Dubai, Dubai, Dubai. Where do I even begin? I didn’t expect to love Dubai as much as I did. It was the perfect mix of city life, modern culture, and summer heat, sprinkled with reminders of faith here and there. Dubai seamlessly creates a balance between deen and duniya – something many (including myself) often find difficult to achieve. Alhumdulilah, I’m so excited to share the details of our stay with you!
When booking our flight to Dubai, we knew we would stay with none other than our favourite, Fairmont Hotels. We chose to check out Fairmont Dubai, which is centrally located on Sheikh Zayed Road. Close to the major attractions and well known for its restaurants and service, we were in for a treat!
One of the things we love about Fairmont Hotels is the option to choose a Fairmont Gold package with our stay. Once you go Gold, you won’t settle for anything less! If you are unfamiliar with Fairmont Gold, it is basically a hotel within a hotel. You check-in at a private reception area on the 33rd floor, have access to a personal butler, and even get to enjoy the Gold Lounge (with breakfast, afternoon tea, and an assortment of canapes in the evening). Sort of feels like you’re staying in a resort with super personalized service, even better than standard Fairmont service – if you can imagine topping that.
So we head up to the 33rd floor to check-in and were welcomed by the Fairmont Gold Team. Everyone was super friendly and gave us a tour of the Lounge and facilities. They showed us to our one-bedroom suite, where we found the cutest dessert waiting for us in our room! Not only was the dessert super cute, it was actually really delicious as well. It was basically a giant chocolate brownie (super rich), which if I’m being completely honest, I devoured all by myself eek. Housekeeping asked if they could clear the plate the next day and Faizan said no – because he knew I would want to eat whatever was left. He knows me well.
Since we had a pretty long flight, we decided to get comfortable in our room and take in the views before heading down for lunch. Right off the bat, Faizan fell in love with the bed – which was one of the most comfortable beds we’ve ever slept in! I don’t know if this is a Fairmont thing, but they seriously have the best beds! We loved the one at Chateau Frontenac, this one in Dubai was amazing, and the one in Fairmont Makkah was just as great!
Soon we made our way down to Cafe Sushi for lunch, which is a contemporary Japanese restaurant located on the main floor of Fairmont Dubai. As with all their restaurants, anyone is welcome to dine in and you certainly do not have to be staying at the hotel to get a taste of the Fairmont experience. Since Faizan and I both love sushi, we ordered quite a few items, and each dish was prepared fresh – right before our eyes! We were impressed by the beautiful decor and revolving sushi belt, which was definitely a surprise for me! To end off our meal, the hostess presented us with the dessert menu – and I couldn’t say no..because that would be rude, right? I got really excited when I saw Mochi Ice Cream on the menu because this was something I had been meaning to try for quite some time. I ordered mango, coconut, and red bean flavours and managed to devour each one by myself (while Faizan conveniently excused himself to take some photos of the restaurant).
For dinner, we decided to check out Dokuz, which translates to “9” in the Turkish language (since it is located on the ninth floor). Dokuz is an outdoor rooftop lounge with amazing views of the Dubai skyline. We ordered pide and some kebabs with hummus and fresh bread. However the best part was the dessert. We generally opt for Kunafe whenever its on the menu but this time we wanted to try something new. We ordered a dish called “Katmer” and it was unbelievably amazing. It was a warm baked filo pastry with pistachio nuts and Turkish ice cream. I would seriously go back to this restaurant just for this dessert! Apart from food, the outdoor lounge also has various shisha offerings – if you’re into that sort of thing. Faizan certainly is, so he thoroughly enjoyed this added benefit after dinner!
The next morning, we had breakfast in the Fairmont Gold Lounge, and were blown away by the number of options available! They had everything from a donut wall, to five different kinds of hummus, pakoras, idli/sambar, and obviously a fresh made-to-order eggs station. The staff were super friendly, especially Sajal and Tomy, who took care of all of our needs.
After some shopping at Dubai Mall, we came back to the hotel for dinner at The Exchange Grill – a restaurant which has been named the city’s best steakhouse by TimeOut Dubai Magazine. Not going to lie, I’m not a big fan of steak, so I wasn’t too excited for dinner. As we were taken to our seats and handed the menus, I didn’t really see anything that appealed to me, so I figured I would just opt for a salad – at least the grilled chicken would be halal! Faizan ordered the filet mignon and I explained to Lakshan (the server) that I would be having a salad. He asked me if I was on a diet – and I gave him a horrified look! Me? No way! Then he asked me if there was anything else I would like and I clarified my preferences. He spoke to the chef and came back to tell me that they would be able to prepare a pasta dish for me (since I love pasta). I can’t even explain how happy this made me. There was no pasta on the menu, but the staff at The Exchange Grill went out of their way to make sure I had an amazing experience. If this isn’t impeccable customer service – I don’t know what is. Needless to say, the pasta was amazing – but here’s the twist: I ended up loving Faizan’s steak as well! Who knew?! The steak was so perfect and tender (not too chewy – which is what I dislike), and so we went halfsies on our meals rather than each eating their own. All-in-all, this was by far the best fine dining experience I’ve ever had. I’ve been to quite a few restaurants in Toronto and nothing even compares. Highly recommend for anyone visiting Dubai!
The next day, we woke up super early because we had a desert safari booked, and had breakfast in the lounge again at 7am. Tomy remembered my preference for peppermint tea, and ensured my day was off to a fresh start. The safari was great and we were back by mid-day. Definitely recommend checking out Planet Tours (which can be booked directly in the lobby on the main floor in Fairmont Dubai). They pick you up from the hotel and conveniently drop you off at the end of the tour. Our tour was the morning excursion, but if you have more free time, I would recommend looking into Platinum Heritage as well, which offers tours with more variety and cultural experiences (can also be booked with the concierge in the lobby).
After the tour, we were back at the hotel to shower and freshen up – and check out their afternoon tea offerings. Included in the Fairmont Gold package, afternoon tea is served daily from 2-5pm. Ever since I first experienced afternoon tea at Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, I’ve fallen in love – I finally understand what the craze is about. The experience at Fairmont Dubai was nothing less! The tea was great, the pastries were yummy, and the atmosphere was warm and comforting.
Overall, I felt like Dubai was the Middle East’s version of “the city that never sleeps.” Although our trip felt short, we had such an amazing time that we hope to be back very soon. Thank you Fairmont Dubai for having us, we absolutely loved our stay!