All that glitters is probably actual gold in glamorous Dubai, but aside from sprawling shopping malls, luxurious spa treatments and extravagant hotels, there are plenty of other things to discover on a Secret Escape to one of the world’s most luxurious cities. Friday brunch in Dubai is a must and one of the best and most extravagant is still at Al Quasr, where you’ll find every food and drink under the sun spread across this luxurious hotel’s ground floor. For something completely different, vodka shots, borscht and feathers, tights and tassels abound at Russian restaurant Troyka in Dubai’s Ascot Hotel.
Contrary to popular belief, drinking is not only allowed, it’s practically encouraged in Dubai. Ladies are spoilt for choice on Tuesday nights, when drinks are cheap and sometimes even free.
Horse riding through the desert or even a forest is possible too, if you head to the Equestrian & Polo Club at Mushrif Park (90 mins, 300 AED). A day pass for Dubai’s speedy and modern Metro will cost you 14 AED for all zones, although it’s better to get a taxi for short distances as they’re quite cheap compared to in other cities.
The best time to visit Dubai is from October to April when humidity is lower and you can make the most of outdoor activities. Some people think that romance is banned in Dubai, but whereas holding hands and kissing in public is frowned upon, the luxury and glamour you can experience behind closed doors is reason enough for lovers to visit. Whereas alcohol is abundant for tourists in Dubai, it’s true that being drunk in public is a punishable offense. Log in or sign up to Secret Escapes to browse luxury stays in Dubai (including glamorous Indian Ocean twin-centres).
Dubai does have a reputation for being bold and brash – it likes to have the biggest and best of everything.
There are plenty of glitzy clubs and outrageously expensive restaurants, and people do dress up to the extreme, but there are also loads of low-key hidden corners, eclectic nightlife options and bars to satisfy the grungiest hippy. Life here is not just about showing off; it’s not obligatory to get a flash 4WD and a Rolex, live on the Palm, and to dine in the Burj Khalifa every weekend– but there’s far more to the city than that. Travelling in a two is great, but what about those times when you feel like a few days away on your own?
The below should hopefully go some way to explaining why – much as we will always try – we sometimes aren’t able to offer discounted rates for solo travellers on our hotels and holidays.
As a business, Secret Escapes acts as an agent for the hotels and holidays (holiday suppliers and tour operators) we sell. Holidays and tours that include flights or transport (Eurostar, for example) are given to us by the supplier or tour operator in per person rates.
If this is a topic that you’d like to have a say on, we’d love for you to leave a reply on the post. I often travel solo but it is frustrating to have to pay extra, it definitely feels that you are being discriminated against, so any good offers for solo travellers would be favourably received I am sure. It’s not a matter of travel agencies supporting making travelling fairer, but rather more people making a stand. As a secondary school teacher and (god forbid) being single, I am hit in the purse at every turn when looking for holidays. On the other hand, we could book together, share the costs as couple and travel at our own. I will not, on principle, pay for a seat that I am not allowed to have the use of even if it is just to put my coat! Travelling on my own is no problem, but as all the above people say the single supplement, is a real pain! I would just like to know, if you have any Secret Escapes, in New England, in the lovely old Inns, that they have, and also perhaps in Novia Scotia in Canada, where one could stay in a Log Cabin, and have a chance to visit Wolves and Bears etc?
Perhaps a Canoe on the Lake also, I know it might be a remote request, but this is something, I have wanted to do, for a long time.
Perhaps also, a Houseparty Holiday, where single people, can mix, rather like they do in Barbados, in an old Plantation House? Hotels , cruises, flights are never full so the whole industry should manage to fill their gaps of nonoccupancy and zero profit by single travellers with single discounted rates.
The travel industry can benefit a lot in the time of recession if deals are done for Single travellers were both can profit as the single traveller gets deal and ships, hotels , flights can 100% occupancy.
The travel industry should realise a big market for single travellers of all ages wheteher students, middle age , young, older group who choose to travel alone and married too who need an escape on their own , widowers, divorced, seperated, single etc. This is modern age and people travel alone for various reasons and a new wave of single holidays should be a neccessasity and this wide gap which needs to be targeted and looked into asap by the sleeping travel industry. Single travellers are becoming the norm, not the minority now, and the hotel industry need to recognise that times are changing and they are losing out on a big sector of their potential customers.
In such a bleak market, what is the logic of excluding so many potential customers – is it really better to have empty rooms and reduced revenue than having *someone* in that room (and a single person paying LESS, not MORE than if you had two people in that room)? And for Secret Escapes: you need to reflect somehow on your emails that single traveller prices are available. It’s difficult to find well-informed people for this subject, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! I’ve basically never seen a holiday through Secret Escapes that I could book as a single person. I would like to see more hotel only offers as then at least solo travellers would not need to buy two flights.


