DUBAI

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Escape -

How to beat the ’lag in the UAE. By EL­IZA O’HARE

THERE ARE STOPOVERS, and then there is a to­tal stop. If your plan is to travel long dis­tance at high speed but you want to min­imise jet lag and you have a spare night, a one-night full-stop could be the el­e­ment of your hol­i­day you ap­pre­ci­ate most when you get home. Although not ex­actly half­way be­tween Europe and Aus­tralia, Dubai is per­fect if you’re on an anti-jet-lag mis­sion. The key to win­ning at jet lag is to pick a great ho­tel and re­lax into it. Fresh from a wed­ding in Ire­land and two weeks of trav­el­ling, we now need to get back onto the right time zone, pronto. We pick Raf­fles, pic­tur­ing palm fans and colo­nial ar­chi­tec­ture, but Raf­fles Dubai turns out to be a mod­ern pyra­mid sur­rounded by su­per malls, in the city sec­tion of Dubai close to the air­port. In just 20 min­utes we’re off the plane and in the dra­matic lobby — stone pil­lars bear­ing carved re­liefs of Egyp­tian god­desses, a floor-to-ceil­ing wa­ter fea­ture and an army of staff de­ter­mined to make you re­lax, god­dammit. Be­ing whisked up to the 10th floor Club Lounge for check-in over cof­fee,fresh juice and pas­tries is a great way to start the 24-hour decompression.the lounge is a bonus for trav­ellers in Club rooms and suites, with ac­cess to a business cen­tre, news­pa­pers, and serv­ing break­fast, af­ter­noon tea and cock­tails and canapés be­fore din­ner. The rooms here are big, start­ing at 70 square me­tres.that means big beds, big baths and a lovely big sofa next to a big bal­cony over­look­ing the city — but with it push­ing 40 de­grees Cel­cius by 9am, that’s not where we’ll be loung­ing. Ev­ery­body knows that jump­ing into wa­ter is the best thing for jet lag (ac­tiv­ity plus hy­dra­tion!), so the pool is the place to start. Pick a full-shade ca­bana and by the time you’ve slipped out of the wa­ter and laid back out on your sun bed, your bikini will be dry and Mody from the pool bar will be de­liv­er­ing the first in­stal­ment of your wa­ter-bot­tle hy­dra­tion pro­gram, with his sig­na­ture plate of fresh-cut fruit. The trick is to keep mov­ing, and while the heat here is for­mi­da­ble — it can reach 50 de­grees in sum­mer — a trip tothe Dubai Mall makes for a well-air-con­di­tioned plan, where we man­age to hit our daily steps and also take ad­van­tage of friendly prices at Chanel and a sur­prise sale at La Perla. This keeps the ball rolling un­til we catch the wa­ter show at The Dubai Foun­tain. An­other op­tion is Wafi Mall, ac­tu­ally at­tached to Raf­fles Ho­tel, which leads into its own souk — air-con­di­tioned, no less! Dubai is all about food — and over­whelmed as we are with op­tions, it is com­fort­ing when we hit that mid-af­ter­noon ’lag zone to con­tem­plate our fa­tigue over Raf­fles’ flo­ral high tea. A se­lec­tion of canapés and pots of rose tea gives us a lazy hour or so to plan where to head for din­ner. But a stopover is also about stop­ping — and af­ter high tea there is no need for din­ner.we are happy to re­tire, with a plan to edge closer to EST with an early night and an early start. Our strat­egy is to hit the ground run­ning, spend­ing the day be­tween the tread­mill, the pool and the steam room. But maybe the best strat­egy is to work in a mas­sage.the spa at Raf­fles is in high de­mand for its spe­cial­ity treat­ments, in­clud­ing the aro­matic cou­ples’ mas­sage — a sym­phony of synched move­ments that iron out the kinks and prep us for the flight. The su­per-late check­out of 4pm means we are able to head straight from pool­side to the air­port lounge — just a 10-minute drive away — cleansed, calm and ready to fly. It’s all so easy — which is why we vow to in­clude Dubai on our stopover itin­er­ary for our next trip … Mar­rakech!

From top: Raf­fles Dubai’s Turk­ish-style Pent­house Suite; Royal Suite; and lobby.

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