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Off-Roading in the Arabian Desert (VIDEO)

Off-Roading in the Arabian Desert (VIDEO)

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Dubai might just be the most fascinating city on Earth – definitely the most shiny and new, but just outside of the glitz and the glamour is one of the most vast and desolate deserts in the world, and it should not be missed if you are in the UAE, even for a couple days. When we found ourselves in Dubai earlier in the year we just couldn’t miss the chance to go off-roading in the arabian desert with Arabian Adventures, the top rated adventure tour company in the region.

It is easy to get lost in the vast malls of Dubai, the water parks on The Palm, the endless amazing restaurants, rooftop bars and even an indoor ski slope, but Dubai is unique in the fact the just a few miles outside of the city is almost absolutely nothing – endless desert sand dunes as far as the eye can see. There are a number of desert adventure tour companies, but Arabian Adventures is easily the most popular so we decided to go with them, and we were not disappointed one bit.

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Not entirely sure what to expect, we were picked up at our hotel (read our review of the Grand Hyatt Dubai) and driven about 45 minutes outside of Dubai to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, a vast protected area which only Arabian Adventures is allowed to enter. After deflating our tire pressure we drove into the sand to our first stop, a palm tree filled area where we were treated to a falcon show. While short and quick, it is truly amazing to see these amazing birds flying through the sand dunes so fast. It is easy to get distracted by the beautiful dunes and I have to admit we spent most of the time there shooting pictures of the scenery – but thats what you get when you put two photographers in the middle of the desert!

After the falcon show we strapped ourselves in for the off-roading portion of our adventure and man was it crazy! There were about 25 other SUV’s in our caravan, carefully spaced out as we ventured off across the dunes. The 4×4’s have extra installed roll bars, so hold on tight and enjoy the ride, its pretty exciting. I have to admit, like you’ll see in the video, that I got a bit “sea sick” trying to shoot video and hold on the whole time, but it was of course well worth it.

The drivers timed our adventure perfectly to get to the top of the dunes a few minutes before the sun set, an absolutely amazing scene which looks like something out of Star Wars more than less than an hour from a mega city.

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Off-Roading in the Arabian Desert (VIDEO)

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Standing on top of these sand dunes with nothing but desert in every direction is a truly breathtaking site, even with all of the other tourists and cars in the caravan. I was a bit worried before we took off that going with so many other people into the desert would cheapen the experience but it really didn’t, which was a surprise.

After the sun set the temperature dropped a bit, and while still very hot it was pleasant enough to sit outside and enjoy our night. Arabian Adventures has built an amazing little camp/village in the middle of nowhere, and while built specifically for their tours, it still holds a semi authentic feeling to it where they offer camel rides, henna, shisha, a huge buffet dinner, belly dancing show and stargazing – all included in the price of the tour. (even beer and wine!)

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Off-Roading in the Arabian Desert (VIDEO)

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Marina and I enjoyed wandering around the camp, eating amazing Middle Eastern food, smoking some shisha, Marina got henna and we really enjoyed the belly dancing performance. While not native to Dubai whatsoever, the dancing was a nice touch and entertaining – she really knew how to dance.

One of our favorite parts of the entire day was when they turned off all the lights in the entire camp, leaving us in utter darkness, the stars as bright as I had ever seen them – just cross your fingers it isn’t a full moon or you won’t get the full effect. Once the dining and dancing concludes you are free to enjoy a last drink and make your way back to your driver and SUV where you will be again dropped off back at your hotel, around 10pm.

An amazing day all in all I would do it again in a heartbeat (and actually did it again with a friend last week!). Arabian Adventures has done an excellent job of providing a very easy to plan tour into the desert which incorporates many different elements which would simply be hard to find all in one place on your own – especially on a tight timeline. For a total cost of around $100 per person – it is a very well done tour and an excellent value for the money. So strap on your seatbelt and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime!

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Off-Roading in the Arabian Desert (VIDEO)

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast! 

From Desert Sand to Skyscrapers: Cruise Around the Red Sea

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If you’re looking for a cruise vacation that will allow you to follow the sun and enjoy a diversity of exciting locations then consider the Red Sea region.

Red Sea cruises offer a host of exciting routes and one of the most popular includes a departure from the Egyptian holiday hot spot of Sharm el Sheikh, with vibrant Dubai as your final destination.

