My weekend trip to Ajman.

Day 1.

Heading north on a Thursday afternoon after work on Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road.

Our drive would be just over an hour to the Emirate of Ajman.

With the COVID-19 pandemic we had been under some kind of lockdown for almost 2 months.

Dubai had been under some of the toughest restrictions in the UAE with a 24 hour lockdown at one stage enforced.

When it was announced that travel between emirates would be allowed for staycations and that that northern emirates would open their hotel beaches and pools for a limited amount of guests, I quickly booked a weekend getaway to Ajman.

At the entrance to the Fairmont Ajman. As well as no valet parking there was signage advising on compulsory mask usage (as per law) and social distancing of 2 meters.

Looking up at the atrium from the lobby. As part of the hotel reopening the Ajman government had mandated that hotels only initially operate at 30% capacity to enable social distancing.

Checking in with a newly installed plexi-glass screen on the front desk.

A list of precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Our room up on the 12th floor for 359 AED ($96) for the night.

The spacious bathroom.

Geneva Green toiletries.

And the view of the hotel beach and pool from our balcony.

Looking down on the equispaced sun loungers.

After the ~2 month lockdown it was quite surreal to be able to go out and simply walk on the beach.

The hotel with the city of Ajman in the background. Ajman is the smallest emirate of the UAE by area, being only 148 km2 in size.

People swimming in the sea at the neighbouring Ajman Saray Hotel.

And the Ajman Hotel.

I hadn't been for a swim in over 3 months so it was great to be able to go for a dip at sunset.

Hannelie enjoying some pureed vegetables and fish for dinner on the beach.

After the sun dipped below the horizon we headed to the Salt & Sea bar for dinner.

Hannelie waving her hands with a bit of holiday excitement!

I wasn't too fussy so just opted for the pizza.

While Rianda went for the chicken Shawarma.

Pausing for a photo in the beautiful Azrak Lounge as we head back to our room.

Hannelie being fascinated by her reflection while we gave her bath before putting her to bed at the end of day one.

Day 2.

Looking out onto the hotel beach just after 7am after a good sleep.

After cracking the curtains to let in some light to let Hannelie slowly wake up and open up her sleepy eyes.

I had signed up for a virtual 10 kilometer run for this weekend so put on my running gear and went for a jog around the city.

The palm-lined promenade of the marina district.

This way to the Ajman Sewerage Happiness Center.

Hot Make Restaurant.

The Sheraton just over the border in Sharjah.

Foe your safety. Although the hotel beaches were now open public beaches were still closed.


And finishing back at the hotel beach before indulging in a post-run swim in the surf.

Back in our hotel room after a shower and trying to snap a photo with Hannelie while she crawled around the bed.

We then headed downstairs to the hotel's buffet restaurant, Spectrum.

While I had read that the breakfast buffet was now a thing of the past with the COVID-19 pandemic, it was surpising to see that this was certainly not the case at the Fairmont Ajman.

To avoid issues with spreading the virus, each buffet station had a server who would plate your food for you instead of having to handle the juice jugs, serving tongs etc.

It took a little longer and I had to resist helping myself when a server was busy but it seemed to work out fine.

After a dip in the hotel swimming pool we headed down to the hotel beach and retreated under the shade of a pair of sunloungers.

Hannelie with a fresh layer of sunscreen before passing out for a mid-morning nap.

At 12pm we checked out and packed the bags into the Kia for the short drive to our second Ajman hotel.

After a short drive late, a sign showing the way to the Oberoi beach Resort. Al Zorah is a luxury development in Ajman with a golf course, marina and several resorts planned.

Looking down on the resort just a few kilometers up the coast from the Fairmont Ajman. The resort was a mixture of both luxury villas and hotel suites.

Oberoi is a luxury Indian hotel group with 31 hotels in India, Egypt, Indonesia, UAE, Mauritius and Saudi Arabia.

Our impressive array of bags being wheeled away by the porter. With all the luggage I wondered how we would cope with an eventual trip halfway around the world back to New Zealand!

While walking up the path to the lobby I couldn't but be impressed by the modern architecture. Elegant and very different from the many other five star resorts in the UAE.

And the pristine and picture perfect gardens.

Designed by Italian architect, Piero Lissoni and his Lissoni Associati studio, the hotel opened in 2017.

Rianda and Hannelie waiting while I took care of the check in formalities.

It was interesting to see the small design touches such as the front desk laptop being housed in a leather briefcase.

