Friday, November 17, 2017

Lifestyle

For just 40 years the Meridien Group of hotels has been offering hospitality to weary travellers in over 50 countries around the globe, they have quite a presence in the United Arab Emirates, and I have stayed in the three main Hotels in Dubai, but never the one on that much talked about East Coast, so last weekend we ventured over the Hajar Mountains and into Fujeirah to experience the delights of the Le Meridien Al Aqah.

There was of course a reason for this little road trip, and that was to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary and the fact that I was on my feet and back to "normal", one of my main challenges on the road to recovery was to meet Team Al Aqah.  When I walked through the door of the Hotel I felt immensely emotional at the fact that I had actually achieved it!  My first point of contact was Diaa who checked us very swiftly into our room and explained the layout of the hotel and the facilities it had to offer us during our stay.  The room was just breathtaking, not in it's decor as such but in the effort that had been made to personalise it to our taste. The floor was littered in flower petals and a bath towel, much to Mitten's amusement had been changed into an elephant!  You can find all the photos here.

Le Meridien Al Aqah is set on the East Coast of the United Arab Emirates and faces the amazing Indian Ocean, the view from our room (all rooms are sea view) was quite spectacular, a clear view of sea and mountains with the occasional fishing boat dotted along the shore. The overall feeling was one of total calmness and relaxation.

After checking into our Club room (photo's can be found here), we quickly changed into our swim gear and headed down to the pool area to investigate!  Le Meridien Al Aqah is one of the smallest hotels on the coast (room wise) but it boasts the biggest pool/beach/garden area. As the hotel is just a decade old the gardens are well developed, and of course beautifully maintained.  The afternoon was spent on sun loungers relaxing into the Al Aqah experience.

Later that day as the sun went down we headed into the hotel to explore what the Al Aqah had to offer its residents. There is no time to get bored during your stay, there is everything from a Spa to diving! boat trips to manicures!  there is absolutely no need to leave the resort (unless you want to) during your time at the Hotel.  There is a super well equipped kids club which is well staffed, what I particularly liked was the fact that you had to physically collect your child, which could give you an extra 20 minutes of solitude if you needed it.  Mitten particularly enjoyed the crazy golf course, I have always felt you need to be a bit crazy to golf!

That evening after a fabulous dinner (I am writing a separate article on the dining experiences at Al Aqah) we made our way back up to our room to share a glass of something sparkly and enjoy a good nights sleep, not before popping my USB into the huge flat screen television and catching up with a bit of UK drama.   The next morning we opened our curtains to gaze out at the view to find an Anniversary wish carved into the sand!!  There is nothing this hotel won't do to make sure their guests have an amazing Al Aqah experience.  If you are visiting the hotel don't be shy, tell the team why you are there and they will ensure they make it special for you.

After two glorious nights we headed back to Dubai, the journey took us just over two hours but we did stop at The Friday Market to buy a rug, which has lovingly been christened Rug Al Aqah.

All I need to do now is to thank Patrick and the rest of Team Al Aqah for their overwhelming hospitality, we will never forget our 10th Wedding Anniversary experience, thanks to everyone who went that extra mile to make it so so special, in particular The Italian One but you will hear more about him in my Le Meridien Al Aqah "The Food" article.

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All week I have been fancying having some fish/seafood so this morning I asked what people thought of Jimmy's Killer Prawns, the response I got back was not good so instead we decided to check out Barracuda Restaurant on the Beach Road, and I am so glad we did!! The restuarant which is located between Al Manara and Al Safa on the sea side of the Beach Road is quite small but big enough if you know what I mean, the decor whilst tasteful is a little drab but the place was very clean.  We got there around 1 pm and it was pretty quiet but was nearly full when we left, let me tell you why.

The concept of Barracuda Restaurant like most fish restaurants is that you buy the fish, get it weighed and then sent off for cooking. The fish was beautifully displayed in a glass cabinet at the back of the restaurant. The types of cooking they offer are Singary, Lemon and Oil, Lemon and Oil Sizzling, Radda, Potatoes, Potatoes Shredded, fried or Tagine.  I decided to have the Lemon and Oil Sea Bream (53 dhs/490g) and my husband opted for the Sangary Sea Bass (75.00 dhs/625g).  Whilst they were off preparing this were presented with a small trolly of starters to choose from, all at 10 dhs a dish, we took some hommous and bread. The hommous was superb, real nutty flavour to it. 

We ordered a green salad (15 dhs) which was huge so if you do go make sure you order to share as one is too big for just one person, same with the french fries big enough to share.   Eventually (after 45 minutes) the fish arrived, it was well worth the wait, absolutely fabulous. I tried my husbands Singary, very tasty with just the right amount of spice. My Lemon and Oil was also amazing, I could actually taste the lemon through the fish.  The fish was also served with a side dish of tiny limes which complimented the dishes so well.

I noticed on their menu that they have a Seafood Mixed Grill which contains fish, three prawns, crab meat and grilled cuttlefish at just 105 dhs, I thought that was good value for money and will probably try that the next time we go.  They also had a calamari Pane, firm favourite of mine at just 35 dhs. Our total spend today came to 193 dhs.

