America, Asia, Countries

Treat her with caviar

You do some strange things on the eve of surrendering the single life (no, not that) but I wanted to treat her with caviar.

Thing was that this was out in the sticks and so the first taste of Beluga would have to wait.

For when mes amis would invite me to the French Embassy in Dublin.

I ended up becoming as much a fixture as Le Tricolore outside the Fitzwilliam Lane maison.

Truth is there are other French delicacies I’d prefer and I’m still exploring them.

Wear your caviar

Now unless you’re a sloppy eater (guilty!) you’d never let a bubble of caviar slip from your mouth.

Only rubbing it onto your skin is actually good for you.

And better still if a masseuse with sensual hands is rubbing it into you.

And while my shoulders are tensing up at my desk didn’t this survey drop into my inbox from wellness specialists CFAH.

Maldives masseuse

Wham hammam thanks palm: In the Maldives

The Maldives are all about luxury so it shouldn’t surprise you if such a masseuse is on hand.

And there is at the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort.

Where for $750, you can indulge in a three-hour treatment, the Caviar Journey, that uses anti-ageing properties of caviar extract.

Feel the wrinkles, spots and scars fall off.

It involves an exfoliation, a magnesium massage and a lavender bath.

With champagne and caviar, of course.

But still not as dear as…

Chilled: Abu Dhabi


Yes, even Caviar in the Maldives isn’t the most luxurious treatment out there (though it’d do for me).

Because Abu Dhabi is offering A Day of Gold, which was, of course, featured at the World Spa Awards.

For $1,150 you can experience a luxurious gold Hammam and the spa’s signature Palance Massage.

And once hammamed then Goddamn… you’ll be back.

The Fabu Dhabi treat includes a small lunch (only small?) before you get indulged in a 24-Carat Gold Radiance Facial and a Bastien Pedicure.  

Or this Beverly Thrill

Be at one with nature: In Beverly Hills


And in the land that time forgot Californians think nothing of splashing the cash to hang on to their youth.

The Peninsula Spa Beverly Hills offers a 120-minute long high tech facial for $1,500 (costing you $12.50 a minute).

This facial is described as a six-in-one treatment that uses cutting edge technology to ‘enhance’ and ‘enrich’ the skin.

It aims to stimulate and tone your inner skin to reveal it’s inner glow.

Because once you’re out with the beautiful people… 

Dubai high

Ya dancer: Dubai

But the spa of spas is at the Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray in Dubai.

Where for $6,800 you’ll get a 24-Karat Gold Mask.

The treatment also includes an argan oil massage and a luxury skin softening milk bath.

It’ll leave you looking radiant with a natural glow. 

Tip top treatments

All tip top treatments I think you’d agree.

And just a word with one very close to my heart a masseuse remember to tip the ones with the magic fingers.


Africa, Countries, Culture

Our return to Africa and the Middle East

They’re the cradles of civilisations our modern metropolises still aspire to… and we’re planning our return to Africa and the Middle East.

The grand old cities of Jerusalem and Petra.

Spanning across the ages, one a living museum, the other a Modern Wonder of the World, they have rightly been honoured.

Ten out of ten

Camel ye: To Petra

In Travel + Leisure’s 10 Best Cities in Africa and the Middle East.

Jerusalem I have seen longingly, like Moses, from atop Mount Nebo on my G Adventures odyssey.

Petra, I have stood up close to, by a camel, whose ancestor would have carried a Nabataean in days of yore.

With divining rods for water to trade for the jewels of the desert… the Nalbataean that is.

At the other end of the spectrum, Tel Aviv shows Israel’s modern face.

Now being of the male variety, and so a listaholic, most rolls of honour fall into my remit.

Heroes in Capes

I’d have to see more of Cape Town than just the airport as I did on the way to the Eastern Cape

And would have had Covid not popped its head up as we were puttImg the final touches  to our trip to Napoleon’s island, St Helena.

The old perennials naturally pop up on the list.

Marrakech, the Pink City, was my first port of entry into Africa. 

And, of course, you can’t hold a whole continent against one country for an experience.

Of getting mugged in the souks and food poisoning in the Sahara.

So that the best experience of Morocco was in the airport back in Fez.

Although the good readers of Travel +
Leisure also have a penchant for the Moroccan port of Essaouira.

I’ll take your word for it.

Gulf in class

Where as a memento I brought back a camel scene handbag for my Dear Old Mum which she flashed around her Bridge club.

The Gulf has also been on the radar with visits from Dubair and Muscat delegations during my time in Dublin.

And after they got in touch and we explored opportunities in Abu Dhabi

Of course, it is pure indulgence to sit around and grade a continent and a region’s cities.

But it does serve another, healthy purpose… to travel in our imagination.

To share experiences and knowledge and plan our return to Africa and the Middle East.

Now which are your favourite cities?


