Based in Arabian Ranches

Sarah Paterson

It's Nice To Meet You

Hi fellow travellers, I’m Sarah Paterson. I am British and I have lived in Dubai for the past fourteen years. Before moving to Dubai I was based in St Albans and London and following a completely different career path in Financial Planning!

I love travel, it is my passion in life, so much so that at every opportunity (currently limited to school holidays!) I will try and book a trip away somewhere with my family. When friends and family were always asking me for travel advice and trip itineraries that I had planned I realised that I should be following my passion into a career in travel.

So far I have travelled to over 75 countries, including many states in America, Central America, South America, most of Europe, the Far East, Africa and the Middle East. Fortunately living in Dubai you can access Europe, the Middle East and Asia really easily.

I enjoy all types of holidays from relaxing on beaches in The Maldives and Mauritius, to thrilling experiences such as White Water Rafting and Sky Diving over Las Vegas, to cultural experiences in places such as visiting temples in Sri Lanka, Petra in Jordan, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, Kyoto in Japan, to food and drink tours in France and Italy; amongst many others.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to spend nearly three months in South America. I visited the Inca Trails at Machu Picchu, saw the natural wonder of Iguazu Falls in Argentina and Brazil, swam with turtles and sealions on the Galapagos Islands, visited the most remote place on Earth, Easter Island and it’s monumental statue heads and trekked across rain forests in Costa Rica! I can't count how many creepy crawlies, tarantulas and animals I encountered!

A recent holiday was to Kenya, visiting the Masai Mara to see the migration and further north to the Ol Pejeta and Lewa Conservancies. I was humbled to meet the last two Northern White Rhinos on the planet. Safaris are my favourite type of holiday. There is nothing like the feeling of discovering a pride of lions or a dazzle of zebras whilst out on a drive.

I can’t wait to help you plan an amazing holiday and an unforgettable trip. With Travel Counsellors I have access to a huge variety of suppliers and products to cater for every budget and requirement, with the safety of extensive financial protection to yourselves. We are not tied to any suppliers so all the holidays will be planned impartially and completely independent based on your personal requirements and needs.

Let’s start making memories!


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My Blog

I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.

Golden Triangle Tour with Oberoi Hotels

03 July 2019

I’d never been to India and knew that I would love to go and see the Taj Mahal but even though the flight time is so short from Dubai, we had never got around to it. I even knew that I wanted to stay at the Oberoi Amarvilas in Agra as I’d seen pictures in brochures and online showing the view of the iconic building from your own balcony. Therefore I couldn’t believe it when a Fam trip came up to stay at the Oberoi properties in what is called the ‘Golden Triangle’ staying In Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. I knew I had to go. I had clients who have been to these hotels and told me how amazing they were and so I wanted to experience this for myself. We departed from Dubai on an overnight flight into Delhi. We arrived at our first hotel, the Oberoi in Gurgaon just near the airport at 5am, and even though we were all really tired the staff couldn’t have been more welcoming. They were there helping us with our bags and a refreshing welcome drink as we were swiftly escorted to our rooms. After a few hours sleep I woke up to fully appreciate the room and a thoughtful personalized chocolate gift! The room overlooked the gardens and pool, an oasis in the middle of a busy area near the airport. You wouldn’t know that though. Breakfast was incredible, choices of traditional British and Indian dishes. My only complaint is that we didn’t spend enough time at this lovely hotel as after a show around we were off to the next Oberoi in New Delhi. On the way there we saw the President’s palace, India Gate and the Lotus temple. I found that Delhi was different to what I was expecting, it was quieter but also cleaner. I think the government have been trying to clean up the cities recently and this really shows. Before arriving in Delhi I was a bit worried to the air quality, but the Oberoi New Delhi is proud that it has installed an air cleaning system that keeps the hotel at excellent air quality levels. Again my premier room overlooked a lush green golf course and the city in the distance and the breakfast was sumptuous. Then it was on our way to Agra, the place I was so excited about. When we got to the Oberoi Amarvilas the welcome by the staff was nothing I had experienced before. The staff were all underneath the porticos greeting our arrival. I was led into the hotel with a member of staff and my mouth dropped to the floor. Nothing could have prepared me for the breathtaking view of the Taj Mahal as soon as you walk into the lobby. It doesn’t look real. I wanted to cry! After a welcome drink I was shown to my room that overlooked the monument. I couldn’t stop taking pictures. In the afternoon we visited the Red fort, the main residence of the emperors. In the evening we had sundowners overlooking the silhouette of the Taj and then a traditional Indian meal with a musician. Bed was early that night as we had to be up at 4am to get to the Taj Mahal when it opened, before the crowds arrived. The Oberoi Amarvilas provide a buggy service from the hotel directly to the ticket office. We arrived at the entrance to the monument and you can see a peek of the white marble through an alcove. Walking through the alcove the full magnificence and beauty of the building can be seen. Again it took my breath away for the second time. We were so lucky as there weren’t many people around so we were able to take unobstructed views of the building. After appreciating the building at a distance, we then went inside and up close. The detail on the building is incredible. It really is a masterpiece. I can honestly say it lived up to my expectations. The hotel picked us up in the buggy to get back to breakfast. After breakfast we had a tour of the beautiful hotel and then boarded our coach for the journey to Jaipur. We arrived in Jaipur early afternoon. The Oberoi Rajvilas in Jaipur is a beautiful single story hotel with clusters of rooms around the 37 acres. Wandering around the grounds are the Indian national bird, the peacock. Beautiful creatures but not so much when they call out to each other at 6am! The hospitality and food were incredible again. We were staying for two nights here, which was lovely as we could fully appreciate this stunning hotel. From this hotel we went to the famous Amber Fort, which is well worth a visit and the palace. On the second night we decided to buy some material for a sari and the hotel staff kindly dressed us for dinner! We also had a blessing in the insight Temple and watched an entertaining puppet show! Sadly it was time to leave India and head back to Dubai. I had such an amazing time, a trip I will never forget. It has definitely secured a special place in my heart.

