Set on the Arabian peninsula in the United Emirates, Dubai is a unique and enchanting cocktail of 'Old-meets-new' and 'East-meets-west'.
Year round Sunshine & Intriguing Adventure
Dubai is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world with all year round glorious sunshine, warm inviting Arabian Gulf waters, unparalleled coastline, beautiful desert and magnificent cityscapes… every district tells a story!
Filled with heritage, with the Creek, and its gold and spice souqs. The Creek is a bustling harbour lined with traditional dhows selling their wares and on the eastern bank is Deira City, this is Dubai’s commercial hub. Many of the souqs are found here, usually buzzing with shoppers and vendors. If you are looking to experience traditional Dubai, you’ll find it here.
The city is bustling morning to night, definitely the biggest draw for tourism as home to the towering Burj Khalifa skyscraper (the world’s tallest building), with its observation deck on the 124th floor, the stunning dancing Dubai Fountain and The Dubai Mall, where you can shop until you drop. Downtown Dubai is a place where every corner is a memorable landmark, every structure a spectacle to behold.
This is Dubai’s second ‘Palm’ and just 40 minutes drive from the city. Jebel Ali Beach sits between the harbour and the Jebel Ali Palm, a golden stretch of private beach, hosting 27 acres of garden, golf course and the Jebel Ali Resort. A quieter pace of life but still close enough to the cosmopolitan city of Dubai.
A relaxed vibe and long stretch of stunning shoreline, soft white sand and clear warm waters. Popular amongst visitors, boasting the emirate’s best hotels and activities. You will find ‘The Walk’ here also, lined with cafes, restaurants and shops, a beautiful promenade. And of course the beautiful Jumeirah Mosque, one of Dubai’s spectacular landmarks, gleaming white stone and built in the medieval Fatimid style and the only mosque in Dubai to open to the public.
A luxurious palm tree shaped island, with high-end villas and apartments set along each branch. Many resorts and hotels are also located here and perfect for those that enjoy sailing, yachts and abundance of watersports. Accessed by road or the Palm Monorail and of course home to the famous Atlantis, The Palm.
Convenient for both Dubai and Abu Dhabi Airports and only a short drive from the beaches. And home to the new theme parks Dubai Parks, five theme parks that are great for all ages, from the glamour of movie-making at Motiongate and Bollywood to the thrills and excitement of Legoland and Legoland Water Park. Also make sure you visit the unique shopping mall of Ibn Battuta Mall!
Dubai’s bright blue sky, picturesque coastline and sunburnt dunes are only an hour’s drive apart, great for those that want to surf in the morning and sand-board in the afternoon. You can take excursions or a escape to the desert for a few days where you can experience anything from dune bashing to relaxing spas. If you want to stay overnight in the desert, we highly recommend the Al Maha.
The Marina has something for everyone, from culinary delights at the numerous restaurants that line the waters edge, interconnecting walkways for you to shop and stop along the way, an abundance of luxury yachts bobbing on the water and the bright lights of the city lighting up the night sky. This is the place to see and been seen whilst in Dubai.
Our favourite Dubai Hotels
Here is a selection of our most popular Dubai hotels.
These hotels are to get your creative juices flowing, but if you already have a hotel or two in mind, we would love to help tailor make your dream holiday.
5* Rixos The Palm
5 NIGHTS – GREAT FOR COUPLES & FAMILIES
This family resort is a multi-awarded resort situated on the iconic Palm Jumeirah. Enjoy the panoramic views of the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai’s iconic skyscrapers, the shimmering skyline of Dubai Marina and the remarkable lagoons and architecture of Palm Jumeirah itself.
5* Atlantis The Palm
5 NIGHTS – GREAT FOR FAMILIES
This popular family resort is arguably one of the city’s most famous resorts. Whether you’re taking a splash at Aquaventure waterpark, gazing in wonder at 65,000 marine life in the underwater passageways of the Lost Chambers or lounging on the pristine private beach – this is the place for you and the family.
5* Anantara The Palm
5 NIGHTS – GREAT FOR COUPLES & FAMILIES
Located on the world-famous Palm Jumeirah, this stunning Thai themed resort boasts 400 metres of private shoreline and surround views of the Arabian Gulf.
