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Impressive Istanbul

I really do love my job as a luxury travel curator, designing holidays for people and letting them experience unique resorts around the world. I consider myself extremely fortunate for the amazing opportunities that come my way. I am sure from the outside looking in, I have a very cushy number – however it has taken a lot of hard work over the past 3 years since launching Unique Family Travels not to mention this has been my passion since I was young including going to college to learn more about the tourism industry.

 

So when I was chosen to join a trip with LXR Hotels – Hilton’s Luxury brand, I was beyond excited and incredibly honored. Joining the LXR, Hilton and Conrad team along with 4 other amazing agents, we really did have a wonderful time with the most heart warming hospitality, that has left me reassured that my clients will be looked after to the highest level.

Its been a really long time since I've been on a city break. Even though I have visited Istanbul many times, this was going to be a new experience during covid times.

 

Firstly let me start by reassuring you that Turkey was extremely safe and not busy. Masks are compulsory and there are strict timings that restaurants need to close by.

You need to do a PCR test 72 hours pre traveling and present it at check in along with completing an online form to enter Turkey www.register.health.gov.tr - you must screen shot the bar code to show at the airline check in.

 

We flew business class with Turkish Airlines which was my first time and I am pleased to say the experience was extremely comfortable and spacious. All flights now arrive into Istanbul’s brand new airport which was empty and very quick though passport control.

 

Conrad Bosporus

 

We arrived at Conrad Bosporus to a very warm welcome. Previously when in Istanbul I've stayed on the Bosporus but this property is higher up but only 5 mins walk from the Bosporus yet provides  the most incredible views of the city showcasing Asia side and many of the bridges.

 

My suite had an incredibly large window in the living room and bedroom which really showcased the view in its full glory. The suits was very spacious with a separate living room with the coffee table full of welcome edibles – slightly dangerous with my sweet tooth. And a personalized bath robe was laid out on the bed.

 

The hotel is very grand with a large winding staircase in the lobby and has a glorious ballroom with separate entrance– perfect for weddings with a large outdoor terrace for pre functions. Additional to the gym and swimming pool there’s also two tennis courts and a huge spa and hammam.

 

I had the most amazing hammam in the Turkish spa which I can only describe myself as floating on a soap bubble while my hair was being washed and my skin was being rubbed down – total bliss – highly recommend.

 

The hotel offers many dining options, ranging from the Mediterranean-style Manzara Restaurant to the Summit Bar and Terrace, which offers skyline views from its perch on the 14th floor.

 

Excursions

 

Bosporus Cruise

You can either book a private yacht or enjoy the bustling ferry, whichever boat you take a cruise on the Bosporus is a must.  Enjoy a thriving city crossing two continents – Europe and Asia enjoying Istanbul from a different perspective should be top of your list.

 

Ortakoy Mosque located on the edge of the Bosporus in a busy neighborhood, popular with art galleries, nightlife, bars, restaurants.

Hagia Sophia has been standing for more than 1400 years. It served as an Orthodox Cathedral until 1453 until Ottoman Sultan Mehmed 11 (who conquered Istanbul) and now it has been converted into a mosque.

During the conversion, the Sultan covered the religious symbols rather than removing them, so today visitors can witness a unique monument that straddles time and religion.

 

Topkapi Palace Museum (located next to Hagia Sophia)

This Palace served as the main residence and administrative headquarters of the Ottoman Sultans.

 

Topkapi Palace and Harem (Topkapi Saray) are likely to have more colourful stories than most of the world’s museums put together.

Libidinous sultans, ambitious courtiers, beautiful concubines and scheming eunuchs lived and worked between 15th and 19th centuries when it was the court of the Ottoman Empire.

A visit to the palace’s opulent pavilions, jewel-filled treasury and sprawling Harem gives a fascinating glimpse into their lives.

 

If you enjoy being slap bang in the historical area I highly recommend Hagia Sophia Mansions which is located between Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace down a cobbled street. These stunning suites which are beautifully designed and perfectly located for tourists to explore the area also offer a private spa and fitness area.

