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Destination: Qatar

Late post. ¬†One blogger knows I should have posted it several months ago, as I have met her there, Hi Tiffany! ūüôā but I thought I could wait and perhaps come back there again for a longer trip but it never happened so I resigned and here it is now posting.

I cannot say much about Qatar but I do love the airport as it is really beautiful and has an award to prove it. ¬†Also some unique and interesting buildings around and their famous landmarks. Nevertheless, we have enjoyed our family time and also hubby’s business meeting. ¬†Not sure if we will be back there this year, though.

I had an earlier post about our Hotel review in Qatar please check this LINK.

Pleased to present to you QATAR. ¬†Just click the photo to enlarge and thanks for your time perusing it. ¬†Again, thank you! dear readers, for your time checking my new post. ¬†Until next time, cheers! ¬†ūüôā

THE AIRPORT Рthere is a dedicated area for kids and even us parents liked to hang around.  The whole airport is spotlessly clean and very easy to get around in.

 

AROUND THE CITY

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THE SOUQ WAQIF (Souk/ Market)

 

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Hotel: Old vs. New in Jeddah

Credit: Pinterest

As usual we traveled as a family on business on this side of the World. ¬†The Company pays for the hotel, foods and even for my driver. ¬†Yes as some of you don’t know yet… in KSA no woman is allowed to drive and that is the rule whether you like or not. ¬†If you put it nicely… you can be pampered here being a woman but depends on the host, who you are with and what is your purpose of coming to the Kingdom.

Now let me get on telling you about the type of hotels that we’ve been in for the sole purpose of being near hubby’s “Other Office” so yes we choose the hotels based on that alone as the traffic jam can be terrible. ¬†The good thing of having a driver is… it is good for your health ūüôā ¬†PERIOD.

RED SEA PALACE (Old) established 1959

I copied the image from their own website and yes this is how it looks like in the early years perhaps. ¬†Their frontage is now full of parked cars that someone told us that it belongs to a rental company so getting your car parked is like praying for rain!. ¬†There are just a few car spaces inside the gate. ¬†So this is where having a driver are great : he drops you off to wherever you go and he parked the car somewhere and wait for your call when ready. ¬†It is a shame that they neglect this side of things as it can be nice really especially at night. ¬†The reception can be busy depends on the month and what events do they have which is mostly every month as lots of people pays their respect and go to Mecca for their once in a lifetime “hajj” pilgrimage and Jeddah is one of the stopover City to go to. ¬†Ok without any further ado as I can go on and on and I bet some of you will be interested how it is like over there ūüôā maybe on my next post. Here are the photos and you can judge by yourself.

20150805_104550The Lobby is very spacious and clean though old traditional furniture’s and furnishings are on display.

¬†¬†IMG_0866¬†IMG_0869Foods are so many to choose from either for breakfast or dinner. ¬†Above sweets are just to show they can make this with a lot of variations plus their Arabic sweets are also good though it may not show on this, sorry. FYI… I cannot really do a lot of picture taking as people will openly stare if I do it too much since there is really no “tourist” there. ¬†ALL people come with a purpose either on business, pilgrimage or locals/residents who play tourist while off from work. ¬†The other thing that they taken for granted is the tablecloth. ¬†It was probably luxurious on those days but not anymore since there are a lot of stains that doesn’t come off.

We are lucky that we got the renovated room so it is always good to pay more in this side of the World so you can be comfortable.

RADISSON BLU PLAZA HOTEL (New) just opened in October

There are 2 Radisson Blu in Jeddah, but this one is located in King Abdullah Rd. and newly opened much modern hotel compare to their other location in Medina Rd. ¬†You have to tell the taxi some landmarks or nearby location so they can locate this new hotel. ¬†Good thing we have a driver on standby but we did go out one night for dinner and stroll in the mall nearby (Andalus mall) and we are considerate enough that we will be late and the driver needs to sleep for an early work (he has tons of other work aside from being a driver) so we ended up taking a taxi (no meter in KSA) and with a good quote on how much it will cost just to cross to the other side of the road then we’re off. It turned out the local driver lived in the UK for a long time so he is well versed in English and very chatty.

The entrance to the room is quite narrow but inside it was very spacious. We had a Suite I believe but on their website it named Apartment so perhaps the style is, as there is a separate mini room for dining which is actually a waste of space as you can see the cathedral window showing the lounge. ¬†Also 2 toilet one just near the entrance and the main bathroom near the bedroom. ¬†Unfortunately, some quality fittings are obviously worked in haste as shown on the photo perhaps to open in time for people going on their hajj. ¬†Anyway… as long as we are comfortable it was okay.

