Have you ever traveled to a city with no plans whatsoever; and just decided to go with the flow? With only three days available to take Dubai by storm, I dashed through this Arabian wonderland by the seat of my pants and ended up in a few interesting places.
Where to Stay:
Jumeirah Beach Hotel displayed an unparalleled degree of luxury starting at the front door. From the stunningly dramatic wave design of the building, to the first class service given to all guests; this 618-room, suite and villa luxury hotel boosts twenty-one bars and restaurants throughout the property. Each room in not only oversized, but also has an unobstructed view of the Arabian Gulf thanks to the ingenious design approach of floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The rooms are furnishing with a deliberate touch of the finest amenities, luxury bedding and high-end décor in neural tones.
The true treasure comes in discovering one of the 19 private hideaway villas. For guest’s pleasure, they extend a 24-hour butler service, access to the Executive Pool with private cabana, limousine service for transfers to the Dubai International Airport, and pre-dinner canapés and cocktails are just a few of the amenities that are offered.
There’s never a dull moment to be had with leisure and watersports activities on-resort and at the private beach, and full access to the Wild Wadi Waterpark only a few steps away. There’s enjoyment for the entire family. Along with a fitness center, there’s Talise Spa, seven swimming pools, tennis courts, a kid’s club and a host of high-end retail stores.
Traveler’s Tip: To beat the heat of Dubai in the summer months, order a refreshing glass of mint lemon (lemonade). It’s an addictive, sweet-tart treat that quickly quenches your thirst.
Where to Eat:
Dubai is unmistakably a melting pot of different cultures and people. They all bring so much to the table and it’s apart of what contributes to Dubai being more than meets the eye. To get an authentic view of the blended cultures, I signed up for the Frying Pan Food Adventures. It’s a group walking foodie tour where the guide leads you to hidden gems of where the locals go. I was apart of the Little India On A Plate tour and my group weaved and wandered through the bustling streets of Old Dubai on the hunt for tasty pani puri at the Rangoli Restaurant, mysore pak treats at the Sri Krishna Sweets Shop, Sangeetha served us tiffin with marsala dosa; idlis in sambar; medu vada, pongal, and for dessert—kesari and Madrasi coffee and “Topi” dosa. After completing the walking tour, everyone gets a certificate of completion and a signature red hot bag of little trinket souvenirs. I really enjoyed this tour and meeting the people in the group. The conversations we had, made this all the more interesting. Bring people together to bond over good food is always a win-win in my book.
Traveler’s Tip: Dubai is a major epicenter of business. If you have business meeting or client that you need to impress—take them to the Armani Hotel Dubai for lunch to seal that business deal; located inside the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa. It’s dripping in sophistication, offers panoramic views of the city and is only 10 minutes walk for the Dubai Mall and Dubai Fountain (which are both must sees too).
Things to Do:
There’s nothing to do in Dubai, said no one—ever! There’s almost too much to do there, but with a limited amount of time you have to pick and choose your activities and leave the rest for another visit.
Platinum Heritage Tours: This is a different kind of desert safari tour and nothing like I imaged it would be. Luxury yes, I expected that to a certain degree—but was surprised by the refinement. You’re transferred by a guide and driven to the outskirts of the city’s edge to the “original” Dubai—the desert. From there, you ride in either an open top vintage Land Rover or a luxury Range Rover over sand dunes, spotting out exotic wildlife until you reach the Bedouin Camp. As the sun goes down at the camp, guests can watch a falcon presentation and ask questions to the bird handler. Traditional lamps lead the way inside and guests can choose to dine in a group setting or reserve private dining areas with luxury accommodations and a 6-course meal. Along with a cultural dance performance, a traditional Emirati dinner (complete with a taste of camel’s milk if you’d like to try it), there is also a henna tattoo artist available, shisha pipes (similar to hooka) and camel rides. The experience is undeniably magical and transports you back to a simpler time when life was done at a much slower place and time wasn’t of the essence.
Catering to history buffs, a visit to the Dubai Women’s Museum will offer enlightenment and cultural knowledge on the role of women in Old Dubai. Founded by Professor Rafia Obaid Ghubash, the museum is well organized, with helpful docents that are available to give tours and explanations of the exhibits.
Schedule a Platinum Heritage Tour when you want to slow things down; but if you have a need for luxurious speed—make sure you visit the Dubai Autodrome and take a few laps around the track in a McLaren or Lotus!
Dubai just never disappoints; it’s full of life and if you can’t find a good time there—something’s wrong. Three days is not early enough time to roam and discover the multitude of possibilities that exist there. However, this quick list can be a great starter.