 

Sofia Terrace restaurant has Hagia Sophia as your back drop or you can enjoy a fine dining experience at Sarnic Restaurant which is a couple of steps away. This extraordinary building was built over 1000 years ago and is supported by six stone pillars and high domes in the ceiling.

 

Remember to also visit:

 

The Blue Mosque – One of the most famous and iconic destinations for tourists in Istanbul which is commonly referred to as the Blue Mosque. It was built in 1616 and has over 20,000 handmade ceramic titles.

 

Grand Bazaar - is one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world built in 1461, stretching over 70 streets and consisting of over 4000 shops!

 

Next stop Bodrum

 

Click this link to find out more:

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Blog post

Stunning Sri Lanka

The last year has been a tough year for the world over, with so much sadness and loss and for people who have not been able to see their loved ones.

In Dubai we are fortunate to live in a country that was proactive from the start and one of the first countries to offer the Covid 19 vaccine. I am lucky to be fully vaccinated now which offers that extra layer of protection and reassurance. However on a personal note my business, being in travel has sadly struggled as the travel industry took a massive hit, but the good news is that since August 2020 bookings started to come in when air corridors opened and more people felt comfortable to travel, especially to destinations such as Maldives and Seychelles.

 

Many people are in desperate need of a little escapism so when my partners at Resplendent Ceylon asked me to arrange a ladies trip to Sri Lanka I jumped at the opportunity. I have visited Sri Lanka 5 times before as a couple and with my family and I have a deep respect and admiration for the Sri Lankan people who have over the years shown such resiliency and strength and I for one will always support the country especially as tourism is a significant part of the country’s economy.

It always surprises me why Sri Lanka is under rated as a holiday destination, but I do hope reading this article will encourage many of my readers to visit this magical place, with its diverse experiences from tropical beaches, jungle safari and vast green mountain regions that one can enjoy while staying in luxury properties.

 

Resplendent Ceylon comprises of three unique properties and is a member of luxury hospitality brand Relais & Chateaux and I'm happy to say that I have experienced all three of their Sri Lankan hotels each so diverse in their location yet their unique signature style and service binds them together and stands out.

 

 

Wild Coast Tented Lodge rests on a secluded beach on the edge of Yala National Park offering a raw safari experience while staying in luxury cocoons that blend in with the coastal environment.

 

Cape Weligama sits on a cliff edge 40 meters above the Indian Ocean with large villas set in private clusters set in beautifully manicured gardens.

 

Ceylon Tea Trails is the world’s first tea bungalow resort, perched at an altitude of 1250 meters in Sri Lanka’s panoramic Ceylon tea region.

 

You can find my review of Wild Coast Tented lodge here:

http://www.uniquefamilytravels.com/2019/07/29/luxury-tented-safari-lodge-in-sri-lanka/

 

 

For this ladies trip we visited Cape Weligama and Ceylon Tea Trails for a week's worth of total relaxation and grounding.

 

Arriving in Sri Lanka during a pandemic could make you feel seriously anxious but let me reassure you that the Sri Lankan government have done such an amazing job protecting its people resulting in a death toll of only approx. 400 to date with most of the capital Colombo already vaccinated. In Feb 2021 Sri Lanka finally opened its borders to international guests.

All tourists have to apply for a visit visa (website below) and you must include a hotel reservation number from a Grade 1 government listed resort within the application. A negative PCR test is required 96 hours before entering the country and during a 7 days stay you will requested to take 2 PCR tests on the property and in 14 days you will require to have three.

 

Walking through the airport was rather quiet but one thing that was visible was that all staff where wearing PCP clothing and all suit cases were sanitized.

Our first resort was Cape Weligama which was a three hour drive, however the quicker option is taking the sea plane to any of the three Resplendent properties but sadly they were not operating during our stay due to lack of tourists.

 

Arriving at Cape Weligama brought back memories of when I was there with my family in 2019. The perfectly manicured grounds welcome you the moment you walk towards your room. 39 villas are set in small clusters within 12 stunning manicured grounds all with their own swimming pool. For one bedrooms the villas are extremely generous in size with huge bathrooms including free standing oval shaped baths. The suites come with a living room which can be made into additional beds for families.  You will notice throughout all Resplendent properties the bathrooms are beautiful providing baths that are uniquely positioned in order to provide you with stunning views.

