The United Arab Emirates is made up of 7 ‘Emirates’. Dubai is the most famous of course but I was lucky to get the chance to visit a couple of the less famous, but just as beautiful, Emirates! Ajman, the smallest Emirate, is quieter than Dubai with great beach facilities and there’s a shuttle service to Dubai for shopping and a more lively evening now and then, making it an ideal alternative. In Ajman there is no lack of stunning hotels, like the Fairmont, which has a beautiful terrace to relax and enjoy the lovely sea views. A great, sociable place to go with a group of friends.

But for a real Arabian experience, you need to stay for a night at the Al Wadi Desert Hotel in Ras Al Khaimah, another Emirate. Al Wadi Desert Hotel is north of Ajman and Dubai and is so romantic, perfect for a special occasion, a table for 2 and perhaps a marriage proposal during a private dining experience at the Arabian watchtower. Stay in one of the pool villas with a desert vista for a total get-away-from-it-all feeling. I dined under clear starlit skies, forgot that Dubai was less than an hour’s drive away, and as time stood still, out here in the desert, it could have been 27AD!

My final place to visit was Al Zorah with a stay at the newly opened Oberoi. Al Zorah is beautiful – long, white, sandy beaches, azure seas and green forests – acres and acres of it! At the hotel there’s golf, canoes that you paddle through mangroves listening to birdsong, and plenty of walking, cycling and jogging trails – and Dubai International airport is just 25 minutes away! I enjoyed a fabulous barbeque that night selecting and cooking my own main course and making my own cocktail!

My visit to the UAE was a perfect short break – bustling Dubai and the quieter but more authentic Emirates of Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. The weather was magnificent, hot and sunny and the sea was like a warm bath. The hotels are of a very high standard, and the beaches are pristine. So why not cast away the winter blues and try an Arabian adventure?
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