The Oberoi Al Zorah

I’ve been to Fujeirah and Ras Al Khaimah a handful of times, but didn’t know much about Ajman – only a half hour drive  from Dubai with a cleaner beach, I’m told. A lot of major five star hotel chains have opened here recently, including Fairmont, Saray Luxury Collection and Kempinski, so I was curious about what the hype was all about. We decided to try the recently opened, sleek Oberoi Al Zorah as a staycation and were blown away by its aesthetic – so modern and serene. It’s like a Japanese zen garden on the beach… with fantastic food at restaurants. Just look at the walkway to the main building:

The Welcome

The road leading up to the hotel goes from Sharjah highway (noisy traffic) to dry desert (too quiet) to green golf courses (random, but interesting) and finally to gates that open onto an eden of olive trees and shallow water pools. We were escorted to a lounge area to wait until our room was ready. The lounge was very modern and artsy, with pops of color. I had the best tiramisu ever at this little cafe. How funny is that painting?

Sweet Suite

What do you expect from a basic five star hotel room? Whatever it is, double it. Walking in to our room, I asked if we had been given an upgrade, but no, the basic room is more like a suite at this spacious resort. It’s all about space, space and more sprawling space.

Tip: ask for a ground floor room because it comes with a grassy terrace and private lounge chairs facing a view of the sea.

(Our room didn’t have the infinity room, but I snuck a photo of the one next door *cheeky*)

Fine Dining

This resort is very calm – it’s so spacious that you will wonder if there are any other guests at the hotel, but come meal times, restaurants will be packed.

This is the seafood restaurant Aquario that overlooks the lovely beach. Despite the pleasant views, I won’t lie, I was in the mood for something more casual than lobster and sea bass, so we headed back to the pool and ordered off the bar menu. Nothing says ‘holiday’ more than a poolside burger/sandwich with fries, am I right?

Dinner was a lovely affair – we were lucky with pleasant weather so it was all about dining al fresco. The Oberoi is a luxury Indian hotel chain, so I went for Indian dishes. The butter chicken and naan was velvety and delicious without being too heavy.

Spa & Pool

We spent most of our time lounging poolside at what the hotel boasts is the longest pool in the UAE. Those endless blue views were really calming.

I didn’t take my phone with me to the spa area, but the facilities were simple and the therapists top notch. It was a great way to take a break from the sun and relax.

Final Verdict

This is a perfect getaway for people coming from Dubai for a mini-break. The resort is spacious, food is excellent and the pool/beach areas will keep you happy for hours. I did feel it was very quiet – some live music or entertainment would have been welcome in the evenings – but the serenity was wonderful for a short break. I would come back!

#WhatToPack

For a day spend lounging in the sun, I love Elena Makri‘s airy designs that are functional and trendy. Turn heads in this gorgeous swimsuit and let this bright kaftan take you from day to night by pairing with metallic sandals. Great way to show off your tan 🙂 Both can be found at Harvey Nichols Dubai!

Guest Post by Rupert Wright of Ashbright
Welcome
 
Paris holds no terrors for well-heeled travellers, who can check into one of the city’s eleven palaces such as ­ the Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Le Bristol or my favourite, Le Meurice. But for those on any kind of budget, finding a decent place to stay in the French capital can be a challenge. Bedrooms smaller than a bathroom, bathrooms smaller than a bidet, we’ve all stayed at one of them and lived to regret it. So, it’s with great pleasure that I have found almost the perfect Parisian hotel – and you don’t need to be a tech billionaire to afford it. The Bedford has been family owned and run for more than a hundred years, combining Swiss roots, French flair and English tradition. It benefits from strong leadership, attention to detail, and a staff eager to look after you. With just 140 rooms, it is large enough to intimate, but not so large that you are anonymous. It’s a 4 star, but deserves more.
 
The rooms
 
Parquet flooring; high ceilings; comfortable beds and pillows; keys rather than plastic cards; and best of all, real switches, that turn the lights on and off. The Bedford has sensibly ignored many of the technical traps that can make staying in a hotel room more challenging than setting up your own satellite transmission site. The result is a place that combines understated elegance with modern touches and old school service. Some rooms overlook the rue de l’Arcade, others look over a courtyard, but all are a decent size and a muted colour. There is air-conditioning too, which is a relief when the summer strikes.
 
Eating
 
Breakfast is a buffet in a glorious belle époque room, boasting stucco reliefs and a glass roof. Dinner happens here too, French cuisine and fairly formal. There’s also a relaxed bistro/bar that serves meals and cocktails.
 
 
Location
 
A stone’s throw from the Place de la Madeleine, the Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries Gardens, and the Opera, this is one of the best areas to stay in Paris. (Marcel Proust used to live just around the corner). It is a lively area, with great boutiques, wine bars and an eclectic mix of restaurants, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Korean, Lebanese and French too.
 
Don’t miss
 
The Bedford knows that many people like to travel with their pets, so they are allowed to stay too.
 
 
HOTEL BEDFORD, 17, RUE DE L’ARCADE 75008 PARIS Tel. : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 77 Fax : +33 (0)1 44 94 77 97 More information at www.hotel-bedford.com
 
Rooms from €250; Suites from €450

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Sara Hamdan

Welcome to a magazine editor’s guide to luxury hotels and what to wear when you’re there! My work has appeared in: The International New York Times, Rolling Stone, Variety and CNN Travel. I’ve held editorial roles at VIVA Magazine, Dubai Magazine and Stylist Arabia.  Now, I freelance for the likes of Google, CNN and Savoir Flair!

Editing travel pages was always my favourite part of working for lifestyle magazines. I started this blog out of a love of beautiful hotels that provide the fairytale escape of a day as a princess where breakfast is a buffet and chocolates appear on my pillow.

PR queries, feedback and compliments? Email sara@holidaysinheels.com!