 

The adults only crescent shaped infinity pool is what dreams are literally made off.  The views go on for miles where the blue pool water meets the ocean which meets the sky. To get to the beach 40 meters below you have to walk through the trees and down the side of the cliff where you will find a couple of hidden look out spots which offer beautiful views and little pieces of serenity.

Wherever in the property that you decide to take the weight of your feet to relax, the resort offers so many great viewing spots, remember if you visit the spa their viewing deck is awesome!

 

On our first evening the hotel had laid out a cliff top dining experience as the sun was setting, sitting with a glass in my hand, the cool air breeze, the sky changing in colour and views that went on for miles, simply reminded me just how the little things in life can be the most magical to which we have to be grateful for.

 

 

The next morning we woke early to go whale watching on a private yacht that was arranged by the hotel which had been government approved. This was a new experience for me which I was excited for, however it just wasn’t our day as a few hours at sea and not one whale had graced us with his presence. And believe me my head was close to the water more than I cared to have liked – catch my drift!!!

 

That night we ate in the main restaurant enjoying a wonderful spread of Sri Lankan cuisine.  Even though there is a menu on hand, nothing is too much to ask for – in fact the chief chef loved requests and was more than happy to show off his wonderful culinary skills. Being a member of Relais & Chateaux, food is a huge part of the hospitality experience and I find that Sri Lankan food is so clean and fresh, not leaving you bloated and uncomfortable.

 

The next day we were heading to Ceylon Tea Trails which is a 5 hour drive or again this is where you can enjoy the sea plane. I would highly recommend booking this, not just to cut down the transit time but to see Sri Lanka from a birds eye view.

 

To break up the journey we visited Udawalawe Elephant Transfer Home located within Udawalawe National park. The Elephant Transit Home is associated with the Born Free Foundation. This is home to over 100 orphaned or sick elephants who are fed and cared for until they are strong enough to be returned to the wild. The centre allows you to visit at the feeding times of 06:00, 09:00, 12:00, 15:00 and 18:00. From behind a barrier you can watch the elephants ambling along behind a keeper, where they will be fed milk through plastic hoses. It was so sweet watching the babies run as fast as they can while trumpeting to get their milk.  The first three baby elephants that came running out reminded me of my three kids at home running to be first in the kitchen – it was so sweet to watch. (And No I still wasn’t missing them!)

 

The remainder of the journey up to Ceylon Tea region is through narrow roads winding up the mountain, with views that just kept getting better and better. On one side you could spot the hard working female tea pickers plucking away in the tea plantations which are contoured along the slopes. The ladies are wearing brightly coloured sacks on their backs in order to store the ‘two leaves and a bud” which are later taken to the factories to be dried. (I will explain the meaning of two leaves and a bud in a minute!)

 

We finally see the sign for ‘Tientsin Bungalow’  which was going to be our home over the next 5 days. We drive up the narrow path and as we eagerly jump out the car we are instantly entered into an English country garden. It’s so beautiful and reminded me of the UK countryside with the most stunning colonial bungalow in the middle of the lawn. The sun was starting to set and within minutes the sky had changed to a beautiful pink and purple colour. Before arriving I thought I knew what to expect but I can honestly say it wasn’t what was right in front of me – what I was seeing was no less than utter, exuisite natural beauty.

 

We are welcomed by a team of staff (again all wearing pcp clothing) standing on the terrace next to a table which was laid out with late afternoon tea and drinks. We are invited to explore our home, which was exclusively ours with 6 bedrooms, and shared large living room, dining room and a snooker table room.

 

With jazz music softly playing in the living room and drinks on ice you automatically felt at home, but where was I exactly, this wasn’t what I had pictured, yet from the moment I walked into the property, I knew I was going to enjoy my stay.

The interior is designed with a colonial charm with each bedroom having a four poster bed, a fire place with logs ready to light and two grand chairs in front of it. The Resplendent signature style was so prevalent in the bathrooms with the free standing sleigh baths perfectly positioned next to glass doors or large windows which would open up into your own private garden showcasing the tea plantations and mountain region beautifully.