Summer in Slovenia

01 February 2018

Last July we went on a family holiday to Slovenia. We spent a week in Slovenia before we headed off to a week in Venice. Even though we had all been to Venice before, none of us had been to Slovenia. None of our friends had been there either so we hadn’t got any recommendations of where to stay or what to do. Also the children were at an age (11 and 8) where they are quite hard to please as everything is so boring, therefore I had quite a challenge to keep everyone happy! Lake Bled After intense internet research I decided that the best place to stay in Slovenia for us was Lake Bled. The pictures on the internet of the lake were stunning and it looked as though it wasn’t too far from many of the excursions and activities that we could do there. I decided to book the only 5 star hotel that was directly on the lake called Grand Hotel Toplice. Grand Hotel Toplice The hotel was in a great location, a few minutes walk from the centre of Bled. From our room, which was a junior suite so the children had their own space, the views of Bled Castle from our balcony were breathtaking, even more so than the pictures on the internet. The hotel itself was comfortable and clean but is probably in need for a bit of a renovation, although this did give it character! We were on a half board package, which worked out really reasonable compared to bed and breakfast, so every evening we ate in the main restaurant from a four course menu. The children really enjoyed having the choice and being able to pick and choose what they wanted from the menu every night. The food was a very good standard. Our waiter for the week was from the town and had worked at the hotel for over 30 years. You are allocated a table and ours over looked the lake, so we were able to see the sunset every evening. Stunning! The hotel had an indoor thermal pool (that was freezing) so we didn’t use that but they have a deck outside by the lake. It took a while for me to summon up the courage to get into the lake as it was so cold too but I did go in a few times. Some more of the hardy guests thought this was quite funny as they were able to dive straight it whilst I was still hanging onto the steps! Sam, our son, loved the diving board into the lake and constantly jumped into the lake from there! No fear! Lake Bled Activities There is so much to do in Slovenia that we ran out of time. One day we just hired some bicycles and rode around the lake, stopping for lunch and picture opportunities on the way. Another day we decided to row to the church in the middle of the lake. Rowing across the lake was harder than expected, even though I thought it was going to be easy and Stuart and I took it in turns. Stuart was much better than me much to the children’s delight, especially as I had boasted at how good I was at rowing! When we got to the Island we went up the church tower that had great views of the lake and stopped for an obligatory ice cream. We also spent an afternoon at Bled castle. It’s a long way up some windy steps so we managed to get plenty of exercise that day! There is a gentler route up a slope that unfortunately we only found out about after we had come down! Again the views were amazing and we took plenty of pictures. They also had a shop there that made products from honey so the children and Stuart had taste them all and buy some! Other Activities Still walking distance from the hotel, up a gentle hill, we had a great day at the tobogganing and zip wire centre. In the winter the slope is used for ski jumps but in the summer the slope is converted into a toboggan run. The children had a great time here, even though it was a bit scary! At the zip-wire centre, there were many different routes to cater for, beginners to experts. Clear instructions were given and I felt they were very safety cautious. Another day we took a trip to the Postojna caves. This is the top tourist destination in Slovenia and so it was really busy. We were organised into language groups and taken into the cave by a train. There is a lot of walking once you get in the caves but the formations inside were fascinating. That afternoon we also took an excursion into the capital, Ljublijana which is a beautiful city, and on the way back from the caves. We walked along the river and stopped at a restaurant for lunch. After lunch we took a cable car up to the castle. There isn't much to see in the castle but the views of the city were good. One of the best excursions we did was a tour of the Juilan Alps. The scenery was stunning. On the tour we saw the Planice ski jump centre, which the children enjoyed imagining brave ski jumpers coming down the mountain, the Soca river, Kranjska gora and Bovec. On our last day we took a drive up to the Vintage gorge, which is a turquoise lake running through the hills. We walked along the river and stopped for a drink before turning around and walking back.

