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Nana & “Red Hatter” Queen, Marilyn Waltz’s Fantasmagorical Adventure To Dubai

By Christine Crosby, Editorial Director GRAND Magazine

Emirates Airlines has beautiful flight attendants that wear cute little red hats so a brilliant person in their public relations department contacted The Red Hat Society to see what they could do together. What happened next was amazing…Emirates Airlines offered to send four members of the  Red Hat Society on an all expense paid luxury trip from Orlando to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Red Hatters Marilyn Waltz, Linda Murphy & Linda Bremer
Red Hatters Marilyn Waltz, Linda Murphy & Linda Bremer aboard Emirates flight from Orlando to Dubai

One of the lucky Red Hatters was Marilyn Waltz of St. Petersburg, Florida. Marilyn is a proud Nana to seven GRANDchildren, Shanna, Amanda, David, Laura, Jennifer, Samuel, Andrea and Great-GRANDchildren, Jaunty, Kadin, Blake & Natalie.





What this Red Hat Nana Has to Say About Her Trip to Dubai

“FANTASMAGORICAL.  That’s fantasy and magically combined, which to really how I feel about the trip.

We were exposed to the best that Dubai has to offer — We had lovely seats and service on the Emirates Airlines flight.  The flight attendants were wonderful and made us feel comfortable and special.

Our hotel, Le Meridien, was lovely with each of us having our own space – how nice.  The Le Meridien staff couldn’t have treated us better.  Sweet and attentive are the words that come to mind.  And did I mention our great breakfasts there and that divine yogurt.  And my personal favorite, the massage chair.  Oh my gosh, I could go on and on.

Marilyn Waltz Queen
Marilyn at the Thipatra restaurant overlooking Dubai Dancing Fountains

Our afternoon at The Spa in the Palace Downtown Dubai hotel, followed with a sumptuous Thai meal at Thipatra overlooking Dubai Dancing Fountains was just the introduction to Dubai.  That was the magic part.

Touring Old Dubai and visiting the souks and the Sheikh Mohammed Cultural Center were such an eye opener.  These are things we see on Public Television but who would have thought we would get a chance to see it all first- hand.  I especially enjoyed visiting the Mawaheb studio and seeing the young people creating beautiful paintings and sculptures.  They were all so talented and sweet.

Delicious food aboard
Delicious lamb served aboard Bateaux Dubai Dinner Cruise

Our Bateaux Dubai Dinner Cruise on Dubai Creek gave us a chance to put on our finery and experience not only the night view of Dubai, but the food presentation from wonderful chefs and music of a heavenly piano playing during dinner.

The ever-so-glam, Marilyn Waltz taking in Dubai
The ever-so-glam, Marilyn Waltz taking in Dubai

Did I mention our tour and drivers?  What interesting and charming men we had to show us around making sure we were on schedule.  We had a lot to see and do in a short period of time and these gentlemen not only answered all our questions but helped us stay on time.  I was amazed that these people were multi lingual, speaking up to seven and eight languages.  I guess they would have to be in order to assist all the visitors who come from all sections of the globe.

Sunset sand dune riding with Arabian Adventures in Dubai
Sunset sand dune riding with Arabian Adventures in Dubai

Our Safari Day with Arabian Adventures was a dress down day and a great ride through the sands of the desert.  I was surprised at the texture of the sand.  It was very fine and soft – hard to walk on for this ole body, but beautiful with the wind-blown ripples.  I was also surprised at the height of the dunes – as high as some roller coasters – and it felt like it too when coming down the back side.  I loved watching the Falcon and trainer and learning more about this beautiful bird of prey.  The day ended with an evening meal at Safari Camp with wonderful Arabic Barbeque, folk dancing, henna painting, hookah smoking and of course the camel.  I personally did not get on the camel because of a back that was already upset from the dune ride, but my sisters thoroughly enjoyed the experience, even dressing a camel with a Red Hat – what else.

