Dubai is a fantastic luxury holiday destination. Bursting with a range of fascinating attractions and experiences, it truly has something for everybody. If you find that you only have a limited amount of time in Dubai, read our blog post for advice on how to spend 24 hours in Dubai. Read More
Dubai is one of the seven municipalities comprising the United Arab Emirates and is one of the few cities in the Middle East that are very open to welcoming tourists. By 2020 Dubai is expecting to have built another 50,000 hotel rooms to further welcome guests and encourage tourism. But Dubai is a luxury holiday destination that divides opinion.
Tales of tourists falling foul of the law, and myths around alcohol consumption have undoubtedly impacted Dubai’s reputation over the years. However, Dubai’s appeal endures. The year round sunshine and extravagance are impossible to resist! The state is also incredibly safe, with safety and security a top priority. The sheer range of self-contained beach-front resorts makes it perfect for travellers and families especially. Dubai’s location only seven hours away from the UK, further adds to the appeal. There are over 20 direct flights to Dubai flying from various UK airports every day. And, Dubai’s close proximity to the Maldives, Amman, Tbilisi and Delhi makes it perfect for multi-stop honeymoons or holidays.
With some of the world’s most fantastic attractions, luxury experiences and fine dining restaurants Dubai has everything that you could possibly imagine and more. If you’re unsure about whether you would like to go on holiday to Dubai, read this blog post and see if it’s for you!
Folly by Nick & Scott, Unit 27, Souk Madinat Jumeriah – Dubai
Souk Madinat Jumeirah, an Arabian style shopper’s paradise, has long been one of Dubai’s most popular tourist attractions. With an Arabian souk and traditional eateries, this sprawling atmospheric bazaar has something for everyone. However, located deep within its walls lies something special. Folly, a contemporary European restaurant from chef duo Nick Alvis and Scott Price is one of the newest additions to Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Nick Alvis and Scott Price worked for Gordon Ramsay for fifteen years in London, Paris and Dubai, before leaving to launch this new restaurant.
From the moment you arrive at Folly you’re transported into a space that feels entirely unlike anywhere else in Souk Madinat Jumeirah. Trendy, quirky, and bursting with character, Folly wouldn’t look or seem out of place in London’s Shoreditch or Soho. Spread across two floors the main floor is primarily reserved for fine dining, whilst the impressive rooftop terrace, boasting spectacular panoramic views of the Burj Al Arab, is the perfect place to watch the sun set in style.
Comprised of an indoor dining area and open kitchen, as well as stunning outdoor bars and terraces, Folly offers an informal take on modern fine dining. The restaurant feels both relaxed and refined with each element carefully thought out. Large filament bulbs adorn the bar area providing just the right amount of light. The Beatles, and other British anthems from the 60s – 90s play in the background and the potted herbs, and foliage further blur the lines between the indoors and outdoors. Ingredients are kept to a maximum of three or four per dish, with a drive to use local produce and herbs.
We visited Folly to sample the five course tasting menu and see if it lived up to its reputation as one of Dubai’s top restaurants.
Head to one of the waterside bars or cafés for a freshly baked croissant. Then explore the harbour and admire the architectural design of the new Museum of European and Mediterranean Culture (MUCEM).
While many think of the macaron as France‘s iconic sweet treat, in Provence locals sing the praises of the calisson. Calissons are a traditional French candy consisting of a smooth yellow paste of candied fruit and ground almonds topped with a layer of royal icing. Indulge in a mid-morning snack at Le Roy René located nearby, for a perfect example of how they should be made.
Then take a wander through the enchanting streets of Le Panier. Known as the oldest part of town, it is also the most picturesque. Its close, village-like feel, hidden squares and sun-baked cafes make it a delight to explore. Full of cobbled streets, colourful shops and quirky street art, stop for plenty of photos!
You may also want to visit Notre Dame de la Garde. The best way to visit, with little time to spare is to take a fairly inexpensive taxi from the port up the hill.
On a luxury rail holiday expect a relaxed voyage from start to finish, as rolling hills and stunning landscapes flow past your window. The beauty and romance of rail holidays has cemented its popularity as one of the best ways to travel around Europe and beyond.
Crowds, long delays, and traffic do not apply when travelling by rail. But exploring the world by train has a ton of other benefits too.
Here are just a few of the reasons why luxury rail holidays are perfect if you’re seeking a hassle-free luxury travel experience.
