The city is divided into the modern districts of the Business Bay, Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC), Downtown Dubai and the old districts of Bur Dubai and Deira – and there are also the offshore man-made islands of The Palm and The World. To get a sense of where you are, take a lift to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, but do also take a wooden abra (water taxi) across the Dubai Creek to Deira to see how life in Dubai started.
Dubai has more than 5,000 restaurants and some of the World’s best chefs too, so the list of recommendations is endless. Although food and drink can be very expensive, decide where you are going to go before you arrive and book online so you can benefit from great all-inclusive offers, most places have a Ladies Night offering free drinks too. Remember – alcohol is restricted in Dubai and can only be bought in restaurants and bars that are attached to hotels.
Friday brunches are a really popular institution in Dubai, usually running from 12-3pm. Most restaurants offer brunch at a set price for all you can eat and drink – the more expensive ones often include champagne too.
For one of the coolest cocktail bars, head to At.mosphere on level 122 of Burj Khalifa, the 360 degree view from the lounge 442m up is incredible. Although you will avoid the admission fee into the tower there is a minimum spend rule which is determined by your table’s proximity to a window. If you prefer to party on the beach, head to 360 at Jumeirah Beach Hotel where top DJs are regularly on the decks.
Wherever you’re staying you can still explore the attractions and shops at the other incredible hotels that the area is famous for; buy a day pass for the Aquaventure waterpark at the Atlantis in the man-made Palm Jumeriah for a day. Or, visit the nearby Madinat Jumeirah -The Arabian Resort, which is designed to resemble a traditional Arabian town and you can take an abra along the canals and explore the bars and restaurants.
Many of the hotels have their own private beaches, but if you find that yours is in shade at any time from the neighbouring skyscrapers then head to a public beach. One of the best which has really clean facilities, excellent sun beds and amazing children’s entertainment, is the Jumeriah Beach Residents (JBR), it’s also really convenient to The Walk, with its juice bars, burger joints and ice cream counters.
For shopping, the Dubai Mall is the biggest in the world, but if its bargains that you’re looking for then head to the Karama. Taxis are a surprisingly reasonable way to travel around and very easily available. There’s also the Wild Wadi Waterpark, which with its 30 rides and attractions is awesome – it’s up for debate whether it’s better than Aquaventure or not!
When you want to escape the bling of the city, head for the dunes for sand surfing or a wildlife tour. Also discover the original Dubai by catching an abra across the Creek to the Spice Souks in Old Dubai. The trading still exists like it used to hundreds of years ago selling aromatic spices, dates, silks and other delicacies. The nearby Gold souk with over 300 merchants similarly sells all types of jewellery just as it has done for generations in a traditional outdoor market.
There’s so much to do in Dubai making it perfect for almost every type of holiday; a winter sun break, a family adventure, a long weekend for shopping or a romantic getaway. If you are interested in a trip to Dubai, check out our .