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Accommodation Asia Destinations Luxury Reviews Sri Lanka

Staying on a Working Sri Lankan Plantation – Horathapola Estate

March 25, 2017
Horathapola Estate Sri Lanka review Red Dot Tours

How many hotels do you know that would check you in at 5.30am, graciously welcoming you with a fresh coconut and showing you to your room (when you don’t officially check in until later that afternoon)?

Prior to our visit to Sri Lanka, I would have said not one hotel would generally provide that level of service; I was proven wrong though.

Horathapola Estate has got you covered!

From the moment we arrived, we were treated like absolute royalty.  This boutique hotel, set on a genuine, working colonial estate is as authentic and gorgeous as they come but even with its obvious beauty, it’s the superb hospitality that stood out for us.

With 50 acres of crops and stunning gardens, it’s easy to slip into a slower pace of life.  Bird call rings out over the lush greenery as lizards and squirrels dart from one tree to another.  Life on the estate for guests is anything but hard with the staff carrying the load to ensure you won’t have to.

Dining at Horathapola Estate

All rooms at the estate come with the ‘half board’ option which includes breakfast and dinner – it’s a good thing too as meal times at Horathapola are a treat!

Their chef works hard to ensure food is prepared in a classically Sri Lankan manner, staying true to the property’s roots.  Fresh produce is taken from the plantation (including milk, rice, cashew nuts and salad greens) and cooked based on guest preferences.

Lunch is available a la carte and is fairly priced with a wide range of options available.

Touring the Estate

It’s not every day you’re welcomed onto a working plantation so we were delighted when the offer of a tour around the estate was made!

A bullock cart ride (you guessed it, that’s a cart pulled by a bull) takes guests around the expansive property, offering insight into rural life in Sri Lanka.  The unmistakable smell of cinnamon hangs in the air and countless trees bear fruit, ripe for picking – it really is a tropical paradise.

Whilst our guide explained the many different crops found on the plantation (coconut, rice, cashews, mango, pepper corn and cinnamon just to name a few) our driver raced up a coconut palm, more than happy to provide us with fresh coconut water and flesh.

On Your Bike!

Should you wish to head outside of the estate – and we recommend you do – mountain bikes are available at no additional charge.  We shouldn’t have been surprised by the quality of the bikes (we came to realise that this hotel doesn’t do things by half) but they really were heads and shoulders above what we’ve been offered in the past.

The roads around the estate are safe with locals driving slowly and incredibly patiently.  The majority of people we came across were on scooters or walking and everyone (literally everyone!) gave us a friendly beep or called out to us.  Compared to other parts of Sri Lanka, the Horathapola Estate feels a little off the tourist trail (which is fantastic news for those that visit) and though I’m not sure if the locals were excited to see us as they’re not yet inundated with tourists or if they’re just incredibly friendly to everyone they come across, it was a real pleasure being a guest in their slice of paradise for the day.

Why You Should Pick Horathapola Estate Over a Stay in Colombo

Others will tell you that although Colombo isn’t a drawcard for visitors to Sri Lanka, a stop in the country’s largest city is almost unavoidable.  Red Dot Tours are onto a winner here though, instead recommending visitors make the hour long drive out to Horathapola Estate for some serious rest and relaxation.  When I compare our stay here with the idea of contending with Colombo’s hustle and bustle, there’s absolutely no doubt that this was the right decision.

Really though, look at these photos.  Was there ever any doubt that this was the best choice?


 Skip Colombo and head straight to Horathapola Estate to unwind and experience the real Sri Lanka. Warm and welcoming staff, a stunning pool, delicious food and local tours - this working plantation is a must-see on your itinerary. Skip Colombo and head straight to Horathapola Estate to unwind and experience the real Sri Lanka. Warm and welcoming staff, a stunning pool, delicious food and local tours - this working plantation is a must-see on your itinerary. Skip Colombo and head straight to Horathapola Estate to unwind and experience the real Sri Lanka. Warm and welcoming staff, a stunning pool, delicious food and local tours - this working plantation is a must-see on your itinerary.

Thank you to Red Dot Tours and Horathapola Estate for making our visit possible.  To find out about the customised tour that Red Dot put together for us, check out our itinerary!

Accommodation Destinations Doha Luxury Middle East Qatar Stop Overs & Quick Trips

A Weekend Itinerary in Doha – Why You Shouldn’t Just Fly Through Qatar!

March 14, 2017

With a weekend to spare, Nathan and I decided to hop over to Doha, Qatar.  Though I work with a number of teachers that have lived in Doha in the past, I’d heard mixed things about just how worthwhile the city was.  Is it work a stopover if you’re flying through?  Should you book a flight if you’re living in the Middle East and want a weekend away?

Despite having the highest GDP per capita in the world, we found the people of Qatar to be welcoming and approachable.  The wealth of the country is evident in its gorgeous buildings that are shooting up like wildfire.

Though the city doesn’t rival Dubai in terms of scale or grandeur or compete with Muscat’s stunning mountain ranges, it does have an energy that is uniquely Qatari and, in our opinion, certainly worth seeing.

If you’re planning a visit to Doha or stopping over on your way elsewhere (which you definitely should do), this guide is for you.

Tourist Activities in Doha, Qatar

Admire the Museum of Islamic Arts

Home to a variety world-class exhibits, the Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA) contains beautiful and intriguing artworks from three continents, spanning 1,400 years.

Though we’ve lived in Abu Dhabi for the last year and a half and have travelled fairly extensively throughout the region, we’ve not seen an art collection that comes even close to rivalling this one.

Soak Up Traditional Middle Eastern Vibes at Souq Waqif

With the smell of shisha and oud drifting through the air and the buzz of goods changing hands as if in a scene from Aladdin, Souq Waqif has an old-world charm that is sometimes lacking in other Middle Eastern markets.

Souq Waqif was one of our favourite parts of Doha and we could have very happily stayed there people-watching all night.  The souq alone is reason to visit Qatar!

Take a Walk Along the Corniche and Check Out the City Lights

Winding 7 kilometres along Doha Bay is the corniche, providing visitors with perfect views back over the city.  Doha’s skyline is gorgeous and instantly recognisable with such iconic buildings – things will only get more exciting too as the city ramps up for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.  Construction is already well under way – we can’t wait to see how the skyline continues to evolve.

If parks, restaurants and statues are more your style, there are plenty of other options along the corniche including pop-up markets,  traditional arts and crafts and playgrounds.  If you’re after a cheap momento to take home, you might get lucky and find a local lady offering henna – if you do (and you’re a lady), jump at the chance – henna smells amazing thanks to the addition of essential oils and it’s a great opportunity to chat with a Qatari.

