Online Magazine, Travel Trends

Finding Snow in the Desert

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Head to Dubai for a winter wonderland vacation.


For the first time in my life, I’m skipping the snow and freezing temperatures of a Canadian winter. But after swapping Canada’s cold for Jeddah’s heat, I’ve found myself longing for the season. No, I don’t miss the endless shoveling. I miss catching single snowflakes on my glove and inspecting them before they melt away. I miss the cracking and crunching of ice under my feet. Mostly, I miss having to go inside to warm up.

After opening way too many tabs of potential weekend winter getaways, I decided a roundtrip flight for a couple days of snow wasn’t worth it. That was until I found out I didn’t have to go far to find a winter retreat. It was waiting in the most unlikely of places: Dubai.

A Ski Chalet in the Desert

If you close your eyes and picture a ski lodge, complete with ski slope views and a crackling fireplace, you typically wouldn’t picture it to be in Dubai. But that’s exactly where you’ll find the Aspen Chalets, with authentic alpine designs including wooden beams and flooring, modern antler features, snowflake detailing and stone faux fireplaces.

The Kempinski Hotel at Mall of the Emirates recently launched the newly renovated Aspen Chalets that overlook legendary Ski Dubai.

When I walked into the spacious and luxurious chalet, I was instantly transported back to winter. The massive windows provide stunning views of the powdery slopes. I put my hand on the cold glass that separated me and those bundled up for cold weather, and felt as if I was back in Canada’s snowy season.

ski-chalet-king-bedroomThe impressive three bedroom chalet is set over three floors, and not only has a view of the slopes, but also of the Dubai skyline.

Snowy Desert Package

610a7592Whether you’re longing for a Canadian winter like me, dreaming of a weekend in the Alps or just want to trade the sand for snow, the ‘Snowy Desert’ Package is what you need.snowy-desert

If looking out your chalet window at the ski hill isn’t enough, you can get complimentary access to Ski Dubai with this package. After missing out on winter activities for most of the season, I decided this package was made for me.

Ski Dubai Snow Park

dsc04786Shocked at how cold it felt inside Ski Dubai, I regretted not bringing a hat. The hat wasn’t included in the blue snowsuit rental, which made me blend in with the others on the slopes.

At the first and largest indoor ski resort in the Middle East, the temperature never drops below -6 degrees Celsius, so I decided I could do without the hat.

The snow isn’t the only thing manufactured at Ski Dubai. The green plastic fir trees are too. That, plus the men wearing thobes under their long jackets, made for a very unique winter scene.

After a day of skiing, sliding and posing by the ice sculptures, it’s relaxing to sit in the Alpine themed chalet with a cup of steaming hot chocolate. No trip to Ski Dubai is complete without visiting the penguins!

After handing back in the rented snowsuit, I headed back to the Aspen Chalet, I turned on the crackling fireplace and curled up on the comfortable couch.

Luxuries at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

managerIt’s no wonder that Slim Zaiane, the General Manager at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, explains the Aspen Chalets already have a high level of repeat guests.

“Many of our guests are extremely well-travelled and used to experiencing the finer things in life. This is why it’s so exciting to see their reactions upon first entering the Aspen Chalets,” said Zaiane. “Children and parents alike marvel at the views and families are able to relax together, safe in the knowledge that our expert butlers will attend to their every need.”

There are three restaurants at Kempinski Hotel, each offering a unique dining experience and delicious food. The wellness and fitness facilities features Softouch Spa, a state-of-the-art fitness center, tennis court and two temperature-controlled outdoor pools.

Location: Mall of the Emirates, Dubai
Web: kempinski.com

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