Monday, June 20, 2011

Being lazy in Dubai

While Brian is working hard to sell more software in the Middle East, I'm hanging out at the Raffles hotel in Dubai where they've put him up. This is a 5 star hotel with all the amenities you can think of - absolutely gorgeous ... and then there's the pool. Here are a few photos of our room and the pool area.

The pool has this really amazing clock feature. There are 12 fountains around the pool bar that mark the hour, so one fountain starts running at the start of each hour (lower-right photo). Then, along the other side of the pool area are fountains that mark the minutes and are separated by columns at each 15 minute increment, so a new stream starts running every minute (lower-left photo). It's interesting to watch and has the added practicality of helping you tell the time.  The other nice thing about the pool is that you are brought ice cold iced tea or water the whole time you're there as well as cold washcloths about every hour, which is pretty key when the temps are over 100! But, my favorite thing is that the pool is chilled, and not just lukewarm like I've seen with some pools here that are "chilled", this one is actually really refreshing without being bracing. Let's just say I plan to go back again today. :)

The hotel room, which is more of a suite with a sitting area, a desk area, walk in closet space and large bathroom with jacuzzi tub and rainshower, is wonderful and really spacious. It also has a beautiful balcony, but it's a bit hot to sit out there during the day - will have to try it this evening and see if it's cool enough. And, of course the rest of the place is pretty awesome as well - great steak restaurant, huge buffet breakfast (that's included with the room), nice fitness center, steam room, sauna, whirlpool. They also have what looks to be a great spa, but I had to remind myself that I'm not technically on vacation, so should probably refrain. (at least until I start making some money too! :)

And what do I do after the pool? Shop of course ... it's Dubai! But this trip I'm looking for the bargain places, which is quite a search in a place where brand name designer shopping is considered a national pastime. Yesterday I went to the Dragonmart, which has every item ever imported from China, I think. You can find all sorts of crazy things here and it was fun to poke around and see what was available. I was on the hunt for some good designer handbag copies, but didn't see anything that I just had to have so came home empty handed. Here's a photo of the huge fountain out in front.

Today's plan is to try and find the Dubai Antique Museum, which is supposed to be a huge warehouse crammed of all kinds of Arabic antiques. I'm hoping to find some nice gifts and souvenirs ... we'll see.

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