Category Archives: Destinations

Seeing a different side to Dubai – Bab al Shams Desert Resort 

Dubai, I have found on the whole is a marmite kind of place – you either love it or you hate it! It’s a pretty showy place and every time I have been I have stayed on the palm! So this time we wanted something a little different so we booked ourselves into the Bab al Shams desert resort and spa! Meaning gateway to the sun, we were hoping for something special from our stay at the desert resort – Bab al Shams!

One of the things I like when staying in a luxury hotel is getting a real sense of place. Personal touches and things unique to the place. To be honest, the hotels I’ve stayed in Dubai previously have been lacking in this! There a lot of chains (nothing wrong with that) but on the inside can feel like anywhere else in the world. My favourite hotels always have something unique about them and this was my hope for Bab al Shams and it didn’t disappoint! All the luxury and 5* treatment that you expect f a great middle eastern hotel coupled with a taste of tradition and heritage! 

We flew into Dubai maktoum airport which is much closer to the resort than dxb but offers only regional flights at the minute but was perfect for us! From here it was about a 40-50 minute drive. When we arrived we were greeted with a lovely Arabian welcome and some fresh lemon mint and baby e was given a soft camel which she became very attached to! 

The desert resort

After a slight confusion over booking details we were shown to our room. The resort is laid out like an Arabian fort – low rise and you walk down winding corridors and alleys with quaint ‘historic’ objects littering the walkways to get to your room! On the way there are many areas to sit and unwind such as reflecting pools and nighttime fire pits! 

Water feature
Fire pit

The room was stunning and had a true sense of place that other Dubai hotels can lack. I was particularly fond of the bathroom.

The bath
Luxurious bathroom
 

The only downside to the traditional layout could be that it can seem a little dark but I think the ambience it creates more than make up for it!

Sitting area

As we arrived late in the evening we went straight out to dinner in one of the five onsite restaurants. Night one we tried masala the Indian offer and were very impressed with the quality. There was a nice mix of traditional and more contemporary dishes and a live band which baby e enjoyed dancing the night away too. Of all the restaurants we tried, this was our favourite.

Masala

On other nights we tried the Italian, Le Dune and Arabic, Al Forsan, which are nice and have lovely views across the desert especially for sundowners. There is also an Arabic buffet restaurant, Al Hadheerah, that has a live show and has a firework display at weekends. Since wandermust daddy was ill and the baby has an earliesh bedtime I didn’t get to do this but is something I’d love to return and do!

As we went half board we had our breakfast at the buffet restaurant. I am not always a buffet fan but was really impressed with the breakfast, especially the live cooking stations. Due to illness, I mostly experienced the resort on my own, I was concerned about the mix of baby and buffet while solo parenting but the staff were so helpful. I had a great time even if wandermust  daddy was shut away in the hotel room for most of the trip! At least we had a nice bed! 

The bed

The whole resort was perfectly set up for families of any size and age. Baby E enjoyed the heated pool and there was plenty of space around the three pool areas.

The pool

Your room rate also includes some desert activities such as camel riding, nature walks, fat bikes and baby E’s favourite falcons! She has now become slightly obsessed with trying to pet birds!

Our fearless traveler

I must admit that even I enjoyed the falconry. The blend of afternoon activities I think makes Bab al shams perfect for the young and he young at heart! 


The resort, while well connected by road is set amongst the sand dunes! You could organise trips out through the hotel but we just enjoyed sitting and taking in the scenery! The baby particularly enjoyed the sand between her toes!


We had a fantastic time and would thoroughly recommend anyone who wants to experience a more traditional Dubai scene to try visiting a desert resort.

Top tip – the resort is much busier on a Friday than in the week due to a large brunch and pool day passes so try and stay mid week if you can 

Have you ever stayed in a desert resort? I’d love to know what you thought! 

 UK City Breaks with babies 

We love a city break and the UK is filled with some great baby friendly cities! Some of favourite family travel bloggers have picked their favourite cities for family city breaks and have shared other parents to offer top tips, advice and inspiration for other families to take successful UK city break. Continue reading  UK City Breaks with babies 

Doha’s Best Restaurants from A-Z

Since starting this blog I’ve discovered that Actually people know very little about Qatar, and certainly isn’t on a lot of people’s bucket lists so I thought I would share something I love about Doha – that’s all the great restaurant you can chose from in this town. From High End to Cheap Eats, Doha is full of unusual and interesting restaurants. So here are my favourite restaurants in Doha from A to Z! Continue reading Doha’s Best Restaurants from A-Z

The Hidden and Not So Hidden Gems of Qatar

Qatar, not on everybody’s bucket list but it is gaining momentum on the tourist front especially through layover/stopover offers with Qatar Airways. I have lived in Qatar for over three years and have discovered that people’s perceptions of the country are limited and many people even expats don’t really head off the beaten track. So here are my hidden and not so hidden gems of Qatar!

 

BEACHES 
KNOWN GEM

Most people when they think of the Middle East think of swanky 5* and luxury hotels where expats can sun themselves all year long. One of my favourite hotel beaches at the Intercon – you can read about our recent staycation here

 

Enjoying the Intercon beach

Continue reading The Hidden and Not So Hidden Gems of Qatar

What I learnt on the free Melbourne walking tour 

I love a walking tour but when travelling for business it’s hard to know when you will have the time which is why the free walking tour in Melbourne was so appealing. No need to book just turn up at  either 10:30 or 2:30 daily by the Redmond Barry statue outside of the State library of Victoria.

