After the new year I flew to Dubai with a friend for a quick visit, my first to the middle east. We landed at 3am in Dubai. Since the Dubai airport is normally a transit point from Europe and Asia the arrival time can be in the middle of the night. Either way we landed at a really awkward time and were driven by the Emirates chauffeur to our hotel. I had selected the St Regis in Dubai becasue I’m a huge fan of the St Regis brand and I found it to be at a relatively good price, $235/night. As a platinum member at SPG I’m entitled to an early checkin but I knew I was testing it’s limits here. We arrived at the hotel just before 4am. I walked over to the stunning check in area.
To my surprise the agent tells me that although it’s so early our room is ready. And we’ve been upgraded to a suite. Score! I couldn’t believe it. Anyway we go upstairs and go straight to sleep. I set my alarm clock for 9:40 (breakfast closes at 10am). Second test was to see if I could get my free breakfast on my checkin day. And again to my surprise I could. And what a breakfast it was. St Regis never disappoints with the breakfast although some do it better than others and this one ranks up there (with the Aspen St Regis).
In one area there was the fruit and juice bar with many fresh squeezed and pressed juices. Of course any coffee or tea beverage is made to order and brought to your table.
The rest of the buffet was arranged by cuisine with a Western section, a local section and a Asian section as well. And lastly there was a place to order eggs to order which they brought to your table.
The best part of the buffet was their pastry selection with included clearly homemade croissants and other pastries.
One thing to note was that the entire hotel was devoid of any pork. I came across a lot of turkey substitutes and on one occasion I had veal bacon, which was nothing like pork bacon but amazing in it’s own rite.
Our room was very spacious and beautifully appointed. They also did a fantastic job of replenishing out free bottled water in the room. Plus we could always go to the gym for any supplements 😉
The first day we visited the Burj Kalifa which had some splendid views. One thing to note is that the entrance to the Burj Khalifa is through the Dubai Mall which is a 5.9 million sq ft. mall. We visited Old Dubai where there are spice and gold markets that are very interesting.
Although I didn’t ski I snapped a picture of Ski Dubai which is an indoor ski area with 1.5km of trails. That’s insane for an indoor park! It’s located in a Mall of the Emirates by the way. A lot of things are happening in Dubai’s two main malls.
The following morning we were picked up at our hotel to go to the desert. We had a dune buggy riding experience booked. As soon as we hit the desert and bled the tires of the car our guide began to slide all up and down the dunes. He was a masterful driver who had us at the edge of our seats. The fact that our car had a roll cage also added to the drama. We got there without any incidents though and we began our own drive on a glorified (and much faster) john deer gator, and a four wheeler. Although both plenty fast, I preferred the four wheeler becasue it felt less secure and required more skill to drive it aggressively. This is something that I’d like to do again in the future but with a proper dune buggy and on larger dunes.
On our last night in Dubai we had our best dinner. The restaurant was called Pierchic and as you can see below it was a fitting name.
From the restaurant we had stunning views of the iconic Burj al Arab
Pierchic was first and foremost a seafood restaurant. From the second we walked in I knew it would be good. The service was outstanding. Everyone we came in contact with was excited to be there and showed great pride in what they served. From the bartender who made us their signature cocktails (I had a smoked infused rum old fashioned, possibly the best cocktail I’ve ever had) to the manager who successfully up sold me to their most expensive entree.
We ordered the Shellebration platter for our entree. It was a whole Blue Lobster from the French Atlantic, Two Diver Scallops from the USA, Two enormous carabineros from Spain, sea bass from Australia grilled octopus from Palamos Spain, and Two large Langoustines also from Spain. Apparently the eat local craze sweeping the US and Europe hasn’t caught on in Dubai but I wasn’t complaining. Everything was cooked to perfection and delicious. The platter came with two sides which I choose a wild rice served with pine nuts and raisins, and a medley of sautéed vegetables.
Overall I was very impressed with Dubai. I’ve never seen a city with so many construction projects going on at once. It’s going to be exciting how the city transforms itself for the World Expo in 2020 (already on my calendar to go back for that). They are building a new tallest building in the world for that. I also loved the St Regis in Dubai (there will be 3 by 2020) especially the fact that they essentially gave me a 3rd night free by letting me check in before 4am and giving me the free breakfast and making up my room on my check in day. I was super impressed. I’d say that St Regis just won a customer over for life but the fact is that that happened the first time I ever stayed in a St Regis which was in Florence many years ago (or at least it feels like many years).