If you like to go to theme parks but at the same time feel a bit awkward admitting it because, yes, you are not in your teenage years anymore, Dubai might be a good choice for your next trip.
Recently, I have been very excited about planning my trip to Dubai. It is extremely important that you find out when are the best times to visit Dubai. The issue is that prices are the lowest during the high season in Western countries, but do not be seduced by the good deals you can get in July, August and September – they are the worst months to cope with the weather in Dubai. As a European, my definition of bad weather is rain, cold and slush. However, you won’t (or will only rarely) experience conditions like these, but the bad weather days are defined by extremely high temperatures. During the summer months, temperatures can reach 50° Celsius and more – no chance of sightseeing during the daytime.
The drive from Dubai airport to the hotel is breathtaking, as you will probably drive through the urban canyon of Sheikh Zayed Road, which is like the aorta of Dubai. The road leads along the coast of Dubai and connects the different parts of the city. Rather than picturing Dubai as an agglomeration of buildings in a particular spot, remember the city extends along the coast, and includes as many beaches as possible. This also means that Dubai is a non-walkable city – which isn’t a problem, though, as cabs are very cheap. I stayed at the Sofitel Palm Jumeirah, which – as you might guess from the name – is on the artificial palm island. I recommend the hotel to anyone who is looking for a pleasant balance between relaxing and sightseeing. That’s because the resort is in a quiet location on the outer perimeter of the island where, on the one hand, you can enjoy your free time around the refreshing pool (yes; it’s “cooled” rather than heated) or on the hotel’s private beach. On the other hand, you can easily access the different parts of the city by taxi if you wish to do so. The hotel also features a number of restaurants offering different cuisines and delicious food.
Did you know: The Palm Island was designed to maximize the number of beachfront properties. Dubai is clearly a shopping paradise – something that is rather obvious if you consider the astonishing amount of brands that are available in the gigantic shopping malls of Dubai. By the way, Dubai Mall is currently the world’s biggest shopping mall. You may want to visit the shopping center even if you are not so into shopping, as you can also enjoy the aquarium, which has one of the world’s largest acrylic panels, or you might prefer to go ice skating while your partner heads for the shops. Outside the shopping center is the Dubai fountain and, if you tilt your head all the way back until it hurts, you might be able to see all of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Entrepreneurs in Dubai seem to like the attributes “world’s tallest, world’s biggest …”.
And as if all that weren’t enough, if you find you are missing cold Europe and feel like snow and skiing – the Mall of the Emirates has a huge indoor skiing hall.
If you want to visit the world’s tallest building, you have two options: either you pay for the observation deck, which I wouldn’t recommend, or you book a table at the “Atmosphere” bar or restaurant. There is a minimum spend, but, honestly, you are in the world’s tallest building, and that doesn’t happen every day. Note that you have to pay an entrance fee to the observation deck as well, so you might decide to get some drinks or food at the same time. If you manage to get a table just before the sun sets, even better.
Another nice and, unfortunately, somewhat pricey experience is the culinary flight at the Burj Al Arab Hotel, which gives you the opportunity to enjoy each of the dishes on your menu in a different restaurant at the hotel. The hotel is the landmark of Dubai, and represents hospitality at its most exquisite.
Going out in Dubai offers plenty of good opportunities. I have friends from Europe who work in Dubai, and they took me to a nice Belgian Beer Bar. Trust me, a cold beer on the terrace at night in Dubai when it’s still hot is a real pleasure. If you’re interested: Belgian Beer Cafe Jumeirah Madinat.
All in all, Dubai is a city that focuses on being pleasant for tourists and businessmen. This means that you will definitely feel that “the customer is king” as the whole tourism “factory” of Dubai aims to become the world’s most (that word again) popular tourism destination. Located between Europe and the Eastern part of Asia, Dubai is also a great spot for transfer passengers planning a trip to the Far East or Australia. There is so much more I could mention (the Old Town, Jumeirah Beach, the Marina, the desert safaris etc.), but I wanted to keep it short, and if you have already made it this far without closing the page, you are definitely ready to book your flight and discover the city yourself.
By the way, you should regularly check out the offers on SWISS.COM, as there are sometimes very attractive fares for Dubai.