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A little story from the UAE

Fairmont Bab Al Bahr

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Hello, just a little story from a little country called the UAE.

We booked into the Fairmont Abu Dhabi for two weeks summer vacation, expecting a nice relaxing time, and (some) adequate hotel staff, and maybe some friendly family's with whom our children could play.

When we arrived the hotel look nice, a shame they put up a extremely large tent on the beach, which totally ruined the view.

"We" are a couple, almost 10 years married, who left the Netherlands a few years ago, and now live with their two daughters in Zwitserland, and we are expecting within 6 weeks a third daughter.

The first week was nice. Quiet, friendly staff, nice breakfast buffet.

The second week was not nice.

Ramadan ended that week, and I never in my whole life saw a 5* Hotel disintegrate as fast as did ours.

Within 24 hours the hotel was overcrowd, overrun, and in disarray.

Complains from our side about anything where disregarded, ignored, and in no way dealt with.

After the ramadan partys ended, and the hotel returned to 50% occupancy rate, they finally dealt with our complained and put is a nicer room for the last two night's.

But the worse was yet to come.

Our last full day we we're intended to spend in the pool. Our daughters are 4 and 5, can almost swim now, and my wife is highly ( visible) pregnant.

We like some privacy and stay in one small corner of the pool, and tend to our own business. It's a public pool, but everyone likes to have some private space. Especially of the limited private space we had during our stay.

Al in a sudden two local girls pop up and start floating in between/around us. Maybe 5 and 6. No parents in sight. They try to play with our children toys, but mostly they just float. My wife get's a few time kicked in the stomach, but we tried to be friendly and ignore them. After half an hour it get's on your nerves.

So I made the biggest mistake I could make, I tell the girls to " float away little angels and be free" and make a wave behind them which bushes them into the open space of the pool. Still no where any parents/ nannies insight. And then all hell broke lose.

All in a sudden their is this big aggressive person, who is accusing me of pushing his daughter and god now's what. The wife is their all in a sudden , dressed all in black, her eyes barely visible and making a scene as well. My wife and I just look at each other and try to ignore them. well, that's not gonna happen, so I tell him to get lost. ( My bad, in this country it doesn't work that way, they all think they are God/ Allahs gift to mankind)

So, we try to go back to minding our own business, but then the circus starts.

I had to come out of the pool 4 time to explain what happened to 4 different people. In full view of the pool.

Then I had to come in to a little room in my wet bathing close, with the airco blaring to explain myself to the police.. Yeah, you read it right; the police.

This was not enough for the "offended" party, he insisted that we go to the police station and start a file. Although I offered my excuses for the whole situation.

So off we went, to the police station, leaving my pregnant wife alone, totally stressed out, and two frighted children.

The hotel provided a car and driver and a translator, because the police here doesn't speak English.

So after a lot of time wasted and threatening to put me in jail ( yes, you read that correctly as well..) I offered my excuses again, promised to never ever do what I did again and could leave. And most importantly; never admitting I pushed the child. 4 hours wasted and a totally ruined vacation.

After getting back to the hotel, I found my wife in her room. No one of the hotel staff had bothered to keep her informed, so she was in total shock. she couldn't comprehend what had happened and just was flabbergasted. The children couldn't stop crying.

You would expect that the hotel management would contact us, and see if their anything they could do, and apologise for the whole situation. They are not only responsible for the wellbeing of the locals, but also for their western guests. and although they will bent over backwards for the locals, don't expect the same treatment for the western guests. Besides most staff can hardly speak a proper word of English anyway.

But no. No one. Nothing. Again. Never felt more let down. we left the hotel and went for a coffee, came back late and tried to sleep. That didn't work out either, so I put my little story on paper.

If you want to have a nice time, don't come here. Stay in Dubai. If you have any problems with the locals, walk away as fast as you can. For very small thing's you can get in a heap of trouble.

We go home tonight, not even to our native country, but we will never feel more at 'home' this time.


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