Did you know?  Qatari’s make up only 12% of the entire population in this small Middle Eastern country.

Relax with a Massage

After a busy week at work or when you’re straight off a long flight, there’s not much better than a luxurious massage or spa treatment.  Upon arriving into the city we checked into Chi, the beautiful spa at the Shangri-La – we booked in for a wellness massage (the ku nye to be specific) and it hit the spot perfectly!

If massages aren’t your thing, Chi also has a hydrotherapy pool and a full range of health and beauty therapies to help make you look and feel like a million dollars.

Enjoy World-Class Cuisine

When we talked to our friends that have lived in Qatar they all had the same advice – go to Doha and eat up a storm.  Food is an important part of life there and it’s done well because of it.  I’m not sure if people eat out lots because the food is good or if the food’s good because lots of people head out but either way, make the most of it!

Our favourite was the Shanghai Club where we enjoyed world-class Chinese food with breath-taking views (162.3m above ground to be exact) – just go in with empty tummies as the amount of food was absolutely incredible.  Duck pancakes and sweet and sour fish were the standout dishes of the night for me – I’m getting hungry just thinking about them again!

Have More Time Up Your Sleeve?

There’s a surprisingly diverse range of things to do in Qatar considering the size of the country.  Why not pay a visit to the Singing Sand Dunes, the Katara Cultural Village or the Pearl (Doha’s take on the Dubai’s Palm)?  Alternatively, head into the warm Arabian waters and enjoy a scuba dive or head out into the dessert on a quintessentially Middle Eastern desert safari.

Getting There – Flights and Visa Requirements

Qatar shares a land border with only one country, Saudi Arabia, and due to visa limitations, the vast majority of people are not able to use this point of entry to the country.

If you’re visiting Qatar, chances are it will be on a stopover or a quick getaway from another Middle Eastern country and your point of arrival will be Hamad International Airport.  This stunning airport sits approximately 25 minutes out of the city centre making it easily accessible.

Residents of thirty-three countries are entitled to a visa on arrival (for QAR100 per person) and though this can be purchased online, doing so at the airport is quick and easy making it a viable option.

Alternatively, if you’ve booked a stopover through Qatar Airways (for between 5 and 96 hours), you’re entitled to a complimentary transit visa – just be sure to allow at least 7 days to process the visa.  Once it’s up and running, you’ll have a 30 day window with which to use it.

If you book a through-ticket with Qatar Airways, you’ll also be eligible for a free city tour (on a first come, first served basis) but it is a real whistle-stop tour so should you have the time to explore on your own accord, we’d definitely recommend doing so.

To find the lowest priced fairs and compare value between different airlines, we recommend using Skyscanner.

Hamad International Airport teddy bear Urs FischerRegardless of how you get to Doha, you’ll want to head into the city.  To do so, you can choose between taxis (which you’ll find waiting just outside of the terminal) or have the Shangri-La organise a private car for you.  Check out our ride!

Getting Around

Doha is well serviced by taxis, which are the easiest way to get around.  They’re well priced and the drivers we had all knew their through the city (which is more than we can sometimes say for drivers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai!) – just remember to ask them to put the meter on and round your payment up for the driver.

Though it’s possible to hire a car, we did see some fairly erratic driving and taxis are cheap and comfortable so we’d be hard pressed to recommend driving yourself for a short stay.

Where to Stay in Qatar

Shangri-La Hotel Doha

Opened in 2015, the Shangri-La Hotel Doha is synonymous with warmth and luxury – the perfect balance, ensuring guests are spoilt whilst still feeling at home.  It’s a spectacular option in Doha.  With 272 rooms, this striking city hotel is located in the central business district of West Bay which makes it a convenient base for a weekend away.

With a fully appointed gym (and personal trainers on hand throughout the day), four restaurants, three bars, a falcon and its handler in the lobby (I’m not joking!) and a direct connection to one of the biggest malls in Doha, there’s plenty to keep guests busy.

Most impressive of all though is the incredible pool and the spectacular city views.

The pool, built on the 7th floor of the hotel, is surrounded by towering hotels and office blocks.  It’s a genuine oasis in the hustle and bustle of downtown and with its sheer size and the number of palm trees (2,000 square metres and over 70 palms!), it’s surprisingly easy to forget there you are.  In all our travels, we’ve never seen anything quite like it.

When you’re finished relaxing pool-side, we suggest heading up to the Horizon Club Lounge on the 42nd floor.  Here breakfast is served to guests in the largest lounge in all of Doha, with stunning 360-degree views.  Regardless of the time of day, refreshments are available at no additional charge and come early evening, a lavish spread is put on making the Horizon Club Lounge the perfect spot to relax before dinner and watch life in the city go by beneath you.

We’re not normally ones to sit around in a communal space, preferring instead to be out exploring or relaxing in our room but with snacks, relaxing music, books galore and incredible views, we found ourselves slipping quietly onto a comfy sofa more than once.

If you’re looking to treat yourselves (and why wouldn’t you?), the booking a Horizon Club room is the perfect way to do so.  By the time you account for all of the additional benefits, it’s an easy decision.

As you would expect, the rooms in the Shangri-La Hotel are exceptional, each with their own floor-to-ceiling windows allowing guests to make the most of views out over the ever-expanding city.

All rooms offer complimentary WiFi, TVs with a wide range of channels (and a sound system that even lets you listen to your favourite shows whilst in the bath!) and spacious floor plans.  The bathrooms are also generously sized with moulded bathtubs, rain showers and high-quality toiletries.

It’s the finishing touches in a five-star hotel that set it above the rest and the addition of a simple hair-tie to our amenity collection is surprisingly telling.  As silly as it is, I hate it when my hair tie breaks and the fact that the Shangri-La go to that level of detail to look after their guests tells you just how invested they are in giving their guests the very best experience, each and every time.

Beautiful pools and views aside, it’s those personal touches that take a gorgeous hotel to the next level and the Shangri-La Hotel Doha sits very comfortably in the that echelon – what I would call personalised-luxury.

As we found in when staying at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa in Oman, service is the core focus of these beautiful hotels.  When we walked around the Horizon Club Lounge we couldn’t help but notice that our hosts knew all of the guests by name – no small feat considering the number of people they must see through their doors.  Though the building and facilities are obviously top-notch, in our opinion, it’s the service and finishing touches that makes Shangri-La memorable as a brand.

