I mentioned previously that Friday brunch is an occasion, not only at the Park Hyatt, but just about everywhere in Dubai. I'll show you what I mean.
The restaurant is named Traiteur, which is French for restaurateur. We're seated in a room away from the main food area (darn), but with a little more privacy and less noise, which is nice. This room is home to all the chilled, fresh seafood on offer: raw salmon, cooked prawns, raw oysters, clams, mussels - you get the idea.
The main buffet room is packed to the rafters with people - not a free table or empty chair in sight. It houses all the main dishes (plus the dessert room. Yes, ROOM.). What do we have here? Oh, just about everything, really.
A lobster station immediately has me drooling, as do the freshly grilled king prawns, roast duck and beef fillets. I see scallops swimming in a divine sweet and sticky sauce, foie gras being served up by the minute, and an array of cold cuts, breads, salad items and amuse-bouches I didn't even get around to. Oh, let me not forget - outside, an entire hog roast is on offer to those hungry enough to withstand the heat for a minute or two.
My eyes are as large as the plates they're serving the food up on.
I somehow summon up a smidgen of leftover appetite (willpower, I tell you) to sample some of the desserts on offer. Although there's an entire section dedicated to crepes, I manage to steer clear, convincing myself that I can have one anywhere (again, willpower is key here. I love a fresh crepe).
I chose: adzuki bean and green tea cup, dulce de leche cup, triple raspberry cup, chocolate bark, a pistachio macaron and some sort of coconut-ty chocolate cube. I must admit - I am a dessert lover, but these didn't quite hit the spot for me. The focus at brunch here is definitely on the savoury food, not the sweet. At least, that's what I deduce from the desserts I taste.
After we've eaten enough to last us a week, we wallow like hippos in the pool for a few hours before heading up to the room to change for our 5:30pm booking.
The Burj Khalifa, otherwise known as the tallest building in the world, is home to not only the Armani hotel (where we had dinner the other evening) but also At.mosphere, where stunning, uninterrupted views of the city stretch as far as the eye can see. It's truly breathtaking - desert, water, islands, high rises.
At around 6.25pm, the sun begins its descent. We stand and watch it go down over the horizon, morphing the sky from a light, pastel blue into a rich, warm shade of orange, and finally into a dark blue as it disappears.
There's nothing left to do but enjoy each other's company, drink our expertly made cocktails, nibble on bowl after bowl of olives and mixed nuts, and watch the fountain shows (the same ones we saw at eye-level the previous night).
Day 3: breakfast on the terrace, more pool time, my first ever snowboarding lesson (hey, I only fell on my butt about four times! Accomplishment?), dinner at the fantastic Blue Jade (located in the Ritz Carlton hotel) and one last maniacal golf cart ride to Bliss Lounge, which is eerily empty of people (then again, Saturday night is Dubai's version of Sunday, as Sunday is a working day). As it turns out, it's the ideal place for us to kick off our shoes (literally), lie back on one of the bed-type loungers and enjoy the beach at night.
Day 4: a short flight to Doha, where we spend a few hours in the fantastic Al Mourjan business class lounge, and movie marathons on our way back to London.
Unlike most of our holidays, this one wasn't about exploring the city on foot or visiting historical & cultural sights. This was about relaxing, eating excellent cuisine from different countries and enjoying our beautiful hotel. Dubai is the kind of place you go to for a luxurious, chilled out, spend-all-your-money (and boy is it worth it) holiday. Not somewhere I'd choose every time, but absolutely somewhere I'd return to.