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From Desert Sand to Skyscrapers: Cruise Around the Red Sea

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Depart from Egypt’s beach capital

Sun-drenched Sharm el Sheikh is world famous for its beautiful beaches and has easily become one of the most popular beach destinations in North Africa. With over 60Km of coastline it’s not hard to find an idyllic stretch of white sand, and you can spend an afternoon diving in the crystal clear waters at Naama Bay or take a trip to the Sinai Desert.

The nightlife in Sharm is also a major attraction and there are plenty of restaurants, waterfront bars and nightclubs to enjoy. Sharm el Sheikh will be the perfect place to kick off your holiday before sailing on towards your next destination.

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From Desert Sand to Skyscrapers: Cruise Around the Red Sea

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Follow the sun to Djibouti

From Sharm el Sheikh the most popular next port to stop at is Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. A stop here for a few days will allow you to explore the distinctly Arabic capital city and take sightseeing trips to Lake Assal with its dormant volcanic landscape. The town of Tadjoura can also be included on an itinerary and this relaxing location offers a mountainous setting as well as some beautiful beaches. The Foret du Day National Park provides an amazing scenic location, so don’t forget your cameras if touring through this immense and dramatic park.

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From Desert Sand to Skyscrapers: Cruise Around the Red Sea

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Stunning beaches and dramatic deserts

Sailing east from Djibouti will take you to the popular city of Salalah in Oman. The city offers a number of nearby attractions including a beautiful mountainous backdrop and a number of equally stunning beaches along the Arabian Sea coastline. From Salalah the next destination should be unmissable Muscat to enjoy sightseeing opportunities such as the Royal Palace in the walled town as well as taking a sunset boat trip along the coastline. Other highlights can include dolphin spotting excursions and overnight camping in the magical desert area of the Wahiba Sands.

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From Desert Sand to Skyscrapers: Cruise Around the Red Sea

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Relax in the mountains or on the beaches

After the delights of Muscat a stop in Fujairrah is great for sightseeing, before commencing to your final destination. Fujairah is an exciting Indian Ocean resort that offers the majestic Al Hajar Mountains as well some of the most beautiful beach locations. A number of sightseeing options are available depending on how long you dock including visiting the oasis mountain villages and viewing the Al- Bidyah Mosque. The beaches are a natural draw and a few hours should be spent rejuvenating before departing to Dubai.

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From Desert Sand to Skyscrapers: Cruise Around the Red Sea

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The glamour of Dubai

Dubai may indeed be the highlight of your cruise and the amazing skyscraper skyline will be a contrasting sight after the previous idyllic beaches and mountain scenery. Yes, Dubai does offer a number of stunning public beaches along the coastline, but this glamorous city is more than just its beaches. Take a trip to the top of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, although the city is about to outdo itself with an even taller construction. Spend some time swimming with the dolphins at Dolphin Bay, sightsee at the man-made Palm Islands or simply enjoy some of the best nightlife options in the world.

This amazing Red Sea cruise will usually take around 15 days to complete with a day or two’s stop at most of the destinations mentioned: a perfect amount of time to relax out at sea.

 

Images by WomEOS, aurelio candido, S A F 1 PHOTOGRAPHY, Bilal Sarwar and Michael Theis used under creative commons license.

Park Hyatt Dubai

Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Dubai

 

There are some hotels that just stand out and make you forget all about the stress of work, school and bills. The Park Hyatt Dubai takes that to a whole new level. Dubai is an amazing city with so much to offer including endless entertainment and once in a lifetime experiences. Dubai has set a new standard of what luxury means and the Park Hyatt Dubai is no exception.

 

Upon our arrival we entered what is probably the most beautiful hotel lobby I have ever seen. The Mediterranean architecture takes your breath away in this large, open, peaceful lobby. It was calm and there were no other guests, which made us feel like they were waiting just for us. The entire feel of the Park Hyatt Dubai is to create a harmonious feeling to give you the best holiday possible and to give off the feeling of exceedingly magical privacy around every corner.

While we were told the hotel was at 100% capacity during our stay, we rarely saw another guest anywhere in the hotel, it was shockingly peaceful and quiet. The pool always had loads of free chairs, private areas and was silent, amazing considering how close we were to the middle of the city. The winding walkways, rooms, plant life and subtle smells of incense and spices truly whisk you off your feet and take away the world outside.