When all is said and done, was the trip to Qatar worth our time and would we recommend others visit?

Absolutely.

Though it’s not a glitzy as as Dubai or steeped in history like Cairo, Doha has its own down-to-earth charm whilst still wowing with its obvious wealth (a difficult balance but one that it somehow manages).

Having visited, I can now understand why so many of my friends that have lived in the region consider Doha to be such a liveable city – it seems to strike the right balance in so many regards.

So, next time you’re looking for a weekend away from your adopted GCC homeland or are considering stopping off in the Middle East, don’t overlook Qatar.  Too many people pass through the airport without ever really setting foot on Qatari soil and take it from us, they’re missing out.


If you’re headed to Doha, Qatar, why not pin this post for future reference?

Doha is growing into a buzzing Middle Eastern city but too many people make the mistake of passing straight through. Don't be one of them! Find out why we recommend exploring Qatar. What to do, where to stay and how to get around - our guide will help you make the most of this charming city. Doha is growing into a buzzing Middle Eastern city but too many people make the mistake of passing straight through. Don't be one of them! Find out why we recommend exploring Qatar. What to do, where to stay and how to get around - our guide will help you make the most of this charming city. The best pool in all of Qatar! Check out why you have to stay at the Shangri-La Hotel in Doha (plus your guide to the city).

Thank you to the Shangri-La Hotel, Doha for inviting us to join them to experience a snippet into life in Qatar.  As always, all thoughts are our own.

Accommodation Luxury Middle East Oman Reviews

Living It Up in Muscat, Oman – Pure Luxury at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa

February 19, 2017

The Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, sitting just 20 minutes out of Muscat, represents pure luxury in the Sultanate of Oman.  So much more than just a resort, there is no delaying denying where you are – this hotel offers world-class hospitality, the most incredible Omani backdrop and a range of services to ensure your holiday is one you’ll never forget.

Arabian perfection at its finest.  

Don’t take our word for it though – read on to find out exactly why we fell in love with Muscat’s Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa.

A First Impression to Remember

Occasionally a sight takes your breath away.  Our first visit to Barr Al Jissah, Oman, in September of 2015 did exactly that.

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa Oman review

From our perch atop sheer cliffs, azure blue waves washing gently upon the shore, we couldn’t help but wonder  – why don’t more people know about the beauty of Oman and its people?

Unsurprisingly, word is spreading!  This year it was recognised as one of the top 10 countries to visit in 2017 (by Lonely Planet, no less).

As we stood, then and there, we agreed that not only would we return to Muscat, but that the Shangri-La was precisely where we had to stay.

On our second visit back to this gorgeous part of North-Eastern Oman, we made good on our promise to return and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the Shangri-La exceeded all of our already-high expectations.

Arriving at The Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa

As you would expect, check-in was a pleasure thanks to friendly and efficient staff who graciously showed us around this touch of paradise (even if it was ours only for a weekend).

The unmistakable smell of oud floating through the air, glistening marble and intricate, ornate archways and ceilings; it was clear we had arrived somewhere special.

Perfectly situated in between the Sea of Oman and a dramatic mountainous backdrop, the five-star Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa spans an impressive 124 acres of prime Arabian real estate, providing guests with three unique but cohesive accommodation experiences.

640 beautifully appointed rooms and suites are spread between the exclusive Al Husn Hotel (The Castle), Al Bandar Hotel (The Town) and the family-oriented hotel, Al Waha (The Oasis), ensuring that all guests, whether visiting for business or pleasure, are perfectly catered for.

Every element of each hotel has been carefully considered; from the perfect beachfront setting to the Omani architecture, the incredible hospitality to the well matched outlets on site – it’s all designed for maximum enjoyment.

“When combining our delivery of Shangri-La’s legendary hospitality from the heart together with the warm welcome and hospitality of the Omani people, it is an unbeatable combination.” – Juergen Doerr, General Manager, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Sultanate of Oman

Dining Options

A range of world-class restaurants, cafes and bars are spread between the three hotels, providing 21 different food and beverage experiences, each one unique.

Over the course of our stay, we visited three different restaurants and were delighted by all of them.  With pricing much more affordable than expected, we were able to treat ourselves to delicious food without ever thinking about our wallets which is always appreciated.

Sultanah

Each morning we enjoyed breakfast out on the deck of the Sultanah restaurant.  Included alongside the expansive buffet was an à la carte menu far exceeding anything we’ve come across at another included hotel breakfast – freshly poached snapper and steak cooked to perfection – nothing was too much trouble.

Circles

Looking for a casual late lunch we made ourselves at home outside by one of the Shangri-La’s beautiful pools.  As we’d hoped, lunch was tasty and filling – we were pleasantly surprised by just how large the portions and how reasonable the prices were.  A clear winner if you’re looking for a relaxed bite to eat during the day whilst enjoying beautiful views.

Asia

With options abound we settled on a visit to Asia for dinner – the collection of Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Chinese dishes were too good to resist.  Each plate was delicious, perfectly cooked and seasoned and again, served in generous portions.  The satay skewers were amongst the best I’ve ever tasted and Nathan couldn’t stop raving about the crab salad he had as an entree.  Warm and comforting, the food at Asia was exactly what we were after.

Unwinding at the Shangri-La

Once you’ve enjoyed a tasty bite to eat, there are plenty of options to help you relax including

  • two private beaches
  • six freshwater swimming pools (literally some of the nicest we’ve ever seen!)
  • mini golf
  • four tennis courts
  • a health club and spa
  • a well appointed kids zone (let them go to town whilst you unwind)
  • a marina and dive centre
  • water sports including kayaking, snorkelling and sailing
  • an Omani heritage village and
  • a library.

With so much to do, the relatively isolated location of the resort is not a problem in the slightest.  Both Nathan and I are generally active holiday-seekers and there was more than enough for us to do without stepping foot out of the resort.  We had in fact planned to head into town but opted to stay within the complex instead, making the most of the options on offer there.

How many resorts have you been to where you can ride a camel and Arabian horse along the beach or drift from one gorgeous hotel to another along a lazy river?

Al Husn – An Exclusive, Adults-Only Haven

Though we explored all three of the Shangri-La hotels during the course of our stay, we loved returning to Al Husn, the most exclusive part of the resort.

As guests at Al Husn, everyone is treated like absolute royalty – to be frank, it’s been hard adjusting back to the real world again.

