5 hot tips you need to know before visiting Dubai

5 HOT tips about Dubai

  1. The Best Mall – The Mall of the Emirates

WHYBecause it’s so much more than a mall, it’s a shopping resort.

Not only are there 560 shops from designer brands to electronics, jewelry and everything else you could possibly want to buy, but there’s also has a choice of entertainment including a penguin enclosure and the famous indoor ski field plus over 90 dining options. It has two 5-star hotels attached, the Kempinski and the Sheraton that just meld into the mall complex.

Even if you don’t want to buy anything go and have a look. It’s excessive with over 7,000 car parks.

Open 10am-10pm

The Mall of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai +971 4 409 9000

  1. The Best Diamonds – Gold and Diamond Park

WHY…Because there are 90 retailers selling gold and diamonds all under one roof competing with one another so the pricing is very competitive and a fraction of what you would pay in NZ.

One legendary store in the Golds and Diamond Park is Cara Jeweller. It’s always good to get a recommendation from a friend and I’m giving it to you. I love them.They have an incredible range of jewellery and will custom-make pieces as well as remodel jewellery in record time as they have over 200 skilled jewellers in the workshop.

If you are thinking of purchasing something call the store and they’ll send a driver for you. Call +971 4 347 8089.  

Open 10am-10pm, Cara Jewellers, Gold and Diamond Park, 4th Interchange, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai 

  1. The Best Indian Food– Indego by Vineet

WHY…Because it is most delicious, modern Indian food I have ever eaten with light, fresh favours. Chef Vineet Bhatia created history in 2001 being the first Indian Chef – Patron to get a Michelin star for his restaurant, then again in 2009.

Don’t be scarred thinking the meal will break the bank. While it’s not cheap, it’s not outrageous, but it’s worth it. Most of the mains cost between $38 – $50 although some of the meat dished are a little more.

Indego By Vineet, Grosvenor House Dubai Al Emreef Street, Dubai  +97143176000

The Worst Bus Tour – Big Bus Tours

WHY…Because they’re too long, there’s too much traffic and there’s not a lot to see.

On the bus tour I went on there’s more music playing though the auditory system than commentary so it doesn’t take long to lose interest. While there are some great things to see in Dubai you are far better off deciding what it is you want to see and grabbing a taxi as they are very reasonably priced. It will save you a lot of time.

The Big Bus company has three tour in Dubai; the City tour, Marina tour and Beach tour. Each loop takes between 1 1/2 – 2 hours. While getting on and off the us is an option, they only come around every 30 minutes so there is a lot of standing around.

  1. Best casual dining – Eauzone

WHY…Because it’s beachfront dining at its best, over-looking the Arabian Sea. It’s located in the Arabian Court, in the One and Only Mirage Hotel. The food has a delicious Asian twist.

The One and Only Royal Mirage, 11 King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud St, Dubai, +971 4 399 9999 

New to Airbnb – here are some important tips

Airbnb is becoming an increasingly popular mode of accommodation rather than your stock standard hotel. It all started in 2007 when a couple of lads couldn’t afford their rent. It was the week San Francisco was hosting the Industrial Designers Society of America and accommodation was at premium so the boys opened up their house to three out-of-towners needing a bed for a couple of nights.

The only problem was they had no beds. Not to be deterred, they had three air mattresses so they called themselves “Airbed and Breakfast,” charging $80 a night, cooking their guests breakfast and acted as local guides.

Now with over 160,000,000 guests in 65,000 cities, in 191 countries, Airbnb is part of a huge new “shared economy” connecting individuals with surplus accommodation with those looking for a bed whether it be a room, house, tepees, caves or castles.

Amalfi Coast has many fantastic Airbnb’s like 65,000 other cities.


We rented this Airbnb in Amalfi overlooking the bay. Three bedrooms, kitchen, sitting room and a great patio.

I like staying in Airbnb’s if we’re going somewhere for more than a couple of nights because you can get more space. We recently had two weeks in Siena while we attended language school and found a wonderful three-bedroom apartment overlooking Piazza del Campo, the main piazza in Siena. While we had more room than we needed for just the two of us it felt good. We still ate out every night as that’s one of the pleasures of being on holiday, but it was great to be able to have breakfast  \in the apartment, do our laundry, make a cup of tea and chill a bottle of wine.

Our stunning apartment overlooked the Piazza.

This was our night time view from the apartment.

Airbnb accommodation is easy to peruse on-line by location and it’s easy to chat with the property host and ask questions. The booking process is straight forward as is the refunding process should you get a dud. My daughter recently rented a property in the south of France for eight nights, but it was not as described on Airbnb and they were refunded their money promptly.

So be thorough …

Here are a few tips that will help you make a good choice. Arriving at a property that is not what you imagined or without the facilities you had expected can create stress, disappointment and disruption to travel plans.


  1. Facilities – the six key facilities I always check for :
  • Wi-Fi
  • air conditioning and heating
  • washing machine
  • reasonable kitchen
  • bed configuration to suit your needs
  • location

2. Cancellation policy. Plans change so check you are comfortable and aware of the cancellation policy should you need to change your arrangements.

3. Charges for extra people. What’s their policy?

4. Check-in, check-out times. These vary from property to property so don’t assume anything.

5. Download the Airbnb app. It’s important you can communicate with your host while traveling, even if it’s to tell them you are running late to check-in as most hosts meet their guests at the property.

6. Read the reviews. Guests are asked to review the property and host after a stay. A lot of information can be gleaned from reading the reviews.

How to find the perfect Tuscan villa?


This gallery contains 31 photos.

When we decided to celebrate Tim’s 60th in Italy with the kids, I thought it was a brilliant idea, but had no idea how to go about finding the perfect villa. I asked our travel agent and a number of … Continue reading

Switzerland : Climb every mountain – NZ Herald, July 12, 2017


This gallery contains 1 photo.

The Swiss Alps are not just for skiing, so when the heat is on the hikers get going, sometimes with assistance, writes Jane Jeffries Arriving at the station, I step out of the train into the late afternoon sun. The … Continue reading

A winter special at Kauri Cliffs


This gallery contains 18 photos.

I’ve blogged about Kauri Cliffs before, but having just spent a couple of nights here again I’m loving this place. Their peak season runs from November through April, but I love coming here in the winter, as not only are their … Continue reading

Exclusive footage – Emirates Team New Zealand bring home the America’s Cup


This gallery contains 7 photos.

I had an amazing, unplanned experience yesterday as Emirates Team New Zealand bought home the America’s Cup. While you may have seen their arrival back into the country at Auckland Airport, here is some coverage on the plane trip home. I was so proud to … Continue reading

Italy : 10 reason why you must go to Siena


This gallery contains 18 photos.

I’ve just had two weeks in Siena and loved every minute of it. We decided go to language school in Italy and found what sounded like a great school in Siena. It turned out to be excellent. We choose Siena because … Continue reading

Siena : Feel the excitement in the lead up to Siena’s Palio


This gallery contains 7 photos.

I’m in Siena and it’s literally only a couple of weeks until the most important event of the year – the PALIO on the Piazza del Campo. What I’m witnessing now is the lead up to this historic horse race that … Continue reading

Italy : An incredible Cathedral in Siena


This gallery contains 6 photos.

It’s not often I rave about churches especially in Italy where there are so many, but the  Cathedral (Duomo) in Siena is a great Gothic building filled with treasures. What really stood out for me was the white and greenish-black … Continue reading