 

Park Hyatt Dubai

 

The best feature of the Park Hyatt Dubai is the pool. Lets be honest, Dubai is a hot city so what better way to spend the day than relaxing pool slide in style? Jeff and I were happy to spend much of our time here at the pool soaking in the sunlight and enjoying the heat. The pool here was wonderful. It felt as though we were on a private island in the middle of the Ocean, for a while I even forgot we were in Dubai.

 

Park Hyatt Dubai

Our room was nothing but beautiful. I loved the layout of the room because the bathroom overlooked the bedroom with a big open window that can see directly out of the balcony, making the room feel large and open. The bathroom also had a great tub complete with bath salts and bubbles, making any girl feel like a queen plus a shower and two large his and her sinks. Jeff and I enjoyed curling up in our big comfy robes and relaxing.

 

The overall appeal of this hotel is unlike anything I have experienced on my travels. The entire property was beautifully designed and the restaurants were to die for! Jeff and I highly recommend Cafe Arabesque and The Thai Kitchen. Cafe Arabesque has amazing Middle Eastern cuisine and The Thai Kitchen has some delicious Thai food, and trust us, we know Thai food!

 

    Check out our full review of The Thai Kitchen! 

 

The Thai Kitchen

 

 

Overall, the Park Hyatt Dubai was one of my favorite hotels in Dubai. It was so clean and comfortable and made me feel like I was a celebrity on holiday and feel like I had the resort to myself. I can’t wait to come back and try out the Amara Spa, which was beautiful, private and just looked amazing!

 

Park Hyatt Dubai If you are looking for some actives to partake in during your stay, look no further. The Park Hyatt has so much to offer!  Like I mentioned the Amara Spa is stunning and definitely won’t disappoint you. And for those guys out there, they have a beautiful 18-hole golf course at your disposal! They also have a salon, fitness center and you can even take cooking classes with the Master Classes at the Park. Dubai is full of some of the best chefs in the world, so why not learn from the masters?

 

One extra bonus at the Park Hyatt Dubai is that the wifi is free and you don’t even need a password. Nowadays that is always a perk. Your holiday here will exceed all your expectations!

 

 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 Hotel Review: Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre Hotel Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

 

The Thai Kitchen

Restaurant Review: Thai Kitchen, Dubai

 

Dubai is a great city for food and has some of the best chefs in the world, which means it has some of the best restaurants in the world too. Food and luxury go hand in hand in Dubai and there is everything you could ever dream of. From amazing Middle Eastern food, to sushi and Japanese food, Indian and even American restaurants, Dubai really does have it all!

One of our favorite restaurants in Dubai is ironically a Thai restaurant. After living in Thailand for so long, Jeff and I both have a huge heart for Thai food and like to think we know the good from the bad. The last thing we expected while in the Emirates was to find a great Thai restaurant, but we did!

The Thai Kitchen

 

During our stay at the Park Hyatt Dubai, we went to dinner at The Thai Kitchen, one of the Park Hyatt’s fabulous restaurants. We were eager to see if the restaurant was up to par with what we had experienced in Thailand.

 

The second we walked in we knew that it was going to be good. There were cooking stations set throughout the restaurant. One for noodles, rice, ect. It was beautifully set up so you could see all the chefs cooking away. We sat on the patio, which luckily wasn’t too hot, but if you’re in Dubai in the summer the inside of the restaurant is just as beautiful. It is easy for restaurants to have luxurious and impressive designs and layouts, but the food is the most important part and the heart of any dining experience, and Thai Kitchen dazzled in both.

 

The Thai Kitchen

We ordered one of the set menus (set menu II), which was perfect. I had just enough of everything and it all went so well together. If you are new to Thai food, we highly recommend a set menu.  It had all of our favorites and they tasted just like they do in Thailand, with a little of a gourmet twist of course.  The curries were perfect and spicy – just they way we like it! The spicy pomelo salad as amazing, spicy, salty and divine.

 

No Thai meal would be complete with out some mango sticky rice for desert and boy was it delicious! It was just as good as it is in Thailand and even though we were so full from the meal, we had to have some and is a perfect way to end any meal.

 

It was great to be able to speak the “nit noi (little bit)” of Thai that we knew since all of the servers were native to Thailand. It made the whole experience that more authentic and it was great when we didn’t know what to order they could figure out what we would enjoy the most as they know the cuisine so well and can recommend dishes for any palette.