All guests of the hotel enjoy a complimentary minibar (with an assortment of soft drinks, juices and imported beers), snacks, fresh fruit and flowers in their room, all replenished daily.  In addition, Al Husn visitors receive adults-only access to the resort’s private beach and the most incredible infinity pool, perched high above the clifftop.  After a day spent (as busy or relaxed as you please), invitations to high tea and and pre-dinner drinks & canapés are extended, all at no additional cost.

Absolutely everything is thought of at Al Husn.

Need a ride somewhere? Golf carts are on hand to help out (though we chose to walk and take in our gorgeous setting in a more leisurely way).

Relaxing by the pool?  Pick up an individually packed chilly-bin, filled with cool water, juice and Evian facial spray.

Heaven on earth!

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa Oman review

Our Room a Al Husn Deluxe Seaview Room

Our room was as spacious as it was gorgeous – everything you would expect from a five-star resort like the Shangri-La.

With a generous dressing room, bathroom (which included a powerful rain-shower and a full bathtub and a selection of amazing L’Occitane products) and lounge area there was more than enough space to relax inside our room.  Combine that with a fully equipped desk, complimentary wi-fi, Bose sound system, wide-screen TV with a wide selection of international channels, a comfortable king-size bed and fresh fruit and flowers topped up daily (oh and remember that complimentary mini-bar?), it would have been hard to find a reason to actually leave the room in a lesser resort!

Would we Return to the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa?

Without hesitation!

There’s something about Oman that just steals your heart away – if you’ve not considered visiting, add this beautiful country to your bucket-list now.  While you’re at it, book yourself a room at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa – hotels just don’t get better.

When all was said and done, we left for the second time with a promise to return and no doubt, we will.


If you’re headed to Oman, be sure to pin this post for future reference.  This is a resort that you don’t want to miss out on!

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa Oman review Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa Oman review

Thank you to the Shangri-La for so generously hosting the majority of our stay.  As always, all thoughts expressed are our own.  

Supplementary photographs have been supplied by the Shangri-La – unfortunately the weekend that we visited, the GCC experienced one of the few storms of the season.  The grey skies didn’t represent the gorgeous weather that’s typical of the region year-round and we wanted to show you exactly how it looked on our first visit.

Abu Dhabi Accommodation Expat Life Luxury Middle East Reviews United Arab Emirates

A 2.5 Hour Drive from Abu Dhabi but a World Away: Jebel Dhanna’s Beachfront Paradise

February 9, 2017
danat jebel dhanna resort Abu Dhabi review

Only two and a half hours from the buzz of Abu Dhabi City, you’ll find Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort, a welcome reprise from the rush of everyday life.

Located on the shore of the mainland, opposite Sir Bani Yas Island, guests benefit from many of the perks of being near this natural reserve without the often-hefty price tag of the resorts on the island.

We spent a weekend at the Danat Jebel Dhanna and wanted to share our honest thoughts with those of you living in the UAE or planning a visit to Abu Dhabi.  Read on to find out what we thought…

Arriving at Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort

After a comfortable 2.5 hour drive from Abu Dhabi, following the coast West past the sand dunes, we arrived at Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort to begin our weekend of relaxation (and fun!)

As you would expect from a hotel of this calibre, check-in was a breeze and from the moment we arrived until the moment we left the staff greeted us with wide smiles and open arms.  This resort perfectly combines luxury with an unpretentious ease – if you want to dress up, you won’t be out of place but if you’re there to unwind after a busy week, you’ll also feel comfortable walking around in your trackies.

The grounds of the resort are fairly extensive and there’s lots of grass to relax on (a surprisingly significant treat when you live in the desert) along with beautifully maintained gardens.  The star of the Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort is, without doubt, the gorgeous seafront location though – the water was absolutely stunning and calm, both day and night.  It’s there’s an oil refinery that sits out on the horizon but it doesn’t impact the view badly – in fact, seeing it lit up at night, it was surprisinly beautiful out on the water.

Our own Private Oasis

The rooms at Danat Jebel Dhanna are generously sized and all benefit from fantastic views out over the gardens and opposing beach (which genuinely has the clearest, most gorgeous water we’ve seen in the Middle East!)

With plenty of room to lounge, a desk to work from and a beautiful deck, spending time in our room as a pleasure, though I must admit, it was hard dragging ourselves out of the incredibly plush bed each morning – it was definitely up there with some of the best we’ve slept in.

The bathroom was also well-sized and included all of the amenities a guest could need – a shave kit, loofah and moisturiser along with all of the standard inclusions you would expect of a five-star hotel.

danat jebel dhanna resort Abu Dhabi review room

Dining Options at Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort

Zaitoun

Serving contemporary Italian fare in an intimate and homely setting we were delighted to find a restaurant serving such delicious food so far out of Abu Dhabi.  We decided on the three course set menu and with complimentary bread and nibbles and large portion sizes, came away very full and very happy!

L’Attitude

If you’re looking for a relaxed adults-only spot to enjoy your evening, you’ll want to head to L’Attitude.  Delicious food served pub-style,  a live band (that featured three amazing singers and lots of classic tunes!) and tropical cocktails, we had a great night in there.

Tides

Tides is the main restaurant servicing the Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort and it’s open right through the day to ensure nobody goes hungry.

Every morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast which included a wide selection of options at the buffet along with freshly made plates (waffles, pancakes and omelettes anyone?) and for lunch we were pleased to see a range of options including curries, Arabic barbecue, meat cooked to order, salads, soups and much more.

Restaurants in other parts of the world could really learn a thing or two from buffets in the United Arab Emirates – they do them incredibly well!

C-View

The best option if you’re looking for a treat in between meals or need a coffee hit.  When the sun goes down, they also serve a full selection of alcoholic drinks – all with views out over the garden – what a spot to relax.

Who is Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort Best Suited For?

Familes with Children

The resort is especially well set up to cater to the needs of families.  With a playground, kids club and a wading pool, there’s plenty to keep the little ones engaged and happy.

Though there’s plenty for kids to do at the hotel we were never once disturbed by them – all of the children there were well-behaved, respectful and well-occupied, making it not only good for families but for anyone planning a getaway.

Those Looking to be Pampered

Nathan loves a good massage and when he comes out saying he’s just had the best massage of his life, you know you’re onto a seriously good thing!  We settled on a Swedish and aromatherapy massage respectively and for an hour let all of our worries melt away (though let’s face it, when your weekends look like this, you don’t have too much to worry about!)

Active Relaxers

If your idea of relaxing involves expelling a little more energy, you’ll have plenty of options at Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort!

