by Eagle Travel
As my niece now lives and works in Dubai, my sister and I took the opportunity to visit her in October.
Having previously visited Dubai in June 2018 when I found the temperature unbearably hot, I found it a lot more comfortable this time around. The best time to visit is October to May and if travelling with small children, I would avoid high summer as the temperature can reach 110 degrees. Although all buildings are air conditioned, the humidity in the evenings can be uncomfortable.
We flew direct from Stansted with Emirates. The economy service was excellent and the leg room generous. There was a great selection of films and entertainment on board, however I chose to sleep most of the 7 hours!
Upon arrival, we took a taxi to Jumeirah Beach where we stayed. This took 20 minutes and cost about £30. As we approached the city, I was taken aback by the futuristic skyline, brimming with skyscrapers. The tallest of these, the Burj Khalifa, has 163 floors and is the tallest building in the world. This is a theme throughout Dubai; each shop, bar, restaurant and hotel, trying to be the biggest and best.
We chose to spend our first day downtown at the Dubai Mall; the worlds’ largest shopping mall, complete with its own Aquarium. We watched the spectacular fountain display, which is every 30 minutes from 6pm each night. This is next to the mall and is accompanied by lighting and music and is a great free show.
Dubai is split into many different districts, the most popular being Jumeirah Beach, Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Marina and Old Town Deira. Travel by taxi during the hotter months is recommended as it can be too hot to walk longer distances. If you chose to try the buses or trams, you will find that the stops are air conditioned.
Personally, I loved the feel and convenience of Jumeirah beach. The white sandy beach is busy with locals and tourists, with a wide range of water sports available. I would recommend hiring the beds and parasols, which cost around £22 per day, but worthwhile to keep you off the hot sand. The sea was clean and like a warm bath! I found it to be safe and well marshalled by lifeguards. Within the district were a fantastic array of busy shops, bars and restaurants.
Dubai is a city of extremes. This is most noticeable in the hotels and restaurants, which range from 3* to 7*. Even at the lower end, the service and attention you receive is second to none.
The Burj al Arab Hotel is at the very top end of the range and is famous for it’s 7* service. Visible from Jumeirah Beach, it is a fantastic setting for a decadent afternoon tea or brunch.
The Atlantis Hotel is situated on The Palm, a man-made mass in the shape of a palm tree which extends out into the sea. This is a 25-minute taxi ride from Jumeirah Beach and is an example of the opulence that Dubai has to offer. The scale of the hotel is indescribable. It has it’s own water park and aquarium, many spa’s, and just 23 restaurants! We treated ourselves to a brunch and the food was fantastic and plentiful.
Dubai used to have a reputation for being very strict and almost anti-Western. However, I found that Dubai has evolved into an ultra-modern city that is welcoming of tourists. It is super clean with almost zero crime and unemployment. It is important to respect the culture of the Emirates with regards to drinking alcohol and dressing respectfully in public places. Alcohol is available, but only within licensed premises which can be a little expensive.
There are many activities and excursions on offer including ski-ing, sky diving, theme parks, water sports, desert safaris, gold souks, museums and exploring the cities’ history and cultural heritage. All of this makes Dubai an extraordinary destination to visit and certainly one that I would recommend.