Nothing more to say other than I have found myself a fabulous fish restaurant and can't wait to go back!!  I have uploaded some photos of our experience to my facebook page, click and like, thank you!


Barracuda Restaurant aren't on Twitter or Facebook but you can call them on 04 3940408

As some of you are aware I have an iPhone, which I absolutely love, too much at times it has to be said as I missed half of Coronation Street the other night as I was busy downloading and investigating this new application that hit the App Store a few weeks back.

There are a few different money saving concepts out there and as you know I am a big fan of iShopaholic too.  iVoucher however is completely different and offers us individual discount vouchers for various outlets around the UAE. Quick and easy to navigate, paperless, and with a GPS to find locations a the tip of your fingers, it is well worth the $3.99 price tag.

Everyone wants a bargain these days and there are plenty of great special offers to choose from in this App, with a good variety of choice from Hotels, Restuarants, Spas, Cruises, Tours, Special Venues etc. The App can be downloaded to your iPhone, iPad or iPod so plenty of options for you to try. 

Choose your offer, then all you have to do is show your screen at the participating venue offering the discount/promotion, easy as 123!! And don't panic if you aren't in Dubai, there is an App for Abu Dhabi too! All you have to do now is head to the App shop and search for Dubai Voucher. Let the fun begin!

www.ivoucherdubai.com or follow them on twitter @iVoucherUAE

Enjoy

 

Well it would be if I was actually suffering from hair loss!  Yesterday I went back to the Hair Spa to experience a consultation and treatment to stimulate hair growth, The Geordie One came along as she gets rather excited about anything relating to hair and being touched, more of that later.  My original article can be found here.

Firstly we filled in an extensive questionnaire about ourselves, this covered our current/previous state of health and a bit about our diet, our diet can affect hair growth/loss extensively.  We were then taken into see Mike Ryan aka @Dubaihairdoctor (yes he has a twitter account), he ran through our histories and we discussed at length how hair actually grows and what can affect hair loss.  It's not as straight forward as you may think as many things contribute to a healthy head of hair.

After this it was into the hotseat to check our scalps and the condition of our hair with a tiny machine which magnifies the area onto a small VDU.  It's amazing  you can actually see the hair follicles with the hairs and the condition of our scalps.  We both had chlorine on our scalps due the water but all in all we are both in tip top condition apart from the grey hairs! There are some photos which can be found here, (don't forget to like my page).

We then went onto have a hair treatment to stimulate our hair follicles, followed by a massage, a session under the steamer then 5 minutes under a lazer to stimulate growth.  If you did have hair loss issues this would be a regular weekly treatment, the duration determined by Mike in relation to the severity of your problem.  Personally I hate being pampered but The Geordie One was in her element, I can see her going back even though there is nothing wrong with her!!  or just to check out Mr Sheybani, might be worth adding that these hair doctor folk are rather handsome.

The services offered at the Hair Spa are so extensive I am not even going to start listing them, the way forward is a Consultation with Mike Ryan who in his no nonsense way of Trichology will get you back on track to a healthy head of hair, and for those of you who are a bit self conscious all consultations and treatments are 100% confidential.

Enjoy!

(this is a pic of me after my treatment)

Have you seen the well-to-do, up and down Park Avenue
On that famous thoroughfare, with their noses in the air
High hats and Arrowed collars, white spats and lots of dollars
Spending every dime, for a wonderful time
If you're blue and you don't know where to go to
Why don't you go where fashion sits,
Puttin' on the ritz


Well it started in 1906 and has continued ever since, the words The Ritz are synonymous with everything that involves style and luxury. The musical Puttin' on the Ritz (1930) was about dressing up in your best gear and having a good time.  Well I did exactly that earlier this week, thanks to the team at Explorer Publishing, who very kindly gave me a voucher for two for Afternoon Tea at the Ritz Carlton.  (I entered their UAE for Free competition).

I am no stranger to the Ritz Carlton and have held many a Birthday Afternoon Tea there over the years. The Ritz Carlton is a beautiful hotel, with the best dressed Concierges in Dubai.  The main thing that hits you when you enter their Lobby Lounge is the amazing ceiling and fabulous chandoliers that adorn it, just beautiful.

The Geordie One and I headed outside to the terrace, beautiful time of year for outside dining. There was a lovely breeze and the views, though not as good as they were pre The Palm are still very good.  Within minutes an attentive waitress arrived and we ordered our Afternoon Teas which seemed to turn up in seconds.  There is no way I can describe the three tiered cake stand and it's contents that will give it the justice it deserves, but let's just say when The Geordie One goes silent you know it's good!!!

A couple of hours later, and full of scones, jam and clotted cream we headed home where all I wanted to do was curl up on the sofa, no dinner was made that evening in Casa GA.

Thanks to Dubai Explorer and The Ritz Carlton for letting us experience what is without doubt the best Afternoon Tea in Dubai.  For those of you who are wondering, it's also excellent value for money at just 125 dhs a head.

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