Over the course of our visit we jumped onboard their boat to go snorkelling out above their local reef and zipped around on the banana boat (which was really much more of a giant hotdog – fun!).  There’s also a basketball court, tennis and squash courts, volleyball, a swimming pool, kayaks, a full gym and the option of additional motorized watersports (wakeboarding or waterskiing, anyone?)

Would we Recommend Danat Jebel Dhanna Resort?

If we could be there right now, we would be, so yes, we definitely recommend you check this beautiful seaside spot out.  It’s not the newest of hotels but set out of the city, on a stunning beach, with fantastic activity options, tasty food and staff that go above and beyond to make you feel at home, it ticks all of the boxes for us!


Only 2.5 hours drive from Abu Dhabi, we found paradise!

We were guests of Danat Hotels and spent the weekend at the resort for the purpose of this review.  As always, all thoughts are our own and 100% honest.

Europe Iceland Luxury Reviews

Reviewing The Radisson Blu Saga – A Landmark in Reykjavík, Iceland

February 1, 2017
Radisson Blu Saga hotel review

During our recent visit to Iceland, we spent two glorious nights at the Radisson Blu Saga.  Warm and comfortable with fantastic service, we felt instantly at home (if our room was freshly renovated and we had people to look after our every need!)  We certainly recommend the Radisson Blu Saga – read on to find out why.

The Radisson Blu – An Icelandic Landmark

In a country where myths and stories take pride of place, it seems fitting that our favourite Icelandic hotel,  the Radisson Blu Saga comes with its own unique backstory.

Though Reykjavik is a bustling little city now, it wasn’t always that way.  When the capital made the decision to ban horses from the main city streets to make room for cars, the local farmers were understandably unimpressed – so much so, that the Icelandic Farmers Association decided to purchase land slightly outside of the city centre on which to build their new base.  After all, there’s not much more important to an Icelandic farmer than their prized horses!

By the time the new farmers’ headquarters was built, cars had well and truely infiltrated Iceland’s way of life, to the point that local farmers had been swept up by the automobile themselves.  Though their horses were as valued as always, the need for their new HQ to be based outside of the city centre wasn’t as great with cars becoming their preferred means of transport and their offices were eventually renovated and turned into the Radisson Blu.

If you use your imagination, you’ll be able to visualise where the horses would have been housed – breakfast is served in what were originally the stables!

Now however, you’ll only see the well-known Icelandic horses well outside of the city, keeping each other company (whilst often accompanied by a heard of tourists keen to snap a special picture) but the Radisson Blu remains in town as a nod to life gone-by in Iceland.

Pro Tip:  Your best chance of spotting the northern lights over Reykjavik are just down the road and when you’re finished up in the cold, you’ll look forward to returning to the comfort of this fantastic hotel.

Around the Hotel

With 236 rooms available, there’s something to suit most budgets and needs.  All rooms enjoy views of the city or seashore and include the standard amenities that you would expect from a five-star hotel, along with a level of personal service often reserved for a boutique hotel.

Though the building is getting on in age, the rooms themselves have been very tastefully renovated and there’s no doubt, the hotel has good bones.  The stairwells hint at the age of the building but last I checked, that’s not where people spend the majority of their vacation time.

Onsite you’ll find three restaurants and a lounge bar along with a small boutique selling gorgeous locally-made scarves, beanies and souvenirs.

For those that want to be more active, there’s a gym available for your use and a salon should you want to fancy yourself up before a night out on the town.

There is also plenty of complimentary parking on the grounds of the Radisson and all tour operators will happily come out to collect you should you prefer not to drive.

Our Room at the Radisson Blu Saga

From the second we walked into our room (until the moment when we begrudgingly left for the last time) we knew we were onto a winner.

With a massive, beautifully plush bed (literally one of the best we’ve ever slept on), a powerful rain shower and a great selection of supplies (robes, slippers, shower ammenities, tea and coffee making facilities and a chocolate each), we were well catered for in our room.

Though it was dark and cold outside, we’d have never known thanks to powerful heating and adjustable lighting within our room.  Whilst snuggled up in our room we enjoyed the TV which included a solid range of international channels and the complimentary Wi-Fi was, as always, well put to use.

At the end of a day of exploration around Reykjavik we really enjoyed coming back to the warmth and comfort of our room – a haven from the weather and darkness outside.

Good Eats in Reykjavik

There are some obvious perks that come with the Radisson Blu’s association to the Icelandic Farmers Association – namely, fantastic food!

Breakfast at Sunnusalur

Often when we reflect back on the quality of a hotel stay, it’s the cooked breakfast that seals the deal for us.  Breakfast at home is always a quick affair, focused more on convenience than culinary flair so we always look forward to our first meal of the day when we’re treated to a stand-out one whilst travelling.

The buffet at Sunnusalur (one of the Radisson’s three onsite restaurants) did not disappoint – in fact, it went down as one of the best breakfast buffets we’ve ever enjoyed!

They had a fantastic range of both hot and cold options, with something to please everyone – omelettes, bacon, sausage, skyr (a local favourite), fresh fruit, cereal, cold cuts, cheese, waffles with cream, fresh fruit juice (try the ‘hulk’ with spinach, mango, lemon, ginger and avocado or our favourite, banana and blueberry), there really wasn’t much they didn’t have.

With such a fantastic spread, you’ll be well set up for a busy day exploring Iceland.

Dinner at Grillið

Tucked away on the top floor of the Radisson Blu, you’ll find Grillið, a fine-dining restaurant with an incredible eye for detail.  Frequently rated as one of Reykjavik’s best restaurants, they serve only the freshest of local produce and sustainably-sourced ingredients.  Grillið take their food incredibly seriously and it shows.

With panoramic views of the city and service as friendly as it is slick, Grillið serves up local specialities, memorable and unique to the area.

A little unsure of what to expect, we tried the four course set menu which sounds relatively simple but in reality, is anything but.

  • Herring, eggs and onions
  • Liver, goose and bramble berries
  • Lamb, celeriac and crowberries
  • Chocolate and mandarins

Each dish was beautifully cooked and delicately seasoned, served with wine to compliment the different flavours found within each course.

I’m a chronically fussy eater and must admit that when I first sat down, I had my reservations about just how many of the presented meals I would be able to eat but to say I was pleasantly surprised would be a huge understatement.  Not only did I eat every dish but I genuinely enjoyed them all and came away having tried dishes that were as memorable as they were unique to Iceland.

Consider yourself a foodie?  Don’t miss Wake Up Reykjavik’s awesome food tour!

