James's 4 Days in Dubai

07/05/2019

Dubai is one of my favourite cities so when the opportunity came up for a 4-night trip with Emirates and Jumeriah Hotels I couldn’t turn it down.

Dubai has a reputation as a very expensive city with strict expectations for how tourists should behave. This can put some people off visiting which is a shame, as although it’s true to some extent, it certainly doesn’t feel like that when you’re there.

It’s a very relaxed city and while food and drink can be expensive if you dine in some of the exclusive restaurants, there are many affordable options available. One of the things that does stand out about Dubai is the level of service that you experience, and that’s whether you’re eating at your hotel’s restaurant or simply grabbing a coffee at the local Costa.

It was only a quick 4-day visit, however we packed in so much it was an incredible experience. We went on a night-time desert safari, took a seaplane flight over Dubai and got to view Dubai from the observation deck on the world tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

Dune Bashing, Amazing Views, And Rooftop Cocktails...

There’s way more to Dubai than just shopping. From the cultural highlights of the Creek, to the glitzy Marina, there’s plenty on offer.  We went Dune bashing in the desert, which was amazing, but you can also ride camels or go sand boarding. We got a great cultural insight with a Bedouin Camp experience where we enjoyed a full BBQ dinner in tents, we got fire dancers, and the sunset was magical.

Whilst on the Jumeirah Palm we made the most of the location. It’s got a boardwalk, tons of restaurants, beach clubs, and a pretty good nightlife. The whole area is quite high-end, but it has a relaxed feel with everyone walking around in shorts and flip-flops, although many of the restaurants in the evenings are more formal.

Anyone who’s an adrenaline junkie absolutely has to go up the Burj Khalifa. The lift up takes 60 seconds to cover 124 floors and the speed even makes your ears pop. Of course, a view always gets better with a cocktail and we got the chance to enjoy one at Gold on 27, the 27th-floor bar at the Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. You might have seen this hotel on the BBC documentary. It’s considered the most luxurious hotel in the world. Staying here may not be an option, but I’d recommend visiting the bar as taking in the Dubai sunset from Gold on 27 is impressive.

We were also lucky enough to take in the Dubai panoramas from a seaplane, which as well as being an exciting way to see the city, it gave me a real sense of how quickly the city is being transformed, with skyscrapers going up in every direction.

 

From the Beach to the City...

I get asked all the time where people should stay, but it totally depends on what you’re after from your holiday.  If you’ve got your eye on Dubai for a relaxing beach holiday, I’d recommend Jumeirah Beach or The Palm. Jumeirah Beach is more of a long, white-sanded strip with things to do (water skiing, promenades, great swimming) and it’s a more central location. The Palm is more a cluster of beaches with resorts like the Atlantis. Both offer stunning horizons, plus endless drinking and dining opportunities. There’s also Kite Beach and the wide-open walkways at the fancy new La Mer beach.

If you want to explore the neighbourhoods, I’d suggest checking out both the Marina and the Creek. The Marina is pretty amazing as a setting in itself. Docked boats are surrounded by loads of curved skyscrapers and glass, and the waterside cafes and restaurants provide really relaxing settings. You’ve got Skydive Dubai, Dubai Marina Mall, cinemas, and the Dubai Marina Walk where you can shop, drink, dine, and even get your daily Starbucks by the waterfront.

For winding walkways and the smell of spices, head to the Old Souk. This covered market has a real old feel, there’s a Gold, Textile, and Spice Souk, the locals are really friendly, and you can pick up stuff you’d never find in the UK. My tip is to visit around 11am before it gets too crowded.

For the shopaholics, Dubai has everything from Gucci to cut-price Nike, with a mall for everything you could imagine. The Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates are the most famous. These places aren’t just a couple of floors with shops. They’ve got fountains, aquariums, human waterfalls, and even a 155 million-year-old dinosaur display at the Dubai Mall. If you’re in Dubai to shop, there are even hotels linked- you literally roll out of bed and shop. Cheaper shopping at the Dubai Outlet Mall is also great, and there’s endless food wherever you are.

Wherever you go (and whatever your budget), you’ll be impressed. Standards are high in Dubai. Rooms are large, dining is superb, and attention to detail is the reason why Dubai has earned it’s reputation as number 1 for luxury.

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