I'd been to the airport before twice on my travels in 2014, but always wanted to stay in the city to see what it's got to offer after hearing good things from friends and acquaintances who had already been.
The holiday itself was just lovely. It's always so good to get away, even for a little while, and have a change of scenery! The vitamin Ds from experiencing sunshine 6 days out of the 7 were also welcome after a cold and wet Christmas at home in England.
Additionally I couldn't fault the resort. It was an incredible hotel based on at the top of The Palm islands with an Aquarium, Water Park and private beaches complete with numerous bars and restaurants where the staff were sweet and couldn't do enough for you.
For NYE, we had the most delicious five course meal I think I've ever had. You could choose which of the hotel's many restaurants you would like to eat at. We chose Nasimi Beach, an outdoor restaurant based (you guessed it) on the beach which is so young, trendy and luxurious with a constant stream of DJ's that you feel like you're eating your dinner in the middle of an Ocean Beach Club rave in Ibiza.
After the meal, we were given access to the hotel's Gala event complete with live band, fireworks and a free bar. Hello, copious amounts of champagne!
This event reminded me of a posh version of a festival - it was set up like a festival with a big stage at the front, dance floor and stalls of food and drink.
It was tons of fun with a good crowd and electric atmosphere. I really rated the band too - the name of which I cannot recall (must be the champagne).
Also the firework display was truly the best firework display I have ever seen with my own eyes. The whole night was a treat from start to finish and it will definitely be a NYE to remember in years to come!
Now for the downsides of Dubai. For me, personally, it's a city that feels like it's trying too hard.
Everywhere you go they are building something. Whether it's a new skyscraper or a new man made island (The World, I'm looking at you), there's cranes in every eyeshot. It does ruin the ambience somewhat.
I suppose it's good that the city is just trying to better itself but, let's just say, the man made beaches ain't got nothing on natural beaches. Sometimes less is more, you know?
Furthermore, I know I shouldn't generalise but a lot of the locals and even some of the tourists were very rude and pretentious. Yes, Dubai is one of the wealthiest cities in the world and don't you just know it when you're there.
I think because I've been a budget traveller and I've experienced a lot of different places and cultures where the people don't have much, I've come to appreciate the smaller things in life. For me, money doesn't equal happiness and my theory was kind of proved in Dubai when I saw lots of rich people walking around with miserable faces on.
I do have some positives though! One of my favourite parts of Dubai is actually the Dubai Marina. It's perhaps the prettiest bit I saw of the city with the luxurious yachts and serene water in the foreground, coupled with what can only be described as what looks like a skyscraper painting in the background.
One thing I will say about the skyscrapers is that the architecture is extremely impressive. They have buildings that twist, buildings that layer, buildings in unusual shapes, buildings that replicate the Chrysler in NYC and who could forget that they have the tallest building in the world in the form of the Burj Khalifa (at 127 floors precisely). If you're an architecture nut, you will love Dubai.
They also have the world's largest shopping centre (imaginatively titled Dubai Mall) which has a good mix of high street and luxury shops (along with an aquarium plonked in the middle of it, as you do). I have to admit, I did spend a decent amount of time in there participating in some retail therapy during the one day that it rained (as well as staring absent-mindedly at the fishies).
Other than this, we just chilled on the beach in the resort, had a bit of a drive around the Souks to have a nosy, visited the Aquarium, went to the Water Park twice like big kids and stuffed our faces with Afternoon Tea at the Burj Al Arab as a special treat.
Dubai, you were fun. I feel so happy and lucky that I've visited you so I can tick you off my bucket list - but, to be honest, I wouldn't feel the need to visit you again. (For me, there's so many more naturally beautiful places out there in the world.)
But, hey, maybe I'll pit stop in your airport again someday!
Catch you later.