New Places and an Old Favourite

“We’re clearly a little late to the game, but have you seen the Dubai Miracle Garden?” The Huffington Post

So its been a relatively quiet week as we readjust to life back to just the three of us again after the in-laws departed in the early hours of Sunday Morning. We finished off their visit in the same over indulgent style that it started, with lots of delicious food, an abundance of alcohol, golf club visits and exploring some new places and a couple of old favourites too.

 ImageLadies that Lunch

While the menfolk of the family enjoyed a round of golf on the National Course at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, home of the previous weeks Abu Dhabi HSBC 2014 Golf Championship, minus the crowds and the impressive scorecards, us ladies who lunch sunned ourselves on the terrace, taking in the fantastic weather and views and of course more yummy food.

ImageMenfolk after their round

Undeterred by the late and slightly boozy lunch, we set off to the Dusit Thani hotel for an evening filled with Thai delicacies at the Benjarong restaurant. Having heard great things about this venue from various sources, we saved this gem to share with the in-laws as they love Thai food and luckily it didn’t disappoint! Mouth-watering food, delicious wine, good service and an authentic location all added up to a lovely evening. The hotel features one of the UAE’s tallest, naturally lit atriums (an imposing 130-metres, 37-storeys high with two glass-walled elevators) and it’s an impressive sight.

DSC00180The impressive Atrium, not sure the photo does it justice but you get the idea

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Authentic dining in the Thai restaurant Benjarong Image

Nom, Nom, Nom – our tasty Thai food

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Final Friday could only mean one thing, a UAE expat tradition – Brunch! A favourite in our house and one which the in-laws enjoyed but it’s really hard not too with the fabulously located Olea restaurant at the St Regis, Saadiyat Island overlooking the stunning coastline. More food, more drink ……we rolled home happy and full to the brim! (see all the photos in a previous post Messy Business)

ImageThe stunning location of the Montgomerie Dubai

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Restaurant named after the man himself, Colin Montgomerie

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The last day was a planned trip to Dubai to round off the holiday in our glitzy neighbour Emirate. First stop was of course (no pun intended) a golf club and this time it was The Address Montgomerie Dubai (another first we saved) designed by top golfer Colin Montgomerie. Wow! What a amazing location and facility! Another terrace, another menu but you can’t beat a cold glass of cider sitting in the sun, eating lunch and the scenery wasn’t bad either. Even the changing facilities were top-notch and the Teenager enjoyed her normal rummage in the changing room full of products. I am actually loving all these golf clubs, set in amazing locations offering high quality food, attentive service and they don’t charge the 16% tourist tax (20% in Dubai) that hotels charge, a bugbear to us long-term residents.

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Next stop was another new venue for us, the Dubai Miracle Garden. With more than forty-five million blooms in remarkable designs, the garden was full of eye-catching colours combining forty-five flower varieties. The place is stunning and feels out-of-place in the middle of the desert and my first question was ‘How much water must they use to keep it looking so fantastic?’ The answer is the blossoms are kept hydrated through a drip irrigation system, which uses recycled waste water. Phew! That’s lucky because the volume of water needed must be off the scale! Miracle Garden is described as “one of a kind in the region and in the world for such a unique display and extravagant outdoor recreational destination.” I recommend a visit to see so many flowers blooming in the desert, it’s not a Disney park by any means but it’s a little gem and a pleasant place to wander with an ice-cream and admire the creative structures, check out the replica Burj Khalifa made of flowers pictured above.

ImageStunning Flower Wall at Miracle Garden

A trip to a Dubai attraction would not be complete without finding out it holds a World Record. Miracle Garden Dubai currently holds the record for the ‘largest vertical garden‘ in Guinness Book of Records. Of course it does!

From one world record place to another, we moved on to our next stop, the Dubai Mall. The place was heaving with DSF (Dubai Shopping Festival) shoppers and finding a space in the massive car park was tricky! The Dubai retail economy is certainly booming! After a quick wander round the shops, we ventured out to the packed walkways around the Burj Khalifa and made our way to Souk Al Bahar for the trip finale, dinner at my favourite Dubai restaurant ‘The Rivington Grill’,  a request from the M-I-L as she liked it after we took them there on their first visit back in 2010. As always a delicious meal accompanied by the spectacular Burj Khalifa fountain show. A perfect end to a good day on the tourist trail.

So Sunday, it was back to normal and I have been quite good with only two lunches out with friends this week (well three if you count my Thursday lunch date with my daughter) counteracted by a Pilates session and no golf club visits, but today is Friday so that means Brunch, oh dear………….bring on the bubbles!