It may be difficult to imagine, but Belmond raised the bar even higher this year. Since 1982 the legendary Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express, famous for its European rail journeys, has epitomised all that is luxurious and glamorous in the world of luxury train travel.
With routes from London to Venice, Paris to Istanbul, and Paris to Berlin, the Venice-Simplon-Orient-Express is the best way to travel around Europe by train.
When travelling by car, plane or ferry we often find ourselves rushing to arrive to a location at a certain time, or rushing to make the next connection. The stress of having to arrive hours before departure, packing for every eventuality, planning multiple routes and the relentless fear of delays can really taint a holiday.
But when travelling by luxury rail, such concerns fall by the waist side. It’s a hassle free experience from beginning to end. You can forget about super early arrivals as you often only need to board a few minutes before departure. Long queues and lengthy time consuming check-in procedures rarely apply too, with most journeys’ only requiring personal ID and a ticket.
Once on board you can also rest assured that you won’t be caught up in traffic – perhaps one of the best perks of travelling by train!
When exploring a continent or country by train you don’t have to worry about how you’ll get from country to country or city to city either. We all know how frustrating it is to book a flight, and try to find a connection at a reasonable time, or your preferred day. But on a luxury train journey this is all pre-arranged well in advance, so you don’t have to worry about a single thing.
At Rich Vein Travel, not only can we find you your dream train holiday, and tailor it around your needs, but we can also help you plan and book any transfers or connections. Meaning your effortlessly easy journey just became even easier.
The beauty of luxurious carriages, steeped in history, charm and character makes them the perfect place to spend an anniversary, birthday, or special occasion. You may even choose to use a luxury train at the beginning or end of your honeymoon as a gateway to Europe and beyond.
With elegant finishes, decadent furnishings, and fine dining, a Belmond rail journey in particular sets the tone for a romantic intimate evening. Aboard the train, you’ll be able to relax with your partner, chatting, dining or enjoying a glass of fizz. Passing through Europe’s rolling hills, and picturesque landscapes you’ll enjoy the beauty of nature together and live in the moment.
When travelling by train you can enjoy each other’s company without distraction. And with your own private luxurious cabin to retire to in the evening you can spend even more quality time together as a couple.
If South Africa doesn’t take your fancy, maybe Japan will? The futuristic champagne-gold Train Suite Shiki-shima, operated by East Japan Railway, has a five-star lounge, dining and observatory cars. There’s round-the-clock butler service, bespoke furnishings, piano recitals and exquisite cuisine prepared under the guidance of Japan’s first Michelin-star chef, Katsuhiro Nakamura.
Artisan touches are everywhere, from intricate, hand-cut glassware to energy-saving contemporary chandeliers and the metal “branches” in the forest-inspired lounge.
Luxury rail holidays are hassle free and incredibly luxurious. As a result, we always recommend them to our clients looking for a luxury escape. But unfortunately, for most, they’re not an everyday experience.
However, there are lots of ways to add a touch of luxury to each and every train journey. When travelling around Switzerland, upgrade your Swiss Travel Pass from 2nd class to 1st class. 1st class coaches offer a greater level of convenience such as more spacious seats, more legroom and power outlets. Additionally, travellers in 1st class benefit from quiet and business zones. As the 1st class seating area is usually located on the upper deck you benefit from better views too!
We also recommend upgrading to first class on the world-famous Glacier Express, to fully enjoy your experience on Switzerland’s most scenic train from Zermatt to St Moritz.
If you’re due to make a midweek business trip why not consider Eurostar? With high speed trains from London to Paris, Marseille, and Brussels to name a few, on a Eurostar train all you need is a Eurostar ticket and ID. Faster than flying, door to door, and with seamless city centre to city centre travel, there’s no need to worry about shuttle buses to the city centre or baggage reclaim. Unlike the journey’s made by short-haul flights travelling similar journey’s, 90-95% of Eurostar trains arrive on time or within 15 minutes. This means that there’s also a far greater chance of you arriving to your destination well in advance.
When travelling for business on Eurostar we highly recommend opting for Business Premier. As a business premier traveller, you are able to use the Business Premier gate which closes 10 minutes before departure saving you precious time. You’ll have access to exclusive lounges for free Wi-Fi and refreshments. And for an added touch of luxury, Business Premier Travellers can also expect a delicious three-course on board meal designed by renowned chef Raymond Blanc.
