Dubai really has it is all; this uber-modern city caters to the extravagant and glamorous. DESIblitz has all you need to know about the magical city of Dubai.
"You will find the best weather in Dubai during the months of October to April."
If you are looking for a truly urban and ultra-modern holiday destination, look no further than Dubai.
The City of Gold seems to have the biggest, tallest, fastest anything that you can imagine. Dubai has even broken the Guinness World Record for the largest fireworks display at New Year’s 2014.
The Dubai Mall, with its 1,200 shops, is the largest shopping mall in the world. Inside of that mall is the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo which, of course, is the largest aquarium in the world.
Dubai is the fastest growing city in the world with the largest number of foreign-born citizens. The city’s massive 829.8m tall Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure in the world.
One of the latest additions to the Dubai skyline is the JW Marriott Marquis and, at 355m, it is also the tallest hotel in the world. Dubai is without a doubt a city that can magically make anything come to life.
On Top of the World
The Burj Khalifa is a must-see. Head up to the 124th floor to step out onto one of the world’s highest observation decks and see the earth’s most breathtaking urban skyline. You’ll enter the building through the Dubai Mall so you can easily plan an afternoon just on this excursion.
Regardless of your desire to actually go shopping, the mall is well worth a visit. On top of the amazing Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, there is a huge indoor ice rink.
Right outside of the mall is the Dubai Fountain. The 270m dancing fountain is the world’s largest and it puts on a phenomenal show every day. The show begins every 30 minutes starting at 6pm so it’s the ideal place to relax after a long afternoon of sightseeing.
Soak in the Opulence
The Burj Al Arab claims to be ‘the world’s only 7-Star hotel’ and it oozes luxury.
Built on a private island with chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce’s and golden everything, the Burj Al Arab hotel is a tourist destination in itself.
While booking a room there might break the bank, it is well worth a visit. Afternoon tea there is around £65 and will get you a ticket inside. While the price may be a bit steep, the seven course afternoon tea with champagne is an unforgettable experience.
If you just want to get a quick glimpse, guests at the Madinat Jumeirah or Jumeirah Beach Hotel can schedule tours during a set time period each day (however the hotel is off limits to the general public).
If you want to get away from urban life for a day, head down to one of Dubai’s many gorgeous beaches. Like many things in the UAE, your options range from basic to 5 star. Many of the hotels on the Jumeirah beach strip offer private beaches to their guests for free.
If you are off the main strip, Al Mamzar is a great free beach or you can get into Jumeirah Beach Park for less than £1.
If you are looking for a slightly more luxurious beach, check out the beach at Le Meridien Mina Seyahi for a little over £40. Or if you like a bit more entertainment than just head over to Nasimi Beach. On Sand/Play/Fashion (SPF) Saturdays, there are local DJ’s, bands, and musicians.
You can play table tennis, badminton, pétanque or volleyball all afternoon with no entry fee. It’s not a family beach though. Entry is strictly for adults over 21, and ‘beach chic’ dress code is enforced.
Dubai is a second home to Giorgio Armani, Shahrukh Khan, David and Victoria Beckham, Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Veena Malik and many other top names. Celebrity sightings are a regular occurrence around the city.
If you visit the Emirates Palace, Atlantis The Palm Jumeirah, One and Only Royal Mirage, Shangri-La Hotel, or Armani Hotel you can find international celebrities, musicians, presidents, and sports stars almost any day of the week.
If you are considering a winter holiday in Dubai, plan to hit the red carpet! The Dubai International Film Festival is held at the end of every year. There are venues all over the city and a constant stream of events. All of the world’s top actors and actress will be there so it’s an absolute must for any cinephile.
You will find the best weather in Dubai during the months of October to April. This is the peak tourist season and you can expect to find the beaches full. This is technically Dubai’s rainy season as well, but just expect short bouts of rain followed by more sunshine.
You will find lower prices and fewer crowds during the summer but come prepared for the heat. It can reach upwards of 40°C during summer afternoons and the nights won’t provide much relief either.
If you really think you are ready for summer, try to plan around more night-time activities. Even the locals tend to stay inside during the peak midday heat.
Dubai is uber-modern in some respects but it’s not all business and glitz. There is a tradition and culture embedded in the heart of the city and some respect for it is expected.
Bear in mind that there are more than a few cultural differences between the United Arab Emirates and the UK. Fridays and Saturdays are considered the weekend so expect some things to be closed on Friday while it’s business as usual on Sunday.
Alcohol is served primarily in hotels and women should make an effort to dress conservatively. It may be a city of opulence but it’s far from a traditional party town.
Raj Nayak is the CEO of Colors TV and Rishtey Cineplex at Viacom18 Media. In an exclusive Gupshup with DESIblitz, Raj talks Bigg Boss, 24 and more!