After having such a wonderful time in South East Asia, I decided to extend my trip and visit Dubai as it was the perfect place to break up my long haul flight home. The United Arab Emirates is home to Dubai which is an ever growing city and increasingly popular destinations for tourists and adventursaurus’ alike. Some of my patients have been commenting on their desire to visit Dubai and the apprehension of visiting in case it isn’t easy to get around with a disability or in a wheelchair. So I came to Dubai to prove them wrong and put their worries to rest once and for all.
The Emirates airplane took just over seven hours to get from Singapore to Dubai International Airport. Landing at 1 pm UAE time, allowing me to be all checked into my hotel in time for lunch!
Airport tip: Request assistance if you have difficulty walking over long distances. The airport is huge … I had to get the train from my plane to the baggage collection.
I used Arabian Adventures for the transfer to my hotel. I always do this with new destinations to minimize any stress or risk of getting lost in a new country. One of their team met me just before passport control and assisted me all the way to the hotel. I would recommend them to anyone staying in the UAE, the drivers are very safe, friendly and knowledgeable. A short 30 minute drive along the scenic Sheik Zayed Road took me to my hotel.
After much deliberation and hours searching for the best place to stay in Dubai, I decided on the Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach Residence. Mainly because of it’s great location between Dubai Marina and the beach. The hotel is nestled amidst several sand coloured skyscrapers, yet it doesn’t feel crowded or overlooked. This 4 star hotel consists of a combination of hotel rooms and fully serviced apartments, spread over 43 floors.
There are a range of staff to help with everything from getting a taxi to pressing the button for the lift. Whilst I was checking in a concierge took my huge suitcase to the room I would be in, so I had less to carry. The lifts in the hotel, of which there were several, were very spacious and clearly marked which floor they would go to. The most confusing part for me was working out what floor was the exit to taxis or to The Walk. The reception is down in the basement and restaurants 3 floors above (but this is the ground floor), safe to say I spent many lift rides going to the wrong floor (oops). No matter which way you went out of the hotel, it was relatively flat. There were escalators going down towards the beach and even a lift for those in a wheelchair or using a walking aide.
I had chosen a superior room for this hotel stay because there was lots of celebrations going on during my stay. Much to my surprise when I arrived, the reception staff told me I would be in a different type of room … I had been given a free upgrade.
Three humans and one dinosaur had more rooms than we knew what to do with! It took me nearly an hour to decide which bed I wanted to sleep in, finally choosing a king sized bed with a view of the ocean. We were to stay on the 30th floor in a 4 bedroom apartment. Staying in such a big apartment made me feel like royalty, it was bigger than any house I have ever lived in! It had everything from a widescreen television to a washing machine.
I loved having a kitchen because it meant I could keep food in my room in case I was too tired to go out. The hotel staff even kept a supply of bottled water for me to use and take on my travels! The staff in the hotel even surprised me with a fruit bowl and gave the humans a cake for their anniversary, it was such a wonderful surprise.
From (one of the) master bedrooms was an incredible, unobstructed view of the sunset over the ocean. I organised my day so I could sit and watch the sunset each night from the perfectly situated coffee table. The living room had a view over towards Dubai Marina, which was lovely to look at after dark.
The apartment had 4 bathrooms and not one but two human sized baths and one dinosaur sized one! One of the baths was even fitted with handles to help getting in and out. The free bath soaps and shampoos in the room smelt delightful, and the cleaner replaced them each time one was opened which was a lovely thing but I would have been happy enough using one bottle until it emptied.
Out of everything, this was the one thing I was disappointed with. Mainly because I compare every balcony with the one at Pietra di Luna hotel in Italy. The balcony itself was really small and directly overlooked another apartment block. The balcony door also didn’t lock, but one bonus of staying no the 30th floor was knowing I had no worries about anyone breaking in. But, Dubai is a really safe city so you don’t need to worry about this anyway.
The view from the master bedroom window more than made up for this and I happily sat looking out of that window instead.
Sadly, the pool is small. But, it comes with a wonderful view of the Dubai Marina and a small view of the beach! I found it peaceful to sunbathe there in comparison with the busy beach. The lifeguards were very friendly and made sure the area was always spotless and very safe.
I loved getting a fluffy towel to sit on around the pool. What surprised me most is the hotel also hand out towels for you to use on the beach. Sadly, I couldn’t find the part of the beach which the hotel could use and kept getting moved on by security guards, but that meant I was able to try out more of the beach.
Unfortunately, the only way to get up to the pool is via a staircase. So if you struggle with stairs, I would recommend avoiding the pool. Instead use the beautiful white sand beach which is a bit further to go, but very flat so you don’t have to miss out on that all important sunbathing time.
I chose to stay half board at this hotel because a few humans had told me Dubai was expensive to eat out. When in reality, it is only as expensive as you make it. There are more restaurants around this hotel than I could imagine, the hotel has 5 bars and restaurants each serving different cuisines. I only ate in the Shores Restaurant because that was included in my stay. It was a buffet style restaurant with delicious Arabian inspired food. The taco station was a great addition to the buffet. Before arriving I was unsure what to expect with the food but I really like Arabian food, especially the hummus and apricots. I always love buffets because I can choose what I want and not have to worry about being vegan. The restaurant had a sign at the front with traffic lights advising of busy times. I think this is a great idea and honestly wish I had noticed it sooner, so I could eat during a less hectic time.
I didn’t eat in any of the other restaurants but I did pay a visit the the rooftop bar, Sama Lounge. It was very high up, so the views over Dubai Marina were beautiful. I loved watching the city lights twinkle.
It is a great base for exploring Dubai due to the close proximity of the hotel to the Dubai tram and metro. So even in the summer heat you can go out and explore. It has been a long time since I have stayed in a hotel in such a great location, I was able to walk to the beach, Bluewaters Dubai, Dubai Marina and The Walk.
I know I have a few teeny grumbles with the crumbly paint on the walls, broken balcony lock and busy restaurant but if I wanted 5 star luxury I would have gone to the Atlantis the Palm. Overall, I couldn’t fault this hotel, the staff or location. I would happily move into the 4 bedroom apartment and stay for a long time (mainly because of the incredible sunsets). I will be recommending this hotel to everyone who wants budget-friendly and accessible luxury in the heart of Dubai.
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