Sunday, 4 June 2017

Dubai - Our Family BabyMoon to JA Palm Tree Court




One of the first thing's we did last year when we discovered we were expecting again was book a baby moon. The destination was restricted to a Zika free area and it was a toss up between either Dubai (where we went when I was pregnant with Bubs) or Greece. Dubai narrowly got the nod due to easy access to first class medical facilities - just in case.

Having visited the UAE on several occasions previously we have done all the sights and experiences and we simply wanted a few days to relax in luxury and for that reason we chose a resort slightly out of Dubai in Jebel Ali, JA Palm Tree Court.  A sprawling complex with numerous pools, a private beach, golf course and also one of the few all inclusive resorts in Dubai. 

Day One


As per usual we flew with BA overnight and Bubs by now already a seasoned traveller slept the majority of the flight and we arrived into Dubai on a Friday morning to 34c sunshine. It was a 45 minute private transfer to the resort and we were lucky enough to be able to check in early. We also received a room upgrade to a sea facing room in a block much closer to the main facilities. After a quick shower, we unpacked all our clothes into the huge closets and headed down for an early lunch.  

Beach view Junior Suite

Bathroom 
Our first lunch in the now scorching 38 degree sun was in the Anchor Restaurant located overlooking the beach. Bubs had a hot dog from the children’s menu followed by an ice cream (the first of many). I enjoyed the burrata and watermelon salad whilst Mr S opted for a perfectly cooked piece of salmon - the food was off to a great start. Having said that it was a slightly stressful experience due to the pesky crows which linger around waiting to steal your unguarded chips or bread but Bubs had fun shooing them away.

Although we were all inclusive you still presented with an itemised bill and the total for lunch was a eye watering £150, so the all inclusive package is worth is weight in gold.

Mr S Salmon


Burrata Salad

The rest of the day was spent by the children’s splash pool which is all shaded, once Bubs fell asleep I had a craving for chips. Unfortunately none of the restaurants/bars near the pool or beach offer a takeaway or lounger service so Mr S thankfully offered to walk to the Sports cafe located near the marina to satisfy my crave. An offer I think he soon regretted after a sweaty 20 minute round trip in the sweltering heat! (We later realised that the resort has a fleet of golf buggy which are available to whisk you from your room to any of the restaurants.) The lack of snacks available during the day I felt was one of the downsides of the resort. 

For our evening meal we went to Captains restaurant a caribbean grill also located on the beach. We had the best table in the house and enjoyed sun downers before tucking into our delicious meal. I went for the prawn starter, lamb chop main and pineapple desert. Mr S had a refreshing scallop starter and melt in the mouth brisket for main while Bibs enjoyed a chicken and mushroom curry followed by delicious tropical fruits and ice-cream. I only just realised that I took no pictures of any desserts, probably because they were all so good I just couldn’t wait to dig in, either that or I was ready for my bed by that point. 


During the stay we found that all the staff were very friendly and attentive and always made a special effort to speak with Bubs.



Day Two


We all enjoyed an epic 12 hr sleep on an equally epic sized bed and so we got down to breakfast with 15 minutes to spare. The buffet spread was smaller than I had expected but still had plenty of options with fresh eggs and pancakes being made to order.


                                               


As it was the last weekend before Ramadan there was a weekend of sales on across all the malls and last time we where here we got Bubs some great clothes so I jumped at the chance to get more for the little princess growing away in my tummy. The great thing about Dubai malls is they stock american brands which you cannot get anywhere in Europe - Carters is a particular favourite of mine.

We got a taxi to the nearby Ibn Battuta Mall a world themed mall which had different areas which huge showpiece displays such as an Indian elephant or Chinese lanterns. Similar to Westfield London they had a whole strip of baby clothes shops, most of which had 50% discount, needless to say I bought a few items….



Baby Girl Shopping Haul

Back at the hotel we lunched at the sports cafe before spending the rest of the afternoon on the beautiful sandy beach.


Dinner that evening was onboard the resorts moored boat called Divaz, a restaurant dedicated to the freshest seafood. You literally choose the fish you want to eat from the display and tell your waiter how would like it cooked and it arrives at your table about 20mins later - my favourite was the tempura king prawns. The fish went straight through Bubs (Literally!) so I had to spend 20 minutes sorting him out in the bowels of the ship but capped the night off on a high with a lovely section of buffet desserts - the chocolate tart was divine. 





Day Three


We spent most of the day at the beach which was a lot quieter than the pool area. There were plenty of sunbeds and I preferred to chill on the grassy area in front of the beach as it is less messy than sitting directly in the sand - I hate the feeling of wet sand and Bubs tends to get covered from head to toe in the stuff. Luckily for me Mr S did most of the parenting on this holiday as not surprisingly Bubs does not understand the concept of relaxing on a sunbed for hours on end. 

                           
                 


Before we went I read the reviews which said each day there were camels on the beach, unfortunately though one of the camels died before we arrived so Bubs was unable to meet any in person and had to make do with the three camel cuddly toys he has. 
He absolutely loved the beach and despite the heat was constantly running up and down and splashing in the clear warm water with Mr S, when he did finally crash out he did it in style…

Multiuse Kaftans 

Dinner that evening was at the hotels Pan Asian Restaurant called white Orchid, for starters they offered a fabulous sushi, sashimi, tempura and dim sum buffet which are some of our favourite types of food so we made a few trips to sample all the delights. It was especially a hit with Mr S who normally hates buffets.