Portraits of the rulers of the UAE and Ajman on the wall.

There was some interesting books on the lobby tables including Black Beauties: Iconic Cars Photographed by Rene Staud and The Porsche Book: The Best Porsche Images by Frank M. Orel.

Our room wasn't quite ready yet so we went for a walk around the hotel grounds.

The resort had plenty of green and manicured landscaping versus the astroturf at the Fairmont Ajman.

Although it was early May the weather was unseasonally cool and the low 30's (°C) temperature made it quite pleasant to walk outside.

Strolling down the wooden promenade at the resort beach.

Looking down on the luxury beach front villas with a night room rate of 6,500 AED ($1,769).

And the resort's 85 meter (279 ft) long infinity pool.

We then headed inside to library to escape the midday sun.

And a good chance for Hannelie to have a bit of a crawl too.

Being shown to our room just after 2pm after it was finally ready.

While the 2 and 3 bedroom villas looked incredible we opted for a much more affordable suite.

Our premier room with sea views on the third floor for 883 AED ($240) including breakfast.

Complimentary fresh fruit bowl.

The well stocked minibar.

Although it was the entry-level room at the resort it was still a very generous 81 m2 (872 sqft) in size.

As well as being an architect, Piero Lissoni is also known for his contemporary furniture design and it was great to see the modern and minimalist theme carried over to the interior too.

How to Make a Nation: A Monocle Guide.

The view out to the Arabian Gulf from the balcony.

They very spacious bathroom.

Forest Essientials toiletries from India.

Fresh rose.

The luggage room which came in handy to store our assortment of bags.

Hannelie making the most of the ample floorspace to explore the room.

Enjoying a dose of caffeine from the espresso machine.

Saying hello to her new friend. She was really seemed to be intrigued seeing her own reflection!

She had recently started eating solids and we were experimenting with different foods she could chew on.

Not sure if she was too enamoured by the taste though.

In the afternoon we headed to the hotel infinity pool.

The 85 meter length of the pool also made for easy social distancing.

Hannelie about to dip her toes in the water.

And back in our room with the sun setting over the Arabian Gulf.

In the evening we headed out for dinner. Outside the restaurant I bumped into an old friend from New Zealand. Now flying A380s for Emirates, he was with his wife on a staycation too with the current shutdown of almost all flights into and out of the country.

Vinesse is the main hotel restaurant. There is also Aquario, a seafood restaurant by the beach but it was closed with the reduced hotel occupancy.

Entertaining Hannelie with a bit of light reading after we took a seat inside.

The disposable menus printed on A4 paper.

The Arabic mezze to share for the starter.

My saagwala lamb curry with daal and basmati rice for the main.

And Rianda's seafood risotto.

And sharing the divine Guanaja chocolate cake for dessert.

The moon lighting up the sky as we walked back to our room after the delicious dinner at the end of day 2.

Day 3.

After a restful sleep I got up just after 5am to catch the sunrise.

The sky was unusually clear which made for a brilliant and striking display as the sun rose above the horizon.

Looking down on the crashing waves.

The Port of Ajman and the city behind in the distance.

The strip of beach separating the resort and the sea.

And back in our room with Hannelie now wide awake.

While Hannelie and Rianda went for a morning walk in the stroller around the resort grounds I headed out for a lazy jog.

Ajman spelt out in big colourful letters outside the Department of Tourism.

Outside Dino Live, an indoor dinosaur exhibition.

Back at the resort beach with my running gaiter specially designed to scare people into social distancing!

After all the morning exertion I couldn't resist stripping to my running shorts for a morning dip in the sea.

After showering up and feeding Hannelie we headed back to Vinesse for breakfast.

Unlike the buffet at the Fairmont, breakfast was a la carte this morning.

French press coffee to start.

Some fresh fruit, pastries and condiments.

My eggs benedict with turkey and a side of smoked salmon.

And Rianda's pancakes with maple syrup and cream.

After the tasty breakfast we headed down to the relax in one of the pool cabanas.

And had a weekly lockdown Zoom session with the family back in New Zealand.

Another refreshing dip in the temperature controlled pool.

Hannelie with her swimsuit on and sporting a fresh layer of suncreen.

And enjoying a dip in the pool too.

Enjoying a coffee and chocolate on the balcony just before we had to check out at 1pm.

And packing the bags in the Kia after a great weekend staycation in Ajman!

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