Work done, airport run…
My trip to Dubai started off after work where I jumped in an Uber across London to Paddington to catch the Heathrow Express. I could have gotten the Piccadilly line all the way to Terminal 3 BUT in the evening the tube can be unreliable and I get anxious when it comes to getting to the airport on time. By on time, I mean freakishly early.
After a quick 15 minute train journey, I arrived at Terminal 3 and headed straight to the Virgin Atlantic check-in desk which was more than empty. I was glad to rid myself of my suitcase and go and unwind before my flight which wasn’t until 10.30pm meaning I had 3 hours to kill.
I’m all about maximising my annual leave these days so night flights are perfect for this. You can wake up in a new destination and not have to worry about paying for a hotel for the night you are flying.
The last time I flew from Terminal 3 was a little bit of nightmare as I may have forgotten to re-do my ESTA; I was determined to make this experience much smoother. After going through security, I needed to refuel on something hearty and after walking around for 15-20 mins I decided on the Oriel Brasserie.
After scanning the menu, I ordered the chicken burger with the truffle fries noting the place was bouji (just like me) when they have half a lobster on the ‘extras’. Obviously I lived up to my Twitter bio and washed it down with a glass of wine. Plus, it would help me get to sleep on the flight, right?
After eating, I browsed the shops for a while before sitting down and waiting for my gate to show up. These days, I fly Virgin Atlantic out of preference so I can get my flying club points and I’m familiar with the service. Have I become one of those travel snobs? No. I still browse low to high when it comes to flights but sometimes its worth weighing up the options when it comes to your own personal preference.
The flight was so quick (around 6 hours 30 mins). I flicked between movies (Mother and IT), slept for a few hours, and before I knew it the pilot announced that we’d almost be ready for our descent into sunny Dubai.
After doing the boring bits of going through passport control and collecting my luggage, I jumped in an Uber to my hotel… the Sheraton Grand.
Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn
Check-in wasn’t until 3pm but they got my room ready with all my requests (high floor and twin beds) within 30 mins! They’re definitely getting a good review on TripAdvisor. I’ve been in some hotels that make you feel awkward from the moment you check in but from the moment I walked in, I felt like I was home.
I had a coffee whilst waiting for my room and it let me reflect on life for a few moments. This was my third solo trip and the more I go on them the more I learn about myself. I’m not *as* lazy as I think and when I have a goal I’m working to I get pretty focused. My personal trainer might not agree with the previous sentence, so here are some photos of my room to distract you:
Read more: Memoirs: Working Out With Esquared
Mojitos and Chill
I had to lie down for a bit to climatise and I ended up having a 2 hour nap which was needed. I didn’t know that the pool in my hotel was being refurbished for a few days so I went to the one next door to chill.
The weather was a balmy 38C and I would usually complain about it being so hot but I loved it. It felt like someone had put the heater on full blast and it only felt better after a swim (and a few mojitos).
It started to get dark around 7ish so I packed up my stuff and headed back to my hotel all whilst my stomach rumbled. I wasn’t keen on room service, so I flicked through Uber Eats. I’d heard there was a really good West Indian restaurant downstairs called ‘Miss Lily’s’ so here came that internal battle of sleep for dinner or eat for dinner?
Whatsapping my friend helped as she convinced me to throw on some clothes and go eat. It was my first night after all (unlike the time in LA where we ordered Chinese and watched X Factor).
The food was AMAZING, a little on the pricy side but so worth it. The only downside of solo travelling is having to pay the whole bill yourself.
So that concludes my first few hours solo in Dubai. I’m trying to get back in the habit of scheduling my content so hold tight for part two (and maybe three).