 

The Thai Kitchen

 

The great thing about traveling to a big city is that you get to enjoy all the little perks that the whole world has to offer without going too far. Dubai really does know how to capture the cuisine of the world and if you get the chance you have to try it! I would highly recommend the Thai Kitchen to anyone who is craving some delicious Thai food while in Dubai!

 

 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Dubai Marina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

 

Hotel Review: Radisson Royal Dubai

Hotel Review: Radisson Royal Dubai

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Having a clean and comfortable place to lay your head is the most important thing when traveling, but sometimes you need more than that to be comfortable, and we don’t blame you. Sure, a simply bed and bathroom is enough to survive, but especially after many months of traveling like we have been doing, feeling like we are at home is our biggest challenge, one that our stay at the Radisson Royal more than accomplished.

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 “…feeling like we are at home is our biggest challenge, one that our stay at the Radisson Royal more than accomplished…”

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Located walking distance from the World Trade Tower metro stop, the outside of the building is honestly quite unassuming – no grand entrance, lavish fountains or golden statues as you might think of in Dubai, but believe us when we say they saved all the beauty and comfort for the inside. However, if you view the two towers from a distance, they are some of the more iconic buildings as far as design goes that make up the Dubai skyline and you can get an especially good view from their amazing pool, more on that later. The first thing we noticed when we walked in was the amazing conference center attached to the lobby. To say it was a conference room would be an understatement, as it was more of a piece of modern art.

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 3.48.32 PMThe Origami Meeting Rooms actually made me want to go to a meeting, but lucky for me, the rooms convert into a night club in the evenings o guest can still experience these awesome structures without having to be watching a power point presentation (however, is there a cooler place to watch one?).

The twin towers which comprise the Radisson Royal are laid out to accommodate a perfect mixture of business centers, restaurants, an amazing space, breathtaking pool and gym and while in the hotel you really feel like you are more in a resort than a high rise. I have to be honest and say that during our stay we never once left the hotel in almost three days, there simply wasn’t a single thing we needed outside of its walls, which isn’t to say there isn’t plenty to do in Dubai, but we were so comfortable and relaxed we had no desire to leave.

As we have mentioned in some other reviews, hotel restaurants are never high on our list of must visit places when we visit a new city, but as is the case with much in this city, Dubai does dining differently, and the Radisson Royal was no different. While they have a complete list of restaurants fit for any mood, there is hands down no better Asian restaurant we have eaten at which beats ICHO, their Japanese Sushi and Teppenyaki restaurant which sits perked on their 49-51st floors, high above the city skyline. One of the best restaurant we have ever dined at, the food is breathtaking, the service impeccable and the views as stunning as the meal, a true dining experience like no other and one we will remember for a long time.

So what is the most important part of a hotel stay? The rooms of course, and more specifically the beds! The Radisson Royal have room options for every budget and we chose to splurge a bit and get one of their suites, which felt more like an apartment to us and less like a traditional hotel experience, which was much needed after almost 150 days on the road. The bathroom with its floor to ceiling glass windows, window shades at the click of a button, spacious office space, comfy couch and cloud like bed all made for the homiest hotel stay we have had so far in 2014, and now you understand why we never wanted to leave.

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As for the amenities, good, strong, free WIFI is available throughout the hotel, no nonsense, just a password and you’re set to go. Breakfast is delicious and impressive, whether you eat in the business lounge, in your room or at their variety of restaurants. The pool is gorgeous with an attached bar which serves food. The spa is unworldly and the layout is flawless and the gym is more than impressive for a hotel, complete with complimentary cucumber/lime water, it really is the little things huh?

Radisson Royal is one of the most progressive hotels we have ever stayed at when it comes to adapting with the times and integrating social media into the experience of their hotel. Easily accessible information in the elevators and rooms make it super easy to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as how to share your photos for a chance to win various prizes including discounted meals at ICHO!

Their might only be a handful of Radisson Royal locations in the world but if you ever come close to a city with one (Quito, Moscow, Dubai), make sure to stop in for at least a night to recharge those batteries and relax, we know we will.