Winter sun holidays are all about sunshine, relaxation and beautiful beaches. If you’re about to start planning your winter holiday, but are unsure where to go, then keep reading this post!
We’ve chosen the five best options around the world, including some which are just four hours away from the UK, like Lanzarote!
The Canary Islands are always a fantastic choice for some winter sun. Due to its location off the west coast of Africa, the Canary Islands enjoy 300 days of sunshine each year. So no matter which island you choose, you’re pretty much guaranteed to experience warm and sunny weather during the winter months.
But what makes Lanzarote in particular such a good choice, is the fact that Lanzarote is home to some of the best beaches in the Canaries. Perhaps you’ll like the white sands of Playa Las Cucharas? Or maybe the new resort town of Playa Blanca?
Wherever you decide to stay you’ll never be too far away from a beach, a bar, or some of Lanzarote’s most popular attractions and theme parks. With average highs between 21°C and 27°C during winter, expect warm days and mild nights – perfect for those who struggle sleeping in humid conditions.
Discover the Canary Islands with last minute holiday deals from only £861 pp.
On the Caribbean island of Barbados you can expect year round sunshine with average highs of 30°C. The end of the year is the perfect time to visit because December leads into the start of the dry season.
December also falls outside of the Atlantic hurricane season, meaning there’s no need to worry about cancelling your holiday last minute! So as soon as you book your bespoke luxury holiday to Barbados, you can almost immediately start dreaming about the rum cocktails, beautiful beaches, and laid-back island life.
Browse our luxury holidays to the Caribbean today!
For a winter sun break with a difference why not consider Dubai? Many holidaymakers prefer to visit Dubai between November and March when temperatures fall to a more pleasant 25°C. With incredible excursions, the world’s largest shopping malls, and a dizzying array of five star hotels, you may never want to leave!
As one of the world’s premier luxury holiday destinations, Dubai has long attracted couples looking for a romantic break or honeymoon. However, Dubai also has a lot to offer families.
If you’re chasing winter warmth, Brazil is undoubtedly one of the most enticing options. Filled with white-sand beaches, verdant rainforests and colonial towns, Brazil is a spectacular country.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s former capital city, is the perfect choice for a good few days of winter sun. The best time to visit Rio is between December and March. Arrive at the end of December to experience Réveillon(New Year’s Eve) on Copacabana beach located in the southern zone of Rio de Janeiro. This New Year’s party takes place right on the sand with lots of live music and a breath-taking firework display at midnight.
Visit Brazil in February and you can become a part of Carnival! Expect millions of visitors and locals to party through streets as parades, parties and balls take place to celebrate the occasion.
Book your bespoke luxury holiday to Brazil today, with trips from only £1894 pp.
Once described by Winston Churchill as “simply the nicest place on earth to spend an afternoon”, Morocco’s former capital Marrakech is the perfect holiday destination for winter sun.
Located on the edge of the Sahara desert, Marrakech is inland which means that it remains warmer throughout the winter than the coastal resorts located on the outskirts of the country.
Winter in Marrakech can see temperatures rising upwards of 25ºC during the day. Relax within the confines of a luxury hotel or explore the historic and atmospheric streets of the medina.
Discover Morocco with luxury escapes from £1265 pp.
As specialists in bespoke luxury holidays and last minute holiday deals, we’re confident that we can help you discover your perfect winter escape. Contact us today to speak to one of our luxury travel experts.
If you are ever worried about travelling abroad whilst being LGBTQ+, I highly recommend researching the countries views on same sex couples. We have to respect the way of living and sometimes it may not align with ours in the UK.
I’ve recently come back from Italy where to my shock I saw many same sex couples in a very catholic city. This small insignificant sight shows me that society worldwide is becoming more accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals. It’s amazing to see and I can’t wait for the day where we can travel anywhere without worrying. But do your research and talk to other LGBTQ+ travellers to see what the vibe is there.
To keep up with Charlotte on her travels, be sure to follow her on Instagram!
Soulsa Searching – soulsasearching.com
Being a solo LGBT traveller provides a whole pile of challenges and opportunities that perhaps other adventurers would not come across. I have been on the road now for about two months in South America. So far my favourite country has been Colombia, a surprise perhaps, but leave your preconceptions about whatever you have seen on Netflix at home. Colombia is fast becoming the “it” destination for travellers of every type and budget. Colombia is a country full of beauty. The Amazon and the Caribbean are on your door step. The colonial architecture will take your breath away, and then of course there are the charming Colombian people, the food and the music. I could go on and on!
