It’s that time of year when we’ve all had enough of the cold wintery weather and grey cloudy skies. And the only thing that seems to get us through this month is booking fabulous holidays for the year ahead. Dubai is the perfect location for anyone looking for sun, sea and pure luxury! I have put together my ultimate travel guide to Dubai for anyone thinking about visiting:
Dubai has become a very popular travel destination, especially with us Brits. Many of us are attracted to the all-year round warm waters of the Arabian Gulf and plentiful sunshine, the iconic architecture that dominates the city’s skyline, as well as some of the world’s most unique attractions. Dubai is where you will find the world’s tallest skyscraper, the world’s biggest shopping mall and some of the most luxurious hotels. It’s extraordinary to think that most of the city as we know it has been built in just the last 50 years. However, the pre-thriving metropolis era still exists in the traditional souks and immense desert that surrounds the city.
Dubai is a great holiday destination. With so much on offer, I hope this travel guide to Dubai helps you plan your ultimate trip.
Flying time from the UK: 7 hours
There are plenty of direct flights from the UK to Dubai every day. We flew on an overnight flight from London Heathrow to Dubai with Virgin Atlantic. The flight was great, we had lots of rest as it was night-time for us and landed at around 8:30am.
Time zone: Dubai is 3 hours ahead of the UK, so the jet lag isn’t too bad.
Transfers from Dubai Airport: We had pre-arranged private transfers to take us to and from the airport. However, there are other modes of transport that are easily available such as: Uber, Dubai Metro and shuttle buses.
Currency: Emirati Dirham (credit cards are widely accepted throughout Dubai)
Language: Arabic, however, English is widely spoken in Dubai.
Religion: Islam (please see information about Ramadan in the ‘top tips’ section at the bottom of this post).
I visited during the last week of June, just after Ramadan had finished. This time of year is extremely hot, hitting a minimum of 40 degrees every day! I love the heat but I was very thankful for the ice cold pool at the hotel. The summer months are very hot in the UAE, so if extreme heat isn’t your thing I would recommend visiting in the winter months as it is much cooler but still very warm and pleasant.
There are so many amazing hotels in Dubai, it can be hard to choose where to stay. First of all, it’s important to decide which area you would like to stay in. Here’s a quick guide to Dubai’s four main tourist areas:
A man-made island that offers many luxury hotels. It is a great place to stay if you want to be on the beach and relax, away from the hustle and bustle. However, you will still only be a short taxi ride to the major attractions in the main city.
A man-made canal, which is heavily populated by towering skyscrapers. There are lots of exquisite hotels, restaurants and bars to choose from with breath-taking views. Dubai Marina is only a short drive to Jumeriah Beach and The Palm.
The area is most popularly known for the Burj al Arab, the iconic 7* hotel. This is a great area to stay in if you want to be directly on the beach as there’s endless white sand and warm waters. There are plentiful restaurants and shops at Jumeriah Beach and attractions for kids such as Wild Wadi Waterpark making it a great area for families.
Home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. There are several ultra-luxurious hotels in the vicinity that offer the best seat in the house to watch the fountain shows, including the Armani Hotel. This area is also where you will find the world’s largest shopping centre, Dubai Mall. This is the perfect location for anyone wanting to feel in the heart of the city and within close proximity to Dubai’s most iconic attractions.
As Dubai is hot all year round, light and cool clothing is a necessity, although be prepared with a cardi when the arctic air-conditioning hits you in the mall and hotels. A hat is essential when outside during daylight to keep the sun off your head, particularly during the summer months. As Dubai is Islamic, it is very important to wear appropriate and modest clothing especially outside of the hotel resorts. As a general rule, it is advisable to wear trousers, long skirts and cover your shoulders especially when travelling further afield. Please see information on Ramadan in the Tips section below.
Dubai offers so many beautiful restaurants with a whole range of cuisines. It can be hard to choose where you want to eat. Here’s my short guide to Dubai restaurants and bars:
Dubai is home to the most extravagant and Instagram-worthy brunch experiences in the world. Dubai has become synonymous with the word ‘brunch’. If you are in Dubai on Friday or over a weekend, I would definitely recommend going for brunch. Here are some of the top-rated brunches in Dubai:
A trendy restaurant located in Dubai Marina, inside the 5* Grosvenor House. Buddha Bar Dubai offers an opulent interior featuring hanging chandeliers, an enormous Buddha statue in the centre of the restaurant and sweeping views of the marina. The menu is inspired by the cuisines of China, Japan and Thailand. Buddha Bar is a hotspot for tourists and Dubai residents alike.
After a tasty meal in Buddha Bar, make your way to Siddharta Lounge, an open air rooftop bar and lounge located in Grosvenor House. Siddharta Lounge is the perfect place for a sophisticated cocktail and nibbles whilst soaking in the 360-degree views of the marina. They have a resident DJ who creates the most perfect chilled vibe.
If you visit Dubai, Nobu at Atlantis is a must. This has become an iconic restaurant and for good reason, not only does the innovative cuisine attract the masses but also the great service you receive. As we entered the restaurant, we felt like we had been immersed in to the deep waters of the ocean as the exotic species of the aquarium within the resort floated around us. Be sure to try Nobu’s legendary Black Cod.
Tip: book in advance as this restaurant is exceptionally busy every night of the week.
Pierchic – A romantic restaurant, located at the end of the pier at the Al Qasr Hotel that offers a ‘over-the-water’ dining experience. Pierchic specialises in some of Dubai’s finest seafood cuisine. Enjoy a delicious dinner with captivating views of the Arabian Gulf.
Eauzone – situated on the beach surrounded by palm trees, featuring wooden decks and floating ‘Majilis’ overlooking the scenic Arabian Gulf and crystal clear pool. This beautiful restaurant offers an Asian menu with a twist.
Zheng He’s – Located in a stunning lagoon in Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, Zheng He’s offers a classic Chinese menu with a modern edge.
At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa – If you want to experience true luxury and fine-dining, At.mosphere is the restaurant for you. Located on Level 122 of the world’s tallest building.
For more on restaurants and bars in Dubai, check out my review of The Westin Dubai here.
Dubai is home to some of the most unique attractions in the world. Here is my guide to some of Dubai’s top sights:
This place is a must! Amazing drinks, food, music and atmosphere. We stayed here all day long and didn’t want to leave, definitely the best pool party in Dubai.
This was such a brilliant experience and so different from the city, this was my favourite evening of the trip. We were picked up from our hotel and driven to the deserts that surround the city. First on the agenda was a dune drive and picture opportunity as the sun set over the golden dunes. Then we were taken to the camp where we rode camels and had a spectacular feast in the middle of the desert. This was a truly authentic experience.
A spectacular waterpark located at the Atlantis hotel. In the Dubai heat, this waterpark will be your saving grace. There’s a huge variety of slides and attractions to choose from. My favourite was the iconic Leap of Faith, a 9 story tall slide with a near verticle drop!
I hope my travel guide to Dubai has been helpful. Please comment below if you have any other questions…
Thanks for reading!
The Blonde Sunchaser x