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Restaurant Review: ICHO Japanese Teppanyaki Dubai

Restaurant Review: ICHO Japanese Teppan Dubai

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When I think of a going out to a fancy restaurant, I’ll admit that a hotel isn’t the first place I’d look, but if you are in Dubai this would simply be a huge mistake. Not only does Dubai boast some of the most amazing hotels around, and in fact it has the only 7 star hotel on Earth, but it also has some of the best restaurants in the world, including “ICHO“, located in the Radisson Royal hotel. (Read our hotel review HERE)

High up on the 49th and 50th floors, ICHO is a stunning Japanese Sushi and Teppanyaki restaurant and is hands down the best Asian inspired meal we have ever had, and we’ve lived in Thailand for 2 years! We are long time fans of all Asian cuisines, Thai, Korean, Japanese and were more than excited to try some of the best Japanese food in Dubai and we were not the slight bit disappointed.

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“You know  you are having a special night when the simple act of having a meal transforms into an experience, as it does during an evening at ICHO…”

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The 49th floor offers a traditional Japanese sushi restaurant while the 50th floor boasts an impressively charming and intimate teppanyaki spread with ever more impressive views of the vast downtown Dubai skyline. Not being able to resist the teppenyaki menu, we made our way to the 50th floor and started drooling over the menu. Even higher up on the 51st floor is a complete bar, with the same serene atmosphere and great live music weekly.

Restaurant Review: ICHO Japanese Teppanyaki DubaiDubai is in no sense of the word a cheap city, and fine dining is no different. However, in Dubai, fine dining takes on a whole new meaning, and if you have the money to enjoy a good meal you will be amazed at the quality and taste you’ll find. Unlike major cities in Europe, so overrun with tourists that many restaurants are over priced and still serve average food, in Dubai the quality matches the price and while a good meal might seem a bit pricey, believe us, you will not regret it.

Ok, on to the most important part, the food! We both opted for the Seafood and Beef menu, as recommended by the head chef, an amazingly kind and personable young guy. This set menu gave us a little bit of everything, from tuna and salmon tartar, oyster and beef tempura, wagyu beef tenderloin and perfectly grilled salmon. As is often the case with Teppanyaki restaurants, our table chef was a master of the knife and had some entertaining tricks up his sleeve, but unlike many of these places, his weren’t over the top tacky at all, simply just showing off his skills in the kitchen.

Our starters were absolutely delicious and we would go back again just for them, but we had to save room for the main courses, the best seafood and beef we’d tasted. The seafood was perfectly cooked and covered in a rich soy and garlic glaze which only enhanced its flavor, the beef, cooked to our specifications, was delicate and melted in our mouths. The vegetables are usually an afterthought at teppanyaki restaurants, but were cooked with the same care and precision as the rest of our meal, and just as mouth watering.

You know  you are having a special night when the simple act of having a meal transforms into an experience, as it does during an evening at ICHO.

And what is a perfect meal without the perfect cocktail? Marina and I both went with martinis, which were the perfect fit to our meal, try the Bonsai Martini if you get the chance, the perfect mix of cucumber and melon to top off your night.

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Restaurant Review: ICHO Japanese Teppanyaki Dubai

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The set menu desert lacked the flair and flavor of the mean courses, however to be honest, we didn’t really want to eat it for fear the taste of the food would leave our mouth, yes it was that good! Neither of us have the biggest sweet tooth and we were completely stuffed by the time our desert came, happy to simply sip on another amazing martini and gaze over the impressively lit Dubai skyline from one of the most impressive restaurant experiences we have ever had.

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Restaurant Review: ICHO Japanese Teppanyaki Dubai

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Hotel Review: Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre Hotel

Hotel Review: Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre Hotel 

 

Hospitality has a whole new meaning in Dubai. Here, everyone is treated like royalty and the Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre Hotel is no different. The Pullman is an elegant hotel designed with dignity and class. This isn’t just any other hotel, it has a sophisticated class about it and you feel that the second you walk through the doors.

Hotel Review: Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre Hotel The Pullman pulls out all the stops in Dubai. They have a great outdoor pool complete with a poolside bar, a full service gym and spa, meeting and conference rooms and free wifi, which makes it the perfect hotel for a holiday or for business.

