I’m just back from Dubai – and what an amazing week it was. It’s definitely somewhere to add your bucket list if it’s not there already. March was such a nice time to travel, it felt like the middle of summer at 25 – 33 degrees most days. I’m not sure I’d be able to deal with anything much hotter than that. It gets as hot as 50 degrees there in summer!!! How do people survive over there?!
We had the perfect balance of activities/ downtime which made it just such a fun and relaxing holiday. There’s so much to do over there I don’t think you could ever get it all done in one holiday. There is no shortage of amazing places to see, restaurants to try and of course sun to take in. We made a list of what we really wanted to do, making sure we made time to chill too – it was our holidays after all 🙂 If you read my Dubai Part I blog post you’ll know what we got up to from Saturday – Tuesday, and now I’m going to fill you in on the second part of our week, including a list of recommendations that we didn’t get around to trying this time!
Where we stayed
We moved hotels to the W Hotel in Al Habtoor City for our last few nights. This hotel was super modern with quirky, bright interiors and a young crowd – it was a nice change from our last hotel. The pool area was to die for – and the food was just amazing. I’m going to be starving for a month after this trip, trying to get back to normal eating habits will definitely be a struggle.
Where we ate
On our first in the W we decided to dine next door in the J&G Steakhouse in the St. Regis (which you have to check out whether you plan on eating there or not, LOOK at those stairs!) We were told it was the best steak in Dubai and I can see why. They brought separate carts to our table for making cocktails, carving the meat and choosing our sauces. It was the coolest dining experience I think I’ve ever had. The food coma after this meal was on a new level.
On our last night we tried NAMU restaurant on the top floor of the W hotel, which was Japanese/Korean food. I’m a big sushi fan so this was a treat for me, and an experience for Gerard 😉 This restaurant overlooks the canal and has gorgeous views of the city, there’s also a nightclub upstairs (BOA) if you feel like a dance afterwards.
What we got up to
- Burj Khalifa – At the top
Book in advance to avoid queues and to get a better price. We paid 125 AED to get to the 124th floor, which is only a little over half way up, but the views are still amazing. It’s a lot more expensive to go the whole way up.
- Jumeirah Beach
This beautiful white sandy beach overlooking the Burj Al Alab is a must visit when you’re in Dubai. There are private and public sections on this beach, our first hotel (Jumeirah Emirates Towers) was able to give us beach passes for the private beach (behind their sister hotel Jumeirah Beach Hotel) which is a lot less crowded than the public beach. Another thing to consider when booking hotels 🙂
- Cove Beach
We stumbled across this place on Wednesday afternoon, when Ladies day was in full swing. Ladies day in this beach/pool bar meant unlimited free Sangria for ladies, sounds good to me!
- Desert Exploring
Early on Friday morning we set off to catch the sunset on some deserted roads in the desert. It was one of the coolest places I’ve ever been, and definitely one of the most beautiful.
- Friday Brunch
This is one of those things I’ve heard about for a long time and had been dying to try – and it’s SO fun. We did the FEED ME brunch in our hotel (the W hotel) and the food!!! I’ve never seen anything like it, they had everything from sushi, to roast dinners, to pizza, and don’t even get my started on the dessert section. The buffet was open from 12.30 – 4 so you could help yourself during that time, and enjoy unlimited drinks in the meantime. Definitely make sure you consider a Friday brunch when booking your flights 🙂
- Lots of eating and sunbathing
Other recommendations (we didn’t get to try)
- Souk Madinat Jumeirah – you can get a gondola around and we were told to go Trader Vics for some cocktails after
- Nightclub – China Grill in the Westin (Ladies night – free flowing alcohol all night and great DJ)
- Pier 7 in the Marina – 7 nightclubs and a restaurant
- Mango Tree restaurant over looking the fountains
- The Hamptons Cafe Dubai (for Lunch/Brunch)
- Black Tap Dubai (for burgers and dessert)
- Atmosphere Bar in the Burj Khalifa
- Desert Safari’s & Quad biking in the desert – I was told Arabian Adventures are a good company to book with
- Be careful of expensive taxis
We found most of them to be Lexus cars, they have a higher fare to start off with and charge more for each kilometre too. It works out at almost double the price, so be careful and perhaps arrange a price before getting in if these taxis are your only option.
- Get breakfast with hotel
When booking your hotel, you’ll find getting breakfast included is probably a little bit more expensive, but it’s definitely worth to fork out a little extra at the start rather than to have to pay a bomb for breakfast every day. In both hotels we stayed in the choice at breakfast was insane! They have literally every type of food you can imagine and you would be full for breakfast and lunch if you planned it right. It’s very convenient and you’ll save a lot of time and money.
- Wear appropriate clothing in malls
As I said in my last blog post, I didn’t find there to be a huge difference in how you have to dress in Dubai versus any other holiday destination however I would recommend covering shoulder, chest and not wearing anything too sheer when visiting public places such as malls. We were advised there are security who will pull you up on it if they think what you’re wearing isn’t appropriate.
- Ladies day/night
Ladies day/ night is usually Tuesday/ Wednesday and it will vary from place to place. You can save money on entry fee and drinks which is great. When we visited Zero Gravity I emailed before hand and got free entry, when we visited McGettigans ladies got their first FIVE drinks free and in Cove Beach they were serving free Sangria to women all day. It’s a little sexist but hey we’ll take what we can get.
- The Entertainer App
I was advised to download this before I left, apparently its the app that the Emirates crew use for discounts and offers on drinks, food and attractions. When you download you get to try one offer for free, then you have to buy the book for $19.99 which gives you access to hundreds of deals around Dubai. Definitely check it out before travelling 🙂
- Save before you travel
Even with all the money-saving tips in the world, Dubai is a very expensive city to visit. I read before travelling that Dubai and New York are the two most expensive cities to visit in the world. So just ensure you’ve budgeted for it and be careful of what you’re spending (some things are more expensive than you’d expect).
We really had the best week in Dubai and I couldn’t recommend a visit more. It’s not a cheap holiday but so worthwhile. For someone who hasn’t done much travelling outside of Europe and America, it’s really whetted my appetite to see and explore more of this vast, amazing world!
Check out my YouTube vlog to see more about our trip: