Excellent service from Kieran
Great service and very dependable
As usual Jessica delivers
Excellent service as usual.
Amazing! Sent a thank you note to Tash last night - she was fab - a credit to you
Rebecca was great. Extremely helpful throughout!
DialAFlight's travel manager was very supportive. He explained things very clearly and kept in touch to make sure all was going to plan. He was polite and very kind.
Ian was super helpful, as always and managed to find us the perfect hotel/location all in budget. 10/10
Would have of liked better plane seats
Brandy was most helpful - I will deal with her again 100%
Great service and information
Thanks to Isaac for booking us a fabulous holiday
Many thanks to Declan - everything was perfect and we had a wonderful holiday.
Jim Camahin was brilliant, great service, that's why I use DialAFlight
Definitely the best travel agent around. Professional and courteous service and always deliver 100% what they promise. Big thank you to Brody and Dale
Keep up the good work - everything went like clockwork
Saf was so pleasant, helpful and very efficient. He really did go out of his way to sort a problem out.
Fantastic trip, all expectations met - Jordan really delivered!
A very well organised flight as usual - with many thanks to Elizabeth Lidbury for her much appreciated support and assistance.
Great holiday. Returned calls, answered emails, personal contact with someone who was genuinely helpful. Fantastic. Will highly recommend you to anyone and hope to use you again soon.
Brilliant service from you guys. Many thanks for changing our booking so many times due to Covid. I would recommend DialAFlight without hesitation
I’ve used DialAFlight for years and the service is impeccable - friendly, polite and they listen to what you would like.
Great service as usual,
Cody was very helpful….
Jeff always dealt with everything very professionally. I will always recommend DialAFlight!
Fantastic service as always
Vinnie arranged a wonderful break for us as usual!
Harvey Edwards is amazing. Every query was dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Jonathan Greaves provided exceptional service and I look forward to booking again with him in the future.
Nick Beattie is very knowledgeable and helpful. A pleasure to deal with and delivered everything as promised
It could well be the emirate of which you've never heard. It's not far down the coast from Dubai - but in many other ways it's a world away.
Ajman is the smallest emirate (it's about two-thirds the size of the Isle of Wight) but has some wonderful attractions - lovely natural beaches among them. A handful of five-star hotels are dotted along its ten-mile coastline - and an increasing number of Brits are attracted here for a sunshine holiday that is both quieter and cheaper than the glitzier side of the Emirates. And believe it or not, its most popular attraction is a dusty museum.
I checked in at the five-star Ajman Saray, a Marriott hotel, which is right on the beach and boasts a spa, two pools, four excellent restaurants and rooms staring out to sea.
Dubai's glitz is on the doorstep
The top hotels here have free shuttles throughout the day to and from central Dubai 30 minutes down the coast, so all aspects of the Gulf are available - but at a very attractive price as far as luxury accommodation is concerned.
Ajman's beaches are white sand and shelve into warm water all-year round. The weather is bankably balmy – even December temperatures are about 20C.
Its malls aren't a match for the Gulf's glitziest, and its souks are not olde worlde, but it's friendly and laid-back.
When I go for a jog along the corniche, a one-mile seafront promenade buzzing with juice bars and falafel joints, a group of locals draw me into their game of beach football, then invite me for a juice afterwards. At the entrance to the creek, I haggle for a shimmering mackerel at the fish market and have it grilled over a barbecue on the quay.
I get chatting to my Yemeni mackerel-griller, Mubarak, and his mates, who ply me with enamel-dissolving coffee and photos of their kids. 'Why did you move to Ajman?'I ask him. He gestures to the sea and the sinking sun, and shakes his head in the international language for 'Why do you think?'
'It is a relaxed place, friendly,' he tells me. 'Not crazy modern,' his friend says.
Modernisation is inevitable
Not crazy modern, perhaps, but it's getting there – at least if Al Zorah is anything to go by. Wedged between mangrove and beach, it's a 1,300-acre villa, hotel and leisure development in high-end isolation across the creek from downtown Ajman.
Much of it is still under construction, but there's a wakeboarding park, a golf course designed by the Nicklaus group and a sleek new Oberoi hotel (with a 280ft infinity pool) that combines concrete and glass design with Italian textiles and Arabian antiques.
The beach here is long, white and empty, with a wild feel.
Wildlife in abundance
Better still, Al Zorah borders a 250-acre mangrove reserve, where I recommend doing the two-hour kayak tour in search of the 60 or so bird species that shelter here. At one point, a flock of flamingos blaze past in a fiery crimson flyby; later, as we paddle below twisting branches, a rare collared kingfisher zips past in the late-afternoon sun.
That evening, on a sunset dhow cruise on the same creek, my guide recounts Ajman's pearl-diving past, then opens an oyster and finds one inside. 'Keep it,' he tells me. 'Ajman welcomes you.'
In the end, I even fall for that dusty museum. For one thing, it's housed in an 18th-century fort, the oldest building in Ajman and home until 1970 to the emirate's royal family; for another, it has some fascinating exhibits, including an ancient Koran and Ajman's first car (a 1940s Land Rover owned by the current sheikh's father). But it's my guide, Tariq, who really swings it, clucking at the exhibits as if they were his grandchildren.
'I really love it,' he says, leading me through ancient teak doors into the oldest working barjeel, or wind tower, in the UAE. We linger, fanned by the cool air from the vents above. It is a moment of ancient, mesmerising peace. 'Wonderful,' Tariq whispers. 'Wonderful.'
First published in the Sunday Times - July 2019
More articles below...