With my time in Malaysia cut short, I made my way back to the Middle East on a very quiet flight. I was grateful for the calm flight after a very stressful journey to the airport which resulted in me being one of the last to board the flight. A slow driver, a drop off at the wrong terminal and two train rides finally got me to my window seat on the plane. After a morning filled with stress, I was more than happy to be going back to one of my favourite cities, Dubai.
Arriving at lunchtime, I landed to beautiful views of the desert and the city. I made my way through the airport to my driver from Arabian Adventures, whom I used on a previous visit to Dubai. The drive along Sheik Zayed Road reminded me of why I love Dubai, My Photographer always says the drive from Dubai Airport to Dubai Marina is like returning home; full of fond memories.
On my last visit to Dubai I chose to stay in the Dubai Marina/ JBR area of the city and just loved that there was so much going on in the area. This influenced my decision when looking for hotels for this visit. After the mayhem of KL, I was very excited to go somewhere quiet and relaxing. JA Ocean View Hotel is a 5 star hotel located along The Walk in Dubai Marina. In comparison to the last hotel I stayed in, it is a lot smaller, and is more modern.
Everything in the hotel is aimed at the view of the ocean which is very beautiful, though I did like seeing the marina from the window next to the lift. The hotel even has 2 small tourist shops on the ground floor, as well as two resident camels!
I was lucky enough to stay in a superior room on the 21st floor of the hotel (sadly no free upgrade this time!). I cannot complain with the size of the hotel room which I had. The bed was more than big enough for me to sleep in and my photographer was given a very comfortable camp bed. The sofa was very comfortable and a great addition to the room, as was the kettle and free bottled water.
I had a lot of storage and the bathroom was big enough to have a party in. I had the choice of two showers, a bath and two sinks for washing. The waterfall shower was incredible and made up the disappointment of the bath not holding its water.
One of the things which really annoyed me was the noise of the nightclubs on the beachfront, especially on Friday night, the noise carried up to the 21st Floor. I had a night with no sleep, which made me feel awful the next day. The hotel should warm anyone staying of the noise, so they can prepare for a loud night. If I had only stayed over the weekend, I would have had a really bad review of the hotel.
The balcony was a great addition to a room which had everything I could have wanted. I spent a lot of time out here just enjoying the view. Normally, I’m not a morning dinosaur but the balcony was so good I woke up to see the sun rise over the Palm Jumeirah every day. I also spent most evenings on the balcony watching the sky paint beautiful Arabian sunsets and watching the city lights come to life. The balcony felt very secluded and private, I also found it to be very quiet even though there was a busy road below. As it was never in the full glare of the sun, I found it to be the perfect spot to while away the afternoon with a coffee and my book.
I never thought I would say it, but I think the balcony at JA Ocean View really gives the Pietra di Luna Hotel a run for it’s money. As a dinosaur I am very lucky to stay in fancy hotels with a wide range of amenities but I always seem to judge hotels on their balcony.
My favourite part of any hotel review is the food. Being vegetarian or vegan in the Middle East is just amazing, the cuisine is genuinely one of my favourites. Due to the expensive nature of Dubai, I was staying half board in JA Ocean View. This came with many perks; including the use of 3 restaurants, free afternoon tea, pre-dinner canapés, free happy hour drinks and the use of a restaurant in the JA Ocean Tower.
8 days wasn’t enough time to try all of the different places to eat fully. Although, I did discount the poolside bar because burgers and chips really aren’t my thing.
The first restaurant I tried was La Rivage, the buffet dining option on the ground floor of the hotel. I am always dubious about buffets because many seem to serve the same food for days on end. However, this restaurant had many themed evenings which I liked. They also kept the vegetarian foods separated from any meat or fish, meaning zero worries about the wrong spoons being used. The breakfasts and dinners both had numerous dishes and 2 stands with chefs cooking fresh delicacies. My only grumble was the price of bottled water (£5) when the supermarket around the corner was selling the same one for £1.30. The lebenese inspired dishes and the sweet potato curry were delicious, so much so I am going to try and recreate them at home.
The next restaurant I tried was Motorino Pizzeria, an Italian restaurant on the 2nd floor. It’s a very famous New York Pizza joint which offers a modern twist on many classics. I really enjoyed the tomato salad and buffalo ricotta ravioli pasta dish I tried. Though I didn’t enjoy the white pizza I ordered because it was a bit dry. Though the combination of potatoes, smoked mozzarella, garlic and amalfi lemon worked beautifully.
One of the best perks of being half board in this hotel was the afternoon tea in the Coral Lounge. Located on the 24th floor, it is quiet, comfortable and has beautiful views of Ain Dubai and the coast. It is possible to have breakfast in the lounge, but I enjoyed the sheer amount of choice in La Rivage so much I mainly ate in there. Though I did visit for afternoon tea several times. The coffee in crisp white cups, perfectly square cakes and delicious views had me feeling super posh. The cakes and sandwiches were different each time I visited. Although I was dissapointed to find canapés were also the afternoon tea trays just with alcohol.
I am more of a beach dinosaur than a pool dinosaur but I couldn’t resist a dip in the infinity pool. Located on the 3rd floor, it had a fabulous view of the beach and I could even wave to the Atlantis the Palm hotel. As the pool is in the sunshine for most of the day, the water is nice and warm. The sun loungers are mostly in the shade, but that didn’t stop me from lazing around and enjoying the atmosphere for a few hours.
The Hotel provides towels to use around the pool and also hands them out with parasols for trips to the beach. The hotel’s piece of beach is a 5 minute walk from the poolside. There is also a spa and gym on the same floor as the pool, providing a great place to exercise after eating afternoon tea!
This hotel is not located in the centre of The Walk, but I found the hotel to be in a great location for walking to the Marina, Blue waters and also in easy distance of the beach. The team stop is an easy 5 minute stroll which allows you to explore Dubai further. The close proximity to the bridge leading to Bluewaters was a great place to walk to especially at night. On a clear evening I was able to see the Burj Khalifa lit up, alongside the Burj Al Arab and many of Dubai’s famous buildings.
I will always rate Dubai Marina as a great place to stay because it is flat, safe and it has everything you could need whilst on holiday.
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