Springtime in Japan

01 February 2018

We were all very excited to be travelling to Japan for our Easter holiday, as it was our first time there. I had studied some Japanese language at University and have been fascinated with Japan since then! It was the four of us on this trip; my husband and I and our two children Mia and Sam, who were 8 and 5 at the time of travelling. Tokyo When we arrived into Narita airport, which was very efficient and clean we were met by a representative who took us to our transfer to take us to our hotel in Tokyo. It was rush hour at the time so the traffic was busy but it gave us the opportunity to see the skyline as we drove into the city. The city was buzzing, neon lights everywhere and people hurrying to the metro. It was fascinating. We were staying at the Park Hyatt, made famous from the film ‘Lost in Translation’. The hotel is on the upper floors so after being welcomed in the downstairs lobby we were escorted to a very serene check in area upstairs. After a swift check in, we were all hungry so went straight to have dinner in the New York Grill in the hotel. The food was incredible and the view of Toyko was mesmerizing from our table. We then went back to the room, which was spacious with a good view of the city. The hotel had left lovely touches for the children in our room, mini toothbrushes and strawberries on sticks and Easter eggs! This impressed them straight away. The children then discovered the bathroom and were fascinated by all the controls on the toilets and the heated toilet seat! The next morning after a great breakfast we were off to Kyoto. We will be back to Tokyo later in the week to explore further. We took a taxi to the station and managed to navigate to the correct platform for the bullet train. The service was so efficient. We all stood on the platform as the train came in, which then the cleaners took just 2 minutes to clean the whole train and turn all the seats around to face the opposite direction. We were all amazed! The train, as expected was extremely fast and smooth! Kyoto After only a few hours we arrived in Kyoto. Kyoto was a much smaller city than Tokyo with hardly any skyscrapers and more tradional looking Japanese buildings. In Kyoto we stayed at the Hyatt Regency, just south of the city. From the hotel we walked down the road to a restaurant called Coco’s to have katsu curry. We were a bit worried about how fussy the children were going to be with the food but the children loved the curry and still talk about that restaurant being their favourite place five years later. If it was their choice we would’ve eaten in there for every meal! Whilst in Kyoto we visited the Sanjusangen-do palace, a long room full of warriors carved in wood, apparently it’s the longest room in the world. The gardens were beautiful as they were all in bloom with cherry blossom. That afternoon we took a taxi into the centre of the newer part of town to experience a traditional tea ceremony. This was in a private room where we sat on the floor whilst a Japanese lady prepared us all tea. It was really interesting to experience this. We were all allowed to join in and stir the tea. The next day we visited the Gion district. A very traditional area where we stopped at a park to view the cherry blossom and had lunch in an inn where we made our own soup with noodles and vegetables. Later in the afternoon we took a taxi to the Fushimi shrine, where there are paths covered by tall, orange painted pillars. Hakone We took the train to Hakone, passing by a magnificent view of Mount Fuji. In Hakone, which is famous for antique shops, we stayed in a traditional Ryokan called Hakone Ginyu in Minayoshita. Whist in the Ryokan no shoes are allowed and guests are encouraged to wear a Kimono for the duration of their stay. Our room was just how I imagined a traditional Japanese house to be like. There was a lounge/dining room area and a bedroom and bathroom. Outside on the balcony there was a hot tub. Dinner in the hotel was very impressive, a massive feast, lots of fish and steak we cooked ourselves on volcanic rock. As the children were not keen on all the different types of seafood, the chef made them their own feast of chicken, beef and omelette. After dinner futons were set up in the bedroom. The next day we took a train from to Gona, then a cable car to Souzan and finally a ropeway up to Owakudani. Again stunning views of Mount Fuji. From the ropeway we walked up a hill with sulphur steaming out of it and bought some boiled black eggs. They are supposed to give you a longer life, so of course we all ate one! Back on the train to Chokoku-no-mori where we visited an open air museum full of interesting sculptures, including Henry Moore and Picasso. Back to Tokyo We took the slow train back to Tokyo and the Park Hyatt. This time we had been upgraded to the diplomatic suite that was the same suite used by Bill Murray in the Lost in Translation film. It was huge! We took the metro, where a very helpful Japanese lady showed us where we needed to go, to the zoo. We saw the two giant pandas, which was a highlight for the children. Nearby the zoo was a park full of cherry blossom trees. The next day we took the metro to the Edo museum. This was really interesting and showed how Japan had evolved over time and full of many interactive exhibits. On the way back to the hotel we stopped by the busy Shibuya area, famous for the zebra crossings. We all loved Japan, it’s such an interesting country with so much to do and see. Writing this blog bought back so many wonderful memories that I want to go back. I think next year’s holiday is already sorted out now………!