I didn’t get the chance to take a photo in their restaurant but I can tell you it was very modern and the foods cater to Western and Arabian customers. Just probably what you should expect on this hotel chain wherever they are in the part of the World. ¬†They have a mini pool and a mini gym, but it will not do good for me anyway since both can only be mostly for MEN. ¬†Yes they have a time for Women to enjoy the pool and that is strictly for the scheduled time and strictly NO MEN ALLOWED even my 7yr old son!

Finally, it is time to say “Wada’an” (Goodbye till next time) Oh yes I cannot say this is the end. ¬†So it is appropriate to say that type of goodbye. I hope next time I will be more enthusiastic to take some photo IF I may be allowed to as there are some restrictions you see. ¬†The surroundings can vary depends on where you are and since hubby have a business to attend to in the “Older” part of City and they are still developing if I may say so.

Overall… if you happen to read this post by chance and you are thinking of going or having a business meeting in the Kingdom particularly in Jeddah you can bring your missus or the whole family if you want, that is IF they are not a fussy lot and can understand the difference of other culture. Jeddah is a bit softer side of the Kingdom though older and not as modern like in Riyadh, Women will appreciate this side better when you are over there IF you know what I mean. ūüôā ¬†I hope you learn something from this post and thanks for your time reading this. Until next time, Shukraan!

 

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Abu Dhabi : My kind of City

AD, vinneve photo

AD, vinneve photo

A City’s environment is shaped not only by people who have an important influence, but by everyone who lives or works there. ¬†By Robert Cowan”.

I have always been a City girl growing up but with a twist.

I like living in or near the City but I want my space too and the charm of being not so far away from everything. ¬†A place where there is also a peace & quiet… where you can relax going home at the end of the day, a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the main “City Life” but not too far away from it all. Guess you might be wondering if there is a City like that exists. ¬†Yes, there is and I always tell my friends and relatives that I prefer to go home in my “City” and this is my home away from home (my hometown -Auckland, NZ).

Now here living as an expat in Abu Dhabi, it is also a nice place to live in, away from the crowds and too much traffic.  Perhaps it is also where we live is the main factor as we are in the middle Рnot too far away from the main city and the airport on the other side though with so many expats children here the schools can be a problem so opting to a far away places as most schools have a long waiting list especially the very good ones. No problem for us, there is a school bus provided and it does matter where you live, really.

Abu Dhabi is similar to Dubai but more relax in a way less crowd and less traffic and yes more greeneries! ¬†You will be amazed how many plants and trees are in here as if this is not a desert city, unlike Dubai where tall and shimmering buildings are the ones adorning everywhere and they’re fast paced of life making me uncomfortable if I stay longer than a few days.

Dubai is just around the corner (just 1 & 30mins drive by car depends on where in the City you live), so if we really want an action further away then we go there but not as often.  Why not? it is because we also have some kind of actions here for the whole family and friends!.  See photos below.

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SOUK QARYAT AL BERI  typical Arabian market that most locals and tourists frequent too.  It has an amazing view, restaurants, and good souvenirs to buy or even do some photo ops.

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Hyatt Capital Gate and ADNEC

Unique Architecture as seen above and below…¬†¬†ADNEC¬†World class venue where some events are being held and their calendar is full of events! ¬†Aldar HQ (left) and Emirates Palace (right) and so many others…

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If you want fast and the furious we have Ferrari World here and you can enter from YAS mall (biggest mall in AD) my fave mall ever and buy tickets from there.  FYI, Formula 1 Grand Prix 2015 will be held here for the 7th year! (info & tickets as per link), Yas Marina has something for everyone both ashore and afloat day & night and of course, YAS Waterworld for fun water play you have in mind (more slides, rides and attractions in any other park in ME) and they even have the Ladies night. If you just want a Park for the whole family to enjoy then please visit Emirates Park Zoo they have a resort too!

Image result for yas mall images

source: constructionweekonline.com LINK 

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Emirates Palace, vinneve

There are so many things you can do here that some people think¬†Dubai has it all. AD night life is also good, but more finesse and decent that as far as I know. ¬†Lots of concerts being held here and sporting events that the whole family can participate. Lots of parks you can stroll around as AD is the “Garden City” of UAE. ¬†Traveling around here by taxi is a breeze and very safe. ¬†I haven’t encounter unrespectful and scary taxi driver here and yes I even traveled at night with my little boy!

I can say that I love being here in Abu Dhabi.  More relax and homey.  For new expats, there is the weekly magazine free for all to get from any malls, pharmacies etc. Even at the airport, they have so many free magazines to read and they even have educational ones (business too) for free!

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View at the back of Qaryat Al Beri Souq, AD, vinneve foto

AD Week magazine has a lot of information for expats on what’s happening and what you can do or meet ups with other expats or just join a club.

People are different from one another and I like the values (more conservative and traditional) and lifestyles here. ¬†It is a matter of YOU finding out the charm beneath the humble CITY besides this is the Capital of UAE so there’s more to it than meets the eye! ¬†Please discover it yourself and you will not be disappointed.

