The UAE is world-famous for its state-of-the-art hospitality sector, and luxury hotels often grab the lion’s share of the headlines. With a host of tech-empowered hotels, those looking for a next-gen travel experience are spoilt for choice in the Emirates.
Increasingly, technology within the hospitality industry is about far more than guest-facing innovation. Many UAE hotels are making use of cutting-edge tools and systems behind the scenes, employing artificial intelligence (AI) to improve customer service, operational efficiency and more.
The UAE offers something for everyone
Something international tourists are perhaps less aware of is that the UAE also offers some incredible ‘back-to-basics’ travel options. Whether you’re holidaying on a budget or just looking for a base for some adventure travel across the wider Emirates, there are plenty of cost-effective options to suit every preference and budget.
Sharjah’s Nejoum Al Emirate Hotel, Fujairah’s City Tower Hotel, Ras Al Khaimah’s Mangrove Hotel, Ajman’s Crown Palace Hotel and Suites, and Umm Al Quwain’s Royal Residence Resort represent a mere handful of the options available to tourists who wish to explore the Emirates while protecting their bank balances.
Check out your international options
Even if you’re looking farther afield, at some point, you’re going to have to make a choice between high-tech, luxury hotels and back-to-basics accommodation. The UAE is certainly not the only global destination whose hospitality sector is investing in next-gen tech. The choice available to tourists interested in such experiences is staggering.
On the other hand, backpacking remains a perennial favourite among travellers of all ages and backgrounds – the only prerequisite being that you have a taste for adventure. While the decision concerning which segment of the market suits your requirements often comes down to budget, this is not always the case. After all, why spend extra money on luxury accommodation if you’re only looking for a comfortable place to rest your head?
Before you decide whether to opt for high-tech luxury or back-to-basics digs, here are my top five things to consider when booking…
1- What are your vacation priorities?
If you’re planning on spending every waking minute exploring your surroundings – whether hiking across areas of natural beauty or taking in a city’s vibrant atmosphere – you should consider going back to basics. Doing so will mean you have extra money to spend on activities, entertainment and dining, and if you’re hardly ever in your hotel, you probably won’t notice the difference.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for an opportunity to relax in style and treat yourself to a bit of pampering, it may be worth splashing out on high-tech, luxury accommodation. Those little extra touches offered by the industry’s top hotels can spell the difference between a good holiday and an unforgettable experience.
2- Take a moment to consider your ‘must-haves’
If you do opt for basic accommodation, you should still spend time thinking about the aspects on which you are unwilling to compromise. For instance, is a private bathroom a must? If you decide to go camping, do you still want a site that offers an electrical hook-up?
Everyone is different so, whatever your budget, you should still make sure you’re considering accommodation that offers the amenities that are important to you. ‘Back to basics’ doesn’t have to mean ‘slumming it’ (unless that’s the experience you’re looking for). Even if you forego luxury hospitality, your vacation should be a time to unwind and have fun – not get stressed out.
3- What would make your trip ‘unforgettable’?
If you do choose high-tech luxury, think about the elements that would really make your holiday extra special.
If you’re a tech enthusiast, for example, it might be worth spending that little bit extra on a room replete with the latest smart systems and gadgets. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a seamless hospitality experience, quality of service should be front of mind. By focusing your search on travel providers and hotel operators that promise to deliver end-to-end hospitality, you’ll be able to guarantee the ultimate in relaxation from the point you leave your front door to the time you return home.
4- Don’t take risks
However you choose to spend your vacation, make sure you stay safe. This is just common sense, especially if you’re thinking of travelling alone or backpacking. There is plenty of free information out there from experienced travellers, so please ensure you’ve taken all the necessary precautions before you set out.
Even if you’re planning a luxury jaunt, it’s still sensible to do your homework before you book. Take time to research your destination ahead of time, paying particular attention to the viewpoints of those who live in – or have already visited – the location in question.
Whether budget or luxury, the vast majority of trips go without a hitch, but having that little bit of extra knowledge to hand can make the difference between a dream vacation and a holiday nightmare.
5- You do you
Always remember, you know yourself better than anyone else! Some people absolutely love luxury, while others find the prospect of staying within the confines of the same hotel for an extended period of time claustrophobic. If you’re anything like me, you probably enjoy elements of both.
Whatever your preferences, just make sure you have a clear idea of the type of trip you’re looking to have before you make your travel and accommodation arrangements.
We work hard all year round for our vacations, which is part of what makes them so special. So, whatever you do, choose the option that feels right for you because there’s no wrong answer.