I had the incredible opportunity to revisit Dubai as a guest of Dubai Tourism, specifically invited to assess the accessibility for people with disabilities, or as they’re known in Dubai, “people of determination.” This trip was significant as it served three roles: I was there as a consultant for my business, FJM Solutions, in my capacity as Chief Operations Officer and partner for Travel for All, as well as fulfilling the role of Editor of Mélange Accessibility for All magazine.
A Journey Begins: From the USA to Dubai
Emirates Airlines provided impeccable service and amenities, particularly beneficial for individuals with disabilities like me. The extra space in the Business-class “lay-flat” seat was a great feature, reducing the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis. The crew ensured all necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) was available, and I felt safe throughout the flight.
Upon landing in Dubai, Dubai International Airport (DXB), the largest and cleanest airport I’ve seen, welcomed us warmly. Representatives from Dubai Tourism assisted with customs, luggage, and accessible transportation, making the arrival process smooth.
A Gracious Welcome at Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina
My hotel experience at Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina was notable. The welcoming staff made me feel secure. My room was spacious and wheelchair-friendly, with the perfect bed height for transfers, a large accessible bathroom, and a delightful open-air veranda.
From Gold Souks to Cultural Experiences
Exploring Dubai, we visited the gold and spice souk market, providing unique shopping experiences. Though some stores had entry steps, navigating was manageable with assistance. A cultural lunch at Al Bait Al Qadeem Emirati Heritage Restaurant showcased the region’s history, and the Al Shindagha Museum offered a modern and accessible display of Dubai’s history. The guided tour of the Al Fahidi District, where Dubai’s origins can be traced, was captivating.
Luxury, Views, and Experiences
The journey included stays at remarkable hotels. The Address Boulevard, connected to The Dubai Mall, and Palace Downtown offered luxurious accessible rooms, while Atlantis, The Palm, with its breathtaking views and accessible features, stood out. The desert experience with Platinum Heritage provided a magical evening, and a visit to the Dubai Miracle Garden with its extravagant flower displays was truly awe-inspiring.
A Look at Iconic Dubai Structures
Visiting iconic structures, the Dubai Frame provided stunning panoramic views of Dubai’s past and present. The Etihad Museum, rich in history, showcased the United Arab Emirates’ journey. The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, amazed us with its incredible view.
A Heartfelt Thank You
My deep appreciation goes to Dubai Tourism, especially Soraya Al-Olama, for their remarkable hospitality. I’m grateful to the hotels, entertainment venues, and restaurants that went above and beyond to provide exceptional service. Emirates Airlines not only ensured a safe flight but also made me feel genuinely welcome. To our dedicated driver and tour guide, Mr. Ihsan-ullah Umar Farooq, and Mr. Mehul Bulsara, thank you for the early mornings, long days, and late nights. The Dubai government’s efforts to make the city accessible and inclusive are commendable, and I’m proud to be a part of this important work. I look forward to returning soon to continue our collaborative efforts in creating a more inclusive Dubai for everyone, “people of determination” included.