My customer stories

Sent by Lara V

Sarah Paterson is an outstanding Travel Counsellor! We sought her help for our family trip to Lisbon. Her expertise in finding suitable hotels and booking flights was remarkable. She provided detailed information about each hotel, making planning our activities a breeze. She recommended accommodations perfectly matched our needs. She also helped us with airport transportation, ensuring a stress-free journey. Thanks to Sarah Paterson at Travel Counsellors, our trip to Portugal was fantastic! Highly recommend her exceptional service.

Sent by A Dougall

Sarah was amazing from start to finish and provided us with exactly what we were looking for straight away (we had spent hours and hours researching online and still hadn't managed to find what we needed). I just wish we had gone straight to Sarah from the beginning!

Sent by Joanne M

Sarah was amazing! We will definitely be using her again and will recommend to friends. She took the stress out of the complicated process! Thank you Sarah

Sent by Kirsty M

Sarah has been absolutely wonderful once again. No request is too much trouble and she always gets back to you almost straight away. A true professional who we absolutely love booking our holidays.

Sent by Lydelle B

Sarah has consistently gone above and beyond for any travel bookings we have made with her. She makes any amendments at our request, with sincere positivity and never makes us feel like a hindrance. She is professional and extremely expeditious with her communication. We cannot recommend her more highly.

Sent by Bea S

Sarah is very patient , attentive and knowledgeable. Goes above and beyond to help throughout the booking process and nothing is ever too much trouble. She is a real asset to the business and has been very helpful to us booking our holiday.

Sent by Rebecca H

I have introduced Sarah to 3 friends now and everyone has said how easy to deal with and responsive Sarah is. Such a breath of fresh air in this market. Thanks Sarah - great work!

Sent by Stuart A

We always recommend Sarah to everyone! Great personalised services always meeting and exceeding our expectations!

Sent by Lisa R

Amazing service from Sarah on finding a great holiday at a great price but also when we had a few changes to make due a changes in dates Sarah got everything sorted

Sent by Zahra KV

Sarah gave us a fantastic service- no request was too much to ask. We looked at several options for our Xmas Maldives trip with 3 young kids and she was very knowledgeable about suitable hotels / rooms - and any additional costs to be mindful of. Sarah is my go to TC for all my travel plans. She takes the stress out of planning / booking a trip. Highly recommend her services / invaluable travel experience.

Sent by Lisa M

As always, a flawless service from Sarah Paterson. She understands her clients' needs and goes over and above to ensure these are satisfied. Once again, she followed up with me pre-departure to check everything was in order. I couldn't ask for more from a travel advisor.

Sent by Haulwen E

Sarah has booked a few trips for me now and she is amazing. Very prompt to reply, very patient when it comes to changes in the original request and super helpful.I have recommended Sarah to many friends who have also used her and have been very happy.I will always book my travel through Sarah now.