Would they rather have empty rooms in this time of economic recession or could they not sell the room (perhaps within the last month) at half the price?
If you have any single rooms on offer can you perhaps high light it in your descriptions so that it is easier for us single travellers to find? Good to know you are reviewing how to support solo travellers, however solo travelling does not mean I want a twin room or a single bed, it just means I want more reasonable prices!
Currently the website is not user friendly in terms of identifying single rate available hotels.
One thing Secret Escapes could do NOW, is filter the mailings you send out, so those who want have a choice to select a mailing that has a singles option on it. As another secondary school teacher, I’ve had to put up with all the problems, frustrations and expenses detailed by Susan Hope. OK, I manage all that and get to my hotel and now I want to go on some trips out and about. Yes, the travel industry is missing a very large, financially lucrative, trick here – thousands and thousands of us wanting to, and able to be, flexible about our travel and often with more disposable income, but almost totally unable to find ways to give companies our money! After a year on your mailing list I have really been considering unsubscribing, but if you can mail these single traveller offers, then of course it would be great. I agree with what has been said – if there was a separate page each week which shows offers which allow single that would be really helpful. Surely Secret Escapes should suggest this to hotels who are pricing by the room rather than per person. There are thousands of instances where I believe the hotel industry are loosing customers and I think there are now alternatives. Try…it sometimes works and if you have a point system with any otels group remember that by booking with third parties the points are not redeemable. Trouble is Malcolm is that hotels sell two people dinner and with a family even more for breakfast. I am frustrated too as am a single female who like a nice holiday but don’t want to pay extra. I agree that single people are marginalised into problem areas of hotels, dodgy rooms, faults, way out down a corridor. Secret Escapes seem only to have minimal discounts for us and they are so very hard to find and pointless when you get there. I must admit that every single room I have ever stayed in (other than budget) has been a single room normally for double occupancy. Occasionally you are told that Secret escapes do a deal for Singles…but in fact the discounted price is minimal…say ?50 on a ?600 plus holiday!! Secret Escapes aired its first TV advertising campaign in 2012, with its ‘worst kept secret in luxury travel’ tagline, which combined with strong word-of-mouth recommendation, has resulted in significant year-on-year revenue growth.  Alongside the consumer campaign, Diffusion will also be building the profile of Secret Escapes’ management team as travel industry leaders and raising the firm’s corporate profile as one of the UK’s most successful start-ups of the last decade. Rob Day, Editor at Secret Escapes, commented: “We were looking for an agency to develop an approach that significantly increases our share of voice across broader national lifestyle media, as well as the travel sections.
For many people who just a little hard of hearing (not needing a hearing aid) the whispering on the advertisement is extremely annoying and would be enough for me to avoid using secret escapes. Think lobsters, ice-sculptures holding sushi plates, a cheese room and all the Moet you can drink. The flowery-shirt wearing staff in the Madinat Jumeirah’s Trader Vic’s will keep spirits high, literally, with their Tiki Tiki cocktails, and if you have a craving for karaoke, the cosy confines of Harry Gattos in Emirates Towers won’t disappoint. Rock Bottom, Double Decker and Longs Bar are expat favourites but for something a little classier and less likely to make your shoes stick to the floor, ladies drink for free on Tuesdays at Amika, half price on Tuesdays at Caramel, and for free on Fridays at Margaux.
Jumeirah Beach Park and Al Mamzar Beach Park cost just 5 AED to enter and both have great facilities. Zabeel Park has a nice boating lake to help you catch some rays in style, or get fit with the free running track and outdoor gym equipment at Al Barsha Pond Park. Many restaurants will be undercover and air-conditioned for the rest of the year, although in spite of the heat Dubai offers blue-sky, sunny holiday weather year-round. There’s no need to wear an abaya (it’s not as strict as Abu Dhabi up the road) but exposing your bare legs, cleavage or arms in a shopping mall is not advised. Learn to ski in the desert at Ski Dubai – the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East. Check out the Dubai Fountains – designed by the creators of the Fountains of Bellagio in Vegas. Take a desert safari in a dune buggy and stay for dinner with a belly dancing show, delicious kebabs and some henna tattoos, all in the sandy wilderness of the desert.
