Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Spring Fever 2008

From one island capital to another

With today's relatively early rise - perhaps not a great idea after a late-night jaunt! - the Club Lounge was quiet and no redirection to the Bistro was necessary. I had a light breakfast without being smoked out and returned to my room to attend to packing. I was soon once more sitting in an airport-bound taxi, suddenly feeling quite at home here! I used the dedicated First Class check-in zone at the airport and the déjà-vu experience continued when I gained entry to the Dilmun Lounge. It must have been ... oh, 12 hours!

(Link to flight log in side panel)

On arrival at Abu Dhabi, I actually recognised the airside part of the terminal from a long-haul BA flight to Singapore that I made in 1986. This was before the days of the 747-400, when the older 747-200s had to make a refuelling stop in the Middle East. But there I go sounding ancient again!   Formalities were a breeze and I was soon aboard a taxi for the journey to my latest hotel, noting with some satisfaction that the meter had been set at a fixed price of 15 Dirhams below what I understood the fixed price to be. On arrival at the InterContinental, I was suitably impressed by the physical surroundings and by the ultra-helpful trainee check-in agent. I was even more bowled over when I arrived at my room - a beautiful 14th-floor suite with huge picture windows and some very nice welcome amenities. A few minutes later, the check-in guy was on the phone to say that he'd spoken to his manager, and I could have a late check-out of 6pm the next day! Bearing in mind that this was a free Priority Club award stay, I was almost speechless and already firmly of the opinion that this place was fabulous

I decided to head out for a short walk, but before doing so there were two small items of business that I wanted to attend to : an evening booking for the Fishmarket restaurant and, with my late checkout secured, a morning city tour. Both were thoroughly straightforward and I set out into the afternoon heat for a brief walk up to the Palace of the Emirates and back. In the strong afternoon sun, it was far enough and, besides, I knew that I'd be doing some proper sightseeing the next morning.

Back at base, I relaxed for a while and got myself freshened up for my visit to the Fishmarket. I experienced this concept during my previous visit to the United Arab Emirates, as there was a Fishmarket at the former InterContinental (now a Radisson SAS) in Dubai. There is no menu - you simply select what you want to eat from the fresh produce on display and say how you want it cooked. I had a hugely enjoyable (and also just plain huge ) meal.