Why You Should Consider Staying at the Radisson Blu Saga

We had a fantastic stay at the Radisson Blu Saga and would unreservedly recommend a stay here to visitors to Iceland.

It’s close enough to the city to be convenient (especially if you have a car) but removed from the sometimes confusing one-way streets of the centre of town, plus you’ll save money by being on the outskirts of town.  The staff at the Radisson are second-to-none and somehow strike the perfect balance between treating you like family whilst catering to your needs as if you’re royalty – you can’t ask for more than that!


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Radisson Blu Saga Iceland review

Thank you to Radisson Blu Saga for hosting us.  All thoughts are honest and, as always, our own.

Abu Dhabi Food Luxury Middle East Reviews United Arab Emirates

The Sweet Taste of Caramel – Abu Dhabi Restaurant Review

December 17, 2016
Caramel Abu Dhabi review

Abu Dhabi has a plethora of world-class restaurants, offering practically any cuisine one could desire.

American food may not traditionally stir up thoughts of fine dining but Caramel, on Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island, will challenge your perceptions of what American-inspired dining can offer.

Set in a moody but welcoming lounge-style restaurant, the restaurant will welcome you in whilst the food will have you coming back for more.

Here, traditional favourites are served with a flavourful twist.  Mac and cheese (with truffle oil and three cheese dipping sauce – you didn’t think this would be your standard mac and cheese did you?) and kobe BBQ beef sliders can be found on the menu, sitting alongside ingredients and inspiration taken from the UK and Asia as well.  At Caramel, the focus is less on one particular cuisine and more on delivering meals of the highest standard – the benefit of this is that everyone will find something they’ll enjoy eating.

Entrees

After much debate, Nathan decided on the marinated kobe beef tacos whilst I ordered Caramel’s signature ‘buffalo style’ chicken lollipops.

The kobe beef tacos were fresh and tasty, served with aubergine ra and stuffed with Wagyu beef – Nathan devoured them in no time (a sure sign of their quality).  Straight away, we knew we were onto a good thing!

Together we worked through my serve of chicken lollipops.  Neither of us had tried this style of chicken before but we’re both absolutely converted.  In essence, they were buffalo wings, but thanks to the chef’s handy knife work, all of the hassle of eating chicken wings was removed.  We were left with tasty morsels of chicken, with crispy skin and a tasty, spicy buffalo sauce, that were easy to cut apart.  Served with a mild blue cheese sauce which was appreciated to help put out the fire (though they were the perfect level of spice).

Mains

Next up were the mains and upon our servers recommendation we leapt at the chance to try two of the most popular dished on the menu – steak and frittes along with the seared Chilean sea bass.  We found out first-hand that they’re popular for a reason!

Fries.  Fries served with parmesan and garlic.  Seriously, this is absolutely the best way to eat fries, so I found out.  Everything about my main was spot on – from the delicious pommes frites to the beautifully cooked medium-rare tenderloin and accompanying steak and peppercorn sauces.  On the surface, the meal was relatively simple but all of the flavours shone through, creating a main that we both seriously enjoyed.

Nathan’s a real lover of seafood (me, not so much) and he was very pleased with his choice to order the seared sea bass.  The fish itself was served on a bed of rock shrimp risotto and lobster broth, topped with tomato, basil tapenade.  It was literally the best risotto he’s ever eaten and an option he highly recommends for seafood lovers.

Desserts

Dessert was a real toss-up with four options catching our eye.  The choice between a butterscotch bomb, baked Alaska, dark chocolate fondant and vanilla bean creme brûlée wasn’t easy but in the end we decided on the later two.  Thought I don’t doubt that all of the desserts would have been amazing, I can vouch for how special the two we had were.  

My chocolate fondant was cooked to perfection – rich cake on the outside with a gooey centre that somehow avoided being too sweet.  Normally served with cappuccino ice-cream, I requested vanilla bean instead and found it to offset the dark chocolate fondant beautifully.

Nathan’s creme brûlée (made with fresh cream, vanilla beans and caramelised bananas) was amongst the smoothest creme brûlées we’ve ever had and a real highlight.

Our Thoughts on Caramel, Abu Dhabi

Though Caramel isn’t exactly priced at the budget end of the spectrum, the servings are very generous, the food delicious, the setting very special and the staff professional.  It would make a perfect choice for a date night, special occasion or evening when you just want to treat yourself.

What a treat it was for us!


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Caramel Review, Abu Dhabi

Thank you to Caramel for inviting us along to review them.  As always, all thoughts are our own.

Dubai Expat Life Luxury Middle East Reviews United Arab Emirates

How is this my Life? Relaxing at the Waldorf Astoria on the Palm, Dubai

December 14, 2016
waldorf astoria dubai palm jumeirah Privilee review

It’s funny, when we envisaged our lives in Abu Dhabi, we certainly never imagined we’d be rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous out on Dubai’s Palm.  A year on though, we frequently find ourselves enjoying the best pools and beach clubs in the UAE (thanks to Privilee – the best membership around!) and though we haven’t met anyone of mention yet, there’s no doubt it feels like we could!

The Waldorf Astoria is located out on the East Crescent, with views out to the Atlantis, and is home to four pools and a variety of leisure activities.

If you’re there to take a dip (as we were) then you can choose from the large family pool, a slightly smaller but peacefully quiet adults only pool and or one of two jacuzzis.  Tennis is also on offer, as are a range of water-sports (including standup paddle boarding and fishing) out on the private beach.

When you’re ready for a bite to eat, you can indulge in plenty of tasty snacks and meals poolside, or head into the restaurants to relax.

We had a fantastic day at the Waldorf Astoria and will certainly be back.  The pools are beautiful, the food tasty and the service great (complimentary bottles of water, fresh, snuggly towels and magazines to read?  Yes please!)

There’s not much they’ve not thought of and we’d highly recommend popping along to the Waldorf Astoria with your Privilee card.

PS: The hotel is currently kitted out in Christmas decorations and wandering into the main lobby instantly perked me up – there’s nothing like a touch of Christmas spirit to get you excited for the coming season!


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Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah Privilee review

Accommodation Luxury Middle East Oman Reviews Sohar

Spoilt for Choice – Reviewing the Radisson Blu Sohar, Oman

December 11, 2016
Radisson Blu Sohar Review Oman

Generally when we book a holiday, we book based on the location and activities we hope to do in that area; for the most part, our accommodation is something that fits in around our other requirements.  This time though, we decided to let our accommodation be the guide and in doing so, booked in to stay in Sohar, a small coastal town on the Gulf of Oman, at the Radisson Blu.