 

Back outside within the grounds is a large swimming pool and Jacuzzi, tennis courts and even a private garden for croquet.

 

Your days at Ceylon Tea Trails are simply designed for relaxation, socializing and dining. The Chief Chef takes great pride in providing a culinary experience as he will make anything your heart desires with three courses for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Booking at the Ceylon Tea Trails is an all inclusive experience which includes alcoholic drinks, afternoon teas etc. Even though I didn’t seem to stop eating I never felt bloated or uncomfortable which I put down to the food being so clean, organic and fresh.

Dining can be set up anywhere within the grounds so we enjoyed a picnic in the garden, breakfast at the pool and dinner on the terrace.

 

Ceylon Tea Trails comprises of 5 bungalows which are spread out across the valley:

Castleragh Bungalow – Built in the 1925 at an altitude of 1,120 meters- 5 bedrooms

 

Dunkeld Bungalow – Built in 1925 at an altitude of 1,230 meters – 5 bedrooms

 

Norwood Bungalow – Built in 1950 at an altitude of 1270 meters – 6 bedrooms

 

Summerville Bungalow- Built in 1923 at an altitude of 1118 meters – 5 bedrooms

 

Tientsin Bungalow - Built in 1988 at an altitude of 1320 meters – 6 bedrooms

 

You can enjoy mountain biking, kayaking and wonderful hikes and trails which you can start from any of the properties' front doors. 

 

We enjoyed an early morning hike in the tea plantations with our guide who explained more about the tea pickers and collecting “two leaves and a bud”.

Sri Lanka is one of only a few countries where tea is still plucked by hand, from bushes planted along the contours of the slopes. A highly skilled workforce, predominantly women, moves along rows of bushes, stripping two leaves and a bud from each plant and often covering over 10k a day. The leaves are immediately carried to the nearby factories where they are dried, processed and packed into crates ready for transportation.

 

Due to the current restrictions we couldn’t visit the tea factory so Bernard who I believe has 53 years experience in tea gave us a tea demonstration at the bungalow.

Dilamh Tea is sold all over the world and was founded in 1988 by Mr Merrill J Fernando which he named the brand after his two sons, with one of the sons, Malik Fernando owning the Resplendent Brand – so tea really does run through the family's veins.

 

We wanted to visit Dunkeld Bungalow as the view was very different over looking the reservoir with an infinity pool. It was great to see another option of bungalow even though they all differ in size and the grounds/views all have the same feel and signature Resplendent touch.

 

This is a property I would highly recommend to families or a group of friends. It’s a place where you can take life at your own pace, enjoy each others company, be at one with nature adding as much activities as you like and even more so with the current pandemic, it’s the perfect venue to social distance offering total privacy.

 

I would like to thank the entire team at Resplendent for their wonderful hospitality and excellent service. Until next time!!

 

Watch the video of our stay: https://youtu.be/Te0guZInGng

 

Sri Lankan Airlines currently flies twice a week – Saturdays and Tuesdays from Dubai Terminal 3

To apply for your visa visit click here: https://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/visainfo/center.jsp?locale=en_US

 

You must include in the visa application a reservation number provided by your hotel booking

A negative PCR test required 96 hours before travel


For the respective protocols, You can also visit 

https://www.srilanka.travel/helloagain/

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
LEAD Map

Personalized Pin Board Maps

Newly Launched!

 

At Unique Family Travels, we are strong believers in the visual aspect of travel, where your sense of touch, smell and sight are enhanced by the places you visit. We wanted to recreate that travel magic and have it present in your every day life.

We have created a personalized world map which the entire family can enjoy, allowing you a visual aspect to your memories, an educational point of view for the children and also enlightening the traveller within for destinations in the future.

 

Whether you’re an avid traveller or a curious soul, these maps are the perfect way to ignite the travel bug and start planning where to visit around the world. It’s also a fun way to keep track of who’s winning the ‘most traveled’ gold medal!

 

Available in sizes A1 or A0 these personalized uniquely designed maps are framed and set against a board so you can use the coloured pins that come with it to pin yours and your families’ travels:

 

•Where You’ve Travelled too

•Where You’ve Travelled as a family

•Where to Next!

