We must have had about 11 hours sleep where the tiredness from the flight and the time difference kicked in. We’ve woken up and gone to breakfast – being in the oceanfront villa we were right next to the Khaymat Al Bahar which in the evening is a Lebanese restaurant but in the morning you go for breakfast and they have literally everything. ‘Full English’ The only difference is chicken and veal sausages and turkey bacon, full selection of fruit, yogurts, cereals, freshly made crepes with Nutella, waffles, pastries, the full works. Also a gluten free section. So I doubt that anyone would have an issue getting something they liked!
Something I missed out on the last post is that when we arrived it was the morning and although we were able to check in early our half board wasn’t meant to start until after 3pm however I’ve just looked on our final invoice and we weren’t actually charged for our first breakfast, very good service I thought. Breakfast was open until 11.30, another thing I liked as we had a few late mornings, they do open at 6.30 for any early risers! That’s not me on holiday though!
So day 2 we had a very exciting day ahead as we had planned to go to the Mall of Emirates! The hotel runs a free shuttle every 2 hours but it was only 10 minutes away so we got a taxi which the front of house staff called over for us, it was only about £5 so I thought that was good. Cabs were always easily available at the front of the hotel. On our last trip to Dubai we went to the Dubai Mall which is the biggest and I didn’t think Mall of Emirates had that WOW factor but it was still lovely! They’ve got all the shops we have here like Zara, Hollister, Lush etc and all of the designers Hermes, Chanel and more. Also a massive food court with all of your affordable options like KFC, IHop, Cheesecake Factory! We were meant to go here but after our visit to Ski Dubai me and Kimaarah had an ice cream as she was being a bit moany and then of course I saw mint choc chip (my favourite) and had one. This was a little stand at the Ski Dubai entrance, for 2 ice creams it cost £13 so not the cheapest but my mum paid and she said she didn’t mind what it cost.
Before Ski Dubai our first stop was The Toy Store to visit Mermaids of Arabia which has its own little lift to take you up, to the second floor and when you arrive you hear loud music being played it really gets you even more excited! We had the lovely Grace who looked after Kimaarah and transformed her into a mermaid. I booked this prior to us arriving, maybe a couple of weeks before by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to check availability for the time and date we wanted. I found them really quick at replying which already gave me a great impression! Kimaarah was taken to a rail full of outfits and asked to pick her colour, obviously she chose pink, she was then taken to a small changing room to put her mermaid costume which Grace helped her with. I was right outside the fitting room and Kimaarah was perfectly comfortable being in there. When she came out I actually cried! I can’t say enough that this experience was so amazing and every mermaid lovers dream! Kimaarah was sat on a clam shell chair as she couldn’t walk with her mermaid tail and wheeled over to a make up desk where lots of glitter and sparkles were applied! I don’t let Kimaarah have make up on usually as she is only 3 years old but this was a special occasion and all part of the experience! I had already done her hair because I didn’t know if the staff would be able to do it but they put a beautiful super sparkly tiara on for her which completed the look perfectly. Next was time for the photos and Kimaarah didn’t disappoint with her poses! After all what little girl wouldn’t love being in their own clam shell feeling like a real mermaid & just living their best life! Afterwards Kimaarah was put back into her clothes and we got to view the photos. We paid for the 200AED (around £45) package which included all digital images, plus a sparkly tiara and one framed image. I definitely recommend this experience as Grace was so friendly and sweet and really looked after Kimaarah, and the photos on my Instagram page speak for themselves, you can see how much Kimaarah loved it! You can follow @mermaids_of_arabia on Instagram to see more!
After the Mermaids of Arabia we walked over to Ski Dubai which was literally just opposite so we didn’t need to traipse all around the mall, they have a viewing window where you can see all of the skiing activity going on, they have so many things like ski lessons, snow games but we were here to tick one of the things off my bucket list – meet penguins 😍😍😍 You can pre book this on the website at https://www.skidxb.com/snow-penguins but we didn’t pre book and just turned up, we only had to wait around 45 minutes so it wasn’t too bad but at busy times like school holidays I would recommend prebooking online. For the peng-friend encounter we paid around £55 per person which I thought was actually very reasonable, there’s no cheaper price for children though everyone pays the same. Before our session we collected our snow suits (these were worn over our clothes so if you plan on going I’d recommend wearing something comfy! Not a dress!) and gloves, plus a helmet for Kimaarah to keep the heat in. As it’s freezing! -4 to be exact! And yes it is real snow which they make onsite! What I loved about meeting the penguins is that before seeing them we went into a room and watched a briefing video which explained all about what Ski Dubai were doing to help with research into penguin behaviour, as this is difficult to capture in the wild. It was really good to see how the penguins were being cared for. Once we were finished with the briefing we went to meet the first penguin, a King Penguin called Cuddly (dying 😍😩) as soon as I laid my eyes on her I had tears! I was so happy! In our group there were around 11 of us, each couple / family got to take a turn to see Cuddly and take a photo, and to feel her – she was so soft! We then said goodbye to Cuddly and went into the next section to meet a Gentoo penguin who we weren’t allowed to touch because they are currently in their moulting season where they take 2-3 weeks to shed all of their feathers and grow new ones (did anyone else know this?) so their skin becomes very sensitive. However we each got to go in our groups and sit for a photo which was really good to have the memory. Another fun fact about penguins – did you know that to propose, the penguin finds its mate a pebble or rock on the beach and offers it to them? If they take it that’s a yes. If they don’t it’s a no and penguins only have one mate for life, imagine that. All of the penguin trainers were so helpful in answering questions and giving us different facts about the penguins. All of us really enjoyed this experience and I’d say it’s great if you wanted to do something educational whilst on holiday. I’d definitely return and do some of the snow games in the skiing area next time! Follow @skidxb to see more pictures!
After we were finished at the mall we took a taxi back and chilled out for the rest of the afternoon on the beach. The beach servers at the Madinat Jumeirah were so lovely, they would get your loungers for you, put towels on, bring you over suncreams and bottles of water in a cool bag. The ice lolly man made an appearance too of course. That night we had a buffet dinner at the Hanaaya restaurant located at the Mina A Salam hotel within the Madinat Jumeirah, we took a golf buggy which our butler arranged for us. Before dinner we went downstairs to have ‘sundowners’ which was free drinks between 6-8pm, you could have a glass of champagne, spirits, soft drinks / juice and they also sorted out a little bowl of crisps for Kimaarah, olives for my mum, this was one of my mums favourites every night as she enjoys a drink on holiday! And considering a cocktail or glass of wine was about £17 it was a very good feature of our hotel to be able to save some money!
The Hanaaya buffet had a whole range of foods from different cuisines, international, Indian, Arabic, again something for everyone. I enjoyed a lamb curry and rice with mac and cheese! They also had a stand where you could get ice cream cones! And the yummiest cakes. We sat outside and had a beautiful view of the Burj Al Arab which lights up different colours at night! I asked for a lychee martini which wasn’t actually very nice so they said no problem, we’ll give you something else! Amazing service! I asked for a pornstar martini 😂 and they brought it with the passion fruit and everything – not the shot of prosecco though but I think they had already mixed it inside – I know my Essex girls would want to know that they can get one! It was very good! And thanks to our resort credit we didn’t pay for anything!
That was the end of day 2 – I think this is even longer than day 1! This was probably our busiest day of the holiday so I’m thinking my next posts won’t be as long but who knows at this rate 😂 I hope this was helpful to everyone reading!