Sources: other photos as per LINK and some are my photos.  Feel free to click the link (words in red) for more information.

The HOTEL : Marriott (Dubai & Doha)

I always wish the hotels were like they are in movies and TV shows, where if you’re in Paris, right outside your window is the Eiffel Tower. ¬†In Egypt, the pyramids are like there. ¬†In the movies every hotel has a monument outside your window. ¬†My hotel rooms overlook the garbage dumpster in the back alley!. ¬†By – GILBERT GOTTFRIED

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Every time I travel I always make sure the accommodation I will be in should have a good rating from the guests. ¬†I used Google and Tripadvisor and trusted those people telling their raves and rants about the hotel. ¬†It pays to do some research before you book otherwise it’s a waste of money and you will end up with a sore back or worst no sleep at all.

JW MARRIOTT MARQUIS DUBAI – World’s Tallest Hotel

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I must say the room is not cheap, but you get the service and all frills that you expect from the price that you paid for. ¬†It’s a special occasion¬†my son’s 7th B-Day on the day of our arrival. ¬†So hubby informed them and voila!

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My husband arrived in late afternoon straight from the office in Abu Dhabi and here’s another surprise.

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And here is the Junior Suite.

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With all the gadgets, you need at the touch of a button (but we didn’t use all of it as they have some on the wall as well just like any hi-tech homes).

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The bathroom is so big it can fit a family of four at the same time, though of course if you need some privacy you don’t do that.

The lobby on every floor looks like this…

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View from the elevator..vinneve

View from inside the elevator.

It was wonderful staying there. ¬†ALL the staffs are attentive and try to accommodate your request. They made it special for my son and make him feel like a celebrity. ¬†Everybody greeted him a happy birthday with another surprise cake with candles this time from the Bakery cum coffee shop on the ground floor and they even sang ¬†for him. Really lovely! ¬†Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera as I thought we would only buying him a pastry to take away. After staying for a week in Dubai we are on our way to our next adventure… Abu Dhabi.

My verdict… We will be back for sure!

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Marriott Marquis City Center DOHA, Qatar

My son & I have been lucky to go away with hubby on a business and leisure trip 3 weeks ago.  Will post next time about the Beauty of QATAR. For now here are the photos of this hotel with the same brand that we always love to sleep in and the service is excellent.

Marriott Marquis DOHA, vinneve photos

Marriott Marquis DOHA, vinneve photos

The Lobby

The Lobby so clean and very spacious, gorgeous design

The bed and the views

The bed and the views below…

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The amenities…

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Other perks…

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If you have access to the Executive Lounge you get all free foods & beverages (breakfast, snacks, cocktails pre-dinner) so it is worth the money

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@TheLounge

@TheLounge

And finally the pool and the gym is on the other side.  Spa is inside.

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And oftentimes this applies… (image from pinterest).

Please have time to breathe and relax, your body will thank you for it. ūüôā

Do you have a special hotel or accommodation that you love and worth to rave for?  Please share it here thank you.

BS: (But seriously… ūüôā¬†please feel free to read my older post by clicking the link (in bold red) here. ¬†Thank you for your time, until next time!

Living in a box

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I remember my husband told me about this many times over the phone and on Skype… ” I am tired of living in a box”… and that time I thought well, not many people have the opportunity to live in a good hotel all expenses paid and all you can eat buffet every time! ¬†Until I have experienced it myself.

The novelty wears off.

I am now craving for my space, my own contributions to where I am going to live in. ¬†A place where nobody can interrupt your sleep because they have to clean the room.. (oh yeah they are sometimes blind not seeing either the paper or the red light panel outside your “unit”). ¬†A place where I can cook my own healthy foods so I don’t see my waist expanding every day!. ¬†A place where my son can run around without hesitation if he is waking or disturbing anybody. ¬†A place I can call home in the Middle East.

Lots of expats are having the same dilemma as me and some don’t have a choice really because it is the employer who is paying the bills. ¬†Most employers have their own corporate rates in every hotel in any City. Luckily, we have a choice now just after we went to my husband corporate meeting (and yes we tag along if it’s going to be a long time away or no definite day to come back to living in our “box”) and so here we are to our next adventure of looking for our own place. ¬†I am thrilled that perhaps in a week’s time we are already in our own BIG space where my son can do his running and hide and seek. ¬†I tell you living in a box doesn’t give you more choices to hide anyway!

Now I know how it feels like living in a hotel with a feeling of an indefinite period of when to go and it is not nice at all. But hey, don’t get me wrong… I still want to go to a hotel to relax and unwind away from the “big space” and routine. ¬†It helps to satisfy one or few days of being away so you are happy to come back again to the comfort of your own home, and yes…

There is no place in the World to be better, than home with FAMILY…