•Bucketlist Adventures!

 

You can find out more by visiting our Instagram page @uniquefamilymaps

Order it, give it a prominent place on the walls of your home and let the family travel discussions begin!...

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
LEAAAAAAAA

Huvafen Fushi

This stunning boutique luxury resort is located in the North Atoll of Maldives. With 44 villas in total, an underwater spa and offers a culinary dining experience and is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. www.huvafenfushi.com

 

CLOUDS LEAD

Clouds Uganda

Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge nestles in the heart of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest with stunning views of the Virunga Volcanoes. The lodge accommodates guests in eight stone cottages.

 

lead

The Amalinda Safari

The Amalinda Safari Collection consists of four luxury and intimate safari camps and lodges set in the remote wilderness areas of Hwange National Park and the Matopos National Park. https://www.amalindacollection.com/

Kenya

Ol Donyo Lodge

Ol Donyo Lodge is tucked away in the shadow of the Chyulu Hills, one of Kenya’s most prized safari destinations facing Mount Kilimanjaro. Each suite comes with a plunge pool. www.relaischateaux.com

 

LEAD

Travel Bucket List 2020

Who doesn’t love a Travel Bucket list? I do that’s for sure.

 

Does your family have a case of wanderlust? Are you constantly adding new experiences and destinations to your already long bucket list? Below I have listed my family's bucket list just incase you need a little inspiration.

 

 

1. Drive the BIG SUR in a convertible with the roof down!. Start in San Fran to get the best out of the road trip and the endless views.

 

2. Take the train through the Canadian Rockies and be blown away by the breathtaking nature

 

3. Visit the Galapagos Islands and experience the vast wildlife and meet a Komodo Dragon!

 

4. Help out as a volunteer in a wildlife sanctuary in Africa combining compassion with your travel experiences

 

5. Travel around Brazil, visiting Rio (my son is called Rio) see the Iguazu Falls and go through the Amazon Rain forest.

 

6. Swim in the Great Barrier Reef with the best Go Pro to capture all the spellbinding marine life

 

7.  Take a husky dog sleigh ride in Lapland and get the children to meet the real Father Christmas!

 

8. Learn to properly snowboard in Chamonix or Courchevel

 

9. Hot Air Ballooning in Cappadocia, Turkey, easily one of the world's most Instragrammable locations

 

10. Island hop around Hawaii and snorkel with giant turtles (this has been at the top of the kids wish list for years since we swam with turtles in Barbados)

 

11. Take a cruise through Europe on the new Celebrity Cruise Apex or Edge

 

12. Swim in the natural waterfall pools in Siquijor Island, Philippines

 

13. Stay in North Island, Seychelles which literally feels like paradise

 

14. Sail around Croatia visiting caves and hidden bays

 

15. Visit Cancun, Mexico to ride the most epic zip-line canopy tour

 

16. Stay at Four Seasons Bora Bora which takes sustainable luxury to a level very rarely achieved

 

17. Swim with humpback whales in Tonga

 

18. Sleep on the Belmond Orient Express while it winds its way through Peru to Machu Picchu

 

19. Indefinitely live on the island of Soneva Fushi

 

20. Take the kids to meet the gorillas in Rwanda – but this one will have to wait until they are 18!

 

21, Go back to the Golden Triangle so as the kids can walk with the rehabilitated elephants at the Anantara Golden Triangle

 

22, Experience a Safari in Botswana as we have visited other game reserves within Africa

 

23, Cycling through the dramatic mountain landscapes in the South Tyrolean Alps, The Dolomites or through Napa Valley.

 

24, Hang out with Richard Branson on Necker Island – always a glass in hand and great conversation

 

25, Enjoy the Four Seasons Private Jet experience  - long shot but dream big right!!

 

26, A spiritual experience with the kids and without the kids I want to try mushrooms in a controlled environment like on the Netflix show Goop….. Im not crazy, dont knock it until youve tried it! Any one wanna join me??

        

If any of these experiences have trigged a little curiosity then do let me know as Unique Family Travels curates unique holidays working with luxury properties throughout the world!

 

 

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
Magashi Lead

Visit Rwanda

Rwanda Safari and Gorilla Trekking.