Swiming in the Persian Gulf at the Kempinski Hotel on Palm Jumeirah
Swiming in the Persian Gulf at the Kempinski Hotel on Palm Jumeirah

After a good night’s rest we had a day at the Palm Islands and specifically the Kempinski Hotel & Residences – right in the middle of the crescent at the top of the palms.  This is really how the affluent and influential people live and vacation.  I won’t be crude and mention the price of a suite at this hotel, but trust me, you could buy a decent car for the cost of suite.  We played in the pool, played cards, sunned a bit and then had a great meal just before dipping our feet in the Persian Gulf.  What a day!

High Tea with the Red Hat ladies at the 7 Star hotel - Borj Arab
High tea at the 7 Star Hotel – Borj Arab

But, our stay in Dubai was not quite over.  We still had High Tea. Oh yes, the Burj Al Arab beckoned us. So we donned our nicest day dresses and were whisked away to tea.  This was truly an experience as the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is the symbol of modern Dubai looking like a large furled sail.  The High Tea was delightful with fresh flowers everywhere, harp music for diner’s pleasure, champagne and all the accoutrements for tea.

Like I said earlier, it was FANTASMAGORICAL.  I can’t thank Hatquarters enough for inviting me on this journey and spending quality time with my sisters was the frosting on the cake.

downloadMore About Emirates Airlines

Emirates Airlines just opened a new route from Orlando to Dubai and is hoping these Red Hat Grandmas will help them spread the word about this award-winning airline. Emirates was awarded the highly coveted World’s Best Airline award, presented by Skytrax at the 2013 World Airline Awards.

The Orlando to Dubai route is a 7,000 mile, 14 hour flight of pure luxury. For starters, Emirates provides Chauffeur-drive service taking you to and from the airport in over 70 cities. Then, at the airport, you have access to their exclusive lounges before you fly. They also speed you through immigration at most airports.

As if that was not enough they have flat-bed Business Class seats where you can send emails, write the next chapter of your book, or upload your latest blog post. There’s in-seat power for your laptop and a side table for space to work. You just sit back to enjoy award-winning entertainment. Then comes the food and drink. Their chefs use fresh, locally sourced ingredients to prepare all meals served on Royal Doulton bone china plates with exclusive Robert Welch cutlery. You match your meal with a fine wine or you can choose complimentary FullSizeRendercocktails, champagne, beers, spirits, and hot and cold drinks. In between all these lovely drinks and meals you are served hot hand towels to keep you feeling fresh and pampered.

Upon arrival in Dubia, you are immediately taken with the efficiency of the service personnel. and the grandeur of the airport.




More About The Red Hat Society & Why You Should Join

While visiting a friend in Tucson several years ago, Sue Ellen impulsively bought a bright red fedora at a thrift shop, for no other reason than that it was cheap and, she thought, quite dashing. A year or two later she read the poem “Warning” by Jenny Joseph, which depicts an older woman in purple clothing with a red hat. Sue Ellen felt an immediate kinship with Ms. Joseph. She decided that her birthday gift to her dear friend, Linda Murphy, would be a vintage red hat and a copy of the poem. She has always enjoyed whimsical decorating ideas, so she thought the hat would look nice hanging on a hook next to the framed poem. Linda got so much enjoyment out of the hat and the poem that Sue Ellen gave the same gift to another friend, then another, then another.

One day it occurred to these friends that they were becoming a sort of Red Hat Society and that perhaps they should go out to tea… in full regalia. They decided they would find purple dresses which didn’t go with their red hats to complete the poem’s image.And that is how Linda earned the status of Esteemed Vice-Mother of the Red Hat Society.

Why a play group for women?

images (2)Most women give their all to family, career, and community. And they enjoy it. But, along the way, sometimes our existing bonds of friendship gradually diminish. Membership in the Red Hat Society is a rewarding vehicle for reconnecting old friends, making new friends and rediscovering the joy of getting together with other woman for the express purpose of… having FUN! We whole-heartedly promote periods of “recess” from the cares and duties of everyday life in which Hatters gather for no other purpose than to play.




Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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