Dubai: 8 Things You Need To Experience
Head up the Burj Khalifa, visit some of the world's greatest theme parks, and get the ultimate tan...
Dubai has long been renowned as a land of luxury.
Supremely swanky, abundant with astonishing weather and equally as beautiful scenery, it's the place to be for VIPs.
Which is why Dubai is so chuffing great. You don't have to be a gazillionaire to enjoy the celebrity lifestyle; whether you're an adrenaline-seeker or a sit-on-a-beach-and-drink-all-the-daquiris-er, we've got the definitive list of things to do while you're sunning yourself in one of the world's most glam locales.
Stay somewhere swank af
Start your Arabian adventure by getting some serious R ’n’ R an hour up the coast from Dubai city at the amazing Hilton Ras Al Khaimah resort and spa. Located on a spectacular private bay at the most northern tip of the Arabian peninsula, this luxury hotel overlooks a stunning mile wide beach and includes everything you’ll need to unwind and get your groove back.
From poolside villas (around, count'em EIGHT swimming pools), to waking up to the sound of the ocean gently lapping onto the beautiful sandy beach, it's chillout goals.
Throw in world-class NOM (the ‘Pura Vida’ restaurant is located right on the beach, and offers an unlimited Brazilian meat feast, and excellent Caipirinhas), and an incredible spa (enjoy a range of treatments and massages, or just chill in the sauna, steam room, whirlpool or Morocccan Hammam), and you're guaranteed to leave feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
Go all-inclusive if you like your vino
Booze ain’t cheap in the UAE, so if you don’t like paying 'that's-silly-even-for-London' money for a can of Heineken, either stock up on duty free before you land, or go ‘all-inclusive’ and get your drink on at the swim up bar, or work your way through the extensive cocktail list at the two beach bars.
Live the high life (literally)
There are a load of fun, exciting and crazy things to do in Dubai (more on the amazing theme parks later). Paramount amongst them, the sheer abundance and variety of water sports, which some key hotels also offer from their private beaches.
Now we've stopped screaming, we heartily recommend parasailing at The Hilton Ras Al Khaimah - or alternatively you can hire jet skis, go fishing, or try snorkelling around the sandy bay to spot all manner of Nemos swimming by.
Play around in some of the world's greatest theme parks
Dubai isn’t short of spectacularly high-end hotels - so you’re really spoilt for choice. We stayed at The Atlantis located on the Palm which gives you unlimited entry to the Aquaventure waterpark and the Lost Chambers Aquarium.
It’s hot, so what better place to spend your time in the water? The Aquaventure waterpark, situated a short stroll from the Atlantis hotel, includes thrilling high-speed water slides, a mile long river ride and 20 swimming areas. If you haven’t sat in a rubber ring and hurtled down a dimly lit tube, only to emerge in a tank surrounded by sharks and other deadly sea creatures, then you haven’t lived.
Alternatively, if you like to keep your clothes on when screaming your head off, skip on over to the MotionGate theme park which is a short taxi ride from the city. The Hollywood-inspired theme park features 27 rides based on movies such as Ghostbusters, Shrek and the Hunger Games. However, the highlight is most definitely the Madagascar themed roller coaster - don’t let the cutesy characters and music fool you -this is by far the fastest and most thrilling ride in the park. Did we mention it’s hot in Dubai? Make sure you take plenty of water and slap on the sun cream.
The best value ticket for Dubai Parks & Resorts is a 2 Day / 4 Parks Anytime Ticket which includes access to all parks: Motiongate, Bollywood, LEGOLAND and LEGOLAND Water park. The two days don't have to be consecutive so can be used any time in a holiday, AND you can book before you fly to save you all the hassle of queueing when you're there. This ticket costs from £108 per adult and £94 per child (up to 11). To book visit Attraction Tickets Direct.
Shop til you drop (or your card maxes out)
Home to a whopping 96 shopping malls, you’d better have spoken with your bank manager before leaving the UK. The city’s shopping hubs offer much more than just retail therapy however, with many malls offering indoor theme parks and cultural attractions.
The world’s largest mall, the Dubai Mall features an Olympic-sized ice skating rink, an aquarium and underwater zoo - as well as over 1,000 retailers, including high street favourites Toyshop and Zara. Alternatively, head to the Mall of the Emirates, which includes and indoor ski-slope (with real snow) or the beach side City Walk.
Get a bird/God's eye view up the Burj Khalifa
A trip to Dubai wouldn’t be complete without a trip up the Burj Khalifa - the world’s tallest building. Soaring over 800 metres into the sky, the observation deck on the 124th floor will leave you gasping for breath.
Luckily you can grab a drink and a bite to eat at ‘Atmostphere’ the world’s highest restaurant which is situated just a couple of floors below, before making your descent.
Boogie at celeb-stuffed clubs and bottomless brunches
With so many malls and hotels, there’s an abundance of cool eateries and bars in Dubai, all desperate for your dirham. Try asking the concierge for an insider tip as to where’s hip, or try the Mercury Lounge (great views along the Jumeirah coast), the Rooftop Terrace and Sports Lounge for some authentic Arabian elegance, or why not indulge in one of the city's infamous 'bottomless brunches'?
Our pick is the Westin hotel’s Bubbalicious Brunch, which boasts the standard incredible food and drink, and a host of other activities (Chinese acrobats, live bands, a PlayStation room and Kids corner, and a petting zoo) to keep you entertained throughout.
Head off on your own Arabian adventure
Escape to the dunes just outside the city for a whirlwind experience of a life time - have dinner in the desert under the stars, traverse the dunes by horseback or 4x4, drift into the sky in a hot air balloon... the desert is your oyster...