 

Magashi Londge and Bisate Lodge 

 

Day 1

 

You meet at Kigali International Airport and visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial before you travel to the Akagera National park via helicopter or road.

Magashi Camp is situated in the productive and phenomenally diverse north eastern corner of Akagera National Park, overlooking scenic Lake Rwanyakazinga.

Accommodation at Magasho is in six spacious and airy tented guest rooms offering uninterrupted views over Lake Rwanyakazinga, while the main area comprises a luxurious lounge, dining and bar area, wine cellar and pool, as well as an expansive viewing deck with convivial fire pit. The architecture and interiors pay homage to traditional Rwandan culture.

Day 2 and 3

 

Guests are able to view a range of wildlife on expertly guided game drives, walks and boating trips, including buffalo, lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe, spotted hyena, zebra, topi, roan, eland and more. Akagera also boasts almost 500 species of birds including the spectacular shoebill with its implausibly massive bill and the near endemic red faced barbet.

 

Day 4

 

Return to Kigali via helicopter or road transfer for your onward journey to Volcanoes National Park. The area around Bisate welcomes you with dramatic views of the peaks of the volcanoes Bisoke, Karisimbi and Mikeno rearing up through the Afro-alpine forests of nearby Volcanoes National Park. Six en suite rooms maximize comfort, warmth and views while retaining environmental principles and reflecting the culture of surrounding rural Rwanda.  

 

 

Day 5 & 6

 

Gorilla trekking takes place from Volcanoes National Park headquarters where guests are allocated one of the 12 habituated gorilla groups to visit for an hour. After a briefing by park rangers, the time of the trek varies depending on which gorilla group is being visited – from 45 minutes to a few hours. Trekking is at a high altitude but is well worth it in order to spend time in the company of a mountain gorilla. Exploring the area includes community visits, birding, golden monkey tracking and helping reforest the area, as well as visits to Iby’wacu cultural village, the Twin Lakes of Ruhondo and Burera and Diane Fossey’s grave.

 

Day 7

 

Optional visit a kids school and other charitable visits.

Depart back to Kigali International Airport.

 

For more information please contact us directly:

uniquefamilytravels@gmail.com

Dani

 Family Friendly Relax

Sonara Lead

Luxury Desert Camp

Having lived in Dubai for the past 25 years I have been to my fair share of desert camps  but nothing prepared me or impressed me quiet like the newly opened Sonara Camp.

 

Sonara Camp is an exclusive dining experience in the desert approx. 35 mins from Dubai, located in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.

Arriving guests at the Conservation Reserve gate can either leave their cars in the car park and choose to arrive at the Sonara Camp via a Land Cruiser dune drive, which takes 10 minutes, or a 20-minute camel ride (AED 100 per person)

 

When we arrived at the camp we were greeted at the lounge area with a welcome drink and I immediately noticed the subtle differences: size of the camp being so spread out with a very chic  & modern design with a large round wooden bar in the middle of the set up; chilled background music created a very elegant vibe - think of a Nammos style play list in the beautiful desert setting; the laid back lounge style seating to bamboo pods and hammock areas all offered the perfect view to watch the sunset.

 

Activities such as archery, camel rides, sand boarding, football and falconry are on offer during daylight. Once the sun sets guests can enjoy an astronomy talk, fire performances and a cinema experience.

 

The sand boards are set out on top of the dune sliding down the dune into the dining area. You can either climb the dune back to the top or enjoy the simply way – by taking the wooden lantern lit staircase. With so much to do the children didn’t stop for a second. They totally loved sand boarding and even though they had never tried it before, they had no fear and just went for it.

 

The staff were ever so friendly and extremely attentive, helping the kids with the sand boards and the archery while a very well informed and eloquent gentleman educated us about the falcons with a small show on how the falcon eats its food.

 

If you’re like me and quite particular about a good loo, well Sonara have taken care of that. There are many washrooms available, from the outside they look like beach huts and once inside these large cubicles included a beautiful washbasin, mirrors and even a bench – it’s the little things that go along way.

