Been home from our latest trip for nearly a week now. The trip started out with us leaving Stockholm and Sweden for a nonstop flight to the Qatari capital Doha. We flew with excellent Qatar Airways and despite flying economy class we got served real champagne as well as having good space and nice inseat screens.
In Doha we got picked up by a shiny Lexus and got driven to the Mövenpick hotel (yes, the ice cream chain) where we got an upgrade to a nice large room facing the sea and the Doha Skyline. The following days we walked around the city, which wasn’t that convenient. Despite that we visited the fantastic Museum of Islamic Art, Souq Waqif (a large outdoor market place). We also walked about 15 kilometers return, mostly in 35 degrees, to visit the West Bay skyscrapers and the Doha City Center shopping mall. The final night we enjoyed a great meal at the Al Mourjan restaurant, situated at the Doha Corniche.
After Doha we continued our trip to Dubai in the UAE. We stayed at the Majestic Hotel, which turned out to be an excellent choice. We payed roughly $100 per night and enjoyed a really nice hotel with views over the city, good location and great facilities. We visited Dubai on our first trip together about 6.5 years ago and have wanted to go back for some time. We did a few nostalgic things that we did last time but mainly did new things. We visited the 828 meter tall Burj Khalifa, we went to Oman and the Musandam Peninsula during an awesome daytrip, we had a less-awesome-than-expected-dinner at Nobu at Atlantis the Palm (an artificial island shaped like a palm tree).
We also visited a few shopping malls, ate lots of arabic food, possibly also a meal at Nando’s… and perhaps even at KFC. 🙂 Also tried Magnolia bakery which have opened in Dubai and loved, loved and loved their cupcakes. We went back to our old favourite bar Vu’s bar situated in the Emirates Towers. My taste has apparently evolved a bit in 6 years of travel, and we weren’t terribly impressed by Vu’s anymore. Like the Finland ferry, as we say about slightly tacky, smoky bars in Sweden. Had a tasty dry martini though.
From Dubai we took an almost empty Emirates flight to the sprawling megapolis Mumbai in western India. In Mumbai we got picked up at the airport by a air-conditioned mini-van where we got served ice-cold beverages on a tray in the backseat of the car. A first for me, but quite nice. The trip from the airport is described in a post below. At the Sofitel we were selected to be guests of the day and got an upgrade to a nice suite and complimentary cocktails in the club lounge.
We had the best meal in India at Jyran restaurant and enjoyed their fab pool area. After a nice day by the pool we took a taxi to the famous Taj Mahal Palace (yes, the scene of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack). At the Taj we got thoroughly screened by security before we were allowed to enter the hotel. At the hotel we got a nice room in the newer, uglier and cheaper tower wing and had dinner at the Masala Kraft restaurant. Masala Kraft was a bit boring and the service was a bit over the top with a staff member checking in about once a minute to check if we were missing something. Food was good enough but way too expensive for what we got.
The following day we took a tour in a shiny Tata (Indian car) with a hotel driver with white gloves and a little hat, something I have never experienced before. We also had a local guide that was very knowledgeable. We saw all the Mumbai sights such as the Dhoby Ghat (washing place), Mumbai University, the beach, Malabar Hills, a Jain temple and Ghandis home as well as much more. After that we went to another famous Mumbai spot: Leopold’s Cafe. At Leopold’s we drank beer and had a pretty tasty lunch.
We finished the day with champagne at Aer bar at the Four Seasons Mumbai where we toasted for 50 visited countries. The best thing was the half price sundowners including proper champagne. Unfortunately only Moët, but still champagne. Finished the evening with a great local concoction called Mumbai Masala. A cocktail including rum, whiskey, spiced tea, apple juice and cinnamon. Delish.
The next day our guide, Sharmila, was back and took us to Elephanta Island. Elephanta is situated about 1 hours’ boat ride from the Gateway of India where also the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is situated. On Elephanta we watched Hindu rock carving from the 600d century and a few animals such as dogs, goast, cows and lots of wild monkeys. Very cool place.
Our final day in Mumbai was spent by the awesome Taj Mahal Palace pool. We also located the nearby Starbuck’s where we had a drink. Then our Emirates limo came and picked us up since we managed to upgrade our return flights with miles to business class. The limo took us to the airport and after a little checking-in and extremely thorough security checks we were in the lounge where we had a few glasses of champagne. After the lounge we boarded our B777 bound for Dubai. Onboard we got so much champagne I was a little afraid that they might not let me back into Dubai. But it turned out well and our second Emirates limo for the day delivered us to our next hotel: Hilton Jumeirah Beach Residences.
The beach at Hilton Jumeirah Beach resort.
At the Hilton JBR they upgraded us to an enormous 2 bedroom suite with dining table for 8, living room, two bedrooms, three bathrooms and a balcony overlooking the Dubai marina. Not sure why, but 4 out of 5 hotels upgraded us during the trip. The final two days in Dubai was mostly spent at the beach together with lots of tourists from Russia. We also had a fantastic meal at Tagine restaurant at the One & Only Royal Mirage hotel. We had pigeon pie and the tastiest lamb I have ever had.
The final day we spent some more time at the beach and I had my first, and probably last, burger at Chilis. We then took a cab to the airport and flew Dubai – Doha – Stockholm and I managed to sleep almost all the way, despite being in economy class. Fantastic trip!
Next stop is London in a few weeks’ time, and then in August, our first trip to South America and Chile. Next up is to decide where to stay and do over there.