

The Cove Rotana resort: I think is the new kind of concept of hotel accommodation, build on hills and room are town houses ground and first floor, downhill to the beach more accommodation available as villa not rooms. Mini buses and buggy vehicle carts are available to transport guests from their room to anywhere they like to go within this kind of mountain village. I really like it here; we stay with family for two days. But unfortunately there are no connecting rooms, so our children stayed in another “cove” that’s the only I think not good for family; or if budget allowed one can book for villa.

discount hotels in sharjah

The health club and sauna is great, much bigger than that of Fujairah, also they have two large swimming pools, one located down the hill and another above near the main reception building. Gym and kid club playing area. I think if you will see the photos you will understand what I mean about how the rooms and street like locations of the property – Cove Rotana resort. Restaurants located also not far from the each other. All Day Dining Cinnabon restaurant serve buffet for from breakfast, lunch and dinner. The day we went to dine was a seafood day. It was excellent sea food ever with lots of choices to select and tasted great. I did not like much the rooms and location of TV. All staff were very friendly. Our two days we stayed felt went so fast. In between we did visit the city of Ras Al khaimah to the only mall Al Manara.

Short vacations in UAE can be enjoyable and also taking into consideration of lots of Summer hotel offer, since it is a low season it is a advantage for residents and visitors from nearby country to enjoy the summer in UAE.