 

At the bottom of the sand dune or the wooden steps is the dining area; this is where the magic happens once the sun goes down. All the tables are laid out around the large triangle fire setting with an open air kitchen, a bar and a cinema room on the boundary.

 

As this is a luxury dining experience, even the table settings are beautifully set for dinner. During dinner there’s a fire show and once you have finished your meal you can retire to the laid back seating area around a fire to roast marshmallows.

 

Sonara offers a stunning well thought out East meets West fusion and French cuisine menu which is carefully and passionately created by French Chef Franck Sanna who can be seen busily preparing everything in the open air kitchen. Chef Sanna has intelligently designed an innovative sharing concept for meat lovers, vegans and people with allergies.

 

This was our menu:

 

Appetizers

Handpick organic crudités

Creamy guacamole with tortilla chips (vegan and gluten free)

 

Starters

Beef tacos marinated in dak bulgogi (gluten free)

Corn fed chicken sharwarma in a cone (dairy free)

Fusion style fattoush – nicoise salad

 

Fish

Wild caught hammour on the grill with citrus virgo dressing (diary free)

Shrimp & leek ravioli with coconut bisque sauce (diary free)

 

Meat

Grass fed Angus beef oyster blade steak served with arugala chimichurri and black pepper corn sauce

Lamb chops marinated with kaffir, sweet spices and mint

 

Vegetables

Nara’s home made roasted organic potatoes

Mediterranean ratatouille

 

Desserts

Sonara lemon & mint pie (diary free)

Cocoa ganache served with avocado emulsion & cumin chocolate tuile

Chiboust cream with strawberry ginger juice in an apple puff

 

Kids enjoyed wagyu burgers, pizza, corn on the cob and for dessert they had nutella pizza and marshmallows roasted on the fire.

 

Just like any fine dining experience, Chef Sanna came to chat to his guests about the menu and our feedback. We were all in agreement that this was one of the nicest meals we have had in a while. It just shows how amazing Chef Sanna is that he can create and serve such a wonderful fine dining experience in the middle of the desert. The food was a true highlight of the night and foodies everywhere should venture down to Sonara just for the gastronomical delights if nothing else.

 

We had initially arrived at 4pm and it was now 9pm so the children were getting tried, not surprising after all the running up and down the dunes.. We had requested a car to take us back to the gate which was on hand waiting for us otherwise you can stay and enjoy drinks and shisha until the camp closes at 10.30pm.

 

If you think the price tag for this experience is steep, that’s because you haven’t witnessed the experience for yourself. I can guarantee that the entire set up, service, quality of food was second to none. Plus the camp is eco-friendly and sustainable with a core belief in sourcing ethical products and materials while using solar energy and having a zero waste policy. With all this im I’m very happy to give Sonara Camp the Unique Family Travels stamp of approval .

 

Also if you want to experience an over night stay  Nara’s private camp has 10 tents (2 styles) all providing the highest level in comfort while respecting the environment. We haven’t tried this yet but it sounds like my idea of glamping!

 

 

Price Per Person:

Adults AED 860

Children (5 – 12 years) AED 380

Toddlers (below 5 years) Complimentary

 

Getting to Dubai Desert Conservation Gate from Downtown Dubai drive east on the E66 Dubai Al Ain Road.

 

Watch our video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=liGEfObTkXs

 

For more information visit www.nara.ae

Dani
Family Friendly Couple
dani-footer

About Us

As an avid traveler, pre and post my three children, and a lover of boutique hotels, I have been fortunate enough to travel extensively, stay at unique properties and take adventures off the beaten track.

I've been lucky to see and enjoy so much that I think now is the perfect time to share my travel experiences, so I have created Unique Family Travel - a company where my team and I can develop bespoke, wonderful and unique travel experiences for you and your family. I can guarantee our experiences aren't available on the likes of large booking websites as we take you on a tailored journey which caters to your specific needs.

Each destination and journey should be a timeless memory, created for you and your family and captured in fantastic memories to keep forever. We can help with this simply because that's how I would do it for myself, my family and friends!

Do get in touch with us, drop us a line and lets get you going on your next amazing, unique travel experience.

Happy Travels

Love Dani

PS. All photos on this site are taken by me, mostly on my iphone :)

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