Far removed from my normal routine, I find myself coming out to people every day. Having to navigate the assumption of heterosexuality is probably the biggest difference when exploring the world as a rainbow traveller. When speaking with taxi drivers, hotel staff, and strangers who are all making friendly conversation occasionally the topic of pretty women comes up or girlfriends, and I have to politely correct them and explain in bad Spanish about my ex boyfriend. Thankfully my responses have always been met with a smile and and a sense of understanding. For a devout Catholic nation Colombia seems to embrace you, whoever you happen to love.
If you’re planning a visit to Colombia then Medellin pride is well worth timing your visit around, it is usually around early July. It also ties in nicely with another LGBT event called Motion Festival which is in the coastal city of Cartagena, both parties had a great mix of locals and tourists. Not into big parties? Then check out the spectacular Isla Fuerte.
My biggest tip though, is that little Spanish goes a long way. So get some basics under your belt! Although English is being learnt by younger generations the vast majority of people don’t speak it. However, through a mix of basic Spanish, Google translate, hand signals and laughter you will always figure it out. That’s half the adventure and it makes for a great story. So, how does your gay travel story start?
To keep up with Zac on his travels, be sure to follow him on Instagram!
Daydream Explorer – daydream-explorer.com/
My biggest passion is travelling the world. I‘m proud to say that over the last 27 years I have had the chance to visit over 40 countries on 6 continents. As an LGBT traveller all I can say is – this world is open to each and every one of us but in some places like Jordan, Iran etc. we have to be careful.
I used to live in Cape Town, South Africa which is my favourite place on earth and I had an incredible time there. For gay travel this country is just the place to be and it offers you everything you need/want and more! One of my favourite places, which also happens to be one of the most popular places is Camps Bay. The beach-front of Camps Bay is a long stretch of white, palm tree-lined sand. Cape Town also boast a Gay friendly Mosque called the People’s Mosque in a area called Boo-Kaap where I used to live. Another hotspot is a very famous club named CREW close to the Greenpoint Stadium.
I could talk about Cape Town forever. But I think you need to see it for yourself to truly understand why I love it!
If you’re visiting South Africa, make sure you do the breath-taking Garden Route where you can fully take in the real beauty of the country. Situated along the scenic Garden Route, you can book a transfer directly to the spectacular bungee jump site on the Bloukrans Bridge. You can try also try ostrich riding, indulge your taste-buds with a memorable wine tasting experience, or explore Tsitsikamma National Park. With dramatic coastal scenery and reefs this National Park is hiking and water sports paradise, perfect for diving, snorkelling and paddle boarding.
In Cape Town I definitely recommend hiking up to Lions Head mountain to watch the most beautiful sunrise ever, Table Mountain, Robben Island, and Boulders Beach to see the penguins. Monday to Saturday the best place in town is The Old Biscuit Mill Market. This vibrant space in the heart of Woodstock is home to day and night markets, enticing food stalls, and delicious restaurants. One way to explore the city is by booking a Kiff Kombi tour, a fun alternative to a hop on hop off bus tour.
Should you have the time, I really do recommend you to fly to Johannesburg to explore the wildlife in Kruger National Park. It‘s an unmissable breathtaking experience. For me, it was just like watching a National Geographic documentary, but in real life!
To follow Filippo on his travels around South Africa, Antarctica, and beyond, follow him on Instagram.
Wear What Suits You – wearwhatsuitsyou.com/
Two of my favorite destinations so far on this trip were New Orleans and Nashville, mostly because they’re so fun, but also because we knew how accepting these cities were, and because I knew I wouldn’t have to worry about our safety. On that note I’m very interested and excited to explore the East Coast, especially in the states where I have never visited. While I know that the East Coast is generally more accepting, I am going to continue to remain conscious about gay travel so that we can enjoy our trip whilst also remaining safe.
To keep up with Emily on her travels, be sure to follow her on Instagram!
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Charlotte, Zac, Filippo & Emily for their insightful contributions.
Visit our gay travel page to learn more about our LGBT holidays.
Creating an LGBT-friendly Travel Company