If you are visiting on Business or just want something a little extra, be sure to book an executive room and get access to the executive floor. In my opinion, the Pullman takes the executive floor to a whole new level and provides a great escape from a busy city. The executive option really defines the way you experience your hotel stay. From the minute you walk in you will be ushered to your room, without the need to stand in line at the front desk to check in. Once on  the executive floor, all amenities are within an arms reach. A separate breakfast is served in the executive lounge with a wide array of foods at their classy buffet as well as made to order English, American and Arab breakfasts. The executive lounge is open all day and provides a special happy hour with complimentary drinks and finger food each evening. This is the perfect place to escape your room for a quiet place to work or as a classy location for a business meeting during your stay.

Pullman Dubai PoolThe Pullman is also connected to the Deira City Centre Mall that you can walk to straight from the hotel lobby. This mall is great and full of excellent shopping, restaurants and even a movie theatre so there is always something to do.  If you need a new dress for a nice dinner out, or forgot to pack socks it is really convenient to have a full mall at your disposal to get those last minute items while traveling.  The mall also has a metro stop so if you want to explore Dubai with the locals, the metro is a great (air conditioned) way to see the city.

 

Soma Spa 

Soma Spa

 

One of the best reasons to stay at the Pullman in Dubai is their Soma Spa. This tranquil spa is beautiful and relaxing and will help you truly experience the luxury Dubai has to offer. The staff is extremely helpful and friendly and the massage therapists are very talented. No matter what treatment you choose you will not be disappointed with the experience.

 

“Welcoming you with a refreshing drink and a luxurious foot bath, your discovery to an exquisite indulgence for your senses with Soma Spa awaits.“

 

The Soma Spa was my first spa experience ever. I know, I know, it’s crazy! I’ve waited this long to go to a spa, but waiting for the luxury experience the Soma Spa had to offer was well worth the wait. I didn’t think I would like a massage, but boy was I wrong.
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When I first arrived I was greeted with a welcome drink and settled in. Then I was taken into the ladies changing room where I was able to get good and comfy in a big robe and slippers. After I was changed I went into the sauna for about 15 minutes which felt really nice to just relax and sweat out some stress. After I was ready the massage therapist showed me to my room to start the treatment. I was a bit nervous since I had never done it before and wasn’t sure what to expect.
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In the room I was eased with the sound of peaceful music and the smell of rich spices. The therapist choose a treatment that was right for me, since I didn’t know what would be best and during the whole massage made sure that I was comfortable.
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I never thought I would like getting a massage, but it really was a great experience. Everyone one at the Soma Spa was very helpful and explained everything to me so that I could understand. Whether you have had dozens of spa experiences or like me, never have gone before, I would highly recommend a treatment at the Soma Spa at the Pullman in Dubai.
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Pullman Dubai

 

I would highly recommend a stay at the Pullman Dubai Deira City Centre Hotel, one of the most complete accommodation options we have yet experienced. It is a great hotel that will leave you feeling rested and ready to explore all that Dubai has to offer. Rooms start at about $160 a night and airport pick up service can be arranged.

 

 

Bio Photo Marina 150x150 Taking A Chalkboard Around The WorldMarina Dominguez is the co-founder of Latitude 34 Travel Blog as well as a photographer and documentary film maker.

As a maturing women, Marina has dedicated her life to travel and new experiences. After working a 9-5 cubical lifestyle, Marina sold everything she owned, left her job and begun a new life with her boyfriend and travel companion, Jeff Johns. Together they relocated to Phuket, Thailand and founded Latitude 34 in which they seek to share their alternative lifestyle with the world. 

Marina is a Visual Journalism graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography where she studied photography, videography and ultimately caught the travel bug. Through creating several international documentaries, Marina realized there was more to the world than work and wanted something more. 

32,281 Miles, Zero Regrets

32,281 Miles, Zero Regrets

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Going on a trip around the world has always been a fantasy for me, and while I have been lucky enough to see much of the world through my travels, Marina and I were thrilled to finally plan an entire trip around the world, starting and ending in Phuket, Thailand, our adopted home. We would start by heading back to the states via South Korea and then, over the course of five months, make our way across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and into Asia before returning to Thailand, a complete trip around the world.

We packed up our two little carry on suitcases, filled to the brim, and jetted off for the the most intense, longest and adventurous plan yet. Five months later we are hours away from our return to Thailand and looking back over an amazing five months on the road. While we have months of writing ahead of us and are beyond excited to share all of our experiences with you, good and bad, here is a look at some of the numbers from our trip, the statistics behind a trip around the world, from the grandiose to the minute.

