Visit Dubai – Where to go and What to do in Dubai, United Arab Emirates:
- Burj Khalifa 828 metres high and the tallest man made structure in the world.
- Dubai Marina – a favourite, super cool Marina full of bars and restaurants. They even have a Waitrose for groceries
- Jumeirah The Palm – The chicest area of Dubai
- The Dubai Mall – Shopping galore
- Charter a Yacht or go on a boat trip from Dubai Marina
- Dubai Creek
- Gold Souk – A Gold treasure trove, impossible to resist – find some good second hand watches here
- Spice Souk – Spices from the Orient. I always buy some treasures here
- Desert Safari – Ride Camels, go Dunes Bashing, watch a desert Sunset
- Dubai Marina Zipline – Have a go!
PHOTO: Jumeirah The Palm, Dubai at sunset
HOW TO SPEND A DAY IN DUBAI:
Things not to be missed if you only have one day to explore:
- Burj Khalifa – The tallest building in the world
- The Gold and Spice Souks – Explore and buy jewels and spices
- Jumeirah The Palm – Lunch here in the One and Only The Palm
- Dubai Marina – Take a boat ride
- Desert Safari – in the early evening and dinner in a Bedouin tent
I was lured back to Dubai by friends telling me how it had grown and was such a great place to visit. Many of my friends adore Dubai. Here I will share with you the places I enjoyed visiting in this fast growing Emirate. My stay on Jumeirah The Palm was an absolute delight, so much so that I actually considered buying an apartment on The Palm! (For about a day, until I realised it was way too hot in Dubai). Top hotels, beautiful villas and the most perfect setting. The Palm is so luxurious, quiet, clean, safe and with the most beautiful residences. And of course the Tax advantages can be difficult to resist for investors!
I would definitely recommend a stay on Jumeirah The Palm. My favourite Airbnb.com have everything from gorgeous villas to Apartments. However, there are some lovely hotels on The Palm too:
Best luxury hotels on Jumeirah The Palm. These are my recommendations:
- One and Only The Palm – Real luxury in a great location
- Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Royal Residences – Luxury serviced villas next to Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel
- Kempinski Hotel & Residences – Classic Kempinski style and service
PHOTO: The Palm Jumeirah and view of Dubai Marina
Where To Stay in Dubai:
As my readers will know, I stay in top hotels all over the world. For a change, I chose airbnb
I cannot recommend my experience highly enough. A stunning apartment in a beautiful residence in the most luxurious area of The Palm. Definitely think about Airbnb, I rented the whole apartment and they have some lovely Villas to rent too.
TOP TIP: Rent a whole apartment or villa with Airbnb and avoid the huge deposit normally charged by other online rental companies. Airbnb has changed the way we travel!
PHOTO: My Airbnb Residence Pool
My Airbnb apartment even provided Kayaks for guests to use at sea, which was a lovely treat.
Favourite Five Star Hotels in Dubai:
1, Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah – blow the budget
2. One and Only The Palm Dubai – Great luxury choice on Jumeirah The Palm
3. Bulgari Resort Dubai – Jumeirah bay Island
4.Residence and Spa, Dubai One and Only Royal Mirage
5. Armani Hotel Dubai
Top Tip: If you do stay on The Palm think about hiring a car. Super easy to drive in Dubai and the distances between places are long! 30 minutes from The Palm to Downtown.
Dubai Marina can be seen on the horizon in my pics. Why on earth there isn’t a boat service between the two, I have no idea! The only way to get off The Palm is by car (train to Atlantis The Palm). If you don’t rent a car, download Uber app. There are really good Uber Lexus cars which are not much more expensive than the rather basic taxis.
PHOTO: Visit Dubai Marina
This was another favourite of mine. Fabulous, well designed Marina with gorgeous yachts moored. It is very easy to take a trip out to sea on a yacht. Private charters or pay to go on a tour with a group of people for about $50 per person for a 2 hour cruise.
There is a big shopping Mall with Waitress Supermarket (Much more expensive than the ones in England!). Lots of coffee shops and places to eat. It has a great vibe and is full of people having a great time.
The food in all of The Emirates is generally underwhelming. This probably seems a little bit harsh and I do live in London and the South of France with some of the great restaurants in the world. However, restaurant prices are high and there is huge room for improvement. Another good reason to rent a property, you can choose to eat in or out!