Asia, Countries, Ireland

Abu Dhabi would be Fabi

And who’d have thought, any of us, that we’d have found ourselves here which is why I’m reflecting now Abu Dhabi would be Fabi.

Don’t tell the Scary One but the Abu Dhabians were on my trail about a job out on their pre-eminent English-speaking newspaper.

And I started checking out all about the emirate in the event that I could be heading for the Gulf.

The Gulf states have long laid the carpet out to us in our own islands of Britain and Ireland.

With hosted nights and invitations to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.

And we shouldn’t be surprised as Oman is the home of frankincense.

Gulf classic

Dome from home: Abu Dhabi

The Gulf is always and increasingly so worthy of our time and attention.

As its work, entertainment and holiday options increase and improve.

But today we’ll focus on Abu Dhabi because Ireland has been added to its Green List.

And it’s a long old A-Z list, starting with Albania (where they have been allowing beardie people like me, although maybe not specifically me) for years right down to U.

I can only assume they’re searching for Vs, Ws, Xs, Ys and Zs.

So where to go and what to see in Abu Dhabi.

Love your Louvre

Art for art’s sake: The Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi: And you’ll get the full range of world art across history.

From the Neolithic up to the present day and including lots for Egyptologists and surrealists with famous paintings by Picasso.

Saadiyat Island is set to become the cultural hub of Abu Dhabi with the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum on the radar.

Fantastic Ferrari

Take it as red: Ferrari World

Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi: Nyyyyyeeeeow. And you can channel your boy (or girl) racer at Yas Leisure Drive, Yas Island.

Where it’s Ferraris, yes, and the kids can even check out the Junior GT ride.

And if it’s your thing then there’s also the Flying Aces rollercoaster.

It clocks up speeds of 120kph on a 52m loop (the tallest in the world).

While you’ll also want to check out Yas beach too where you can get active or just enjoy your cabana.

Warner’s superheroes

Bros in Arms: Warner Bros

Warner Bros World: And while I wait for my return visit to the American original which I missed out on because I caught a 24-hour bug from a returning Californian on the plane…

I’ll turn my attentions east to the Gulf where my old pals Attraction Tickets will cover all your needs.

Gotham City and Metropolis are where you can channel your inner Batman and Superman. Meanwhile back in…

Formula for success

On Track: The Abu Dhabi Circuit

Yas Marina Circuit: And here’s where you can drive on the circuit that Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen rip it up in the Formula One season.

But if you’re not allowed to even take out the smallest cars then you can also run or cycle it every Tuesday and Sunday when it is free.

Not just desert

Camel ye to Abu Dhabi: In the desert

Desert Dunes: And, of course, when you’re in the desert, or the edge of it, you need to get into desert life.

The camels are the caravans of the desert and I’m one happy customer in Morocco and Jordan.

And you should check out an Evening Desert Safari, BBQ dinner, that Camel Ride and sandboarding.

Purple reigns: With Etihad

Just a sample, of course, and there are waterworlds, falcon hospitals, shopping, museums, mosques.

Maybe I need a fresh chat with the Scary One… as Abu Dhabi would be Fabbi. And I know just the guys to get me there.. Etihad.


Adventure, Asia, Countries, Culture

Hello Dubai

And as Paul McCartney put it… I don’t know why you say hello, I say Dubai.

The morning begins as it so often does these days with Zoom meetings with Meet Travel Media bringing the world to all us Travel professionals… and first up was our friends from Dubai.

And Lila who is confident about getting us all back out to the desert dreamland.

They have in fact been open to us all since last summer (it’s just our politicians who are dragging their feet).

We just need a PCR test withing 72 hours of deparature which I’ve done myself when I visited Bergamo last Autumn.

And I can confirm that it really isn’t that much of an inconvenience and is worth it to get away.

Dubai, as across the UAE, is also progressing well with the vaccine so all good.

Expo experience

And there is a lot to look forward to this year in Dubai with the postponed Expo 2020 which will welcome 190 countries (and you and me) from October 1 through to March 31.

We know too from almost 30 years ago when we drove from the Algarve to Seville.

And because of the vagaries of the Spanish road system almost found ourselves in Madrid. But Expos should not be missed.

So where do you stay when you get there?

Just desert?

Camel ye out to the desert

Well, the desert obviously. No better place, looking up to the stars as we did in Jordan with G Adventures.

So carry on glamping where the only noisy neighbours you’ll have are the gazelles, oryxes and camels.

Of course you can combine that with city living if you love to wake up to views of the skyscrapers and the awesome 1,921ft Burj Khalifa.

Floating on air

Dubai high: The RIU Dubai

May we recommend the RIU Dubai, opened in December, with 800 rooms and a splash water park and whether it be Majorca or Florida, we all love fun on the water?

We love an oul’ infinity pool too and Address Beach Resort has that at 694ft 2 ins. And, of course you’ll get the feeling that you’re floating or swimming on air.