Sent by Jasprit K

Sarah couldn't have been more helpful and patient when booking our holiday to Dubai. She came up with a number of options and when our plans changed these were quickly revised. Sarah listened to our requirements and came up with a range of options at competitive prices. I'd have no hesitation in recommending Sarah to anyone.

Sent by Peter C

Sarah is a fantastic counsellor, I would definitely use her again and recommend her in future to all my friends and family.

Sent by Gary S

Sarah, was absolutely fantastic. She knew exactly what I was looking for- gave plenty of options and found exactly what we wanted in budget. We then continued to have the most amazing week away. Thank you Sarah.

Sent by Heather Taylor

Dear Sarah I just wanted to say a big thank you for organising our holiday in Dubai. You took on board all our requirements, it all worked perfectly from the pick up until our return. The hotel was perfect. Dubai is such a wonderful place to visit so much to do and see, we really enjoyed the whole experience. Last but most importantly, for putting in place all the paperwork we needed and the tests, that were required in these difficult times. Many, many thanks. Heather Taylor

Sent by Kiran Scarr

Thank you, Sarah, for putting together an unbelievable trip. Our kids (7 and 10 years old) have voted it the best family holiday ever! Putting together a 14 day road trip through beautiful British Columbia and Alberta is a daunting task. What made the difference to us was your handpicking of hotels for their location and facilities based on our needs. And your sage advice on where to stop and for how long. Couldn’t have planned it better. Thank you so much! The Scarr Family

Sent by Lyn Bromley

Excellent service. Sarah listened to our requirements and found some great options for us. We are really pleased with the holiday we selected. Sarah helped us with sorting out flights and having had a few issues with currency conversion, she sorted all of this out for us with no hassle to us. We'll definitely be using Sarah for our next holiday too. Thank you!

Sent by Kirsty Mckay

Very quick and reliable service, Sarah was an absolute pleasure to deal with.

Sent by Linda Weedon

I was very impressed with the way Sarah Paterson handled my request for a Hotel for my 70th Birthday. She found answers to all my questions and it seemed nothing was too much trouble. I will certainly recommend her to others who require a first class professional service.

Sent by Tanya Sweeney

Amazing service. I’ll be using Sarah for all my future travel plans and I’ll be recommending her to all my friends!

Sent by Nadia Barton

Sarah was polite, professional and very patient. She really helped me with all aspects of booking a complex holiday. I will recommend her to all my friends!

Sent by Darren Thorpe

Our holiday to Sri Lanka was fantastic and went without a hitch. Sarah’s personal experience and knowledge made all the difference, we knew exactly what to expect every step of the way and everything was just as she’d described. We were quite nervous taking small children travelling around Sri Lanka, but Sarah’s attention to detail meant everything was taken care of, and we could relax and enjoy the wonders of Sri Lanka.

Sent by Eve Hall

We have stayed in some wonderful hotels and have visited some amazing countries thanks to Sarah Paterson. Our holiday to Phuket was perfect, our villa accommodation was tranquil. A private space where our family could relax and totally unwind. When we wanted to experience something a little different, Sarah recommend a restaurant called 'Kindees'. We had a fun night mixing with the locals and enjoyed a relaxed dining experience. Sarah's always spot on with what we need as a family and will always be our go to person when booking a holiday or hotel.

Sent by Helen Dyas

Sarah organised our girls staycation weekend - She understood the relaxed, weekend-without-the-kids vibe that we were looking for, researched the options and selected the perfect hotel/resort for us. Relaxing by the stunning (child-free) pool, access to the beach and great restaurants. She organised everything for us, from the room selection to booking the perfect restaurant for a fabulous meal together. An unforgettable weekend!!

Sent by Simone Joyce

Sarah was a huge help in putting together our fabulous trip to the Maldives. She listened to what we required and the experience we wanted to have. The island resort she recommended was perfect; we really couldn’t fault it. Sarah was able to provide first hand tips, ranging from what to do at the airport on arrival through to the best time and place to enjoy a sunset cocktail??. The personal service Sarah provided enabled us to have the most magical anniversary trip to the Maldives.

Sent by Sophie Manning

When I asked Sarah for help and advice on booking our first family holiday abroad, she went the extra mile. With her own experiences while traveling with her family she could answer any questions I had. We had a lovely time In Greece at a beautiful luxury family hotel Sarah had personally recommended. We will definitely be using Sarah’s service again to take the stress out of booking our family holidays.