When luxury is the goal, there are few more enjoyable destinations on the planet than Dubai. This amazing city-state in the United Arab Emirates is not a holiday spot for those on a budget, and everyone from heads of state to world-famous celebrities have enjoyed a week or two in this hot, scenic and magnificent destination. From luxury hotels to futuristic shopping malls bigger than any you’ve ever seen, Dubai has it all. Take my top tips for the city and use them to plan your own unforgettable trip in the UAE.
The Best Places to Stay in Dubai
The first thing to do when planning your trip to Dubai is to pin down your accommodation. In terms of lavish hotels and resorts, this city is definitely not in short supply. In fact, there are more upscale hotels than budget offerings, which is a sign of things to come for travellers in this amazing destination. If money is no object, you will definitely want to stay in the Burj al-Arab. I was first attracted to this hotel thanks to the amazing shape of the structure, which is architecturally designed to look like a ship’s sail. Plus, Burj al-Arab claims to be the world’s first and only seven-star hotel. While this specific title might be up for debate, there is no question that the decor, spaciousness of the rooms, staff and location make it one of the best urban hotels on the planet. Business travellers who are in Dubai for work tend to be drawn to the Grand Hyatt Dubai, which definitely caters to those doing business in the city. Shopping enthusiasts will love the InterContinental Dubai Festival City, which is attached to an entire shopping mall, as well as the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina, which is just next door to lavish boutiques in Jumeirah.
Traveling Around the City
The metro system in Dubai is adequate, and is one of the biggest systems in the Middle East, but it is far more convenient to travel by car. Taxis are affordable and readily available, but there are some concerns about drivers negotiating prices or refusing to drive women traveling on their own. For absolute safety and comfort, speak to the concierge at your hotel and book a private car with a driver for the duration of your stay in Dubai.
Shopping: The Jewel of Dubai
One of the things that Dubai is best known for is shopping. For those on a bigger budget, the city is a playground full of designer boutiques, tailors and gold souks. If you can imagine an item, then it is for sale somewhere in Dubai. Stores tend to open early in the morning and stay open until as late at midnight, encouraging people to shop at all hours. If you only go shopping in one place, make it the Dubai Mall. This is my favourite place to shop, and it is located in the world-famous Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest structure. Other amazing malls include the Mall of the Emirates, Burjuman Centre, Wafi Mall and Festival City. Be sure to visit the gold souk, where bars of gold are still sold out in the open by weight.
Major Attractions No Visitor Should Miss
Although Dubai is known for fine dining, shopping and modern architecture, there are some more historic attractions you shouldn’t miss. The Global Village, Bastakiya District and Jumeriah Mosque are all important heritage sites in the city. Contemporary attractions to see include the stunning Dubai Fountain, the Palm Islands and the Wild Wadi water park near Jumeriah Beach.
Magnificent Dining in Dubai
As you might expect from a world-class luxury destination, Dubai boasts a slew of impressive restaurants staffing some of the planet’s top chefs. Most of these are located in the larger luxury hotels. Options is run by celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor and offers Indian fare, Cafe Chic serves French fare and has earned several Michelin stars and Al Mahara is an amazing seafood restaurant with some of the best views in the entire city.
Dubai is one of the best destinations for a truly luxurious getaway. If you are ready to indulge, you won’t be disappointed by this location’s shopping, dining and accommodation options.