I've been booking Natalie's travel ever since her honeymoon in 2015. Sharing a need to escape the UK on a regular basis created a swift bond between us and so I was thrilled when she asked for assistance in planning her sister Amy's 30th birthday surprise. It was delightful to hear back from both sisters about the build up and the trip itself...
My sister is just the best on the planet! The thought she put into my surprise present was just amazing, including taking full charge of sorting all the required tests.
Natalie gave me the present on my birthday in December. She'd wrapped 30 different presents, each something for the holiday in January - sun creams, sandals, beach bag, clothes, etc, and the last few that I opened were cards with additional clues before finally a scratch card revealed our destination.
I had wanted to go to Dubai since seeing Natalie’s pictures from previous visits, and her husband had also kindly bought us tickets for the wonderful water park.
The holiday was awesome. I had a superb time relaxing in the nicest place with the best company and would love to go back one day. A totally incredible present.
Jo has looked after my travel since she was recommended by a friend to help with my honeymoon to Mauritius and Dubai. I had initially been unsure about Dubai but I’m so glad I went with it, as it's become my favourite place and I’ve returned several times - the latest for my sister Amy’s 30th birthday surprise.
We both have two kids, so I wanted five rare nights away of pure relaxation and bliss. Although we have been on several family holidays, this was only our second trip away together, just the two of us.
Jo and I picked the Sofitel Dubai The Palm as it appeared to tick the boxes, looking both beautiful and more family oriented than glam.
It was booked in July - I kept everything crossed that it wouldn’t be delayed. I revealed the details to Amy on her birthday in December and we went in January.
We were a little apprehensive travelling during Covid, and the testing requirements added a little concern, but it was all worth it and Jo was always there to help with any of my queries.
My partner drove us to Manchester airport and once through security, everything felt pretty normal and comfortable.
The Emirates flight was fabulous, our arrival went smoothly and Jo had arranged a comfortable private transfer from the airport in Dubai.
Our first impression upon arrival at the hotel around midnight was “wow”! It looked beautiful and smelt divine. The staff were superb at sorting out check-in quickly and the room was lovely with a magnificent view from our balcony!
Everything about the hotel was in fact amazing. It had everything we could have possibly wanted, was spotlessly clean and felt very safe. We loved all the restaurants. Our favourite was the Pan-Asian, Hong Loong. The staff there were fantastic and the food even better. And the beach bar had the most delicious cocktails and views!
We went for morning strolls along the sea front. With Atlantis nearby, we walked there for our waterpark treat and to see the aquarium.
The camel boat ride was a memorable experience. The yacht club was located on our hotel beach so was super simple to book and it transpired that as we were the only ones booked onto that session, we got an unexpected and thrilling private tour.
It was a wonderful trip, my first in two years, and I felt totally comfortable travelling again, so much so that since returning, I have booked holidays in Mauritius for the summer and a winter return to Dubai.
I also need to add how amazing Jo is, too. Nothing is too much trouble for her. I had a couple of questions whilst we were there, and she always replied straight away, even at ungodly hours when I needed help filling out the locator form for travelling home.
Thank you, Jo.