Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Dubai to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We booked the trip with Justin Parkinson and would absolutely recommend him. It was a perfect week with a combination of tours and beach days at our fabulous hotel. We had the same guide and driver for our tours of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and they were terrific. Our guide continued to check in on us via WhatsApp for the rest of our week in Dubai. We had another amazing guide/driver for our Desert Safari Excursion, which was super fun. We went on our last night, and it was a fantastic way to end our trip. Justin was always available for all of my questions and concerns regarding the trip, and I hope to use him again for a trip to the Maldives someday in the future.

We had a wonderful time during our trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi that was planned by Justin. The trip was very professionally arranged, from picking us up at the airport to all activities and transportation. We stayed at Jumeirah Beach hotel, which has beautiful views of the ocean and you can see the Burj Al Arab from it as well. Over the next few days we had our personal guide, who gave us a comprehensive tour of Dubai. We learnt about the city’s Bedouin heritage, bold architecture, Emirati culture, politics/sheiks. We got to see all the major attractions, the gold souk, Atlantis, and of course the Burj Khalifa. The guide had our tickets ready for us, which was nice. It took us 60 seconds in the lift to get to the top of the world’s tallest building. The views from there were spectacular. Once you exit the Burj Khalifa you end up in Dubai Mall (one of the world’s largest shopping malls), so we ended up walking around the mall and ate at the food court. Our kids had to try the McArabia from McDonald’s, which they thought was pretty good.

After a few days in Dubai we went to the desert. The highlight of our trip was the desert/Qasr Al Sarab Resort. It was a magical place, absolutely breathtaking. The desert sand is so soft, fine and has multicolored hues of khaki and orange. We all enjoyed rolling around in the sand dunes, and seeing the magical sunsets. Getting from Dubai to Qasr Al Sarab was flawlessly planned. We had our own private driver who was flexible in case we needed to make stops, as we were traveling with two kids (ages 6 & 7). Arriving there felt like arriving at a Arabian palace, the kind you see in Aladdin. They greeted us with some dates and a yogurt drink which was cooling in the hot weather. The breakfast was amazing, a lavish buffet having a mix of local delights. We enjoyed the dates, local jams, omelettes, and fresh juices. All the excursions were prefectly organized. We went on a camel trek, which was a great experience and felt like something out of a movie. In the evenings we got a chance to have some fine Arabic cuisine set in a beautiful ambiance amidst the desert lit up by lanterns, fire pits and the stars above. Certainly a dream. We dined amidst the desert dunes, a Bedouin set-up of plush carpets and cushions serving lamb, cherry rice, variety of dips/hummus, and breads. Another highlight of our trip was dune bashing. My oldest son loved it and said he would do it again, while my youngest said it was terrible. I would say it was exhilarating, however not for everyone. I would recommend not eating an hour before doing it.

Our next stop was Abu Dhabi. It was a quick two-hour drive from the desert. We only spent a day in Abu Dhabi, and then went back to Dubai. Abu Dhabi’s highlight was the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. We were greeted by our tour guide, who was well prepared. She had an extra head scarf for my wife, as the dress code is very strictly enforced. She was a wealth of information and was able to get us into the mosque the most efficient way. The architecture and design of the mosque is something quite special. It has intricate designs of flowers and geometric designs carved on the walls and exquisite carpets and chandeliers inside. After the mosque our guide gave us a tour of Abu Dhabi. We requested to go to some local markets, as we needed to get some souvenirs. She took us to a quaint market where they had camel key chains, local embroidered pillowcases, Aladdin lamps which my kids loved. Overall we really enjoyed our visit to the UAE. The tour guides, hotels, and recommended sightseeing spots were on point and made everything super-easy and stress-free.

Randy Hopp | September 14, 2022

PANDEMIC TRAVEL Great trip! Perfectly executed. Driver and guide were great, and were flexible which was important to us. The first hotel, which was recommended, was beyond expectations! The Al Maya was also a great choice and we loved it.

I highly recommend Justin!

PANDEMIC TRAVEL We usually plan our own trips but wanted something special for this one and felt that we needed help sorting through all the many Maldives resorts and the constantly changing COVID policies.

Wendy recommended Justin Parkinson and, though we had a bit of a rough patch in the planning process (you should definitely follow Wendy’s advice to have a long call with the agent!), it was quickly solved and we were put at ease by Justin’s knowledge, recommendations, and flexibility to adapt the tours to our needs and pet peeves.

The trip itself was amazing, and something that we could not have created on our own.

In Dubai, everything ran smoothly and on time, from the PCR nurse to the private tour guides, who were top-notch (most especially Lourdes, who deserves seven stars!!), allowing us to make the best of the short time we were spending there; the recommended restaurant was a success and, thanks to Lourdes’ tips, our short Expo visit on our own was fun and fruitful.

And for the Maldives… what a paradise! The resort Justin recommended (one that was not on our radar and probably wouldn’t have been without him) was absolutely perfect for us and our family’s needs, covering all our requirements and beyond. Unforgettable!

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