Location: Call centres
Wanted: A couple are looking for a romantic five-night trip to Dubai in a nice hotel. They are interested in taking a few excursions, but are unsure about Dubai’s customs and etiquette.
I phoned and went through several menus, before being put on hold for less than a minute. During a 25-minute call, we discussed the best time to travel, flight times and etiquette for drinking and shows of affection. The agent suggested Emirates flights from Stansted to Dubai in November with private transfers, and offered five nights’ B&B at a choice of two hotels: a deluxe suite at the Gloria Hotel or a room at the Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort. Package prices were £1,400 and £2,060 respectively. The agent mentioned excursions, including Dubai Parks and Resorts, a desert safari and a half-day city tour, and recommended the Burj Khalifa fountain show. I was sent quotes by email and received a follow-up call.
My call was answered immediately and I spoke to a friendly agent for 11 minutes. They suggested Emirates flights from Stansted on November 7 and a choice of four hotels. I was quoted £1,349 at the Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach, £1,366 at the JW Marriott Hotel Dubai and £1,995 at the Hilton Dubai The Walk. The agent also quoted £2,207 for a stay at the Rixos Bab Al Bahr in nearby Ras Al Khaimah. I was emailed within 30 minutes and received
a follow-up call, but was not offered
advice on etiquette or excursions.
I spoke to an easy-going and helpful agent, who offered expert tips and advice without being prompted, for 13 minutes. I was quoted £1,226 for three nights’ room-only at the Dusit Thani Dubai, including Emirates flights from Stansted to Dubai. A £256 Dubai tour bundle was added, taking the package to £1,482, but I was unclear what it included. I was advised to avoid Ramadan and recommended to travel in February. I was emailed a PDF quote the next morning, but I would have liked more options to chose from.
Megan Glencross, travel consultant
“Dubai is very popular with couples and families. You have to use your common sense on romantic gestures, which is what we advise when asked.”
All the agents were friendly and chatty, and had knowledge of the destination. But Thomas Cook’s representative spent the longest on the call, and discussed a range of hotels and excursion details.
The winning agent must be at least 25, for insurance reasons. Winners under 25 will win a week’s all-inclusive holiday at an Elite Islands Resorts property. The prize is non-transferable and the car must be driven only by the winning agent. The winner must not have any serious driving convictions. Elite Island Resorts will endeavour to supply the car to the agency but reserves the right to request the winning agent to collect and return the car from Essex or a central location
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