Float on water, with lagoon access rooms and home to the only over water villas in Dubai.
5* Jumeirah Al Naseem
4 NIGHTS – GREAT FOR COUPLES
The newest hotel at Madinat Jumeirah, on a stretch of private beach overlooking the iconic Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Beautifully appointed suites and beach villas with club access set within stunning landscaped gardens, inspired by the Wadis, fringing the sandy beach to give you a calm sanctuary in the buzz of this dynamic City.
5* FIVE Palm Jumeirah
6 NIGHTS – GREAT FOR COUPLES & FRIENDS
This five-star resort with views of the Dubai Marina skyline and Arabian Gulf is a perfect stay for couples and groups looking for luxury, alongside adventure and entertainment. Situated on the famous Palm Jumeriah, you are only moments away from some of Dubai’s most popular tourist destinations.
5* The Ritz-Carlton
4 NIGHTS – GREAT FOR COUPLES & FAMILIES
Situated on a private beach, The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai offers the popular Walk at JBR. the 5* resort features 294 sea-facing guest rooms and suites, a Club Lounge, a wealth of award-winning culinary experiences and leisure facilities. Traditional and opulent in design and in the most perfect beach-front location.
5* Grosvenor House
4 NIGHTS – GREAT FOR COUPLES & FRIENDS
Grosvenor House Dubai is situated in the area often dubbed as the ‘new Dubai’. Overlooking the stunning Marina from the chic rooftop bar. And housing the on-trend Buddha Bar, for those that want to see and been seen.
This hotel really is unlike any other and renowned for it’s trendy, chic and modern vibe.
5* Jumeirah Beach Hotel
4 NIGHTS – GREAT FOR FAMILIES
The iconic Jumeirah Beach property is looking better than ever, since it’s recent refurbishment.
Not only is the new wave design amazing to behold, its rather clever too. There’s also complimentary access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark™, a thrilling destination with over 30 rides to tempt you
5* Jumeirah Zabeel Saray
6 NIGHTS – GREAT FOR FAMILIES & COUPLES
This iconic five-star deluxe resort gives you the best of both worlds.
Whether you’re looking to relax on the pristine private beach, enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and luxurious spa treatments in the acclaimed Talise Ottoman’s spa or to take part in all the activities on offer, this resort has something for everyone.
Places to Visit in Dubai
Until you’re in a skyscraper, looking down onto the roof of another skyscraper, you really don’t comprehend what 125 floors means. The Burj Khalifa will show you.
Nothing epitomises Dubai’s commitment to become a leading player in the Middle East – and the word – than the Burj Khalifa. Rising from the city’s skyline like a rocket destined for outer space, at 828 metres high, this is the tallest building in the world. Take the world’s longest lift ride up to the highest outdoor observation deck and marvel at the spectacular views far below.
You simply can’t put into words the way it feels to be 125 floors above the ground, looking out of a window. It doesn’t feel like a plane – you’re not moving – it doesn’t feel like a helicopter either – it’s quiet and has that genuine indoor feel. At the same time, being up so high, looking out on panoramic views of the glittering city of Dubai, the waters and the desert beyond it… there’s simply nothing else like it.
The Dubai Fountain
This beautiful scene is located at the base of the iconic Burj Khalifa. The largest choreographed water fountain display in the world!
Displays start at sundown and continue every 30 minutes. So whilst you’re heading out for an evening stroll or your meal, stop by and take in this breath taking show. Watch the jets reach heights of 150m and dance to the music!
Displays take place till 11pm every day.
On top of the World
Looking for amazing views and an amazing meal, why not book a table at the worlds tallest restaurant – ‘Atmosphere’ on top of the Burj.
Experience an upscale restaurant and bar on the 122 floor.
Their extensive menu will not disappoint! If you book between a Tuesday to Saturday enjoy some entertainment with your meal from 9pm until 1am with the resident DJ and dance the night away above this magical city.
Burj Al Arab
Standing like a ship’s sail billowing with the wind on its own island, the iconic Burj Al Arab has become a symbol of Dubai’s oil rich boom years. Expect dancing fountains, plenty of gold and marble, and whirlpool baths your butler will fill with champagne at this landmark, luxury Dubai hotel. If staying here exceeds your budget then book in for cocktails, dinner or even afternoon tea in the underwater restaurant.