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32,281 Miles, Zero Regrets

32, 281 Miles

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Since leaving Phuket on December 4, we have traveled a shocking 32,281 miles (51,951 km). The circumference of the world around the equator is just 25,000 miles which means we meandered a bit during our travels. Starting from Washington, DC in January, we jumped to Ireland and then spent the next two months circling Europe in no sensical way whatsoever. But what can we say, there is so much of Europe to see that we couldn’t help but head in every direction possible! From the southern point of Spain in the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle in Northern Finland, we experienced all extremes and everything in between. The distance we’ve traveled would have been enough to walk the entire Great Wall of China over four times, or to drive from New York to Los Angeles over eleven times.

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32,281 Miles, Zero Regrets

159 Days

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A lot can happen in 159 days, and boy has it flown by. While we started our journey in Phuket, we were quickly hit with the fact that it was the middle of winter most other places in the world. We were first hit with the cold in Ireland, where the damp and gloomy climate chilled us to the bones, thank goodness for friends with warm fireplaces and electric blankets! Marina saw snow fall for the first time in her entire life in the north of Finland, and we even camped in the middle of the Lappish wilderness after ice swimming and fishing. During the last 159 days we have traveled by plane, car, boat, bicycle, ferry, bus and by foot over bridges, through tunnels, fields, cities, deserts and deep, dark woods. A lot can happen in 159 days, and it will take us months to process all we have been through.

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32,281 Miles, Zero Regrets

27 Countries

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Since we departed on our adventure we have stepped foot in 27 countries all over the world and when we arrived in Singapore, our last stop, Marina stepped on her 34th country, ironically enough. Through the rainy days we spent in London to the delicious food of Rome, magic in Venice, falling in love with Paris, wilderness in Finland, mysteries in Cairo and decadence in Dubai, we have tried to take in as much as we can and take pictures of everything else along the way. It was amazing to experience countries like Finland and enchanting cities like Budapest, which we had never dreamed of visiting and ended up falling in love with as well as fulfilling life long dreams of visiting the Great Pyramids in Egypt and experiencing Carnivale in Venice, Italy. While 27 countries is quite a lot, it is shockingly only just above 12% of the countries on Earth, so we’ve got our work cut out for us going forward!

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32,281 Miles, Zero Regrets

18 Airlines

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While we’ve heard of people making it around the world without the use of a single airplane, we didn’t have years to spend and while we took ferries, busses and trains to many locations, we turned to flight to take us most of the way. It is hard to travel the world without hearing horror stories of low cost budget airlines creating nightmare travel situations for many travelers, so we were prepped for the worst. We’ve always loved Asian airlines, and started off the trip aboard Asiana, a Korean airline which has never disappointed us. Through the US, we traveled on the American staples of American Airlines, United and Continental and through Europe we held our breath and tried out budget airlines Ryan Air, Easy Jet and Wizz Air, none of which proved as awful as we planned (although I did show up to the Dublin airport wearing four pairs of pants before boarding a Ryan Air flight). 18 airlines means 18 different baggage policies, 18 different weight restrictions and 18 different in flight meals (if you can call them that). Off the top of our heads our favorite was definitely Finnair, which provided us with a first class experience in economy, as they do every traveler, a welcome relief in the ever dwindling world of in-flight comforts.

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32,281 Miles, Zero Regrets

12 Friends

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One of the greatest gifts that travel has given us are friendships all over the world and while it is hard to be away from good friends at home, there is nothing better than seeing a familiar smiling face in an unknown city. To put it simply, we never would have been able to accomplish a trip of this magnitude without the unending kindness and support of our friends and family living all over the globe from Ireland to Israel. We’ve had friends give us their own beds, plan entire walking tours, lend us everything they had, cook meals and open up their homes and hearts to us, something we can only ever try to repay as long as we live. The wonderful thing about traveling friends is that many have been shown the same kindness while on the road and know how much it means to find a comfortable couch to sleep on or to have the use of free wifi or a washing machine after long weeks on the road. We could never have done this trip without our friends and will be eternally grateful.