Bubs had a chicken pad thai which was delicious but he then only wanted to watch Peppa Pig on the iPhone and be rather unsocial but it did mean we got to enjoy our Black Cod and Smoked Duck mains in peace.

Bubs 'No Photos please'
Black Cod - served with a Miso Broth


Day Four



My birthday had arrived and following breakfast we setup camp on the beach again to enjoy a lovely day basking in the sunshine, eating ice cream, drinking sparkling water and watching BBC Iplayer - just my idea of perfection at the moment. We made full use of the beach bar and which stocked cold and hot drinks and a cooling selection of ice creams.



We bought this little foldable deck chair complete with a sun Parasol from B&M stores stores for a bargain price of £5.99 and Bubs loved it both on holiday and now we are back home, just the right size for him to sit back, chill and enjoy his favourite cornetto.

When we returned back to our room in the early evening we were greeted by a chocolate birthday cake and a bottle of fizz to enjoy. Having spent around 9 of my last 10 birthdays abroad I have tasted my fair share of hotel cakes now and this one had to be one of the best - a light chocolate mousse cake which was hard to stop picking at before we headed out for dinner.



Just for nostalgia I wore the same dress I did three years ago when last in Dubai and felt the bump is much bigger this time round and so glad its a maternity dress!


My birthday meal was at Shooters which is located in a shooting range, around a 10min drive away from the resort. For starters Mr S had a delicately presented deconstructed tuna nicois salad which was in total contrast to the disappointing bloated seafood nachos I ordered - a very unappetising portion that I struggled to make a dent in. For mains however the tables were turned as Mr S was presented with raw short ribs which were promptly replaced with another set of equally undercooked ribs and so he went hungry or should I say hangry despite the profuse apologies from the manger. My steak on the other hand was cooked to medium perfection and has to be one of the best I have ever eaten even in comparison to some great steak places in London and our trip to Capetown last year.


I was looking forward to dessert as soon as I saw the word churros on the menu but after one bite I was done - they were dry and not sweet enough but luckily Bubs shared his rocky road brownie with us. To cap the night off we headed down to one of the buffet restaurants and indulged in some fresh mint tea and baklava to end my birthday on a sweeter note.


Day Five


The hotel grounds were beautiful and were home to around 4-5 peacocks which causally stroll around and treat the guests to displays of their extravagant feathers through the day.


For our last day we spent is much the same as the others splitting our time between the beach before lunch and naps and to the pool in the late afternnoon. Bubs loves the pool and never wants to leave so we tactically always went in the late afternoon as the pool closed around 6.30pm and so then we didn’t have to be the bad guys and tell him it was time to leave - the lifeguards on duty took the hit!

                                                

Our last dinner of the holiday was at La Traviata, an Italian restaurant and it turned out we left the best for last. Each of the three courses were well presented, well cooked and delicious.




Carpaccio

Arancini

Final Thoughts

Some of my favourite parts of the resort were the food; the huge rooms that were cleaned very efficiently twice a day and the peacefulness of it all. The resort is out of Dubai so it would not be suitable if you wanted to explore more of what Dubai has to offer and although I thought it was great for preschooler age children I feel those older would want more entertainment especially with the water parks and extreme sports that are on offer in other parts of Dubai. For Bubs age it was great with several pools, a huge beach and lots of rubber ducks, he collected four different ones during his stay. There is a kids club which for under 4s is chargeable and run by English staff however we did not use it as he was happiest being outdoors, 'just chilling' as he would say with us. 

From meeting other guests at the resort there were several who return year on year and know the long serving staff members very well which demonstrated to us how great the resort is. 

We normally go half board in Dubai and find the service to always be the one thing that makes us want to keep returning again and again. For example our last stay at the Fairmont they would come by the sunbeds and polish up your sunglasses for you. I felt travelling All Inclusive was fabuluous especially given the current rate of the pound as it does make Dubai a lot more expensive, however I do feel as a result although there was nothing to fault in the service it was not the above and beyond level we have been accosttmed to in five star Dubai. I am probably being a little harsh but its was something I picked up on during our stay, JA Palm Tree court still had great friendly and attentive service and our holiday did not lack anything but it was not the personalised effort we have experienced previously. This may on part also be due to it being a much larger resort than those on the Palm Jumeriah. 

Another great part of holidaying in Dubai is the safety aspect, you can go off for a walk on the beach or a swim in the pool and leave all your valuables on the sun loungers with no issue of anything going missing. Normally when we go abroad I always make sure I spread any cash out between myself, Mr S and the safe just in case, but here you can take all your millions with you and it will be fine. 

Dubai also uses normal 3 pin sockets as the UK so no need to take travel adapters unless you are coming in from other parts of the world. 



Overall if you want to recharge, have guaranteed sunshine, your pick of sunbeds and delicious food served with a smile throughout the day I would recommend this hotel. 

This was a wonderful familymoon/babymoon and was great to have the quality time with Bubs before his little sister arrives and rocks his world; he has been a great traveller with our return flight being his 20th. We really hope the new arrival shares our love for the world, travelling and food otherwise we may have to just leave her at home with the grandparents ;)




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