Romantic staycations - the best Valentine's Day mini-getaways
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Get cosy on an overnight desert safari
Hug your other half on a sunset camel ride, snuggle by the campfire and sleep in a plush bed under canvas this Valentine’s Day. The new overnight Arabian Dreams desert safari by Arabian Adventures has all the romance of a mini-break, but cheaper. A sturdy 4×4 will collect you in Dubai, and take you to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve to see a falconry display before hopping back in the car for a spot of dune bashing. Hang on to your partner’s hand/leg/head for stability if not affection.
Next you’ll swap wheels for hooves as a camel takes you to the desert campsite. Here, you’ll find eight two-person tents, as well as flushing toilets and (cold) showers. A traditional barbeque is served in the central tent with thick cushions for seats. A campfire awaits at the end of the meal – with shisha – enabling you to sit with your loved one and marvel at the stars. Next day, early risers can watch the sun rise over the Hajar Mountains, before tucking into a hot breakfast with croissants, cereal and coffee. The drive home lets you spot wildlife – mostly gazelle and oryx – and you’ll return to Dubai feeling like romance is alive and well.
Arabian Adventures, Dubai, daily during winter. Depart Dubai 3pm; return 11am next day. Valentine’s package Feb 13 and 14, Dhs2,495 per couple (includes bottle of bubbly). Tel: (04) 2144888. arabian-adventures.com
Sofitel The Palm
Lovebirds can take their pick from French food at Studio du Chef, seafood at Moana, or steak at Porterhouse for their romantic dinner, followed by an overnight stay in a sea view room. The package, priced at Dhs1,800, includes a buffet breakfast. For a special treat you can have dinner served in one of the resort’s beach cabanas for an extra Dhs250.
The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Dhs1,800. Tel: (04) 4556600. Taxi: Sofitel The Palm. sofitel-dubai-thepalm.com
The latest addition to the city’s high-end hotel scene is marking Valentine’s Day with a special package incorporating an overnight stay in a deluxe sea view room, in-room breakfast with bubbly, and a couple’s massage.
Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Dhs2,104. Tel: (04) 4447440. Metro: World Trade Centre. conraddubai.com
Bab Al Shams
Take a trip into the desert for a private dinner and overnight stay at Bab Al Shams Desert Resort. You and your partner will be treated to a four-course meal in a superior guest room served by your own butler, as a violinist sets the mood. The package includes a bottle of sparkling grape, unlimited drinks and shisha, plus a dozen roses and a Valentine’s gift worth Dhs2,000. Round off your stay with breakfast in your room before returning to reality.
Near Dubai International Endurance City, Dubai, 8pm, Dhs12,500. Tel: (04) 3813231. Taxi: Bab Al Shams Desert Resort. meydanhotels.com
If you want to get out of Dubai, boutique hotel Desert Palm is offering a two-night Valentine’s package, including a themed buffet dinner with entertainment from violinist Anna Pavlova. You and your loved one will also get a lemon and lime foot cleanse and a hot stone massage in the Lime Spa.
Warsan, Dubai, Dhs4,380. Tel: (04) 3238888. Taxi: Desert Palm. desertpalmperaquum.com
Couples who want a lively Valentine’s Day can enjoy free and unlimited access to Wild Wadi Water Park when booking a stay at one of the hotels in the Madinat Jumeirah. After you’ve exhausted the rides chill with a Dhs500 voucher to spend on treatments at the Talise Spa. The next morning pick from one of three restaurants for breakfast and take advantage of the late checkout at 2pm.
Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai, Dhs2,300. Tel: (04) 3668888. Taxi: Madinat Jumeirah. jumeirah.com
Rixos The Palm
Make it a long weekend with a two-night package and a four-course meal at either Salt or L’Olivio with a glass of bubbly and chocolates. In-room breakfast is served with bubbles.
The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Dhs5,749. Tel: (04) 4575555. Taxi: Rixos The Palm. rixosthepalm.com
WIN! A romantic hotel retreat
Pack an overnight bag and head to Rose Rayhaan Rotana hotel for a Valentine’s Day you won’t forget. The prize includes a one night stay at the hotel in a Sky Classic room, a 30-minute massage each, and breakfast in bed. The lady will get a red rose on arrival too. Just enter your details in the box below before midday on February 9.