PHOTO: Sofitel The Palm Hotel, Dubai
Above is the pool at Sofitel The Palm Dubai. I spent a day here after buying a Beach Pass. There are several hotels where this is possible in Dubai, downtown has quite a few options. My flight into Dubai arrived so early I decided to check this out before arriving at my Airbnb Apartment. The price of The Pass included a Dining Voucher so it is not too expensive.
The Sofitel The Palm Dubai is a family orientated hotel and was absolutely packed with children. Not the relaxing day I envisaged to be honest! If you have kids they will love it though.
PHOTO: SOFITEL The Palm Hotel Dubai
Dubai is very family friendly and a great choice for a family beach holiday. However, if you want a romantic couples holiday or a relaxing time be careful where you choose to stay!
TOP TIP: The distances are long between places in Dubai I was surprised just how far it was into downtown Dubai. Everything is designed for car transport, walking and cycling are really not possible to get around.
DUBAI GOLD SOUK AND SPICE SOUK:
Dubai Gold Souk -Difficult to resist buying some treasures in both of these Souks. Good prices and good quality jewellery, I bought some Diamond Solitaire studs from here and love them still! Walk around the covered walkways, fascinating to visit even if you are not buying anything. Browse in the windows and marvel at the traditional Middle Eastern jewellery for brides, so ornate and intricate.
Barter a little bit if you want to buy and buy from a shop, strictly government regulated. The street vendors are not strictly regulated. Open from 10 to 10 except Friday 4 to 10. Situated in Deira.
Dubai Spice Souk – I visit a Spice Souk where ever I travel in Asia and The Middle East. I often ask for a local recipe and the spices I need to make it! This way, when I cook at home and use my Spices, I have a happy memory from my visit. The Spice Souk is in Deira, nearby the Gold Souk so you can visit both. I bought some some Myrrh which I didn’t really know what to do with when I got home!
TOP TIP: Ask for an Emirati recipe from the stall holders
Book your tickets in advance to avoid a queue if you plan to climb to the top! You can just get amazing shots of the exterior if you don’t want to pay the large ticket price (I didnt bother, maybe another time). It stands at 828 metres high and is the worlds tallest building. I am sure you will take a better photo than mine, see below.
PHOTO: Burj Khalifa Dubai
BEST TIME TO VISIT DUBAI:
Beware! it is hot! I know that is stating the obvious as it is in the middle of the desert BUT it was too hot for me in late April! Summer months are 50 degrees. The best time to visit is in the winter. Perfect for a sunny escape from the European weather in winter and less than 7 hours away. OR a stop over on your way further east. Some Middle East airlines offer free stopovers, so look out for those.
BARGAINS! Yes, there are some bargains to be had, especially of you go outside school holidays. There are a lot of excellent hotels and they are still building them! This means there are far too many hotels and you can find some great deals. Check out http:kayak.co.uk
Visit Dubai? The good and not so good.
- Excellent Hotels
- Very safe
- good hotel deals if you shop around
- Great stopover for a couple of days en route to Asia
- Good for a few days R and R in the sun
- Fantastic Yacht charters
- Enjoy The Palm, Downtown and Dubai Marina, visit The Gold Souk and The Souk
- The desert
- family orientated
- Superficially more liberal in attitudes to dress than other Emirate States
THE NOT SO GOOD:
- Way too hot, except in winter months
- Restaurants are expensive and very average food.
- Too family orientated. Dubai has waterparks rather than sophisticated places to discover.
- Not much to do except waterparks, shopping and sunbathing.
- I hated the lack of eco friendly living. The reliance on motorised transport, air pollution, lack of recycling, tremendous waste of resources.
- Youth orientated. A definite bias against older people! The average age is 25 for women in Dubai. It is very odd being in a country when there is no-one aged over forty. This, in my humble opinion, is why Dubai is basically financially bankrupt and reliant on Abu Dhabi to prop it up! Older people have money to invest and spend!
Make sure to take a trip to the desert, the best thing about Dubai in my opinion. Abu Dhabi is still my favourite Emirate though! I prefer The Louvre to Waterparks and the sophistication of Abu Dhabi. Take a look at my Abu Dhabi blogs, including this one:
However, I would definitely recommend Dubai as a winter destination for a few days relaxation and sunshine or as a nice stopover travelling further afield.