Ras Al-Khaimah

As we move towards a post-COVID world, each country has its own set of rules and requirements for entry. So to ease ourselves back into exploring the world again, we picked an ‘easy option’, and booked an all inclusive resort based holiday in the UAE. However, but this time, we ventured out of Dubai for a slight change of scenery. One thing that hadn’t changed though, was the company we went with. As on a number of previous travels, we once again went with the Khimasias, with whom we have now visited four continents.

Our flight out on Emirates was as good as it always has been, but on arrival we had a problem with our transfer which temporarily soured the mood. We had pre-booked with a reputable company, and followed the instructions on arrival. To cut a long story short, after waiting around for an hour in the place were told to, we were informed we had ‘missed’ our driver. It took some forceful persuasion, and a refusal to accept ‘no’ for an answer, but we were eventually given our transfer with the original driver, and an hour and a half later, we made it to Ras Al-Khaimah. Thankfully our return ride back to the airport at the end of the holiday was smooth and uneventful.

After that, the rest of the vacation was as expected. The Hilton Beach Resort at Ras Al-Khaimah is by no means the nicest luxury hotel we’ve stayed in, but for the price we paid, we have no complaints. At 30ºC, the weather was pleasantly hot, and the pools and sea all the more inviting. The staff were extremely warm and obliging. Our ‘all inclusive’ package had some restrictions with where we could eat and what we could drink, but there was enough to satisfy each of us without needing to spend to much extra money. We divided our time between the Salt Water Pool, Kids’ Pool and the Private Beach during the day, and played games in the communal lounges and bars after dinner. It was a week sun, sand and relaxation, and just the break abroad we needed.

The highlight of my holiday was my tandem Skydive from 13,000ft in Dubai. It was exhilarating and liberating, and every bit as amazing as my previous skydive in Taupo, New Zealand 11 years ago. My husband, Hamel, Vishal and Parita, opted for slightly less white knuckle experience to enhance their own experience of the holiday, and spent a few hours in the spa instead. Judging by the glow on all their faces, they found their hammam, rasoul and massage treatments were a perfect end to their trip.

Athens, Greece

This mini break was a ‘trip of firsts’. My first holiday abroad for over two years. My first trip alone with my sister-in-law. My first time in Athens; and my first international travel in my new avatar as an independent travel agent!

The opportunity came about as my sister-in-law asked me to accompany her for a formal engagement she had to attend. We flew out on Sunday, and returned on Tuesday, and stayed at the Electra Metropolis Hotel, which provided a lovely stop for lunch with a view of the Acropolis from its rooftop bar.

As we walked around the city, some of the little streets reminded us both, of the gulleys in India. We soon realised that everywhere has a view of the Acropolis when we went up to Sense rooftop bar at the AthensWas Hotel. This was confirmed the next day, when we went rooftop hopping to: Hyper Astro Bar, MS Roof Garden, 360 Degrees, Attic Urban and finally Misafir (a shisha bar). We ate gyros and pastries at an outdoor restaurant, Bairaktaris, and I would highly recommend trying the Peinirli at Ergon House.

With only a limited time for sightseeing, we prioritised the Acropolis, and made an early start to avoid the crowds. As the flagship attraction for Greece, we felt it was the one place we had to go and see, however with the amount of renovation it is currently undergoing, meant much of what we saw was sadly obstructed by scaffolding.

I had a bit of free time on the final day, and made the most of it by doing a little research for my planned trip back here in the Summer, with my family. I found out some very useful information about day trips and excursions to the nearby beaches and islands, and am really excited about bringing the kids, and sharing what I’ve learnt with clients.