I wanted to share a few details about our trip to Dubai before sharing other things. As I’ve mentioned in one of my previous posts, Saad and I had been wanting to travel for a year but something or the other kept coming up and we couldn’t so we wanted to go somewhere before officially saying goodbye to 2017! It was a sudden, last minute plan, so we hadn’t booked hotels, tickets or anything for that matter. So I’ll just explain what happened, please brace yourselves for some major rant.
Back in November, I came across this video by Fazia Saleem about her trip to Azerbaijan with Deluxe Holidays. From the looks of it, the whole arrangement seemed really good so seeing her positive review of their service, I went over to their Facebook page and found travel packages for New Year. December being right around the corner and Dubai being at its peak season for tourism due to holidays and various festivals (more details about festivals coming soon); finding tickets and decent hotels in the right price was almost impossible. Peak season also means everything is super expensive including hotels and tickets. Saad and I saw the packages offered by Deluxe Holidays and we were quite surprised as they were really reasonable.
We decided to give them a visit and found out that since they had booked everything months ahead, it costed them a lot cheaper than what it would’ve costed us to book everything in November. After giving it much thought, doing our own research and discussing everything, we decided to go for the package being offered by Deluxe Holidays. We traveled from 28th December – 2nd January to Dubai via Emirates. It was a group tour in the sense that we were to travel with other people but once we got there, we could do things on our own. Everything seemed too good to be true and guess what? It was. I’ll explain briefly what happened and then in more details.
- They took care of the visa and tickets so we didn’t have to worry about it ✅
- There were issues in the visa process so then we had to worry about it ❌
- They booked good plane seats for us on our way to Dubai ✅
- We actually had to search for someone to receive us at the airport ❌
- The bus service that took us from the airport to the hotel was good ✅
- We had to wait for a good hour or so for everyone to get on the bus ❌
- The hotel was close to metro station, shops, cafes, restaurants, etc ✅
- The hotel was so bad that nothing else really mattered after that ❌❌❌❌
So let’s get into the details of these points:
1. They took care of the visa and tickets so we didn’t have to worry about it ✅
The whole reason why we went ahead with a travel agency rather than booking everything ourselves was for the convenience. Yes, they took care of all the visa process but what’s the point of it if they messed it up and caused us major stress before our flight? This leads to the second point.
2. There were issues in the visa process so then we had to worry about it ❌
We received the visa on time, however there were issues from the travel agent’s end that weren’t resolved till the last minute.
3. We got good seats in the plane on our way to Dubai ✅
We traveled by Emirates (this was part of the package) and the seats, service, and flight was good so we have no complains there.
4. We actually had to search for someone to receive us ❌
Again the convenience factor was missing because once we reached the airport and collected our luggage, we came across several people holding placards with the names of people they had come to receive. After awkwardly checking all of them twice, we just stood there and waited for somebody to contact us. Saad texted our agent to figure out what’s going on and what we received was a photograph of the person who’s supposed to receive us.
Um…seriously? Luckily I overheard someone talking about Deluxe Holidays and that’s how we found our “group”.
5. The bus service that took us from the airport to the hotel was good ✅
The bus service that took us to the hotel was good so no complains there, which brings us to the next point
6. We had to wait for a good hour or so for everyone to get on the bus ❌
Yet again, what’s the point of a good bus service if you have to wait for an hour for the entire “group” to come together to hop on the bus. The travel agency just tried to save money by arranging for a bus. Now that we look back it would’ve been better if we had just hired a cab and gotten straight to our hotel without the unnecessary delay at already short trip.
7. The hotel was close to metro station, shops, cafes, restaurants, etc ✅
Deluxe Holidays booked Delmon Palace Hotel for us. The good thing about it was the fact that taxis were easily available nearby plus the metro station was at a walking distance. There were shops, cafes and restaurants nearby too. The staff was helpful too, however that’s pretty much the only good things about the hotel which brings us to the final point.
8. The hotel was so bad that nothing else really mattered after that ❌❌❌❌
We had actually looked up reviews on bookings.com before booking our trip with Deluxe Holidays. The reviews were pretty good and the hotel looked decent in the photos. Boy…were we wrong. The hotel was bad. The worst that I’ve ever been to. As soon as we entered the room, there were two single beds and when we asked about it, the hotel staff told us that he’ll fix it. What was his quick fix? Pushing the two single beds together and making a double bed out of it…voila! *Face palm* Are you serious?
Then comes another hotel staff asking us if he can fix the room’s lock? What other choice do we have? So we sit there awkwardly waiting for him to fix the lock which kept buzzing after every few minutes.
That’s not all…I actually saw bugs in the bathroom and the room as well. BUGS! Can you believe that?
When we complained to our travel agent, she just asked us to take it up with the hotel staff; the hotel staff paid zero heed to our complaints. It was beyond bad and I would never recommend anyone to book this hotel and I will not recommend Deluxe Holidays to anyone either. Also please be careful while looking up hotels online; looks can be deceiving and can result in a travel trauma.
Perhaps we would’ve gotten a better service if they had known that I’m a blogger but I’m not the type of person who would do that. I am glad I got to experience this so that I can share an unbiased review and hopefully help others plan things in a better way.
The trip itself, the places we saw and the things we did were all amazing and were all according to our own plan, however, everything arranged by the travel agent failed miserably. Yes, the trip was reasonable in terms of money, however if we had known how bad things would go on their end especially the hotel, we would’ve happily paid more. We plan on going on a holiday once a year and having the risk of ending up at a bad hotel is just not worth it as that can make or break a trip. So in a nutshell what we’ve learnt from this trip is to do everything on our own and plan ahead so there is no need to depend on somebody else. We’ll definitely do that in the next trip in’sha’Allah.
In spite of all of this mess up, we had a great trip so Alhamdulillah for everything! I’ll be posting all the highlights from Dubai, must see places, things to do and cuisines to try in the upcoming posts! I hope you found this post helpful. Have you ever experienced any kind of travel trauma before? Do share in the comments below!