Not everything in Dubai is modern and gleaming. Al Fahidi is a restored heritage area in the Bur Dubai, that gives you a tangible insight into traditional Middle Eastern culture and architecture. This labyrinthine sector has craft shops, heritage museums and cafés selling local delights.
To discover more about the Emirate’s rapid rise to glory, visit Dubai Museum in Bur Dubai’s Al Fahidi Fort. See how the city evolved from dessert to metropolis in a few decades. An interesting archaeological exhibition reveals some of the many artefacts discovered in digs across the region.
Apart from benefitting from the best hotels Dubai has to offer, you really must visit Dubai’s major shopping malls because they are the social hub for anything from shopping to skiing and anything inbetween.
There is also plenty of traditional shopping at the dazzling Gold and Spice Souqs, you will feel as if you have just entered Aladdin’s cave but make sure you have brushed up on your haggling skills.
Friday the Dubai Way
Did you know that Friday is the start of the weekend in Dubai? Celebrated by Friday Brunch which is a gastronomic traditions. Friday Brunch isn’t just about the food, the entertainment is just as important where you will experience anything from magicians to petting zoos. This is an experience to be had and the sumptuous feasts are a great way to try the local dishes.
If you are seeking nightlife on your Middle East vacation then hit the White Dubai, perched on the top of the grandstand for the Meydan Racecourse, this is the best nightclub in the region. Alternatively, chill at beachfront lounges or rooftop bars and make the most of your Dubai holiday.
Premium Red Dune & Camel Safari with BBQ at Al Khayma camp – from £57pp
This amazing tour has everything on your bucket list ticked! Immerse yourself into the incredible Arabian desert. This half – day tour includes transport to and from your doorstep.
You’ll experience sand boarding, dune bashing, camel rides, falcon experience, henna and memories to last a lifetime. Why not even try on some local Arabic attire! With all that excitement, you sure will build up an appetite. Finish your time with an authentic BBQ accompanied with belly dancing under the stars!
Hot air balloon ride, vintage Land Rover ride & breakfast – from £280pp
Now THIS is not one to miss…
Ever wanted to fly high with the birds and experience something like nothing before, this is for you!
You’ll be collected from your hotel and travel to Dubai’s Conservation reserve.
Here is where you will witness your balloon being inflated and climb aboard!
Glide over the billowing dunes of the Arabian desert and experience the deserts sunrise. You’ll watch falcons sore up to 4,000 feet as the sun rises over the Hajar mountains. Once back on the ground, you’ll travel by vintage 1950’s land rovers to feast on a gourmet breakfast including hand cut smoked salmon and caviar.
Make a Splash
Atlantis Aquaventure & Lost Chambers – from £59pp
Want a day to cool off from the heat?
The Dubai Atlantis water park is the biggest of its kind in the Middle East and is amazing for all the family. Why not try the 90 foot leap of faith into the shark lagoon, or the famous trapdoor slide that’ll send you plummeting 75 feet?!
Remember how much fun it is to ride a tube through a waterslide? Imagine doing it while surrounded – above and to both sides – by a huge aquarium teeming with exotic species of fish: sharks, eels, rays, and more! There are more than 65,000 marine animals there for you to see, up close and personal.
If you’d rather take a more relaxing approach, check out the lazy river and let the little people loose on the splashers island.
Once you’re ready to refuel, you can do so with your refreshments on the beautiful sandy beach.
If you wanted that extra bit of luxury, why not hire a VIP beach cabana to recharge your batteries.
With lots of extras like shark talks, surfing machines and chambers to walk through to see all the sea-life, this is a fab day for all the family!
All About the Princess
Hello Kitty Beauty Spa – from £10pp
Want a mummy and daughter day and to feel like a Princess or Queen, then you have to visit this unique Hello Kitty Beauty Spa! Located on the ground floor of the Galleria Mall. This is more than just a spa, this is a bonding experience.
Choose from a range of treatments such as chocolate mani-pedis, lip scrubs, wash and blow drys, face masks and so many more! Sit back and relax in your robes.
