Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa. Video courtesy of JA Resorts & Hotels.
When it comes to breaks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai city usually snatches the limelight.
Some nearby destinations can give the same great climate and breadth of choice of hotels and offer a different UAE experience.
One of these destinations is Jebel Ali, which is located some 40 minutes from the city, has a lot of the qualities typically associated with Dubai getaways. In fact, it’s situated close to some of Dubai’s most famous attractions, like the impressive Mall of the Emirates, making it a pretty safe choice if you’d rather not stray too far from the bright lights of the metropolis.
All about Jebel Ali
So, what do you need to know about Jebel Ali? Well, in many ways it’s pretty similar to Dubai itself, but being a port town, it’s on a slightly smaller scale. As you’ve probably guessed, its key attraction is its beaches – especially since it’s home to one of the famous manmade Palm Islands (there are three of these in the region, including one in Dubai’s Jumeirah). These were designed to give holidaymakers more coastline to relax on, and they certainly fit the purpose!
Beaches aside, Jebel Ali has a decent mix of things to do and see, like impressive golf courses and spas. It’s worth bearing in mind that a couple of its most popular attractions are situated just outside the town, so a bit of travel will probably be required, unless you’re content just to relax in your resort.
One of Jebel Ali’s most famous attractions is the golf course at the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa, which is reputedly one of Dubai’s best. A 9-hole par 36 course, it has a saltwater lake that features in five holes and impressive landscaping.
If shopping’s more your thing, you should definitely take a trip to the Ibn Battuta Mall, which is just outside the town. This is likely to be one of the more unusual shopping centres you’ll have ever visited, given it is themed around the adventures of Arabic explorer Ibn Battuta.
It’s divided into six courts, with each one designed to evoke one of the destination’s Battuta explored, including Andalusia, Egypt and Tunisia. Meanwhile, the nearly 300 shops are divided up into categories, like family and leisure, so it’s not too tricky to find what you’re looking for. Plus, if you don’t fancy splashing out on some new clothes, you can head to the cinema instead – there’s a whopping 21 screens here, including the UAE’s only IMAX.
Hotels & holiday resorts
As you might have guessed from the location of the golf course, Jebel Ali’s hotels and holiday resorts make a decent contribution to the local attractions. For example, as well as providing an excellent golf course, the Jebel Ali Golf Resort & Spa has an impressive range of water sports, including kitesurfing and wakeboarding, alongside a large selection of other activities.
The Palm Tree Court & Spa, meanwhile, sits on an 800 m private beach, so if you stay here you barely have to move to have a lazy day on the coast! This collection of low-rise suites is part of the above Jebel Ali hotel complex, tucked away in a secluded area.
Sagalassos, Turkey. Photo credit: Peter Sommer Travels.
Craving a culture adventure in Europe? Adventures can come in all shapes and sizes from seeing famous bridges to learning on culture and archaeological tours.
Travel company Peter Sommer Travels has launched four culture tours among the historic sites and landscapes of the Mediterranean.
Catering to small groups, Peter Sommer Travels features 14 different tours and gulet cruises in Turkey, Greece and Italy.
From archaeologists, historians and travel writers to Peter Sommer himself, expert guides lead the tours by traditional wooden boat or on foot. They explore the “wonders of past civilizations while enjoying the food, culture and history of each region.”
The new tours include:
- Cruising to the Cyclades: A Greek island experience, the tour sails to the Aegean islands in the Dodecanese and Cyclades archipelagos including Santorini, Kos and Naxos.
- Exploring Cappadocia: Among the remarkable geological formations and ancient cave dwellings of Cappadocia, this Turkey tour features an early morning balloon flight.
- A Carian Odyssey: A gulet cruise along the Carian coastline of Turkey, this tour visits sites including the harbour city of Knidos and the tombs of Kaunos.
- A Gastronomic Tour of Eastern Sicily: This culinary tour includes historic site visits, a cooking class, a boat trip, a walk on Mt. Etna with a volcanologist and tastings.
For more travel info, go to the Peter Sommer Travels.