Unexpected Destination- Kuwait

Unexpected Destination- Kuwait

We usually love planning and looking forward to holidays. But sometimes being a bit spontaneous can be fun. So when a four day public holiday was arriving, realisation suddenly struck that the weather was going to be a washout and we couldn’t come up with anything to do. After a hard day at work, the thought of spending a weekend couped up in doors was unimaginable. We desperately just wanted some sun, sea and sand.

We had a bright idea, to just pack a suitcase of what we hoped to be wearing for the weekend. We threw in bikinis, swimming trunks, sunglasses, flip flops, and sun block. We decided to go to Heathrow airport, clutching our passports and cash in hand. With nothing booked we looked up at the departure boards scouring the remaining flights for the evening. Most of Europe would be cool so we were looking at the Middle East. There was a flight to Dubai in 2 hours- perfect. We could be there by the morning, soaking up the sun in a 5 star hotel.

Feeling rather smug at the thought of our last minute plan coming to fruition, we went to the sales desk. We tried to buy tickets and it transpired the flight was pretty full but we could wait on standby in case all the passengers didn’t turn up. There was a fifty fifty chance so feeling optimistic we thought what have we got to loose. We sat on our suitcases looking up potential hotels and feeling rather excited. We could be sipping pina coladas in the sun at the Madinat, Jumeirah, by morning.

Waiting anxiously until there was just an hour to go, the flight closed. The lady at the check in desk came over and said “Sorry the flight is now full.” Rather disappointed we looked at what had been a rather full board of flights which was now rather bare. It was now 9pm and the as the clock was ticking there were less and less flights left for the evening. So the only options left were Hong Kong, Tel Aviv and Kuwait.

Weighing up our options, that Hong Kong might be a bit far for a weekend trip, and it was Easter and Tel Aviv may have public holidays too, we were left with Kuwait. At this point with our suitcases full to the brim the option was going back home with our tail between our legs and having to unpack our suitcases, or just jump on the next flight. Kuwait- not somewhere we had dreamed of going, and most certainly not somewhere we had heard people going on holiday. Who even goes there? These were the thoughts that crossed our mind. We pulled out our phone and checked the weather and it was sunny and 33 degrees Celsius the whole weekend. Our hope was waning as were our phone’s battery too. The board was flashing flight closing. The flight was departing in just an hour so we had just 10 minutes to decide.

Suitcases packed, we really wanted to go somewhere. We got chatting to the check-in staff, and about our predicament. They must have thought we were slightly strange. Who turns up at an airport with nowhere to go? We weren’t worried about that right now. We asked them if they thought Kuwait would make a nice weekend break. After a few giggles, at our not very well thought out plan, we procrastinated. The flight was closing in less than five minutes. So this was it- we either go to Kuwait or we go back home.

Before we knew it we were handed our boarding cards and rushing through security so not to miss our flight. We looked at our boarding cards, as the last to check in we were not even going to be sitting together. As we waited to board we looked around us, and realised we had no local currency and didn’t even know what the currency was, no hotel booked and we didn’t even know where we were going.

As a child, before the Internet era I remember landing in a country, getting your luggage and there being lists of hotels and a phone and you would just ring around the five star hotels until you found one. There was none of this looking up reviews or comparing prices or checking location. If we could manage then, now armed with mobiles surely we should be able to book something now. Frantically plugging away on our phones, as we boarded the plane we tried to figure out where to stay. As the lists loaded, availability looked limited. The battery indicated red, the plane doors were closing and we still had nowhere to stay. I rang a friend and told her I was on a plane to Kuwait with not very much battery life left and needed a hotel booked by the morning. After she got over the random choice of destination I asked her if she could just book us a hotel so we wouldn’t be stuck in an airport for the weekend. We crossed our fingers with hope she would send a text by the time we landed of a hotel confirmation.

With our phones switched off, we looked around us, only to see people in traditional attire, well covered head to toe. People were returning home, there didn’t appear to be any tourists on this flight. My heart sunk, what if this was a really bad idea. What if it wasn’t safe. Why had I never heard of anyone ever saying, “we are going to Kuwait.” Perhaps we should have just gone home. We didn’t have a clue where we were going or where we would stay. How bad could it be- it was just 4 days. Trying to calm myself, I thought that one day we’d look back and just laugh, and think how crazy this trip was.

The seven hour flight went slowly. I looked at the world map and realised Kuwait bordered Iraq. Maybe that’s why it’s not a holiday destination. I was trying to think if I knew anything about Kuwait and all I could remember was an association with the Gulf war. I gulped and thought what if we were unsuspectingly going to a war zone. I shook the thought, it would have been in the news if there was war there. It would be fine, I kept telling myself.

The seatbelt signs went back on and with twenty minutes to land I hoped my phone had enough battery to switch back on. We landed, it looked like any other airport we had visited. I switched on my phone and the battery was still flashing red. There was no email or messages coming through. We got through passport control and finally my phone buzzed. She had come through for us. We had a hotel to go to! My optimism returned and I felt it was going to work out just fine.

I quickly remembered the address, in case my phone ran out of battery. We hailed a cab and as I looked down at my phone to tell him where we were going my battery died. I anxiously said “Movenpick, Kuwait” and he nodded. We clambered into the taxi, looking around us, we spotted unusual structures and a daunting feeling crept in. After what felt like an eternity we saw a parade of shops and then an entrance for the hotel we would be staying. It was boiling hot and I got excited our crazy plan had actually worked out.

P1050338We approached the check in counter. With none of the reservation details to hand I said “I have a booking,” she tapped in our name and double checked it and nothing came up. My heart sunk. I told her my phone was dead and I didn’t have the reservation number. She had no record of our booking. I explained it was only made in the last few hours. She shook her head and said sorry but the hotel is full. On the plus side at least there were other people staying in Kuwait.

P1050306I just needed my phone to work to check we were at the right place. And hopefully I would have an email confirmation. We charged up our phones and kept refreshing it until the email came through. We showed it to the lady and miraculously she found our booking. A sigh of relief.


So the beach was nice, albeit the slightly coarse sand.The swimming pools were lovely and we found a little pool tucked away which was really quiet.

The malls were modern and the stretch of restaurants outside were actually pretty amazing. The car park was phenomenal. Most of the cars were Lamborghini’s or Ferraris and it looked like we picked the place to be seen. The Chocolate Bar was divine, and the Nutella chocolate fondant cooked to perfection.

P1050319The last minute break in Kuwait was a rather exciting and we have contemplated returning. Not your typical holiday destination but when the world is your oyster – why not. So our crazy unplanned bank holiday worked out perfectly.

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