6 quick getaways from the Gulf

India has so much to offer. (Shutterstock)
Updated 31 March 2018
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6 quick getaways from the Gulf

We’ve all relished a quick getaway that’s both affordable and close. For those living in the Gulf, the options are limitless, so to make things easier here are the six top places to go that are a mere stone’s throw away.

India

India has so much to offer in terms of culinary experiences, culture, history and traditions. From a delightfully-diverse range of food from New Delhi to Kerala, to historic forts, mausoleums and towers, the country is brimming with exciting experiences just waiting to be explored.

Jordan

Jordan’s capital Amman hosts an incredible amount of history and culture, from its old city to its ancient Roman ruins. A major tourist attraction is the Dead Sea, while Petra’s hanging gardens were one of the seven wonders of the world.

Azerbaijan

A colorful city filled with night-life options, old and medieval city ruins and an iconic stone tower, Azerbaijan’s capital Baku is a hidden treasure in Europe that’s well worth a visit. Be sure to check out the Fountains Square and the famous carpet museum.

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Georgia

For those missing out on snowy ski season in the Gulf, Georgia’s Tbilisi is a great quick and affordable option. Things you shouldn’t miss out on seeing are the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the Bridge of Peace and Jvari, a sixth century mountaintop monastery.

Armenia

The peak season to visit Armenia is the summer, which is warm and dry and features events such as the Yerevan International Film Festival and the Extreme Sports Festival, which takes place on Lake Sevan. Other must-do activities include visiting the first century Temple of Garni and hiking to the Khor Virap mountain monastery.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is one of the must-see countries for anyone looking for nature and greenery. The island’s diversity and towns make it a very worth-while visit. The colonial town of Galle is known for its Dutch and Portuguese churches while the southern coast of Yala is home to a breathtaking nature reserve.


Bulgari hotel: An Italian escape in Dubai

Luxury doesn’t shout its presence with bling or ostentatious features, instead it quietly whispers. (bulgarihotels.com)
Updated 19 April 2018
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Bulgari hotel: An Italian escape in Dubai

  • The “urban oasis” is currently the only hotel situated on the offshore Jumeira Bay island
  • Home to just 110 rooms, suites and villas, the sprawling low-rise property oozes Italian elegance with its minimalist aesthetic

DUBAI: Bulgari, the venerated Italian design house, has just five hotels around the world. And even in Dubai — a city crammed with luxury hotels — the Bulgari Resort manages to seem exclusive. The “urban oasis” is currently the only hotel situated on the offshore Jumeira Bay island, offering guests some respite from the city’s often-hectic atmosphere, even though it is literally minutes away from the pulsing heart of Dubai.

Home to just 110 rooms, suites and villas, the sprawling low-rise property oozes Italian elegance with its minimalist aesthetic. Master architects Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel — who are responsible for all the Bulgari hotels worldwide — have used a neutral color palette and custom motifs, such as coral-inspired lacquered steel parapets and mashrabiya-patterned accents, to give the hotel a sense of place.

Here, luxury doesn’t shout its presence with bling or ostentatious features, instead it quietly whispers, with fine materials — from Italian marble to sumptuous silks, impeccable attention to detail, and touches including the signature fragrance that wafts around you from the second you enter.

The hotel is responsible for a couple of firsts for the brand, including its ‘Little Gems’ kids club — where children are entertained with bespoke activities such as cooking classes and treasure hunts while their parents enjoy some downtime — and the global debut of the Bulgari Marina & Yacht Club, which has its own pool and recreation facilities, signature seafood restaurant, and 50-berth harbor.

All rooms and suites feature a walk-in closet, spacious balconies, smooth one-touch button controls, and bathrooms with standalone tubs boasting enviable views — making for some excellent Insta-fodder. The signature trunk-style mini-bar is as funky as it is functional, and the trendy basket beach bags are perfect for stashing your souvenirs — including designer knick-knacks from on-site concept store La Galleria.

The one-, two-, and three-bedroom villas offer private pools and butler service, but you don’t want to miss the resort’s circular central pool, where luxury cabanas with oversized daybeds and on-call service invite you to lounge the day away. Just adjacent is the crescent-shaped private beach, with the gentle waters of the Arabian Gulf offering perfect swimming conditions, even if the tip of the seahorse-shaped island mars the view slightly.

Whether you opt for a beach-and-pool day or a Dubai-sightseeing trip, your evening should definitely be devoted to the quintessentially Italian aperitivo experience at Il Bar, where an oval-shaped chrome counter provides a social centerpiece, and an outdoor terrace offers marina views. The seriously chic Il Ristorante (by lauded Italian chef Niko Romito) is just next door, and shares the terrace. Its tiramisu is one of the best in town, as is the freshly baked rustic bread.

Offering a more pared-back dining experience are La Spiaggia, a beachside restaurant and bar, and Il Café, the Bulgari take on a casual all-day dining destination which still features jaw-dropping design, and, in line with the whole ‘nothing is too much trouble’ service ethos, serves breakfast all day.

That ethos extends to the spa too, where therapists provide the ultimate in pampering using top-shelf products, including La Mer, in a soothing nature-inspired space. The use of rare precious materials, including grey Vicenza stone and green onyx, infuse the environment with a subtle opulence.

A 25-meter indoor swimming pool with its own cabanas, extensive facilities (including a shower offering a “Caribbean thunderstorm” experience), and private hammam, plus an exclusive Lee Mullins training program at the state-of-the-art gym complete the impressive recreation facilities at the resort.

If you’re looking for a classy, authentic ‘slice-of-Italy’ experience in the Middle East, then the Bulgari Resort Dubai is where you should check in.