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32,281 Miles, Zero Regrets

4 Continents

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The world is a big place, a giant place, filled with the vast deserts of Africa, the bustling cities of Europe, the history of Asia and the excitement of the Americas. Through Asia, North America, Europe and Africa we were lucky enough to witness humanity on the grandest of scales, from the small street side cafe’s in Paris to the kindness of the locals in Estonia to the strangers we met in Egypt and the amazing family we got to spend Passover with in Israel, one of the highlights of our journey. Through four continents we were able to see life lived endless ways, life from many angles, life from many directions, life from many perspectives. Being able to be in someone’s shoes and see the world as they do is a blessing in itself, but to be able and experience this in vastly different parts of the world was truly amazing.

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32,281 Miles, Zero Regrets

0 Regrets

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Through it all we have remained strong and took on each new day with the best of our abilities. We have laughed, cried, bled and changed through it all. Exhausted as we may be, we take none of it for granted and tried to dive as deep as we could into each culture. Connecting the dots of the humanity around us is one of the greatest blessings we could have ever been given and the more we travel the more the dots of the world around us are connected. Meeting strangers who become best friends, tasting a bizarre food for the first time and falling in love with it and proving our pre conceived notions of an entire people or culture wrong is what makes travel worth it and more addictive than any drug imaginable.

And so thus concludes our journey around the world, which will surely be one of the most memorable experiences of our entire lives. An adventure which has taught us endless life lessons we are excited to pass down to those who come after us, to learn from the mistakes we have made the the triumphs we have experienced. We haven’t experienced it all, but we have experienced a lot. We haven’t seen it all, but we have seen enough to know there is a whole lot more life to be lived and a whole lot of mistakes left to make, which we are only looking forward to learning from.

So head out there, get lost, meet strangers, try everything, say yes, smile, and travel like you mean it – the world will take care of you.

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

Travel Wish List 2014: Finally Visiting Dubai!
Travel Wish List 2014: Finally Visiting Dubai!
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For the first time in either of our lives, Marina and I have a wide open year just for travel, and no strings tying us down anywhere. We have no cars payments, no rent, no cell phone plans. We have worked very hard to get to this point and hope to check many things off our travel wish list in 2014, including finally visiting Dubai!
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Travel Wish List 2014: Finally Visiting Dubai!
Photo by Svetlana Grechkina via Flickr

For some reason Dubai has always held a certain mystique in my mind, and I have always wanted to visit the country to experience the vastly unique lifestyle. One of the best things travel can give you is an utterly different perspective to your life and a brilliant insight into the lives of other cultures around the world.

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Dubai is one of 7 emirates (a principality), which combine to form the United Arab Emirates (UAE). One of the most popular and interesting, Dubai is filled with groundbreaking tourist attractions like Palm Island and the first indoor skiing available in the Middle East.
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Dubai also has some of the best food in the Middle East, and while laws prohibit the sale of alcohol to restaurants located outside of hotels, the food is usually extremely delicious and cheap, or so we hear! We cannot wait to explore it all for ourselves.
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While we will be traveling through most of Western Europe during the middle of the winter, by the time we arrive to Dubai in March it should be nice and warm and in the middle of their tourist season. We’ve heard brilliant things about the malls, the zoo and some of the roof top hotel bars!
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Neither Marina or me have ever been anywhere in the Middle East, and while Dubai will not give us a complete picture of the region, it is going to be a great place to start our journey into that part of the world!
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Emirates offers the easiest flights to Dubai and within the region, so hopefully once we make it to Istanbul, we’ll be able to easily hop on over to Dubai before we make our way to India and up to Nepal.
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Have you been to Dubai? What did you think? Where would you recommend we go? Anything not to miss, anything we should pass on? We’d love to read your comments, so feel free to leave advice below or comment with a link to one of your own articles.
Cheers and we’ll see you on the road!
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Travel Wish List 2014: Finally Visiting Dubai!
Photo by MJ Photography via Flickr

 

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.H . jeffjohnsheadshotJeff Johns is the co-founder and editor of Latitude 34 Travel Blog. Through 65 countries on 6 continents he has accumulated a seemingly endless stream of odd information, interesting stories and helpful tips and tricks to better travel. Jeff’s goal is to visit all 204 countries on Earth before he is too senile to remember them all. A graduate of the Visual Journalism program at the Brooks Institute, his true passions lay in honest visual storytelling, documentary filmmaking, Thai food and a good laugh. Together with his girlfriend Marina, they run Latitude 34 Travel Blog as a source of helpful information for those who love to travel or those who simply dream of it. If you have a comment or suggestion, send them an email at hello@latitudethirtyfour.com and they’ll respond super fast!

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