I discovered Jannah Burj Al Sarab online, a property advertising itself as a 5-star hotel for the price of $39/night plus taxes (total price was $45/night). Always a sucker for deals, I immediately booked. After staying a night here I can say this was one of the better hotel deals I’ve gotten anywhere on my travels. Taxis and various beautiful cars were lined up waiting on the driveway next to the lobby (always a good sign of luxury), the room was large, check-in very smooth, the internet exceptionally fast (a gold plaque outside the building indicates at one point they were awarded the fastest hotel internet on the planet), and on the rooftop, the partially shaded pool was a beautiful bonus.
And after lacking enjoyable food for the past two weeks, a stay here was like culinary freedom; numerous restaurants were located within a very short walk of the hotel including some delicious Thai food options. And the Wi-Fi from the hotel worked remarkably well even from several blocks away. I’ve never experienced that before!
Surprisingly, not too good to be true.
While walking around the streets near my hotel, I was stopped by a gentleman who introduced himself as Max from Milano, Italy who was staying at the nearby Sheraton and had just finished up an Armani tradeshow in town. He wanted to know how to get to the Abu Dhabi Airport as he had a flight to catch to Milano.
He seemed to be a real people person and immediately sucked me in with his engaging character. He stepped out of his vehicle and quickly began making easy and comfortable conversation. Then he asked to show me something. He had 8 boxes in his back seat, each containing a beautiful and different from each other, Armani watch. He said he can’t leave the country with so many watches and all were sample gifts he picked up at the tradeshow.
He offered to give me two of them and slowly opened each box to reveal the glittering contents inside. He seemed happy with my reaction so then he offered two more of the watches including the biggest one he said was worth well over $1000. He then asked for a small favor for his kindness, a token of my appreciation – some cartons of cigarettes to take back to Italy.
Not yet sure of his intentions, I agreed and hopped in his car and we circled around for a few minutes until we found a parking spot. He then took me into a supermarket and started picking out boxes of cigarettes, ultimately totaling several hundred dollars. At this point I searched “Armani watch scams Abu Dhabi” and was quickly informed that this was a fairly common scam in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai and the watches were totally fake.
Definitely too good to be true.