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Perhaps the love and light of your life isn’t all that into whale-watching, or maybe you’d rather share the experience with a – heaven forbid – odd number of friends. Yellow is deffinately not this years fashion accesorie…missed the bag,the brolly…and no overtaking on a double line? Whilst I can understand that hotel prices are often per room, why should I have to pay double for my seat on the aircraft?
Their headline rate of ?200 per night is actually per person, so a night automatically becomes ?400 a night. I am sure that I am just one of hundreds of widowers and widows who find themselves in the same situation.


So many times (in fact ALL times to date) I go through looking at a deal, selecting the dates, clicking on the single option to find it isnt available and the deal is no deal at all, so leave it. Yes, I can go to the trouble of ringing a hotel abroad, finding availability, agreeing a rate and booking a transfer taxi. Thanks for addressing this, but I couldn’t agree more with those who say that surely you can filter what we get, it is so disheartening to find holiday after holiday that I would love to take and get all the way through to booking only to find I cant go!! My last hotel in Lyon (not with Secret Escapes, unless they do the same hotel was 22 Euros extra). What you are saying is that getting holiday providers to list offerings is more important to you than getting single travellers to buy. Airlines want to fill planes and need singles to do that, especially on aircraft where seats are in banks of three. Why don’t Secret Escapes set up an online blog where a single person can show interest in a holiday and that is flagged up on some database ( not difficult) single travellers can then look at database, and using an on line, blog contact the person and discuss via e mail if sharing their holiday would be viable, and SE can give a small discount for the privilege of two single booking a holiday,,,,simple. The market is saturated with naff holidays for singles that involve doing group activities ( no thanks) There is a desperate need for sites like yours to make it easier for busy people to book solo escapes on their own without all the ridiculous hoopla, searching and extra charges.
The site already boasts over three million members, has launched in Germany and Sweden in 2013 and has formed partnerships with media outlets such as Time Out, the Telegraph, Conde Nast Traveller, The Independent and the Evening Standard.
Safa Park in Jumeirah, or Creek Park along the Dubai Creek are good for a picnic or a kick around with a ball if it’s not too scorching outside. We still push for single traveller rates, but this is the most common pricing structure given to us by our suppliers. We cannot change the industry, but by changing our attitude towards the industry we will change it, at the end.
It does feel like society is geared towards coupledom and having to pay extra because you are single does feel discriminatory. Travel industry especially secret escapes should insist with the hotels, cruise, and flight should not be an issue for single travellers who are in plenty in all age groups with ready finances and no time to adjust with friends or relatives for convenient Secret Escapes!
I guess it is a travel industry problem… but if I book through airline and hotel sites I can quite easily book a flight for one person and a room for myself.
I guess that was why at first in the hotel I had a very noisy room with a rackety air conditioning and when I changed the room that was as far along the corridor a you could get!! I will be unsubscribing soon, as havent found a single good deal for a single person yet in over 6 months. But wait, first I must find a flight that gets me to my chosen destination on roughly the dates I want, before I can book my hotel. But I don’t have the services of a travel rep who will get better rates for trips, do all this for me and sort out any problems that might occur.
Room taxes are also according to how many people in a room.The bar does better still and taxis and transits I suppose. It takes all my concentration to personouvre the transport system,find the places of key interest and feed myself especially when hotels charge ?30 for breakfast! Most quality hotels use a double bed as standard; if they have singles, those are the rooms standing empty. It’s true that, at present, it’s often easier for couples to find the best rates on travel, and we’ve received a lot of correspondence from members who’d like us to challenge this. I would rather subscribe to a list that has options for singles, than give up th elink to Secret Escapes altogether – maybe it will be a much smaller list, but it is better to have that focus than get excited about deals that really dont apply. But, of course, we singles only buy half the number of meals and drinks and that is often where the hotels make their money so they don’t like us. It costs less for a single person to occupy a room, not more – less water, less toiletries, less refreshment.
This is an aspect of the industry we’d really like to shake up and make fairer for individuals, but we don’t mind admitting that we haven’t quite worked out how to yet. If we indicate that single traveller rates are available but a price isn’t specified, you can find this price by selecting one adult rather than two when you go through with your booking. There is an army of bloggers here asking Secret Escapes to enable a filter for single travellers. Your pricing model could easily be broken into accommodation plus travel: pay for the room as a whole, then pay the travel.
We hope to be able to secure more single and twin rooms in the future as we continue to grow our business. I was particularly impressed by the window which, when I pulled back the curtain had a view of a rock face about three feet away…. Or – and am I just a cynic – do they want us on here for their numbers to look good? Yes, I can and have done it all myself but all I want is a week on a Greek beach and trips to the local ruins and a lazy day on a boat with my brain in neutral.



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