Starting point by Redmond Barry statue
Continue reading What I learnt on the free Melbourne walking tour 

Business Trip or Mummy’s Guilt Trip? How I survived my first post-parenthood business trip

This week I have had my first business trip post parenthood. I’ll admit that it’s a good job that this isn’t a pen and paper post as if it was it might be illegibly stained with tears. It’s true I have never been particularly good at solo travel. I like experiencing things with my loved ones and just having someone to chat to. It’s just the way I am. One of the worst travel experiences I’ve ever had was a ten day business trip to Washington DC over Columbus day weekend on my own. I ended up jumping on a plane to Chicago for one night to see friends just to counter the loneliness. Therefore it came as no surprise that I was dreading this trip. Not only was I travelling alone but I was also leaving behind my ten month old baby for the first time. Not something I relished and I’ll admit there was a love actually scene in the departures area as I said goodbye! As I was sat at the airport waiting to depart I was overcome with the Mummy Guilt and would have done anything I could have to avoid going.

Now as I hit post, I can say that I have been happily reunited with baby and hubby and the good news is I survived! my first solo trip post parenthood!  It was never going to be the best trip but my survival strategy definitely worked so if you are a parent having to take a trip or business trip away from your baby these are my tips for how to survive! Continue reading Business Trip or Mummy’s Guilt Trip? How I survived my first post-parenthood business trip

Review of the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne

When choosing a hotel for business rather than pleasure it is all about location, location, location! Which is why when travelling to Melbourne I chose the Grand Hyatt because of its proximity to my conference venue. On top of this however, the Grand Hyatt is also perfectly located for sightseeing being on Collins Street. Collins Street is one of the main streets in Melbourne and being located there meant you had easy access to Melbourne’s awesome museums, theatres, restaurants and coffee and street art laneways. What more could you want!

Obligatory blogger bed shot

Continue reading Review of the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne

European City Breaks with Babies Part Two, N-Z

When we were just a Wandermust Couple, Wandermust Daddy and I loved a city break. I’ve lost count on how many we went on so we were determine to continue when we had children but is it possible to still enjoy a city break with babies?

From our own experience we have found the answer to be undoubtedly yes and as we have looked into it more we have discovered that there are loads of young families out there to inspire you with tales from cities. This round-up features contributes from some of my favourite family travel bloggers telling you about their favourite city breaks they’ve done in Europe with a baby with top tips and advice so you can go to!

PALMA, SPAIN, BY WANDERMUST FAMILY

Here’s what Wandermust Mummy has to say about visiting Palma with a six month old:

At Palma Cathedral

Continue reading European City Breaks with Babies Part Two, N-Z

Saturday dim sum brunch at Nozomi 

Today we went for Saturday brunch at Nozumi. It was a more low key affair than Friday brunch and had a dedicated a la carte dim sum menu!

On arrival the staff were friendly and I was impressed with the modern interior overlooking the Persian Gulf! The waiter was happy to explain the menu set up and suggested we let him order for us which we were only too happy to do.  When the food arrived he was able to knowledgable explain what we were eating.

The menu is laid out in vegetable, fish and meat dumplings but each serving brought out offered a little of everything.

Continue reading Saturday dim sum brunch at Nozomi 

European City Breaks, A-M, with Babies 

When we were just a Wandermust Couple, Wandermust Daddy and I loved a city break. I’ve lost count on how many we went on so we were determine to continue when we had children but is it possible to still enjoy a city break with babies?

From our own experience we have found the answer to be undoubtedly yes and as we have looked into it more we have discovered that there are loads of young families out there to inspire you with tales from cities. This round-up features contributes from some of my favourite family travel bloggers telling you about their favourite city breaks they’ve done in Europe with a baby with top tips and advice so you can go to!

ATHENS, GREECE BY NECTARIOS AT CITYKILKS 


Athens is an amazing city for families to visit. When my wife and I visited with our 9 month old son we took in as many sites as we could, including the Acropolis, Syntagma Square, Plaka and Monastiraki (shopping). Some other notable places we visited were the Olympic Stadium, Lykabettos (the hill opposite the Acropolis) the Acropolis Museum, and the gardens behind Parliament. All of these places are easy to get to by public transportation, which despite Athens’ street network, is super easy to use. The Metro especially is incredibly easy to ride and can take you pretty much anywhere. If you leave the city center, things can get a little more challenging using a stroller but a well planned excursion can save you the hassle. It’s doable.

The nightlife is also very family friendly in Athens. In fact, I recommend staying out late with your child. People watching is a past time in Greece and kids love it. You’ll see plenty of Greeks and their children out and about as late as 12 am and beyond, enjoying breezy warm evenings and nights in the company of friends in local squares and dining outdoors at taverns. The music is also fantastic and really puts you in the mood.

All in all, Athens is simply unforgettable culture, unforgettable people and lots of fun. You can read more Citykliks travels in Athens (and other travels and topics) here. Also, you can follow on Twitter and Facebook

BARCELONA, SPAIN BY WANDERMUST MUMMY FROM WANDERMUSTFAMILY

We went to Barcelona at the end of a cruise for a long weekend with our six month old baby.

Wandermust Family in Barcelona
Continue reading European City Breaks, A-M, with Babies