If there is one thing we are always short on but crave more of as a chef family, it’s time together. When we got an invitation for a family getaway to the brand spanking new Fairmont Ajman, it presented an opportunity to get a little family R&R in an emirate that was just a 40 minute drive away. Well it was 40 minutes this time, which was our second time there. I will save the story of the first trip for another post. But a short drive for a weekend holiday is a big deal. That’s a huge plus because we spend less time commuting and more time actually enjoying our staycation. Who wants to travel for hours upon hours for a short weekend family getaway? Certainly not us!
One thing about our family schedule is that we do not have the same “weekends” as normal families. Since Chef is off during the week and busy on weekends, our weekends are celebrated on weekdays. This is fine for now as our 2 year old is not going to school. What this means is that whenever we have family dates, we often have the place almost to ourselves without the usual excessive weekend crowds. It was the same experience at the Fairmont Ajman. In fact, traveling during off peaks is so much more desirable for us as a family mainly for that reason and rates are usually better during the week than on weekends. Affordable luxury is always a nice incentive.
So here’s the lowdown according to Chef and Steward…
In full disclosure, we were invited on an expenses paid trip to the Fairmont Ajman, where we stayed in their Junior Suite FOC for 2 nights and had complimentary dinner in two of their outlets (Kiyi and Gioia). Breakfast is part of the room rate.
What we loved:
- The bed. Oh Em Geeee! We do not believe in stealing from hotels but if there was anything that we wished we could have taken as a souvenir, it’s the bed. Fairmont, you should think about selling them to guests! What you need to know is that we have slept in some absolutely amazing 5 star hotel beds around the world and pride ourselves on being great sleep and bed testers. This pillow top bed rivals the Ritz. Chef Lij joked that if we did take it home, he would never get out of bed. That’s not a bad thing altogether methinks. Can one be a chef from bed? I wonder if that’s how the transnational celebrity chefs do it? Any that bed and duvet and pillows just created the perfect setting for lost of great rest.
- The privacy of the sleeping area. Since we were staying with bubs, this was perfect as we got the room to ourselves and he was within earshot (but not sight) in the living room area. This makes the suites perfect for conducting business meetings as well for those traveling on business.
- While we are on beds, bubs seemed to love his cot, which came with extra padding with sheets and a soft duvet. He slept for much longer than usual. Of course, as his parents, that was just… (no details necessary).
- The suite. With a balcony facing the Arabian Ocean and overlooking the pool, the location of the room was perfect. The balcony has a transparent glass wall so you get an unblocked view of the sea. It was also near to the lifts, which number many in hotel (I believe 4-6).
- The pool. The pool is rather expansive and beautifully designed. It has a lovely shallow gradient for little ones in their kid section to enjoy safe water play. As tropical islanders, will always take the beach over the pool but we are rather squeamish about sea water unless it is clear and blue (which this beach, though private, is not) but we are indeed in the minority. Other guests frolicked all day in the sea. In this case, we have to honestly recommend the pool over the beach. Though lying by the beach is still a glorious event with the lovely fresh breezes.
- There’s a kids club. Open from 10-6, this presents parents traveling with kids over 3 a chance to have some time alone while the kids go crazy in soft and hard play areas.
- The service. Great service all around on two separate visits by all in this new property.
- The opportunity to discover a new Emirate. Ajman is one of those emirates we constantly drive through but never stop to explore so this property gave us an excuse to get off the highway and discover the very quiet state.
- Bubs got a little stuffed toy gift from the hotel which made him learn a new animal name (Octopus) and is a cute keepsake.
- It was a quiet, restful weekday getaway. It gets way more buzz on a weekend.
- The gym faces the ocean. We just love when that happens 🙂
- There is a shisha bar as well as a lovely rooftop bar that’s open at sunset with lots of great seating.
- Book dinner at their flagship restaurant, Kiyi (Turkish) at least one night. A full review will follow.
- Have dinner in the main dining hall, Spectrum, which is a common Fairmont feature in their hotels in the UAE. This has 4 hot stations and serves a range of cuisines from Arabic, Asian, and other cuisines.
- If you stay for a third night, have dinner in the new Italian restaurant, Gioia. We recommend the Tagliatelle Pasta with Ragu Sauce which is cooked perfectly al dente and the meat soft and tender. We also recommend and the veal chop, which has nice crispy crustand buttery flavour. This restaurant is still developing so go with reasonable expectations as the hotel has recently opened. This restaurant has a beautiful open show kitchen which also serves a la carte dishes for other outlets so the kitchen can get busy at times, which of course is fun to watch.
- Salads are perfectly dressed.
- Breakfast in Spectrum is a mixture of Arabic, continental, American, European and a live egg station. The pancakes are really good and we all enjoyed the veal sausage as well. Yogurts are flavoured in house and fresh juices poured throughout the morning by waiters. There is enough on offer to suit any diet.
- Prices are less than Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
- They are very accommodating to kids’ weird requests and have an impressive kids menu with real food like steamed fish, rice and veggies. Our 2 year old asked for soy sauce for his rice in the Italian restaurant and pasta in the Turkish restaurant. Both service and kitchen teams were very understanding and actually got him exactly what he wanted. Talk about avoiding toddler public meltdowns!
- Room service is prompt and the salad, fries and chicken soup (for our Apprentice) were all good. They even offered to puree the soup for our little man.
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