My husband’s work-travel schedule has been getting more and more intense over the last few months, and so when he said “I’ve got to be in Dubai Monday morning for work, do you want to come for the weekend?” I jumped at the opportunity.
First off, Dubai is like no place that you will ever experience. The weather is fantastic, the food is fabulous, but the whole entire city is so brand-new that it does sometimes feel a little bizzaro. With that said, I would totally recommend visiting if you haven’t done so already. Here’s a little selection of recommendations from our mini-holiday.
The Ritz was a great spot for some relaxed pool time. It was a great location as you’re close to The Palm if you want to visit some of the other beach hotels, but equally as far from other areas of the city for eating and shopping. If you fancy riding a camel, there is a little tent in front of the hotel on the beach, and for about £10 you can take ride along the beach. For lunch, order the dim sum selection by the pool!
We had a couple of friends that were staying at the One and Only, Royal Mirage so we went over for cocktail hour. The beach at this hotel is fantastic, and the Jetty Lounge is the perfect place for a pre or post dinner drink.
This lunch was my favorite part of the entire trip. There is a boat that will take you from the Royal Mirage to the 101 restaurant, and you can book it at the hotel’s concierge even if you aren’t staying there. The restaurant offers fresh seafood. Order the prawn salad. Slight warning, that the mark-up on wine is a bit bonkers in Dubai, but you have to treat yourself to a bottle of rose at 101, you’ll be so happy you did.
Take a stroll through the Souk Madinat (see below) and then a quick boat ride to Pier Chic. It claims to be the most romantic restaurant in Dubai, and it totally is. The restaurant, as you may guess from it’s name, is all the way at the end of a pier so that you get the Dubai skyline as a view, as well as the Burj Al Arab, the self-proclaimed, only 7-star hotel in the world.
Most people will tell you to to visit the malls, and in-fact, there is even a Bloomingdales in the Dubai mall. I skipped the malls for more pool-time but wanted to make sure I picked up a few souvenirs for the kids. A visit to the Souk Madinat is definitely worth the trip. It is set up as a souk, but is really for tourists, and the perfect place to pick up a fee trinkets for your friends back home. Tips: Most shops are closed Friday morning, as it is the Muslim holiday, but open in the afternoons. Also, in the souks you can always try to haggle down the prices in most stalls.
Cabs are super cheap & plentiful, so don’t worry about getting around.
Tipping: Cabs you just round up or keep it if it’s flat- so if it’s 28 AED, give him 30, and if it’s 30, you can just give him exactly 30.
Tipping Restaurants: Usually service charge is included in which case you can leave 5% extra. If it’s not included, I would suggest 10%-15%.
Alcohol is only served in hotels, but considering Dubai runs on tourism and there are a million hotels, I promise you won’t have a problem finding a drink! We stayed in a couple of Hotel Apartments throughout our stay and we visited hotels often for food and drink!
PDA: Is basically a no-no here. You can hold hands but try not to kiss (you can on the cheek), unless you’re in a hotel. It’s really just a respect thing.
Safety/Dress: As long as you don’t sport a bikini to the mall and you’re respectful, you’ll be fine. Just know, they blast the AC everywhere, so it’s always smart to carry a light sweater/cardigan just in case. Also, they really do love westerners, so truly nothing to worry about.
Language: Everyone speaks English. You don’t need to know a lick of Arabic.
Want to add your own recommendation or tip? Comment below!