Gluten-free sanctuary in Dubai
Home away from home for my fiancée and I would be the Royal Meridien Hotel in Dubai. We just can’t stop falling in love with this heavenly place and we keep returning. It is where we had our first holiday together, and it is where he eventually proposed. I’ve been told that some people don’t see the “big deal” with Dubai, but I’m pretty sure that comes down to where they stay.
Usually we stop over in Dubai on our way somewhere else. I’m Scandinavian and my fiancée’s Australian, so we fly across continents more than I would recommend. My first trip after being diagnosed was to Dubai. I was just starting to find my footing at home, and was more than a little bit nervous to engage in cross-continental travel. Even just thinking about leaving the safe little circle I had managed to create for myself made my tummy turn. But I had to start somewhere, and my wonderful (then) boyfriend decided to kick me into gear, move me to the next step of my recovery, and chose Dubai to start.
In preparation he had contacted the hotel to explain about my condition, and to make sure everything was in place. And it certainly was! The Meridien is a 5 star complex complete with several restaurants and plenty of choice for anyone. The staff are masters of service at the best of times, but they really took it to a whole new level in catering for my GF needs.
Every restaurant was informed, and bent over backwards to make sure I had oodles of choices. We even had the restaurant manager visit our table on several occasions to shower me with further attention and to expand my options. The buffet restaurant came into the habit of calling on a particular chef to make my special GF fries whenever I should be so inclined. In fact on a couple of occasions I was surprised by free take-away portions delivered to my pool side sun lounger, just to make sure I was adequately taken care of.
The best surprise of all was the GF birthday cake that came delivered to the room on the morning of my birthday. It was all quite overwhelming, and I more or less had to pinch myself throughout the whole stay in the realization that I could have a full-on holiday with no food restrictions, and yet be completely safe and gluten-free.
Positive points to consider is that English is widely utilized, Dubai offers a clean and controlled environment in general, and places like Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates have quite large health food supermarkets with extensive gluten-free sections. All these elements make Dubai an easy travel destination for GFs.
I believe we have been there 5 times, and I am now pretty much known as Ms. Gluten Free. A term of endearment it would seem. The cute and incredibly friendly staff have at times pointed me out to their colleagues and even come up to shake my hand. They seem genuinely happy and excited to be given a bit of a challenge, and obviously enjoy the chance to help.
The hotel is wonderful, all the in-house restaurants are immaculate and the Royal Meridien generally makes for an amazing holiday with exceptional service. Every time!