Approximately three hours from Abu Dhabi (or four hours if you have our misfortune at the border) the Radisson Blu Sohar sits on the Omani shoreline.  The hotel is so new, the driveway isn’t quite finished, but don’t let that put you off – once you make it off the main road and enter the hotel, you’ll slip into a blissful state of relaxation, we guarantee it.

We were warmly greeted in the foyer and after a smooth check-in, made our way up to our room to begin our much anticipated long-weekend of downtime.

Our Room at the Radisson Blu Sohar

Imagine our surprise to find the most delicious tray of dessert treats in our room – mini mango smoothies, berry macrons and chocolate-dipped strawberries. We knew instantly that we’d come to the right place – an hotel that greets us with sugary treats is onto a good thing in our books!  It was a great sign of things to come as the rest of the weekend turned into an absolute whirlwind of the most amazing food – so much so that we’re going to dedicate a post to the restaurants individually – stay tuned.

Tearing ourselves away from our sweet surprise, we found our room was spacious, clean and beautifully appointed.  The artwork throughout gave a nod to the  hotel’s Arabian setting, whilst remaining modern and the materials throughout were of a high quality.  The wifi was complimentary and of good speed and the TV had a range of international channels.  Even the small details were thought of, with USB chargers in sockets and international plugs installed directly into the walls – for people travelling with plugs from all over the world, it was fantastic not to have to fish out our converters from the depths of our bags.

The bathroom provided a little oasis of calm – a beautiful big bath (bath salts included) and a rain shower – and included all the bath products you could ever need for a weekend away, including a toothbrush, razor and lotions.

Around the Hotel

The Lobby

We’ve never been ones to sit in the lobby of a hotel but the addition of a cafe and beautiful big windows made the Radisson’s lobby a great place to spend some time.  From the balcony you can watch the world go by below – Omani families enjoying the beach, quad bikes ripping up and down the beach and if you’re lucky, even a prized bull being taken for a walk and swim along the shoreline.

The Pools

We were absolutely spoilt for choice when it came to the pools at the Radisson – with five to choose from (including a separate one for the kids) and a waterfall area, you’ll be sure to find your favourite.  The water temperature was different in each of them, with our preference being the pool with the swim-up bar (it was a little warmer).  If you’d prefer to lounge by the side of the pool, there are plenty of sun loungers available to you also.

Unwinding at the Spa

However you prefer to relax, you’ll find an option to suit at the Sohar Radisson Blu.  Both Nathan and I blissed out over the course of an hour-long massage – aromatherapy oils, candle light and a full sixty minutes of pure relaxation.  There are numerous options available including hot rock and sports massage and body scrubs, though we were both more than happy with our aromatherapy oil massages.

Once you’re finished with your treatment, you’re welcome to use the facilities which include a steam room, sauna and spa pool before sitting down to enjoy a freshly poured cup of tea.

If your idea of looking after yourself is working out, you’re in luck as the Radisson Blu Sohar has a fully equipped gym.  Though we can’t vouch for the quality of the equipment ourselves (we were too busy eating, relaxing and swimming) it looked top-of-the-line and ready to put even the fittest of guests through their paces.

Why You Should Visit Oman

Oman is like a breath of fresh air – the people are warm and welcoming and nothing is a problem.  Throughout the region we’ve experienced great hospitality but Oman is another step up – even crossing through the border the guards asked how we were (with big, beaming smiles) and kindly pointed us in the right direction.  As much as I love the UAE, we can’t say we’ve ever experienced a greeting or farewell like that on the Emirati side of the border.

The UAE’s freindly neighbour has a lovely relaxed nature about it which is a nice reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Abu Dhabi.  It’s down-to-earth and if you go looking, you’ll almost certainly spot the local camels, goats and donkeys amongst the rugged landscape.

Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway from within the region (it would be an easy drive from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, Muscat or Nizwa) or need a place to stop off before continuing on further afield, the Radisson Blu is a great choice.  We had fairly high expectations already given the reputation of the brand, but were excited to find that our expectations were far surpassed.  The Radisson Blu is Sohar’s only five-star hotel and there is no doubt they’ve earned every one of their stars.  Don’t take our word for it though – pay the Radisson Blu Sohar a visit yourselves!


Radisson Blu Sohar Oman review

Our first experience of Radisson Blu’s hospitality certainly won’t be our last.  In fact, we’re already booked our next stay in and can’t wait to experience the same Radisson Blu hospitality at their Saga property in Iceland.

Thank you to the team at Radisson Blu Sohar for so generously hosting us.  As always, all thoughts are our own.

Abu Dhabi Activities Dubai Expat Life Luxury Middle East Reviews United Arab Emirates

The Membership Card You’ll Want to Use: Privilee Review, Abu Dhabi + Dubai

December 10, 2016
The Palace Downtown Dubai Privilee review Burj

Over the years both Nathan and I have signed up to our fair share of memberships – mostly to various gyms, all of which are eventually relinquished due to lack of use.  Privilee is different though… we’ve finally found a membership card that we love using!

What makes this membership so different?  Read on for our Privilee review…

These magic little cards open all sorts of five-star doors for you, granting access to the hottest spots in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.  Simply put, it’s an absolute pleasure to use.

A membership with Privilee lets you enjoy unlimited access to beach clubs, spas, gyms and sports facilities at some of Abu Dhabi’s and Dubai’s leading hotels and resorts, along with special deals and discounts at a wide selection of award-winning restaurants and bars.

With our leisure membership cards in hand, we can enjoy dozens of five-star hotel pools and beaches whilst receiving discounts at their hotels and bars.  At the end of a busy week, we really look forward to getting comfy on a sun lounger and swapping between a good book and refreshing dips in the pool.

For those of you who are looking to burn off a few more calories, there are plenty of gyms and exercise classes that are included in the membership, along with the use of tennis and squash courts.

If you’re wanting to relax even more, discounts for spa treatments are included in the card and I don’t doubt for a second that they would be glorious!

When you factor in what it would cost to visit one of these hotels or beach clubs on a Friday or Saturday (for those of you not in the UAE, those are our weekend days), the monthly membership more than pays for itself.  We love that having it gives us a little push to head out for a day of relaxation in the sun and with three visits under our belt, it’s already helped us to see more of the UAE.

The service at each of the hotels/clubs that we have visited has been top-notch, with staff being professional but approachable – exactly what we’re after on a day out.