There’s also activities and yummy snacks and drinks available, such as making your own bath bombs. Definitely a girly treat to check out!
Theme Park Fun
Theme Parks – from £59pp
Imagine the biggest theme park in the world indoors, well, now you can experience it here in Dubai.
IMG world is so huge that it’s the size of 28 football pitches This is another great family day out, with something for everyone to enjoy.
Try out exhilarating rides, movies, restaurants galore and shopping all spread out among four different zones. Start in the Marvel zone and check out the avengers then head on over to the Cartoon Network zone not forgetting to stop by the lost city! This really is a day of adventure for everyone.
Hit The Slopes
Ski in Dubai – from £30pp
Now you can have a day on the beach and by the evening be whizzing down the slopes!
Yes that’s right, head on over to Dubai’s indoor snow park open till 11pm. Even if you’re not a skier, head on over and try all the other experiences they have to offer such as rolling down the slopes in a giant snowball-globe, ride toboggans or even watch a penguin parade!
Your ski ticket pass will include use of the chair lifts, cold weather wear and helmets for the children. Once you need warming up, grab a toasty hot chocolate from the ice café.
Look out for their special offers they have such as breakfast with the penguins and a cinema in the snow!
Dinner in the Sky
Dinner in the sky – from £99pp
So many things to tick of your bucket list in Dubai and here’s another one!
Pull up a seat to your table and clip in your harness.
You’ll be pulled up to 165 feet into the air whilst your table very slowly rotates. Fill your tummy’s with amazing food whilst taking in the impressive views of the Gulf.
This really is one of the most unusual and exciting dining experiences to try.
Pop Across to Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi City Tour including Ferrari World – from £168pp
If you’re in Dubai, then why not pop over to Abu Dhabi for the day, this amazing Abu Dhabi City Tour including Ferrari World and Yas Marina will take you to the most amazing sites this city has to offer. You’ll be collected from your hotel and have your first stop at the breathtaking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center where you’ll spend time exploring this amazing building! Carry on your tour and pass by Capital Gate with a quick stop at Emirates Palace – the most luxurious hotel in Abu Dhabi.
Along your journey you’ll also pass by Etihad towers and the Louvre.
Enjoy some thrills at Ferrari world where you’ll have 4 hours to enjoy all this exclusive theme park has to offer!
If you’re a fan of the F1, you’ll love this last stop, Yas Marina Circuit, explore the track and the garages before being taken back to your hotel.
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
*With sea, land and air covered, it is time to admire the masterpieces of an older time. You can get picked up at your hotel and taken to Abu Dhabi where, among other sights, you will get to see the magnificent Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
It is the fourth largest mosque in the world, but arguably the most beautiful. White domes supported on archways reveal golden interiors peeking out between the columns. Bright, gold pinnacles point skyward from domes and minarets alike, and all of it is surrounded by snow-white medieval-style walls and lush, green grounds. Inside, colonnades and the wide central courtyard will inspire awe and reverence, both for the architecture and for the devotion of those who built – and financed – such an elegant structure.
Spend the day in Abu Dhabi, or just a few hours; either way it will be time well spent, as there is a lot to see.
Things To Know
Dubai is part of a conservative Islamic country, so there are behavioural norms that may be different from your own. The two big ones involve alcohol and public behaviour. When in doubt about a rule, do the more conservative option.
As a tourist, you’ll be able to drink alcohol in any venue with a license. This includes many hotels, restaurants and clubs. Do be aware that public drunkenness, even if technically consumed within a legal venue, may result in trouble.
Visiting Dubai in Ramadan
You may be wondering if its sensible to travel to Dubai during Ramadan. We would say yes don’t be put off, it can be a wonderful time to visits and soak up the culture. During the day the atmosphere can be a little more subdued but as the sunsets the fast is broken and the city springs in to life. There are heaps of festivals to enjoy and as long as you abide by the local etiquette you will have an amazing time.
Shops and restaurant opening times may vary and but as soon as the sunsets banqueting begins. Being a tourist doesn’t make you exempted from the rules, when in public you will be expected to act as the Muslims do, abstaining from all food, drink, and smoking.
Beaches are open during Ramadan and though swimwear is accepted at the beach, you do need to cover up as you leave.