The team at Privilee are on top of their game too, ready to help you with all the information you’ll need to make the most of your membership without any downtime.

The best part of the membership though?  Undoubtedly the amazing spots we’ve had the pleasure of spending time at and the knowledge that there are more to come.

Do your weekends look as good as ours?

Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah

The Palace Downtown Dubai

Saadiyat Beach Club, Abu Dhabi

Turn every weekend into a five-star beach getaway. Fill your days with family fun in the sun, water sports and poolside lounging, energising workouts, pampering spa breaks and award-winning dining experiences. Do whatever you want, when you want.

We love watching emails pop up, sharing with us the newest hotels and beach clubs to come onboard with Privilee!  If you’re an expat living in the UAE, we’d definitely suggest signing up – those little emails will come to be the amongst the highlights of your week.  That is, until you get to the weekend and can head out to the pool!


Abu Dhabi Dubai Beach Pool Club Privilee review membership

Privilee currently have the following properties on their books, with more being added each week:

Fairmont The Palm • Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa • The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina • Le Méridien Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina • Dubai Polo & Equestrian Club • RIVA Beach Club • Hyatt Regency Dubai Creek Heights • Media One Hotel • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dubai Jumeirah Beach • Shangri-La Hotel • Conrad Dubai • The Address Dubai Marina • InterContinental Dubai Marina • Kempinski Hotel & Residences Palm Jumeirah • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah • Sofitel The Palm Beach Resort & Spa • The Palace Downtown Dubai • The St. Regis Abu Dhabi • Saadiyat Beach Club • The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal

Our Privilee review was made possible thanks to their generous support. We highly recommend their membership programme to beach and pool bunnies and anyone looking to unwind in the UAE (which is everyone, surely?)  As always, all thoughts are our own.

If you do decide to join the Privilee family, we’d love it if you’d use the links above.  Doing so will let us enjoy another month of pool-side fun at no extra cost to you.

Abu Dhabi Food Luxury Middle East Reviews United Arab Emirates

Tamba: Perfectly Balanced Indian Fusion in Abu Dhabi

November 3, 2016

Visiting gorgeous locations and reporting back to you all is without doubt, one of our favourite things.  Blogging is a real labour of love though – some posts we write come together effortlessly whilst others take a little more time to craft.  Then there’s this one – how do you write a post reviewing a restaurant when you’re left speechless?

I suppose, like anything, you start at the beginning… From the moment we stepped through the door of Tamba (until the minute we left) we were treated like royalty; not the uncomfortable level of attention that you get in some top-notch restaurants but like we were long lost friends, invited over for the most amazing of meals.

Tamba is a relative new-comer to the flourishing Abu Dhabi food scene, serving up Indian food with a unique twist.  Each plate pulls on traditional Indian flavours but is combined with a wide range of ingredients from around the world – the result is an exciting and sometimes unexpected dining experience.

The restaurant itself is absolutely gorgeous and carefully designed to match its own name.  In Hindi, ‘Tamba’ means copper and the warm metallic shades throughout the restaurant help to create a welcoming atmosphere.  An exotic rooftop restaurant with a sophisticated club feel, Tamba was everything we look for in a date-night restaurant.

As we looked over the menu we were instantly taken by just how knowledgeable the Tamba staff are – they know their food inside out and their passion for the concept shines through.  Trusting in the Tamba team, we shared some of our favourite foods and took them up on their offer to craft us a personal selection that we would love.

Did we love it?  Undoubtedly!

Each course came out as it was ready but for the most part we worked steadily though the smaller sharing plates before the mains arrived.  When you’re hungry, the idea of plates continually making their way out of the kitchen is great news!

From the mild but tasty ‘chicken 65’ entree to the memorable seafood starters that Nathan enjoyed, it was obvious to us that each and every ingredient at Tamba is carefully considered and then cooked by master chefs.  We found out later that every dish passes through the head chef’s hands, ensuring perfection at all stages (and they are indeed capable hands, having just been awarded Abu Dhabi Chef of the Year).

One of the surprise stand-outs from the first part of the night, for both Nathan and I, was the sweet and sour pumpkin paratha, eaten taco-style.  It is literally the first time I’ve eaten a vegetarian meal that hasn’t felt like an alternative to a meat based dish – this one stands on it’s own two feet, overflowing with perfect flavour.

Delicately flavoured chicken curry (their version of butter chicken, but shhhh we’re not meant to call it that), lamb chops marinated and cooked to perfection (how many times have I used that word?!), the biggest scallops we’ve ever seen; every dish that came out was tasty and a stand-out in its own right.

Thanks to the nature of Indian fusion, even those that aren’t huge fans of this style of cuisine will be happy; with so many different flavours finding their way into the dishes, some would almost trick you into forgetting their Indian roots.

No meal is complete without the addition of a refreshing drink and tasty dessert and fortunately, Tamba have both of these in abundance.  Fresh, fruity and beautifully presented, Tamba has a wide range of beverages on offer with the same high level of ingredients found in their food – homemade syrups and creative garnishes, they’ve thought of every detail… let’s be honest though, a great drink is one thing but a remarkable dessert is a whole different beast (in the very best of ways).

India is not traditionally known for its dessert offerings but Tamba has managed to hit theirs out of the park.  With five solid options on the menu (and a cute little story explaining how they were named), they’re large enough to share… though you won’t want to!  My personal favourite was ‘the Break-Up’, an amazing  dark chocolate mousse, peanut semifreddo, salted caramel, chocolate sauce concoction whilst Nathan loved the caramelised banana toffee cake which was served with pecan nut praline, fresh banana and homemade cardamon ice cream (known as the ‘Sticky Situation’).  All three were delicious – to be honest, I really don’t think you could go wrong with dessert there!

It’s a good sign when even with three desserts between the two of you, you’ve already chosen what you’d like on your next visit (cheesecake with ginger snaps, passionfruit curd, whitechocolate and honey shards and popping candy – seriously dessert heaven!)

I know this review sounds unbelievably positive but honestly, we mean every word.  If you’re currently living in Abu Dhabi or planning a visit, we’d recommend swinging by Tamba to see for yourself.  You won’t be disappointed.


The Hub at The Mall,
World Trade Centre Abu Dhabi (Level 6)

+971 2 672 88 88

reservations@tambarestaurant.com

Weekdays 12:00pm – 01:00am
Weekends 12:00pm – 02:00am


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Tamba Abu Dhabi review

Thank you to Tamba and PurpleHoney for so graciously hosting us.  As always, all thoughts are absolutely our own.  We can’t wait to return!

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